Paradise on earth

The more islands we visit, the more we are in love with the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia.

Are you part of a distributed team?

Team activities, courses and guides for companies with virtual teams!

Vietnamese Art

Propaganda posters, paintings and sculptures.

Happy Wesak

Procesión budista en Malasia

On how Asia reminds me of my childhood

Flowers, construction, poorly paved roads,...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fracking and To the Wonder

Have you seen To the Wonder by Terrence Malick? If you haven’t and you want to see it, please consider not reading this post. If you started it but left the movie theatre, like 5 out of the 8 people that shared the screening with me, you may continue.

Being concerned with the fracking technique that some companies are planning to do around my hometown, I immediately recognized Ben Affleck’s job in the movie.

What is fracking?

I first learn about it when a friend of mine that worked doing fracking for a gas company told me about the effects that he saw it had in the communities where they use this technique. Here's a graphic for you:

Wikipedia gives this definition:
Hydraulic fracturing is the propagation of fractures in a rock layer by a pressurized fluid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veinsor dikes are examples—and can create conduits along which gas and petroleum from source rocks may migrate to reservoir rocksInduced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracingfraccing, or fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gastight gas, and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction.[1] This type of fracturing creates fractures from awellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations.
The first use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947. However, it was only in 1998 that modern fracturing technology, referred to as horizontal slickwater fracturing, made possible the economical extraction of shale gas; this new technology was first used in the Barnett Shale in Texas.[1][2][3] The energy from the injection of a highly pressurized hydraulic fracturing fluid creates new channels in the rock, which can increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons.
Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract.[4] Opponents point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these.[5] For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under scrutiny internationally, with some countries suspending or banning it.
Informació sobre fracking en català

Today El País has an article explaining that amount of gas that can be found in Spain is similar to the one that you find in ND. Our population is 67 times bigger than the one in ND. They have been affected and silenced, how is fracking going to affect a population of 47 millions spanish citizens?  Terrifing.Here's a documentary that illustrates some of the things my friend that used to work fracking told me about:

How is fracking portrait in the movie?

Almost nothing is portrait in the movie, so fracking isn’t either. We hardly know anything about the characters, we don’t see their faces a lot of times, we don’t hear them speak, we don’t know what they are thinking and when we do hear them, they say some very abstract things. Fracking is also vastly sketched during the almost 2 hours of the film.

In the movie we see people that are very confused about what is going on. We see poor, uneducated people not really knowing what to say when asked about the consequences of fracking in their everyday life. We see a community that doesn’t even know what is going on. We see a number of times the main character going to the rivers taking samples of the water, taking samples of hair and soil. The main character’s job is to take samples, we know he is a nature lover but when he interviews his fellow citizens his face doesn’t move, he doesn’t even look at them in the eyes, his life is so much under Olga Kurylenko’s skirts that he is not even taking care of an important situation like that.

We should thank Terrence Malick for incorporating the fracking problem in the movie and hopefully raising some awareness.

Is the movie only a long perfume commercial?

I don’t think so, it is so abstract that it moved a lot of things inside of me, more than movies with an actual script. Revising Truffaut’s interviews with Hitchcock I found this piece that might illustrate why he did a movie like that:

Le theme ne m’interesse pas, le jeu des acteurs ne m’intérrese pas, (...) ce qui m’importe, ce sont les morceaux de films et la photographie, la bande sonore et tous les moyens techniques qui font que le public se met à hurler. Je trouve que c’est terriblement satisfaisant de parvenir à communiquer une émotion de masse grâce à l’art cinématographique. Ce à quoi nous sommes certainement parvenus avec Psychose. Le public n’était pas touché par un message, ni par un exploit ni par le fait qu’il goütait le roman. C’était le cinéma seul qui donnait aux gens de l’émotion.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Basketball and nationalism

By definition I don't like any form of nationalism because it touches that one place where I don't like to be touch, maybe that is why I liked these 2 documentaries so much. Both of them talk about similar issues: friendship, nationalism and basketball.

The other dream team: Lithuania's independency explained through their basketball history. Beautiful documentary with some really surprising stories.Buy it or try to find it, here's the trailer (with huge spoilers):

Once brothers: A little bit more dramatic but still good and still interesting.Here's the full documentary:

I really recommend you to watch both of them and have some kleenex ready, there will be tears of joy and sorrow!
Pubilles and hippie looking giants

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Next adventure: Spain

Did you know you can cross Spain on a motorbike and not take any highways?
Do you want to go from the Pyrenées to the Mediterranian sea on a bicycle?
Do you want to know the best places to eat in Barcelona?
Do you want to walk the Camino de Santiago in a special way?
My friend Maria is a very well travelled person that provides tailored itineraries for people who don’t want to be tourists but want to be travellers.

Off the beaten path

Eventhough Spain is one of the main tourist destinations in the world, you would be surprised how much it still has to offer and how many places still remain 100% tourist free. Maria is a specialist, she will help you find the special places, the most hip places, the most chilled or the trully autentic ones.

Active journeys 

For all you outdoor junkies, if you are looking for an epic trip, you should get in touch with her. There are so many things to do in Spain! Trekking the GR11 on the Pyrenées, kitesurfing in Tarifa, learning how to surf in Cadiz or riding serious waves in Donosti and of course, hiking up some sleepy volcanoes in my hometown! You could spend months exploring the nature of Spain, and remember, in some areas, it doesn’t really get cold, so you can visit all year round!

A whole in the wall

Barcelona is packed with tourist but the rest of Spain is waiting for people to visit. If you are looking for the authentic Spain, jump on a train, bus or rent a car, stop in a little town get a coffe at the town bar with all the old man playing cards, stay at a luxurious Paradero Nacional and in the morning go to the farmer’s market. Maria will plan the perfect trip for you.
If you are into the cultural stuff, she will prepare the perfect route for you. If you are into music, get ready to enjoy Spain’s best. And if you jus twant to chill, well, Spain is in the south of Europe after all! (did I just say that?)

Who's that girl?

She is a girl with really good taste. She is a city girl with a love for the outdoors so she is the perfect mix to advice about both worlds. Maria has travelled around the world so she understands what different cultures and different people are looking for when they go on holidays. Get ready to eat well if you contact her!

How does it work?

Basically you contact her and decide if you want:
  • 7 day consultation: while you plan your dream trip to Spain, she helps you. During 7 days your will get her advice, including where to go, what to see and consultation of overall flow.
  • Premium Travel Plan: where she plans your trip to Spain so you can visit Spain on a tailored itinerary just for you.
Contact via

Follow her on Facebook Spain at your pace and Twitter @spainatyourpace

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Batuan Art

Gusti Putu Sana
I never made it to Bali, but in the flight back from Asia I found this extremely interesting art form: Batuan Art. Here's some reasons why I like Batuan Art:
  • It is a little bit like "Where's Wally?" so it is really fun to look at.
  • It reminds me of El Bosco in the sense that people in these painings do weird things to my eurocentric eyes.
Sakenan temple and the sea from I. Dewa Nyoman Purwa

Ida Bagus Dupem - Traditional Bali

  • Because Bali has been receiving western influence for a long time (think of Gauguin) and it seems that like in most cultures the painings evolved depending on what the rich mentors liked, in this case, European mentors. That mix of bali culture + mentor + wanting to be liked made some really funny art.
I Wayan Bendi paints "Diana Spencer"
  • Primitive look: but a totally fake primitive look. Really funny and sympa!

Ida Bagus Rai paints "Beached Whale"
 Here's a fantastic guide to Batuan Art.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Cut the bullshit and disobey

People in Luxembourg say “I don’t like being here but I have to” because they want the money. My friend that works at a bank says “I don’t like stealing from people, but I have to” because she needs her salary. My friend who is an auditor says “I don’t want to be in this industry, but I have to” because he doesn’t know better. And some soldiers say “I don’t want to be in a war, but I have to” because they told them to follow orders. 

You know what? The only people that have to do something are the people with no other option like kid soldiers or really poor people. I also understand doing something taht you don't want to do for a short period of time while you find an alternative, but for years, no... sorry, I don't buy into that. All these people have a choice and they are just choosing the most comfortable option for them. So I thell you, stop the bullshit, do yourself a favor, believe in yourself and find an alternative. Be responsible for your actions, I will do my best to help you.

Here’s some people, some anonymous, some famous that understood the importance of their actions: