Thursday, November 08, 2007

How far down can we go?

Well, is this rock bottom yet? A 12 year old girl gets suspended from school for hugging her friends... What is the matter with our country? Who is making this stuff up? Does anyone need any more ammo to scrap our current model of state run school system once and for all? Your tax dollars are giving trillions to your local state coffers to come up with this tripe. Instead of producing literate and capable individuals, our school system is creating little robots. Good little, hate filled, maladjusted sociopathic robots. This is where you get Virginia Tech and Columbine.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sagada 2

Just felt like sharing a recent experience with coffee, and my favorite place in the Philippines. The Philippines has many areas that grow coffee. I just happen to live near the epicenter. As a result, I get all kinds of pretty damn good coffee at laughable pricing. My most recent "find" is the coffee grown and picked from Sagada. Sagada is a twisty curvy half paved, half dirt road, meandering through rice terraces, and a 6.5 hour bus ride away. This sleepy but lovely little town has some amazing caves, waterfalls and many other natural wonders. What makes Sagada, "Sagada" (and keeps me coming back) to me though is the coffee, and my morning ritual.

So here was my daily routine while on my vacation there last week.

It's 5:30AM. Crack of dawn is about half way done, and the sun is just hinting at poking it's head over the green mountain peaks that are fighting a beautiful and silent war with the thick morning clouds that roll in. Everything is in high contrast, Mountain ridges, switch backs and trails easily seen. Pine trees jutting above rock formations covered in thick nearly malachite colored moss... Crystal clear and the only noise is the rooster, starting his morning ritual as well.

I put a pot of the "literally right from a natural spring" water on the stove, and when it starts to rumble, I keep about 2 cups of it in a bowl, then fill the percolator bin about half way with Sagada's characteristic ground coffee bean. A smallish light/medium roasted bean, ground coarsely. Then, back on the stove to bubble for a few minutes, then off. After a minute to allow the settling of the grains, my leather covered stainless thermal mug is filled to 3/4 full. In this coffee, you can absolutely taste the earth, the ground, the mountains, the trees, everything. Cream or sugar is completely forbidden. After a greedy sip, full of air so as not to scald, I place it down on the bathroom sink, and take a short and hot shower.

Out of the shower, that bowl of boiling hot water is ready to do it's part. My travel kit, a Gillette Rubie loaded with a fresh Derby, a QED grapefruit and peppermint shave stick. The shave is gloriously smooth, crisp high pitched notes of that blade leaving a glass smooth face looking back at me.

Mug in hand, 10 steps out onto the balcony at the corner, I sat on small stool placed so that I could see 270 degrees of peace, nature and profound tranquility. Just me, my coffee and the glory of mother earth.