Higher and Higher

High altitude traveling

Joe's Travel Memories

Awaking before first light I cook breakfast under the stars, pack away my tent, brushing the ice from the nylon with my cold hands, then start walking in the dim light of dawn. The path beneath my feet is frozen solid as I walk in the shadow of a mighty Andean skyline in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.

“Punta Union – 4750m” reads the sign as I take in the panorama of countless snowy peaks at the top of the pass. The high ridge of Talliraju which, at the start of the trek two days ago seemed so far away, now towers over me like a row of gigantic jagged teeth. I follow a narrow path through the rocky ridge to an immense vista of the valley below and the mountain range tapering off into the distance. The long march down stretches out in front of me.

Leaving the beautiful…

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Uninvited Mouse Guest

A New York City rite of passage

Joe's New York

I’m told that having a rodent in my apartment is a New York rite of passage. But like crapping oneself in India, it is a rite of passage that I’m not very comfortable with.

I was sat watching TV as the mouse announced its presence to me by nonchalantly strolling across my kitchen floor like it owned the place, before disappearing behind the kitchen cupboard.

I investigated the cupboard to find on the top, which is about seven feet up, a bag of brown rice that had a mouse sized hole in it. There was also mouse droppings all over the wooden top. So it basically broke into my apartment, ate my food and took a shit in my kitchen. Charming.

Last night I returned home to see that one of the two traps I had laid had gone off. Only there was no mouse. There was no cheese either. The sneaky little fucker had…

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Annapurna Sunrise

A short story about one of most spectacular places I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Joe's Travel Memories

The clouds above begin to clear in the predawn light to gradually reveal spectacularly beautiful mountain tops all around. Twenty to thirty trekkers and I stand on a rocky ridge overlooking the moraine hundreds of metres below, a vast valley floor littered with giant jagged rocks and enormous boulders abandoned in the wake of the glacier, as it gradually retreated over the centuries. Prayer flags, red yellow, white, green and blue flutter in the icy breeze as they hang from cairns that line the ridge, others less lucky lay frozen solid to the frosty ground. There’s a bite in the air as the temperature lingers a few degrees below freezing, preserving the thick layer of snow that blankets the upper valley, only broken by the blue corrugated rooftops of the lodge, which appears dwarfed into miniature by its gargantuan mountain setting.

The four day trek up to the site of the 4,130m…

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NYC Celebrity Sighting #1

My first and favorite NYC celebrity sighting

Joe's New York

Walking along Bleeker one Tuesday evening, I look across the street and notice a face that seems instantly familiar. He looks over, wearing a black leather jacket and matching bandanna. He stares right across the street at me and our eyes meet. He nods his head and leers at me and in that instant I realize who I’m sharing a moment with.  It’s Silvio from the Sopranos, aka Steve Van Sandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band fame. Do I wave and nod back with an equal and knowing leer? Do I smile and show some respect for a legend of one of my favorite TV shows? Do I fuck. I look straight ahead, utterly freaked out and walk faster. I’ll never get that moment back.

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