Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography
Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.
Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). Chile Part I
Years back I jetted off from my Dubai base for a 2-3 week escape to South America… no internet, no phone, no plan… just me, my backpack, journal and an SLR. After almost 24 hours on aeroplanes, I landed into Santiago with no idea what I was going to see in Chile or where I was going to go. Daunting yes, but mannnn.. have you ever done it? So empowering! My dream is actually to rock-up to Melbourne International Airport armed with nothing but a passport, laptop, DSLR and carry-on luggage. The world’s your oyster!
Anyway, so after settling into a hostel (accom I may struggle with these days :p ), I contacted the half sister of a family friend of my family, Picque, and organized to meet her for a drink to tap into her thoughts. This blessed soul had never met me, but welcomed me into her family home, cooked me delicious meal and cracked open a fine bottle of Chilean red.
Now some may find this experience of catching up with someone you’ve never met a little strange, but who I am is completely open and passionate as a person and this openness has lead me to some wonderfully, amazing people, which the old me (shy introvert) would never have had done. This personal attitude has had a profound impact on my life and lead me to all the amazing career opportunities I’ve had so far. Sure, some people find this attitude to be a little intimidating and mistake my intensity for appearing needy, but invariably those quick-to-judge fall swiftly by the way-side and I’m left with beautiful new friends across the planet and experiences of a lifetime.
Anyway, after chatting with Picque at length about travelling north to the desert region of Arica versus south towards Patagonia, I settled on south as I was already living in the deserts of the Middle East. I thoroughly enjoyed my chats and the rest of my meal with Picque, then trotted back to the hostel to collapse in exhaustion.
Next day, I enjoyed a few vinos at world-renowned Concha Y Toro winery and explored Santiago, before prepping for the journey down south.
My train journey down south to Pucón, was broken up with a brief stop in Temuco for a traditional Chilean lunch with Picque’s sister who again, despite having never met or heard of me, picked me up from the local train station and took me back to the family home where her kids and myself enjoyed Chilean fare of whole artichokes individually plucked and then dipped in aioli. Delicious!
After the short ride on to Pucón, I checked into the hostel and strolled towards the supermarket alongs the streets of this tiny ski village situated at the base of active volcano, Villarrica. I was struck by the beauty of this desolate place and in awe of a town that could be so swiftly swept aside at any time with just one volcanic eruption. Whilst soaking up these emotions, I stumbled across this old, blind Chilean guitarist singing for his supper outside the local supermarket that I’d stopped by for supplies and captivated as if it were a pinnacle moment in time, I was compelled to capture it immediately.
This snapshot of my life and image have stuck in my mind for the past 13 years. I’ll write another piece about my trek up the volcano, the people I met and my experience of Chile as a whole, but have already gone longer than what I’d like in this piece. Want to keep the stories in this series short, sharp and digestible.
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Argggghhh… amazing end to Californiation! Well worth the wait!
As a life-long fuck-up like Hank Moody in many ways (aren’t we all? :p) and with 6.5 years spent traveling the globe staying in 5 star hotels partying like a rockstar with beautiful women, I feel a lot of parallels between David Duchovny’s Californication character and the life I used to lead in Dubai (albeit with less fucking and punching).
Galavanting the globe as an Emirates Airline flight attendant with serious disposable income was such an eye-opening experience and if I hadn’t been through the situations I have had, Hank’s life would seem surreal. To me it feels like home. As a result I became close to a TV show that mirrors of a lifestyle from my Dubai days that was so bizarre that the few people who have had the opportunity to experience it will know what I mean when I say “You can’t understand it until you’ve lived it.”
I’ve had a stunning Singaporean/Malaysian cabin crew girl I was seeing be offered US$10K to spend the night with an Arab guy that she’d never met (I wasn’t there & fortunately she refused), hotel room after-party in Colombo (Sri Lanka) with a Swedish and Turkish girl both throwing themselves at me after a night on the town drinking cheap-ass spirits and musty Sri Lankan beer in seedy underground bars, a friend who’s spent years in Middle Eastern prison after returning from an Amsterdam boys weekend with (unknowingly) half a pill left in his back pocket, bailed another mate out of a Mexican jail for US$188 after he was arrested by the policía for urinating down a Cancún side-street, drinking 5 nights out of 7 ’til blackout for years on end and the only reason it wasn’t 7 is that occasionally I had to jump on an oversize metallic flying tube for work, ripping up Bangkok’s Radio City dance-floor with Aeroflot cabin crew on renowned Pat Pong red light strip, daring my best mate to run nude through Prague’s streets during weekday peak hour after an all night session in Czech bars, devouring Heineken cans in the back of taxis in the sandpit not caring that I was living in a Muslim country (so disrespectful), landing into Brisbane at 6am followed by a 21 hour drinking session then flying on to Auckland 3 hours later, Emirates Airline rugby tours in Paris, Phuket x 2, Cardiff, Johannesburg.. and that’s just a drop in the ocean of memories… I’m not boasting & I’m certainly not proud of some of my exploits..
For all these experiences, from childhood to now on my self-imposed tumultuous journey from self-loathing to self-love, I have traveled the planet, lived in the Middle East, Italy, Indonesia and all over Australia, had more women than most (although not nearly as many as some that’s for sure! – you know who you are! :D) and made a whole lot of fuck-ups.. but some things never change. While I grew up as a kid thinking I wasn’t good enough for anyone and all I craved was a hot woman who’d love me, I now crave so much more.. a love that just makes sense without trying.. someone who will do stupid things just to make me laugh (as I do with my friends) and accepts me as I am but teaches me so much by just being who she is.. AND of course I wouldn’t be overly upset if she’s a little bit hot, intelligent, loves to travel, sexual, spontaneous, independent, ambitious, craves delicious food & works out regularly like me (mixed in with a few cheeky bevies of course)… but again.. one common thread has stayed true.. essentially for all my faults I’m a good person and I crave someone special..
So while I’m happy and living life in the now, I’m always striving for more – to be a better person, better at what I do and constantly learning; I’m far from perfect and the hopeless romantic in me felt sated tonight to see the good-guy who’s a fuck-up chase the lady he loves, bare his soul and have it all work out.. the happily ever after flying off into the sunset.. at this moment.. at least for now 😉 It might all be fiction, but this just makes me happy…
Vale Hank Moody.
P.s. Most of the ladies featured in these images are rather good friends of mine and their presence in this gallery in no way suggests I’ve had the pleasure of their intimate company.. I wish! 😀
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Sunrise and sunset are easily my favourite time of day. I’ve been shooting #skyporn since before #skyporn was invented.
There’s simply nothing quite like walking along a deserted beach as the sun rises to recharge, reset and put things into perspective. The same goes for sunset.
Back in my Dubai days when I was traveling the world serving chicken or beef as Emirates Airline cabin crew, the 3-bedroom bachelor pad I shared with 2 of my best mates had 4-5 balconies, most of which faced west.
I kid you not, every single day that I wasn’t jet-setting around the globe, getting hammered at the pub or at rugby training with the boys in 35+ degree heat, I’d be on my White Building balcony watching the sun go down. I lived in that Sheikh Zayed Road apartment (#Club203 for the regular party-goers :D) for 5 years and must have taken hundreds of photos with my old Nikon F60 SLR on that window to the world. Cheeky beers, tunes crankin’, chillin’ solo or with friends complete with peach, purple skies during the call to prayer with a mosque silhouette. Perfection.
I became addicted to those long moments of inspiration, so much so that I named a song after it ‘Endorphins’ and a rather significant factor in selecting my new Melbourne apartment recently, was that it had a 10th floor west-facing balcony. Air balloons, birds in flight, aircraft coming in to land at Melbourne International Airport.. I’ve only been here 3 weeks now, but almost daily I soak up nature’s little slice of heaven with and without iPhone camera at the ready.
I don’t know who invented the #skyporn hashtag, but I can tell you the 1st time I heard it and you had me at sunset..
Sun rises over a secluded beach near Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Australia
Pretty lady.. sundown Melbourne-town #magic#Melbourne #beautiful ❤️
Beauty is Everywhere
Melbourne.. beautiful ❤ #love #skyporn #melbourne#hotndelicious #mornporn
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