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HipMF

HipMF en México (not yet, but soon?)

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Even before this virus hit, my wanderlust has been creeping up on me. I've got a little change in my pocket again, and there's still nothing holding me down, so it's looking like it might be time for me to hit the road again. This time I've got my eyes on Mexico. Years ago when I thought about doing this I thought I'd travel by bicycle. Pedaling all day burns a lot of calories, which means you can eat as much as you want once you get somewhere. One of the biggest attractions to Mexico is the food, so in theory, this works out perfectly. However, the northern part of Mexico is pretty spread out, similar to the southern US, so my current plan is to fly to Cancun, and buy a bike there, then start pedaling my way back north. The towns in the Yucatan peninsula are only 20-30 miles apart, so it's a reasonable way to travel that part of the country. Once I get farther north I'll either be in better shape and able to handle the longer hauls, or I'll be sick of biking and ditch it in favor of a bus.

My last trip was really poorly planned, but I've got a pretty good head start on it this time. Lot's of pins in my map and bookmarks in my browser. I resubscribed to Duolingo and have been hitting it hard the past couple of weeks. Last summer I was biking 25 mile round-trips to the Dane county farmers market every weekend; not sure what I'm going to do this summer to get in shape... It's a long way off, and it's hard to tell what will happen between now and then with the way things are today, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 🤞

view-city-Guanajuato-foreground-Mexico-b

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I have been down there a handful of times. Always interesting and yes, the food is mind-blowingly bueno. There is no shortage of men trying to offer a gringo some ladies or some drugs.

Would this be your first time in Mexico?

Would you be going alone?


What would be your anticipated length of stay?

How far do you intend on biking if things go to plan?

If you do end up making this work I would suggest confirming that your cell coverage is included down there especially for data in case you need to use maps. I only had voice roaming and it sucked severely not being able to efficiently use a map app when away from wireless. A good portable power supply for charging. Also beware of random 220v outlets. It sure stinks to Not realize a normal looking outlet is wired on 220. I ruined a tv like that once.

 

This all makes me think of a Top Gear special

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Yes, first trip (aside from an afternoon spent in a border town when I was a teenager).

Yes, solo.

Planning to be there at least a couple months.

Not sure about how much I want to bike versus bus. I don't see myself ever getting to a point where I can bike 100 miles per day and I don't want to spend a week riding from one place to the next, so I'll be playing that one by ear.

Thee 220v thing is good to know. My current phone is 7 years old, so I'll probably get a new one before I go. Will look into which providers are better. I have (had?) a bike hub that has a generator built in that I was going to use for charging stuff, but I don't know how well that will work if I'm not buying a bike until I get there. Might look into shipping my bike to myself rather than buying one... not sure.

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Go for it! That will be an awesome trip and I think a opportune time to travel places while tourism is down. Granted it’s relatively safe to travel medically. 
 

See what phones/carriers offer virtual SIM cards. That way you could have access to two carriers to switch between depending on coverage area. But maybe having a real sim slot would be advantageous as well. Something to look into. 

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Normally I try my best not be some sweaty nerd who's more obsessed with shopping for gear than actually using it, but I had to take a look at what's out there for cameras. Regardless of whether I'm biking or backpacking, I'll be carrying everything with me pretty much everywhere I go, so keeping size and weight down is important. I liked my old Casio point-and-shoot, and would love to find something that was that small an light to take with me, but I don't know if I could ever go back to a consumer-grade point-and-shoot camera after using a DSLR for a couple of years. The problem isn't the technical specs so much as the user interface. It seems like all of the cheaper cameras are designed for novice users and either lack basic manual-mode features entirely, or have them buried in a menu somewhere where they're really inconvenient to access.

So instead, I got distracted from looking for a different camera, and started trying to figure out what lens(es) would work for me with my 2010 base-model Nikon. I found this page and was pretty amused because this guy clearly thinks like I do. https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/dx-dream-team.htm

I have the 18-55mm kit lens and the 35mm f1.8. It looks like my best option would be to take the 35mm and pick up the 55-200mm (goes for ~$50 used) to go with it. It's a significant weigh/size penalty versus a nicer compact camera, but spending an extra $1k to buy a camera means my vacation is a couple weeks shorter, and that's no fun.

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That will be an epic adventure. I am envious of people who have the nerve to just travel for weeks with loose plans in other countries. worries the bejesus out of me. 

Take a look at the micro 4/3 cameras. its basically what you are describing - compact and can have advanced user settings. With a smaller non-zoom lens, it could probably still fit in your pocket. My sis has a nice Fuji that was pretty cheap and takes great photos. however, the problem you'll always have is the smaller the camera, the less buttons it can have on the outside, and the more menu digging you have to do

You're welcome to borrow my nikon 55-300 VR if you dont want to drop coin. it sits in my closet unless I'm on vacation, even then I'm more likely to shoot with my 50. I'll ship it back with the subframe puller you lent me. 

 

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20 hours ago, straight6pwr said:

I am envious of people who have the nerve to just travel for weeks with loose plans in other countries.

Back in my 20s, in response to a friends nervousness, I once blurted out "It's not an adventure if you're fully prepared". Wise words for a young man. I live a pretty comfortable life, but with comfort comes boredom.  Sometimes you just gotta get out there and let 'er snap.

I looked around a bit at 4/3 cameras today. The large sensor is nice, but a large sensor, by nature, means a large lens. For me, the size and weight advantage of these cameras doesn't justify the cost of buying a whole new rig. I think I would have to find something with a 1" or smaller sensor to make it worthwhile. I did find a guy on youtube who has some kind of obsession with exactly the kind of camera I'd like to buy, but he must be some kind of influencer or something, because all of the cameras he recommends are going for ~$300 despite being 8-10 years old.

Goddam hipsters...

 

 

 

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i guess its all relative. to me, the micro 4/3 seem tiny. most are half the weight of dslrs. you could attach them to a mount on your bike handlebars or have it around your neck all day. 

but, if we take your compactness point to an extreme, maybe just buy an iphone to use as a camera. an iPhone X with a great camera is like $300 used. no zoomy zoomy though. 

 

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2 hours ago, straight6pwr said:

i guess its all relative. to me, the micro 4/3 seem tiny. most are half the weight of dslrs. you could attach them to a mount on your bike handlebars or have it around your neck all day. 

but, if we take your compactness point to an extreme, maybe just buy an iphone to use as a camera. an iPhone X with a great camera is like $300 used. no zoomy zoomy though. 

 

I've been shopping around this morning, and I see what you mean. I thought this Sony was a 4/3 (it isn't).

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But this Panasonic next to the Pentax is. Yes, the lens is bigger, but not enough to worry about. The Sony above is probably the same size and weight as my DSLR, which would make it pretty pointless.

Both of these images are from the video that I posted above. I guess I just wasn't paying close enough attention.

ausGzA7.png

I did consider just using a phone, but I don't know if I could do it. Even the idea of a camera without a viewfinder is a bit unnerving to me. I guess at the end of the day being there and taking the picture is more important than what you use to do it. "f/8 and be there" as the saying goes...

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Angle grinders and al pastor! Mi amor!

In pizza we trust.

The al pastor video was a bit of a disappointment; didn't look like they were getting enough heat to cook it properly. Thankfully, it looks like they worked out the bugs for the tacos arabes video. I wasn't aware of tacos arabes previously, but it appears to be the "missing link" between the gyro (brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 1900s), and al pastor which is probably the most popular taco meat in Mexico today.

The prospects of traveling this fall are starting to look not-so-promising. If Shop Life 2.0 was still active, I would be building one of these at the shop this summer. In lieu of that, I will be firing up the grill to give this recipe a try. Looks pretty tasty.

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#staycation2020

88wwkJQ.jpg

My arab tacos from this weekend. Pork marinated in all sorts of good things (garlic, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, mexican oregano, thyme, mexican cinnamon, vinegar, salt), homemade flour tortillas, some yogurt-based stuff with some cucumber and a salsa that is 90% dried chipotle (chili morita). This tasted much more like a gyro or souvlaki than al pastor. The salsa seemed like a bit of a 3rd wheel. Woodman's was sold out of yeast when I got there, so I couldn't make a proper pita and had to go the tortilla route. I removed the seeds and veins from the moritas, so it wasn't that spicy at all. If I do this again, I will leave them in and put less salsa on. Overall, not bad. 7.5/10

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On 4/23/2020 at 7:45 PM, HipMF said:

If Shop Life 2.0 was still active, I would be building one of these at the shop this summer

The thought of someone coming to the shop and seeing a spinning pile of cooking meat, that is an image that I find amusing. 

The taco looks great! I had not heard of Arabian tacos until now. I may have to give that a whirl! 

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27 minutes ago, GunMetalGrey said:

The thought of someone coming to the shop and seeing a spinning pile of cooking meat, that is an image that I find amusing.

Shawarma is the stuff dreams are made of. The meat is exposed to very high heat, but only about 20% of the time. The exterior part of the trompo that is exposed to the heat gets nicely crisped up. Meanwhile, the heat slowly diffuses to the interior of the trompo, and the meat essentially roasts, or braises in it's own juices. The result is something that has the cooked-for hours taste and mouth-feel, but at the same time has the crispy texture and smokey flavor of something that is grilled. I need this in my life.

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Sniped an Olympus OM-D E-M10 with a chipped screen last night for less than $100 shipped. I'm still a little skeptical about micro four thirds being small enough to be truly pocketable, so I didn't want to spend a lot on it. Besides that, the point of a pocket camera is that you can take it with you everywhere you go. If you actually take it with you everywhere, it's likely to get banged around anyway, so why pay a premium for a camera that's in pristine condition? Ordered the 14-42mm pancake lens for it today.

I also recently picked up a 28mm f2.8 Sigma mini-wide from fleabay for a little under $20 shipped.

oTdO4CU.png

What with there being nothing much else to do, I've been researching gear trawling for deals far more than I normally would. The description was really sparse and didn't even say what camera the lens fits. I don't know what possessed me to pull the trigger on this one, but I think it was the right move. This thing is way cleaner and nicer than the auction pictures would have suggested.

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I'm excited for the camera and adapter to arrive so I can play around with it, but I'm not expecting much. This lens is prone to flare which is something I don't mind and even enjoy sometimes, but beyond that it's nothing remarkable according to the internet. That being said, I'm definitely in the gear-matters-less-than-talent-and-hard-work camp. For additional novelty, here's an example of what happens when someone learns to play off the strengths of a particular piece of gear (in this case lens-flare) rather than complain about it's weaknesses:

I will never make anything that nice with this lens, but it's nice to know it's possible...

 

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