Wednesday, April 29, 2009

i almost got stuck here

Soo, the agent who set up my ticket from Delhi to Bangalore, where I would catch my flight, booked my ticket one day too late. he thought the train to Bangalore was 18 hours, when, in fact, it is 40 hours, meaning i would miss my flight. So, i promptly flipped my wig (it's reversible), sweated through my waistecoat, ran around town and found out i could change my flight the next morning at 9am at the Air India offices, which are in this insane experimental building 5 minutes from the train station. phew.

i had to find a hotel on the totally insane filthy Main Bazaar in Delhi, and I ended up at the Traveler's Inn, which I think means that you have to "travel" up five stories of stairs to reach the rooms. the only people i saw there were sweaty, bellied Indian men in towels, watching blaring Indian TV, who would wander out of the rooms every few minutes to sweat on the balcony, looking like killer villains b/c their figures were lit only by the light from the TV.

something about India: in India you go to sleep between 9 and 11, b/c you cannot sleep past 7am b/c it gets WAAAYY too hot; you awake naturally in a spit bath of your own secretions, parched.

so, the power kept going out in the night, which, in India, means that your ceiling fan stops working and you wake up feeling like you have ebola or pac-man fever or the mutaba virus, like your flesh is melting off in a hot lava bath. i've taken to keeping a pitcher of water by my side while i sleep, which i can douse myself with in the heat of the night in order to cool off. but, if the fan stops working, this just means that you are hot AND wet in a hard bed.

each time the power went out, by the time the heat awoke me, the man from the reservations office would stumble up the four flights of stairs with a flashlight and flip a bunch of switches and start screaming at this club house of old men at the end of my hall, who were watching TV. i think i gathered that they were turning off the power to the other rooms so that they could have power for...something. i dunno what. anyways, they kept screaming and arguing all night, the power would turn on and off, i would wake up hot and shitty feeling. all the sweating and cement walls and shitty TVs and sreaming old grizzly men in towels with cigarettes, i felt like i was under cover as an errand boy for a tropical drug cartel.


i am talking w/this man about where the bus station is. a severe-looking Israeli woman approaches us and asks the man, in a stern tone, "where is the McDonald's?!" he says it's like a 15 minute walk and she says she would have to take a taxi. then he says "well there are a lot of restaurants just there." and she says "yeah, yeah, i know, i don't want that, i want McDonald's", at which point, she stormed off in a hungry huff to flag down and be swindled by a rickshaw driver.

one thing about young Indian men:
they LOVE LOVE LOVE sappy shitty romantic pop ballads and will play them OVER AND OVER, on repeat for like 2 hours. i have witnessed this MANY times here. today, in particular, while at a coffee chain called Barista Lavazza (i think it's India's Starbucks, i keep seeing it around), the "barista" switched the stereo to play Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from the Titanic soundtrack. it started to play a second time and i didn't really notice, i thought it was just still going. and then it played again. and then a few more times. and then i couldn't even read this book i'm reading b/c it was so mind blowing how much this guy LOVED this 10 years old SHITTY song from Titanic and ...i donno, it was so distracting i had to leave.

another thing about pop music in India:
a bunch of songs that you thought you'd never hear again, from Jr. High and High School, are still played VERY FREQUENTLY in India and people love them. Brian Adams, Mandy Moore, late 90s Bon Jovi, the Backstreet Boys (not even N*Sync, the B.B.), music from like, the Kevin Costner's Robin Hood soundtrack, very early Britney Spears, it's so strange. Cool dudes LOVE the stuff.

I am loving it:
I finally ate at McDonald's today. i been meaning to, but i haven't really been in any big cities. they have all this crazy shit, like Veggie Surprise burger, Aloo Tikki burger (holy shit!!), Paneer Masala wrap. And, by India standards, McDonald's is REALLY expensive. It was 109 Rupees for a combo xtra valu pak meal, which is like $2. And, yesterday, I ate at a VERY fancy, nicely lit and decorated, foo-foo restaurant where the food was very fine indeed, and, with a very fancy drink and all this stuff, it was only 100 Rupees. Usually, at a tourist hotel, where prices are a little inflated, you eat for 50-75 rupees, with a drink & stuff.

Well, I ordered a straight up McVeggie burger combo meal. I can say this about that: the fries were just as shriveled and tan as always, the mayo was applied just as liberally, the Coca-Cola was just as watery and gross (no ice!), the lettuce was just as wilted and anemic, the bun just as sesame and the ketchup was still in packets (though nice, unwrinkled packets. sorta like the diff btwn new bills from a bank and crumbly sticky candy store change bills, AND they have a receptacle for unused packets! to be used again!!). the only thing really different was the patty inside had some unsettling spices inside. just something you don't expect inside a burger. i did get to watch insane Indian TV on a big flatscreen though, that was cool. they also really push the soft serve here in India.

other stuff:
Delhi has some really insane Modernist buildings. i really like them a lot. it's actually pretty nice, like a nice Canadian city, when you go the right parts, away from the train stations.

I also went to the National Museum of India, which was very cool. antiques and artifacts. i hella wanna watch Indian Jones. and play Magic the Gathering. GIGANTIC evil scimitars, spikey elephant traps, look like the Sarlac's mouth, long needle-like daggers, strange old square coins with really crappy printing on them, elephant armor, ancient cannons which are mounted on elephants, weird Predator claw weapons, extremeley ornate, 6 ft long rifles. and outside is this insane rolling temple, which is like a giant, heavily decorated octagonal wooden thing on big cart wheels, it's so cool. i took a picture. i saw one on the street in Hampi as well, during the election march.

ok, g2g, figure out the bus to the airport so I don't get ripped off by a cabbie.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the moslem guys in india have a really good style. they all have insane beards, really long, formal, off-white shirts, and short hair with this fancy little cylindrical cap on top. a lot of them have glasses.

the old men with money look amazing. they have very colored turbans and long extremely soft&cuddly-looking beards. i donno how they get their beard hairs like that. well, then they curl out their big white mustaches. it's like a bunch of santa clauses on a tropical vacation or something.

the tourists at the taj mahal were goddang hilarious and INCREDIBLY entertaining. i watched them for like an hour until i realized i would be late to meet my driver at 9:30. there were tons of pasty korean and chinese ladies with big curly dos and hilarious bucket hats, big ol shorts, posing for the worst looking pictures i've ever seen. red/brown peeling italian and spanish ladies with freckled chests and big black sunglasses, loose, sultry dresses kneeling and smiling in front of the taj mahal for the Indian photographers, who rip off everyone. their tall bald husbands stand by, admiringly, in crappy Hawaiian shirts and gold watches. you can never seen anyone's eyes, b/c they've all got terrible sunglasses, except the Indians. they rarely use sunglasses. huge confused flocks of old pasty german couples, bumbling around with their hands clutched up at their chests. the americans and canadians are always the most prepared and the dorkiest; bucket hat, walking stick, cargo vest, cargo shorts, off-road sandals, camera, map, trail mix, etc.

THEN i saw two chunky old Italian ladies, both with thematically similar huge white sun hats, black sun-specs and flamboyant black&white striped dresses, tottering around the entryway. AND THEN i saw their third companion, dressed in the same way. what is wrong with people??

So, for two people, a hotel is usually between $4 and $8. but, it's probably a little dusty cement room with a VERY FIRM bed taking up most of it. you share a bathroom and shower with everyone else there. electricity is only on for part of the day. the food caters to foreigners, so it will NEVER EVER be spicy. it will probably be kind of sucky. and then they have all these bizarre hybrid foods that, i guess, western people like: mix fruit porridge, chocolate porridge, banana porridge, fruit salad, banana pancakes (a giant piece of fried crispy bread (like a crepe) rolled up with something in the middle), masala pancakes, nutella pancakes, corn flakes (EVERY hotel has this), museli. actually they all have almost the exact same menu.

some inspiring menu items i will take w/me:
lemon ginger tea: you pour boiling water over ginger and honey, and then devastate some lemons into it, and sometimes spices. hella good.
lemon soda: destroy like 6 lemons into a cup with honey, then pour sparkling water over the top of it.
nannari: some weird drink made from the red syrup of some root, mixed with salt and spices and honey and sparkling water.

A band of overheated men in matching blue velvet 3 piece suits, preceding a wedding parade, playing a very sloppy marching band-type set. the organ sound was awesome though, i think b/c it was coming out of a tiny keyboard blasting through some megaphones.

Me, getting bitten by an insane scabby street dog in Delhi. it done run up and chomped into my lean calf meat, i turned around and screamed at it and it run off. didn't break my skin, thank Krishna.

Laurel was trying to get a summation of my trip to India out of me, and i was being difficult, b/c it doesn't make sense to me, err i don't think i can consciously make statements like that, too conflicted. there is some really cool stuff here, but a lot of stuff that i find extremely unpleasant.

she asked me a funny question, which was "in one sentence, how would describe Indian people?" I don't remember what I said, but it was something like: Indian people are very social and curious and shameless and uninhibited, and, sometimes, oppressively giving. the men seem very attention-starved, like bad jr. high students in men's bodies. they are very religious and unquestioningly adherent to social rules; rules about conduct, respect, men&women, etc... they have no shame about staring at a stranger or asking them personal questions, like "why are you so fat?" "why is your face so red?", or giving advice, like "this haircut does not look so good, you should cut shorter here" or "i dont like that beard so much, you should shave here and here." they are very unafraid to appropriate technologies and tools for whatever uses they need them for, despite the intended purpose of the thing. men are not ever friends with women outside of their family, ever, it is very inappropriate. people seem to frequently mob or move in a big group, and the movement seems to be, everyone for himself, push or dodge your way through. if one kid says hello to you, and runs over to you, 30 more will come and totally surround you. if you take a picture of a family, as soon as the shutter clicks, everyone standing nearby will rush in and crowd around the camera. at a snack bar or ticket window, you do not wait your turn, or you will never get a turn; you force your way up to the counter with your money in your hand and shout what you want. people want to give you things and want you to give them things, and they will ask for them, a pen or a drink or a piece of jewelery that you have. if someone is feeding you, they will keep feeding you as long as you keep cleaning your plate, even if it is painful to your body. if someone offers you something, and you don't want it, you have to refuse without smiling or laughing, otherwise they will give it to you anyway. you have to refuse very firmly and decisively. you have to re-learn how to refuse things here.

everyone is also extremely friendly and wants to talk to you about..anything really, just about you and what you are doing. but that friendliness is VERY OFTEN manipulated by shitty scammers and rickshaw drivers, in touristy urban/market areas, to make you think that they want to be your friend, and then they maybe help you out in some way, or give you a great tip, then ask for money, or else lure you into some scam. it's very weird and confusing. sometimes you want to talk to everyone and be everyone's friend, and then someone tries to rip you off and you hate everybody and don't trust anyone and think everyone is full of shit. and i've seen, a couple times, this weird friend jealousy thing, that i mentioned earlier, where, if you make a friend on a train or in a village or something, then you want to leave them and go see something else or talk to someone else, people can get very weird and mean and jealous, but it does not come out in a straight-forward way, it comes out very passive-aggressively. i'm still very confused about this thing and i dont understand it.


goddamn, i am SO BORED in Delhi, i dunno where anything is, it's hot as heck, i have 8 more hours until my train leaves.

Monday, April 27, 2009


PS - anyone get any packages/postcards from me yet?? i been mailing out stuff for the last two weeks, sent something to everyone who gave me an address.

IAN - I just mailed your letter out like 5 days ago cos i had no address and then i was out on a camel safari for a while, so it's probably not there yet. i don't need a ride from the library. at least not right now. i might someday, hopefully the offer will still stand. and, i don't need a ride from the airport. i was planning to just take bart. if anyone feels inspired to pick me up from the airport, they may do so. i'll check-a my email when i get to the airport, see whassup. my flight gets in to SFO at 1:00pm on Friday.

TEEJ - HAH, turds. i should have a couple left with Indian stuff inside, if you need. no one got anything yet. i think it just takes hella forevers to get there.

agra & jaipur, the taj mahal, the raj mandir

in agra, i finally saw the taj mahal. it's way cool. it's so huge and round and elaborate and decadent. the inside is like a big snowy echo cave. you can't hear anything in there, it all echos around into oblivion. actually, i saw a bunch of other stuff, and i think i liked that stuff even better. i think that it size and shape and solitude of the taj mahal is what's amazing to me.

i saw some other tomb, which i don't remember the name of, but i took pictures of it. it was incredible. it was just a big white gold and red mosque/tomb/temple thing. it looked like it was made by bees from cream and scabs and liquid gold.

i also saw the agra fort, which, honestly, i think was the first REALLY sincerely astounding insane thing i've seen in India. i've got pictures, i'll put them up some time. it's like this gigantic, dust red, ornate, curvaceous walled city that's full of these secret quarters and temples. all of the doors are huge thick and wooden, bound with metal, there are big white terraces with honeycomb walls cut out of stone with big golden brass insect shell roofs. there's a part, which is closed now, called the mirror temple (i think) which you can peek at through this door. it's a totally enclosed chamber with tiny holes in the walls that are filled with glittery glass so that all the light comes through these tiny diamond holes, and the interior is all cream & gold colored.

you can stand out on these turret/terrace things that overlook the lower part of the fort, which is basically a giant wall enclosing a huge forest inside of the fort. i guess they've just let a big forest grow inside of this fort. it's totally insane. also, there are some fenced off areas that are like a large open courtyard with tiled floor and a giant, ancient, ragged tree growing in the middle. and one half of the fort is supposed to be off-limits i think, but it's all crumbling and decayed and there are stone stairways that lead to nothing and doorways that just lead straight off the edge of the fort down into the walled forest.

i'll just have to post pictures, it's so crazy.

our driver was a very smokey, surly man named Malik. he was very kind with a smokey deep voice, wrinkled brown face, piercing frog eyes. he drove us around for a day. i need to draw a portrait of him for you to see. i have this strange image of him in my mind, sitting at a rooftop cafe in front of the taj mahal at dusk, smoking a cigarette and offering us deals on tours and then staring out at the city for several minutes.

i think toward the end of the day, he ran out of things for us to do, so he took us to some sleazy upscale jewelry dealers and a fancy clothing store. then to a place where they make marble tables and all kinds of other fine marble objects. the man there was very nice but then became disgustingly set on us buying some very expensive marble bullshit. it was so excruciating and embarrassing, he kept offering me all these things to buy, and i was just like "i do not like this stuff, i dont want it at all, not even a little bit, please stop," but it just went ON AND ON for like 40 minutes, even as i was leaving, and he agreed to not sell me anything else, he suddenly started trying to sell me some figurine. it was horrifying.


so, Laurel and I wanted to see a movie and stumbled upon the illustrious Raj Mandir theatre in Jaipur, purportedly the most divine, extravagant theatre in all of India:

it was so incredible inside. awesome looking. there was this amazing bust in a glass case of a man in a turban and specs, who i think built the thing, and a miniature of the theatre in a case as well, and i didn't photograph them b/c i thought i could find a picture online, but i can't!!! they were so cool looking.

everything in the snack bar was HELLA cheap. they had samosas, weird vegetable burgers, terrible shitty godawful Indian chocolate, popcorn for like 50 cents. the movie ticket was $1.40. the movie was three hours with a 30 minute intermission. all Indian movies have an intermission. hilarious food advertisements before the movie.

the movie was called 8x10 tasveer. it was about a hunky Indian forest service agent living in Canada who has the ability to travel into a photograph and experience the one minute that followed the taking of the photograph. it was really not that good, but a totally lovable hilarious idea for a film. also, every Indian movie I've seen so far involves identity swapping and either twins or plastic surgery to make one guy look like another or Mission Impossible masks or two people who happen to look the same.

here's a ridiculous music video from the end credits for you to watch. it's horrible:

btw, if you hang around in Mumbai, Bollywood agents will approach you, if you are white, and ask you if you want to be an extra in a movie. almost every white person you see in a Bollywood movie, playing a dancer or a villain or something, is just some tourist of the street who gets paid like $2-$5 to be in a movie. it would be SO COOL to be a villain in a Bollywood movie, holy shit. some guy asked me while I was there, but I was leaving in like an hour.

ok, i think i have to go. i still have a lot more stuff to tell about, i'll write at the airport maybe. i am about to embark on like 72 straight hours of traveling, by bus, train and airplane.

Dog versus Hog

a lot of times at night, you can hear dogs or pigs squealing and screaming as they're either run over by a motorbike, kicked, or in some kind of brawl with another animal.

so, here's a bunch of little things i keep forgetting to write about:

villages: see last entry about the village wedding
kids: see last entry about camel trek & village wedding

in India, you see lots of things that you've seen before, but in combinations that you have never seen:
-temples with solar panels
-old men in hot pink turbans riding motorcycles
-dignified old women in extravagant saris & jewelery wearing a baseball cap
-old men with awesome curly old mustaches with their hair died bright orange from henna.
-goats and cows dodging motorcycles and tuk-tuks
-gorgeous people with totally fudged up, un-salvagable teeth

white bulls are maybe the most amazing, powerful, divine, intimidating looking creatures i've seen before.

every door in India is locked by this funny big sliding metal thing with a big padlock in it. there are no doorknobs.

there are the most adorable hairy little goats running around everywhere. they are scared of everything.

almost every car horn on a bus or truck plays some hilarious little melody. the buses and trucks and rickshaws are always covered in stickers, tassels, weird paintings, big rainbow letters, etc... it's a weird entrepreneurial thing, like the vehicle owners are competing to have the most festive vehicle to draw more attention and more business.

tuk tuk trucks are the craziest most adorable little round pick-up truck things. it's like a tuk-tuk with a truck bed in the back.

there's these huge monkeys with gray/white fur and black faces that steal stuff from stores and jump around the shop roofs, looking for trouble.

the kids in this cyber-cafe are watching some movie called Ravan Raaj, holy cow, if any of you out there have the means to rent it or something, please do, it looks totally amazing.

the milk here is totally unprocessed, visibly full of creamy fat, because it is always just delivered by some farmer nearby, possibly extruded from a divine teat only hours earlier.

men dress SOOO much better in India. lots of fitted dress shirts, old-fashioned parts in their hair, tight-fitting undershirts, awesome striped polo shirts, fitted slacks with bell-bottoms, mustaches. there is a weird horrible AWFUL SHITTY style that some men have of weird long frosted shaggy hair, crappy polo shirts with screen printing on them, like 1995's Claire's 13-year-old girl jeans with awful embroidered designs and fake wear in the knees & buttocks. oh gawd. make-a-me sick.

men hold each other hands and put their arms around each other frequently. it's weird but kind of adorable. they're all best pals and have no insecurity about such things.

the traditional formal style for Indian men is also really good. there's like this reaaaally long shirt thing with a short collar that sticks up and buttons in the front with long sleeves, and these fitted linen pants that bunch up at the bottom. it's a really good look. i think, though, that when MOST white people try to pull this off, they just look like shitty hippies. i think it's called a Punjabi shirt or something. usually it's an off-white color, but sometimes it's bright red or bright orange or some other insane fantastic color.

all of the clothes in India fit my bod very well. it's so easy to shop, in that sense.

actually, i have to apologize to everyone i did not find a gift for, because, in another sense, shopping here is a total horrendous, nerve-wracking nightmare, and i've been avoiding it as much as possible. you walk down these big flea-market streets and everyone yells things at you, everyone is like the most pushy, shitty, obnoxious salesman you could ever imagine, and they all want you to come to their shop. if you do stop at someone's shop, they will almost never let you leave without buying something, and they will try so hard that it is just like painful and totally embarrassing for everyone. sometimes there are really nice merchants though, who don't give a hoot and will just let you shop. i really hate shopping here.

one night, me and Laurel did find an awesome little tiny grocery/convenience store hybrid thing, and it was such an incredible relief from the way shopping usually is. we just wandered around in there for like an hour looking at all the weird stuff. it was very cool inside.

tourists, in huge groups, are usually way more fun to watch than the attraction that they everyone is stopping to see.

sex tapes

california, please take me back, i'm ready to return to you. goddang i want some peanut butter right now, holy cow. i'm gonna eat hella salads and falafel when i get home. no salad here. more than appreciating India, the trip has made me a patriot, i <3 USA. India is very cool, but ain't my home.

i finally got sick! no barf, no liquid dumps, just abdominal cramps and extreme fatigue, fever. i was real sick for one day, and i vowed not to eat until i was better. i went on a camel journey through the desert, felt a lil better, tried to eat the injun chow that my camel boys made for me ('twas good eats), and every time i eat now, i feel ill again. so i'm not eating for a few days i decided.

secret life of camel jockeys:
during the "camel safari", our horny, attention-starved, malnourished camel boy (who was 26, getting married next month), named Seti, revealed, in a private & uncomfortable moment between him and Laurel, while i was away at a midnight Indian wedding (details later), that much of what camel guides do is have sex with foreign women who are traveling alone.

i really wanted to interview him about it, but an opportune moment never arose. anyways, this is what i gather:

Seti has been a camel jockey for 15 years. in these years, many women from all over the world, have demanded that he make the sex with them. he says all kinds of girls, they want to go on the camel trek alone, then seduce him by the fire. holland girls, spain girls, england girls, israel girls. one spanish woman wanted him to "love her" and he said he didn't want to, and she became very angry, and then they got a bit drunk and had sex seven times. another woman from europe came WITH her husband, secretly tried to seduce Seti, and became VERY VERY angry when he wouldn't put out, and decided to leave the camel safari early. all of these tourists pay a lot of money for these safaris. are they paying for some injun boning as well?? hmmm. is this a secret travelers tip in the international women's witchy inner circle?


he's very excited to get married, but is involved in a secret sex trade. he has never met or seen his future wife, claims to not know her name, but called her incessantly during the trip. in a particularly disgusting moment, after everyone was drunk on gin and pepsicola (wtf?) around the desert fire, and everyone, but me, passed out, seti awoke and then awoke laurel with some vigorous, uncomfortable shoulder massaging. she pushed him away and said "stop" and passed out. then he awoke her again with some more awkward fondling and she moved her sleeping arrangement to my side instead of his. an hour or so later, he awoke us both by canoodling his way through the sand to be by Laurel's unwelcoming side again, and snaking his tiny arm onto her shoulder or something. then she had to just get up and move to the other side of me away from the perv-zone.

hopefully, he was very embarrassed. i was.

what's sad is that Indian men have this shitty perspective on white girls, that they are super easy, ready to bang, just heat 'n' eat, and the men are VERY forward, shameless, sleazy, totally corny ("your face is beautiful, like cauliflower." "hello george-ous." "i love you."), which had totally baffled me and Laurel, and we both hate it. it is totally annoying to walk around and have an EEENNNDDLESSS stream of dweeby dudes get romantic on you while you're trying to just walk to your hotel or something. but that's not the sad part. the sad part is that i think they are totally justified in their position on foreign girls, b/c i think that a lot of them really do come here and just bang away, wanna get an exotic, tropical hump. what a bunch of shit. makes it impossible for any honest travelin' broad. i think when people are traveling they do a bunch of weird stuff they wouldn't normally do, drugs, promiscuous goings-on.

during my illness, i longed for a rocking chair, so bad. in India, it seems, especially while on a "camel safari", there is no comfortable way to sit. you are either laying down, half-laying down, sort of squatting, cross-legged, all ways which either make your back or your knees or your stomach hurt.

why does no one talk about asian toilets?? no one i talked to about India said so much as a peep!

toilet lowdown:
"dropping the turds off at the pool"
"ordering a #2 w/fries"

sometimes there are normal western toilets. other times there is this weird flat toilet material in the ground, sort of looks like a urinal that was caught in a dimensional rift and ended up sideways in the floor. so, you squat over this thing, and your pants are pulled down in a weird way so that you think you are going to either whiz or turd all over you pants, but you dont. it's not so bad. it's actually kinda easier to shit when you're all cramped up like that. in India, they believe in a lot of things, but T.P. is not one of them. why does no one explain or talk about this before you come to India??? every toilet has a tiny faucet sticking out of the wall right by the floor, with a little pitcher under it. the purpose of this is that, so, when you are done shitting, you can actually just take your left hand and literally scrape, with your fingers, any leftover shit off of yourself, and then drizzle lukewarm water over your hand from the faucet. the pitcher then fills up, and you dump the pitcher into the urinal toilet thing, and this flushes all the bad things away, down a wretched little, putrifying drain hole at the end. so i only forgot my TP a couple times and had to scrape my own shit off of myself with my own hand. it's pretty weird. what's weird is that, when you're squatting like that, not that much shit is left over, it's cut off pretty clean, so it's not actually very messy at all, just very weird feeling. why does no one tell you about this?!?!?

shucks, i got pix to upload, waaayyy more stories to tell, but this shitty half-pint brat who's running this cyber joint just said "how much longer you want be here?". i guess he wants to go home and play cell-phone video games or something. i'm gonna look for another place...

so, i don't know if i'd recommend going on a camel trek to anyone. maybe for just one day instead of three. you may get sexually harassed, it's very hot, you travel VERY slow, you may get stuck with creeps for three days. if you're with young guys, there is EEEENNNDDLLESSSS goddamned cellphone usage, both for calling and for playing 5 different shitty Hindi pop songs OVER AND OVER, most of the time with both guys playing two different songs at the same time, because...b/c i dunno, b/c they can't agree on one song, so there are 2 AWFUL songs playing at the same time through tinny horrible cellphone speakers.

camels are very cool though. they have long eyelashes and are fur-bearing giants. that's cool. it's really good to ride a camel. they are SO tall and will always walk slowly and they can't even run very fast so you don't have to be scared of them having an anxiety attack and running off or bucking you or something. they walk w/one foot in front of the other, it's an elegant step, and like a dancy trot. their feet are like a floppy fur pancake. they reach up and eat off tree branches while you're traveling, that's funny. they don't want to do anything that you want them to. when the camel boyz would need to make a camel sit or get up, it would holler this star wars monster groan and try to bite the man. they always want to stop and eat stuff. at night, instead of sleeping, they sit and eat ALLLL night, and it is a very disgusting, farty plunger, water bucket, sloppy hair-clogged drain sound. when they drink it's a giant monster blood-slurping sound, and then a sound of an office water cooler blasted through a Victrola cone. you can see these lumps traveling backwards up their gullets into the water hump zone. sometimes they sigh when you're riding, and their torso inflates under you, it's like when you lay on an inflatable mattress and someone fills it up, or like if you were sitting on a giant sleeping dog and his breathing almost pushes you off onto the carpet. or if you've ever had a big sleeping dad or uncle or grandpa and you crawl on top of him, it's like that.

one horrible, exhausting thing about camel trekking is cameling, very slowly, through villages. EVVEERRYONEE waves to you and yells things to you, you have to wave back, respond, mobs of kids run out of every house and surround your camel, laughing and yelling things at you in Hindi, sometimes throwing water or rocks at you. at first it's fun, and everyone is funny and adorable, and then you do it like 20 times, each time for like 15-30 minutes and it's like being a shitty hero in a ticker tape parade. i felt like jfk. just have to keep waving and waving and shouting to people.

also, if you are in the camel car, you sit directly behind the camel's anus. whenever he feels the need, he shits. staring into the maw of a shitting camel's shitter looks sort of like a hand made from of bright pink bubblegum pushing grass snooker balls out of a time vortex.

definitely the best thing about camel quests is walking around in the desert in the dark after the camp is set up, or when you're trying to sleep but it's hard to stop looking around at all the black palm tree silhouettes and floppy desert plant shadows and the big blue sky dome with the stars. it's a lot like "Blue Shadows on the Trail" from the Three Amigos, and a little bit like in Super Mario Bros. 2 when you throw a magic potion bottle and go through the door that appears, which takes you to the nighttime desert world until your time runs out. there's either enough moonlight or enough light coming from the nearby villages to light your way if'n you wish to walk around. i kept thinking the moon was about to come up, but it was just the light from a wedding in a village a few miles away, behind some mountain.

the first midnight walk, we went to a village that the camel jockeys had some friends at b/c there was a wedding going on there. i really wanted to see it, but wanted to wear a mask or something, b/c i knew people would be drunk, offering me endless water/tea/booze/snacks wanting me to take photos, wanting me to dance, wanting me to be everybody's funny white man toy. but i went anyways.

lemme explain a little about Indian villages. they are scattered around the desert, with little dirt roads connecting them by miles. when you get close to one, there are cows and goats and chickens and ducks and dogs running around all over the place. people live in these big square thick cement buildings, painted insane colors. lots of people have cellphones and motorbikes and tvs and ridiculous stereo systems, but water is pumped from a well, people sit on mats in the dirt, the roads are dusty dirt, clothes are washed on stone slabs, cow urine is drunk straight from the steaming urethra b/c of it's purity and holiness, food is baked on the ground, bags of grain are dumped out on the pavement and cleaned of pebbles and dirt, people chew this horrible intoxicating leaf that turns your teeth red and erodes your gums into nothing, etc... people are not ignorant of modern things, modern ways of living, b/c they adopt parts of it, but only the parts they need and that are useful to them: motorized transportation, phone communication, electricity.

anyways, the wedding was over, so it was just the party going on. it was a bunch of girls and women in very nice vermilion saris, full of gold jewelery crowded in the dusty dirt around one side of a cement patio, lit by big, unshielded, rented lights, and a mean gang of young dressed-up gentlemen crowded around the other side, while, on the patio, huge speakers pumped up the hindi jam and veiled ladies danced around. there was a hole in the wall where the men could see it all. directly in front of the patio there was a big empty dirt area where one VERY drunk man was dancing like an exotic idiot and beckoning to me in confusing fluid hand gestures. i think i figured out that he wanted me to smoke Bidis, get drunk, photograph him, smoke weed, eat something, drink sweet magic water AND dance with him. so, my camel jockey pals snuck me through the middle of the wedding w/everyone staring at me, over behind where all the boys were crowded, into a dark corner of yard. all the boys surrounded me, tugged on my shirt, shouted questions in Hindi, laughed at me and took me to a little Indian lawn chair thing.

lemme explain quickly about Indian kids, and Indian boys in particular. they travel in gangs, they are shameless, they will crowd around you, throw rocks at you, laugh at you, ask you to take photographs, ask you for money, even if they don't need it, ask you for pens, give you funny, sincere compliments, stare at you for minutes at a time without saying anything, and, if you do take a photograph, as soon as the camera click sounds, they will charge you to look at the camera screen to see what the picture looks like. they can do this for hours if you indulge them. they are a bunch of rascals and rapscallions, hard to control, but if an adult runs at them with a stick, they scatter in fear. i think that the attitude of the boys continues into young adulthood, as far as i've seen anyways.

ok, then my camel pals shoed them away with a broom, and moved the lawn chair over to a better spot where i could see dancing. a kindly, smiley, bearded ol' robin-williams-looking Indian man became my friend and my protector. he told me what was going on, that i could take pictures, and guarded me from the drunk Indian men. he was very nice. he also told me, during a break in the music, when the dance-patio was cleared and a single woman dancer took the stage, that the woman dancer was not a woman but a cross-dressing Indian dude. he was a real good dancer.

so, Laurel enlightened me, a couple weeks ago, about the state of Hermaphrodites in India. all Hermaphrodites are taken from their parents to live together in a big commune thing. when they grow up, they dress as women and wander through markets and trains and crowded places asking for money. if you do not give it, they will put a hex on you or your family. everyone gives them money b/c everyone knows that there is no possible role for them in normal society and their "job", basically, is to ask for money. everyone accepts that they must support these people, like a civic duty or social responsibility that everyone takes on. also, they are often hired to dance or sing at weddings, births, funerals, etc... on the train a few days ago, we spied one of these enchanted creatures dressed in black walking through the train cars.

shortly after the trannydance, the power went out on the wedding. the power goes out frequently in India. all that was left to do was for the very drunk dancing man, that i mentioned before, to ask the gang of boys how to say phrases in English and he would try to say them to me, and I didn't understand, but the boys thought it was cackling hilarious. then some older Indian man passed out backward on the patio and people rushed in to pour water down his mouth. then we left.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

hot pix

cool pix. i hate this slideshow thing, but it's way easier than pasting all of the images onto the page.

ok, it's late, took like an hour to figure out how to put photos up. here are some quickiez:

it's election time in India, and politickin' is rampant. the political pamphlets look a lot like rave fliers. people scream and beat drums in the street, it's like a parade, strings of firecrackers and then these giant festive BOMBS go off every few mintues, totally deafening&horrifying, the politicians speak into megaphones, old timey.

all of the glass soda bottles get sent back to the factory to get re-used, so they all look ancient and beautiful and have awesome old SLICE and 7UP logos on them, the really cool early 80s ones. also, they have rust around the mouth part, from being re-used hundreds of times.

i've seen a few ladies with amazing big heavy brass spectacles. usually they are cutting fabric.

at some station between mumbai and agra, there were giant megaphones blasting this tinny old tyme ragtime piano music while all these merchants were running around the train windows yelling "panni! water! frooti!", "chai chai chai.", "maaaah-sala!" they kind of sing it like at an ol baseball game, or like a bunch of towne criers.

between gokarna and mumbai, naked kids with rat-tails were throwing rocks at my train from a trench of garbage between the train tracks and the stone wall that separates it from the city. men were squatted every few hundred feet to either turd in a garbage field or scrounge for goodies.

i met a woman at the big station in mumbai who talked in emphatic busted english about vegetarians, "hippy" as a religion (among hindu, moslem, christian), beards, barack obama (ps - everyone wants to talk about barack obama) and who said my skin is tough but inside is so sweet, then she grabbed my face and screamed "LIKE SWEET CHOCOLATE BABY!!"

if you want to make a phone call in India, you look for a big giant yellow that says "STD" in huge block letters. i imagine inside the booth is a crotch grabber machine than implants whatever std you like. i haven't tried yet. also, you can send faxes from anywhere. anyone want a fax?? gimme yr fax number.

i spent 20 hours on a train with these three totally insane men. not sure if i've got the energy to get into it now, but they were like gigantic teenagers in formal business clothes. we just stayed up very late making funny, woke up, made more funny, they wanted to talk and talk forever, they said my beard was good, it looks cute, that i have very good nice eyes, that i look smart, that i look just like a Bollywood star, not Hollywood. twas exhausting. big boisterous braggarts. i felt like Bilbo when Gandalf invites all the dwarves over to his house for that psychedelic party. it was kinda like being around a new friend in jr. high that you think you know well, but then, you invite him to sleep over, and he won't leave and stays all day the next day and you don't like him as much as you thought. there was no escape. except for this army guy i met:

on the train, i got secretly drunk with a very neurotic, skinny, giggly 29 yr old India Army grunt, who I thought was 19 or 20. he snuck me up to the top tier sleeper bench, and opened his gigantic duffel bag to reveal it was full of army-issue raisins and "Wine", which is a generic term meaning any ol booze. he had ttooonnns of bottles of rum and whiskey and beer, and they were all stamped with red ink "for use in Indian army issue only". I guess it's really hard to get booze in India, but they issue it to soldiers, so it's a very prized commodity that they keyster out of bootcamp. he could note drink "wine" without "snacks", so we had to wait until the next stop so he could buy some "magic masala lays" with ridges and 7up and fried battered wonderbread. anyways, here shared with me his booze, his bread, his weird life. the bread was battered and deep fried bread, battered with liquid bread?

speaking of new friends, there is a weird friend jealousy thing in India. when people are very hospitable to you, i feel like they expect you to hang around them forever, and if you go off somewhere else and meet a new friend, they get very weird and jealous. it's happened a couple times. it's very disturbing and upsetting. all of your new friends get mad at each other. the first men would not let the army guy sit with us, told me he was a bad person, making me stupid, that i would get arrested for drinking with him, showed me a press pass one of them had and said i would be all over the Indian newspaper tomorrow. that sounded cool actually. but, they wouldn't even talk to this nice guy. it was so weird, like a buncha shitty cousins.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

barebackin' in cobra country

i saw a snake charmer on the side of the road. he beckoned to me. from his flute came a strange netherworldly sound. and out of the thin basket at his side came dancing a tiny action figure, hypnotized by the sound, the unmistakable emblem of Cobra Commander pasted on his flight helmet.


yesterday Laurel and I stayed in this paradise zone called Hampi. it's total caveman country: giant boulders, palm trees, stone pillars, dirt and nothing else. we rented mopeds, cruised through the country roads, felt like riding a motorcycle through Bedrock. got heeeelllla burned climbing boulders up to crumbly temples at the top. the tiny brown stonework combined with this weird black moss or oxidation or algae or something, makes the temples look like they're made of rotting corpses or bird bones glued together with hot rancid vegetables. skull mountain! you sweat hell of hard climbing around. you can drink like 3 or 4 liters of water a day and only whiz like once or twice. its so weird.

in India, there's a dorkload of places purporting to serve lasagna, pizza or mexican food. i feel like i owe it to my country to eat them all, but i havent had the nards to do it yet. also, people here LOVE sugar, and tea and coffee are served w/a disgusting amount of sugar pre-mixed into it. it tastes EXACTLY like hot cereal afterbirth milk. gross out. they eat hell of bread too. the cook on the farm made this pasta, which was made with this huge long macaroni noodles (like long as pasta but with a hole in the center. wha??). this gal we met from DC, named liz, who's great and works for the guy who did the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire and some Bollywood movies, says this Indian family invited her to dinner and, for a special treat, made pizza for her, which was pre-made Naan bread with ketchup and pre-sliced american cheeze on top, microwaved to imperfection. being the star of the evening, the foreigner guest, EVERYONE stared at her while she ate it and told her how expensive all the ingredients were. holy shit. then afterwards, they all had some beautiful Indian feast while her stomach rotted with bullshit pizza.

sadly my magic red shoes i brought are totally useless. no one in India wears shoes b/c it's too gall durn hawt out here. sandles only.

there's gigantic ants everywhere. goats and chickens and black pigs flop around the street, cows confidently croozin round town, kicking lazy dicks outta their way.

oh yeah, everybody rides these beautiful gigantic black cruiser bikes around, with really weird handlebars and these crazy kickstands that swing around the back under the wheel. hard to explain. holy shit, i was trying to find a picture of the bikes, but I found this instead:

fruit falls outta the trees when it's real quiet. i keep hoping i'll hear like a woodblock sound and then somebody moan and collapse from a coconut to the melon. we ate at this restaurant called the Mango Tree, which is built into a hillside under a gigantic mango tree with these stone benches that you eat at, with an angled stone back behind you so you basically lay backwards and stuff your fat face. the benches face this river surrounded by tropical trees and mountains of boulders. i keep getting spooked that Predator is going to come outta the trees and laser my muscular black arms off. that's what it looks like out here. instead of that happening, a mango fell from about 100ft up in tree, bounced off a step that was 3 ft from where i was sitting, and landed in a yellow garbage barrel. that could've killed my skeleton!!!

i watched some insane movies. look up this one called Satte pe Satta. it was made in 1982 but looks like 20 years older. the soundtrack is so dang good, it goes from insane evil synthesizers to amazing poppy golden age of Hollywood with Indian percussion song&dance. it's really really good, a total goof. I also watched this Telugu movie called Billa which is based on this Hindi movie from 2004 called Don which is based on this Hindi movie called Don from the 80s. It is so awful holy shit. you should watch it if you ever for some reason get a chance. it's like someone tried to cram the entire movie Showgirls into the length of a music video, and did that over and over for 2 hours. it's a crime thriller with the most shitty over the top intense soundtrack and climax after climax every 10 minutes and endless montages of just crime dudes looking "cool" getting out of cars, staring at the camera w/sunglasses, exchanging briefcases for no reason, whipping out guns, slow motion shit, entourages walking away from explosions, poorly edited fast cuts. omg it's indescribable. but I can't decide if it's an amazing incredible lampoon or if it's serious. b/c the second 1/3rd of the movie gets really silly and goofy, and then it gets serious and totally overly-complicated. i sort of want to ask my Indian friend what it's supposed to be.

it's weird how much you trust in american brands when you are in an unfamiliar land, and how much comfort they give you. i see a Coca-Cola or Pepsi logo on some drink and I trust it so much more and am totally confident that it is safe to consume. creepy. also, people don't usually understand the words when you say that you are from "America", but they get it right away if you say "USA". It makes me feel like such a patriot or a war veteran or something, some surly arm-wrestler chanting "U-S-A!" in a big crowd of beefcakes. actually, it makes me feel exactly like one of Guile's airforce buds in the background of his stage, the aircraft carrier. nothing like Mel Gibson in the Patriot. hell no.

we took this funny little dome shaped boat, made out of reeds and tarp and tar, across the river in Hampi. it's like a little cereal bowl with a skinny lil Indian kid paddlin you across. it's spins around a lot, and there is "crocodile danger". when the kid let us off on the banks of this rice paddy in someone's backyard, he kept asking for tips and then hugging me and laurel, the worst skinniest, skimpiest hug i've ever had, saying "friendship?", over and over and over. we did not give him any tips. he was 18 but looked like an emaciated 14 year old. i think people are just real little around here. at least he was not saying "Fatality".

so weird, i feel like i fit in so much in some superficial ways, but i never really could b/c i'm white. i do not look thin here. i look average. EVERYONE has a moustache. everybody's a little floppy and effeminate. i don't like the moustache look as much as the awesome huge black beard look. it looks way cool on young dudes. Laurel mentioned that she wonders if ppl think I am a holy man or a wise man b/c those are the only types of men that wear beards here. we met this crazy old coot bullshit shaman guy with a huge white beard and the smilin'-est, roundest face i ever saw, who guided us around this temple, pressed on our eyes and showed us eye shapes, impersonated scenes from Jackie Chan movies, told us about how to meditate every morning and about some Indian folklore. I like most folklore. I gave him money because he's basically an entertainer with a kind of religous element too. I think some of what he said was sincere and some was a kind of scam. i liked him anyway and he did tell me some things which make me feel good, like funny breakfast breathing excercises, food advice.

we took a bus all night last night, was supposed to drop us off at 7am in this place called Ohm Beach in Gokarna. it dropped us off at three AM and we sat in front of this shrine built around a tree until 6. we tried to walk down to the beach and all these scrappy terrifying street dogs started barking and running out. then we turned down a different street and like 12 more dogs came out. we were surrounded by creepy shitty little bloodthirsty dogs, and there was this insane polyphonic THX surround sound of horrifying street barks. they run us outta town. we took refuge 'neat the shrine once more. then this drunk lady who was passed out under a storefront came over and started talking at us incessantly in like 3 different languages (Laurel says), laughing at us, pinching laurel, throwing pebbles at me. it was really fun actually. i think she was outta her gourd as well. speaking of gourds, people here dry out big gourds and use them as water bottles in the smaller villages. holy cow.

when we got to the Ohm Beach hotel, we walked down the steps to the beach, and this parade of tiny hilarious puppies greeted us, tried to come flopping up the stairs, but they are so uncontrollable that they just kept falling backwards or off the side of the steps hahaha. then they all passed out in a pile on the sand.

on the bus ride, i kept seeing trucks and busses and autorickshaws with these crazy rainbow flashing lights near their headlights. i guess it's another just festive crazy decoration??

anyways, i feel like a hundred bucks. we're at this shady tropical resort thing, right on this abandoned beach with huge stones for basking sticking out of the water. a tropical breeze whispers through the palm fronds, bringing the distinct smell of fermenting turds to your face. the toilet drain is located right between the restaurant and the rooms i think.

i cant go into the sea today, on account of being burned so hard. got to stay out of the sun.

more things to come soon.


chelsea: ok. that sounds real fun actually. i could really do that. are you still reading our book? i am 150 pages deep. should we finish before my return? i think so.

esther: you may get to see the real deal, if i can mail you a pair.

june: you are much to big to take w/me. start eating purina, and maybe you will turn into a chihuahua. pleased to make you LOL, that's all i wanna do. i'm glad ppl like this trash! also, of course i will bring you something, duh. also, queerbandreviews?: hahaha wtf

charckles: bro, that was the most inspiring bon voyage. i'm trying to eat hella stuff. i ate a snickers bar today. and something called coco-dance x2. twas like a Mounds, but shittier and german. i keep looking fer Squirt, but no dice. hell of refreshing grapefruit bev. i think i am getting constipated by these 3rd world bacteria. will that chunk me up? me only turding every 2 or 3 daze. going to be hell of weird going home and not have every single person on the street wave at me and want to ask me a hundered million dollar questions. dood, you do not even need thrift stores. everything looks like it is from a thriftstore like 20 years ago and it is cheaper new in India than it would be used at a USA thrift store. i think the dust & sun hell of ages things, and companies only want ultra cheap designs/advertising, so everything looks amazing.

jolene: i'm w/my pal Laurel, also one of Shandar's roommates. should i publish my adventures? a tour-guide/diary/funny farm?? what size bed of nails? twin, double, california king?

katie: get yr head outta them cloudz! stop yr dream-makin, get real, get over here! get to the foreign land!! they need you. ok, or actually, dream on, dream on, dream until the dream-uh come-uh true. dream until yer dream visionz are complete, then git yr travel on. sweat a lil extra for me, i cant seem to sweat enuff.

dirty danson: lice on ice, one nite only, tickets comin to yr door.

paddy: how about 4 lil 5 lil or 6 lil injuns? i think i can do that. would you prefer it in a cupboard? or ordinary parcel?

andrew: how about a desk lamp instead? i think i can get them wholesale here. magic head lamp? for magic mining? dwarf cave?

morgan: signs point to 'no'.

annika: ok, i will do it with many prostitute strangers and tell them it is for you. is that what you want?

arlette: i will probably not take a lot of pictures. a few REALLY good ones? i can't believe you live on turtle island, holy smokes, that sounds way better than any man-inhabited country.

bianca: you are a sweet treat. that is all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

holy carp, india zone

aw fudge, how'm i gonna tell you all this indian stuff... like this:

ok, in case you were thinking about it a lot, yes, there are squirrels in india. they are tiny and grey w/black and white stripes, no bigger than a rat. mischievous lizards lurk everywhere, crawling up the terrace, licking the windows, lookin fer trouble. every time i go to take a leak, there's a frog or two flipping around the shower, overlording his private b-room domain. you know how we got pigeons, and sometimes their legs are all fudged up or their eye is missing or they got big bloody scabs all over one side? well, in india, they don't have pigeons; instead of pigeons, they got these adorable tiny skinny blonde dogs and tiny monkeys and very young or very old beggars, so imagine sometimes you see a dog running around with scabs all over it or missing a leg, or a monkey with a bashed in face or a person missing an eye or with a crushed, melting hand.

today i saw a baby goat standing in the middle of the road squealing, running up to tourists for help. it was cute as hell, but i'm sure it will probably die. also, a dog chased two huge pigs away from the river. the other day i broke up a neighborhood dog brawl in a dry field involving like 12 dogs. i used rocks and verbal abuse. two big dogs had a little one in their mouths and they were dragging it around, it was bleeding all over.

a restaurant sign that said "mango tree the waterfall 1km...please just try it for once"
a restaurant serving "ash browns", aw yum
license plates written in drippy Swamp Thing letters (WHAT?!?)
aMAAAZING cola called "Thums Up", there are hand-painted signs for it EVVERRYWHERE


people kept telling me that india was incredibly filthy, like disgusting, horrifying. total exaggeration i say. it's kinda messay, very dusty. my first day, i came in to Bangalore. the airport was brand new apparently, so it was like a very clean abandoned shopping mall. ok, Bangalore is TOTALLY COMPLETELY INSANE. once you get into the city, it is jam crammed with denizens, tiny alleys and roads, people selling stuff everywhere and EEEVVERYONE stares at you, sincereley every single person, if you are white, and you cannot ever keep to yourself. actually, imagine an endless sprawling flea-market, it is really so much like that. it is so much like the laney flea market, it makes me feel stupid. produce, cheap stuff, used stuff, dusty shops, dirt floating in your lungs. ok, but beyond being an entire city that is a flea market, there are motorcycles, tiny vans, auto-rickshaws (like a tuk-tuk, three wheeled beautiful tiny automobile) barreling down every alley, sliding by each other, dodging pedestrians, honking constantly (in India, honking is used to let the other drivers know where you are, not to show anger or excitement). it is so insane, unsafe. if you need to cross a street, you literally just have to run across the street, in front of a bunch of motorcycles and stuff and they will either stop or dodge your body, or just honk at you. there is no crosswalk or anything, you just run out in front of everyone. the best way is to find another group of people waiting to cross and go when they do. and on the highways, vehicles pass each other constantly, and there are only ever two lanes. you are VERY OFTEN driving straight into a bus or a tractor or a truck, honking, and at the last second, you and the other vehicle dodge each other, return to the right lane. this is like every 30 seconds. when you are driving you are almost always driving straight into oncoming cars, dodging around pedestrians and auto-rickshaws.

vehicles are SOOO beautiful, there are bright painted totally beautiful 80s mopeds, moon-shuttle tiny japanese vans, three wheel auto-rickshaws, buses are covered in insane shit, paintings and gods and weird english slogans. if you need to get somewhere out of the way, you take an auto-rickshaw. riding around in these is like flying around town in a rollercoaster cart that off the tracks and is rolling dowhill for eternity; it is loud, rattling, you stop and start constantly, turns throw you around the bench.

ok, stuff is really extremeley omg, so fudgin cheap. taking the bus for like a 40 minute trip is cents. a 4 or 5 hour bus ride is like $1. a one hour taxi ride across the country is $4. food at an expensive tourist restaurant, with a drink and appetizers and etc, is $3 or $4. also, i'm getting ripped off for all this stuff, b/c i'm white, so Indians pay even less than that. a 1gb sd memory card is like $5. a 7 hour train ride across states is $5, and you get a bed AND weird dudes come through at every stop to sell you tea or fruit or weird nuts. it is just so unbelievable. i've been here a week, taking buses and taxis and trains, buying stuff, eating at restaurants, and i just now burned through $50.

everything in India is decorated like an endless carnival or parade is going on. everything is painted tropical clown colors, pastel blue, yellow, dark red, pale green, got rainbow lettering, metalling pom-poms tassels hanging off rear-view mirrors, beads, tassels, stickers, embroidered shapes, ceramic facades and sculptures of sexy demon gods hanging off of everything, festooned like there are so many festivals going on that it doesn't make sense to remove the decorations because you will just have to put them back up again, but it gets old and dusty and sunbleached in the down time. literally everything is painted and decorated, like the whole country is a carnival.

sincereley, really, every single person in the street will look at you, stare at you, and if you wave at them, they will smile and wave back, tell you you have a cool beard. and everyone has a list of like the same 10 questions they ask you "hi, good morning how are you?" "what country?" "what is your name?" "madam, where are you going?" "first time India?" "what is your work?". if your bus rides by another, or some people on the street, they will ALL see you and wave and say "hello sir, good morning, how are you?"

the landscape ain't more amazing than anything in america, but i've been getting up around 6 every morning and walking around the deserty country-side. there's like this tattooine bright red dirt everywhere, its hot and cloudy and steamy as heck, the sun comes up huge and red, tropical and desert plants everywhere (prolly my two fav types). it's real flat, you can see lots of stuff. sometimes there's a bright green rice paddy in the middle of a desert, looks like a florida golf course. this place I'm at right now, Hampi, is full of gigantic ogre-sized boulders in the middle of this river, making up HUGE mountains of rocks the size of houses, going up several stories into the sky. i saw an elephant being bathed in a river today. he was restless & fussy, kept getting thwacked by this little guy.

it's pretty hot, but it ain't that hot. it's just like summer really. it stays hot all night though.

i sort of gave up on taking pictures, because things just look so disappointing and small and shitty when you try to photograph them. every time i try to photograph some amazing landscape or soooo cool stone giant temple, it just looks like small shit, or like some slide i saw in art history class. so, i just been photographing some weird signs and amazing stickers and weird shit. i also left my camera memory card at home, but i just bought a new one. not sure if i can find a card reader thing to post hot pix. hope so.

also, in bangalore, holy shit, there are these gigantic (like several stories high) cardboard cut-outs of stills from hot new movies, just the weirdest dudes with moustaches and bandanas and crappy sunglasses holding guns or dancing or...whatever. my camera wasn't working at the time, but i do hope i see one again oh my god. btw, hindi movie posters are so insane, they all look 20 years old. i will photograph them.

i been finding tons of cool garbage, weird wrappers, i will send them to y'all. even cheap notebooks are totally beautiful. they have like the weirdest, irregular, hand-printed logos on the front, big bold colors, screen-prints of ornate birds or flowers or gods or crazy photo cutouts of 70s photographs of flowers, and its so hot and dusty here that everything looks 30 or 40 years old. i have to pick up some of them.

i did find some really cool umm...either shorts or underwears for kids. i will hang them on a wall.

there's some other stuff i gotta tell you about; train ride, adorable kids, nannari, pizza... but later

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

flying high, on the wings of my dreams

singapore changi update:

"my life, my dreams, nothin's gonna stop me now" i definitely just watched a full episode of Perfect Strangers at the singapore airport in front of an eatery called go go franks. holy shit. it was cousin larry appleton's birthday, which he hates b/c...i dunno, b/c he is such a miserable depressing sad sack curly-headed sienfeld-wardrobed chicago idiot, he hates everything. he tried to submit a photo of a burning building to a chicago newspaper and they didn't want it, so he was reminded of how depressing and lame his life is b/c he is not a photojournalist. anyways, these three singaporeans thought i was hella weird for getting so excited that perfect strangers was on tv. also, i think that the title for "dumb & dumber" came from perfect strangers. at the beginnin of the episode, this chunky jerk character comes in and says "well, if it isn't tweedle-dum and tweedle-dumber". and then he doesn't do anything else, he just leaves the scene.

in between morsels of larry&balky, singapore commercials came on. there is some show called V.I.P., which means Voices in Parliament, where actual members of Parliament go on this karaoke game show called "dont forget the lyrics" and (in this commercial) try to sing "the Final Countdown" by Europe. wtf. also, Burger King commercials are delivered w/an Australian accent. is the Burger King Australian?

Sooo, some parts of Changi airport are really nice, and some parts are like a casino. everything feels hella cheap. there are eeeeenddleess weird 24hr eateries from all over the world and also movie theatres. Spas and gyms, huge garden things and big walls of tropical vines. All of the butterflies in the butterfly garden were sleeping. They feed them sliced pineapple!!! They just leave it out for em, that's so adorable. so, I thought it was hot&sweaty in Singapore, and then I went outside the airport, holy cow, it is unbelievably sticky omg, like falling asleep in a pile of blow pops on a filthy beach.

Also, there are 7-elevens in here, way cool. full of strange singapore snack foods. The first thing I did when I went in there (I was the only person in there, except for a manager), was destroy an entire display of "Silky Milk" chocolate bars. I pulled one bar out of the display, some plastic thing fell off, then aaaaalll the silky milk bars started tumbling onto the floor, and it went on foreeeevverrrr, they just kept slowly dropping and I was just standing there, like in a stupid movie, only it was real. i tried to clean it up, but the guy wouldn't let me. what an idiot gaahh.

And also, there are these giant "Test Your Strength!" machines everywhere with huge billboards behind them and you're supposed to win money or something. "Beat the Recession!" they're called. And they actually say "Spend $80 to win $700,000 in vouchers!" holy shit, vouchers. $80? seems like that would take an hour of your time to spend that much on a jumbo mallet whomper machine.

just ate raw fish sushi at this food thing. oop, i might grab some barf bags fer the road. the sky road. "where we're going, we don't need roads." we're going in an airplane. me&you.

he who controls the spice, controls the galaxy.
who controls the spice? i think that the head chef does.

i dont get email on sundays; the post office is closed then.

So far, Singapore is heeeellla sweaty. it's 87 degrees and rainy at 2am. This insane airport has an Xbox lounge, a butterfly garden, a bunch of indoor bamboo forests, koi ponds, hecka free internet kiosks and god knows what else. the carpets, however, are extremely horrible. it's very steamy in here. this kiosk machine only allows me 15 min at a time, gotta make it snappy. everything is in english wtheck? makes me feel weird. i am such a jerk loser, i have no idea what the language of singapore is. i found this tourist mag w/this ad: "live your fantasy! on your next vacation, become a rock star, secret agent, supermodel or something else!" omg that sounds so embarrassing. i would love to buy that for some friend and force them to go on a hella embarrassing vacation for like a month.

how many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man? how many times must a man watch Dark City for free on his airport personal entertainment top secret lcd screen, before you call him a turd? Just once. singapore airlines is vrrryy extravagant. all of the attendants are beautiful asian women with long ornate gowns. personal Givenchy toothbrush and pillows. i had a whole row to myself, hell yeh. every seat has a weird lcd screen with a bunch of internet video games and a dorkload of free movies & tv shows. also you can learn other languages on this screen thing, it's just like the 5th element, but even more embarrassing. there was some Indian movie about a bunch of boys who form the world's greatest rock&roll band (which is awful), but they never get famous, then they reunite 10 years later. i really wanted to watch that but then i realized that i shouldn't. the Day the Earth Stood Still is terrible, total snooze. i passed out. the IT Crowd is pretty good. Madmen did not impress me. Flight of the Conchords is really good. Australia, the movie, is soooo good, holy cow! it's totally over the top and swashbuckling and raucous and dramatic, hella good. it's like a hybrid of excellent feel-good 80s international action movies, like Crocodile Dundee, Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones, mixed with very dramatic golden age of hollywood movies. i am a big sucker.

i definitely did not want to leave Inchin airport in Seoul. it was extremely fun and weird. the currency is like less than 1/100 of a cent, so everything is priced like 10,000 for something that's about $7.50, or like 3,000 for coffee. toonnsss of weird boutiques and "liquor & tobacco" places with tons of weird kitschy expensive liquor and tiny cigarettes, huge cardboard cut-outs of of weird androgynous korean cigarette model dweebs. everyone is extremeley nice, but they are so bored and so not used to foreigners that all the cashiers and airline people stare at you and mumble questions to you.

on a plush airline, you feel like one of the humans in Wall-E, b/c there is always someone asking you if you need something, offering you drinks and food, and there is the video screen right in front of your face with tonnnnnss of stuff on it and you never have to get up and do anything. you just watch movies, eat stuff while watching movies, pass out for a while, wake up to someone offering you a big try of microwave airplane salad and wine. i got heck of drunk the first 3 hours.

it's kinda hard not to be cynical when you are constantly being served and ushered around and dont have to do anything for yourself.

'k, im gonna see what people eat in singapore, and then i'm gonna eat it. i might take a shuttle to the city, cos i've got like 6 hours until my plane boards, who knows? doesn't that sound fun?

see you brace-faces later,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

not gone yet

dear creeps,

this first blog is about how i bought my ticket. i bought it on the internet, right now. i'm leaving tuesday, april 7th, at 2:10 pm!!!! yahoo. if you have anything you want me to bring to india and hang on an india xmas tree or give to an orphan, gimme it before tuesday!! also, post your address here so i can send you weird stuff from india. see you in the funky pages.