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!
"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.
THRU THE DESERT AT MIDNITE:
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.