Eat/shit, India part six:

May 30, 2006 at 08:08 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | Leave a comment

So I've had a bit of a stomach virus for the last couple of days, but this is the end of it. It wasn't so bad, because I could still eat no problem.

Here is a list of things that you might not realize to bring with you if you travel to India:

1.) Small Flashlight. Why you ask? Because there are no street lights, and if you are walking around at night, you need to see where you are going–mainly to avoid holes, and poopoo.

2.) Extra pair of sandals or sneakers. Why you ask? Well, this only applies to those who wear a size 9 or larger, as these 'big size' shoes are quite difficult to come by. So, just in case you should have some kind of mishap with your shoes…as I said.

3.) Duct tape. It's just stupid to travel without duct tape.

4.) Chopsticks. Why you ask? If you eat with chopsticks you will have a hard time finding them here.

Some things that are easy to find that you might not think would be:

1.) Toiletries of any kind.

2.) Internet cafes with card readers (for digital cameras).

3.) Places to have digital photos developed.

4.) ATMs.

I had another tabla lesson today, and when I picked up my bag to get money to pay my instructor there was a tick on it–not a happy thing.

I have been drinking three or four papaya juices, or papaya lassis everyday for the past three days in lieu of my stomach virus.

I had Thai food yesterday, and it was better than any Thai food that I have eaten in the United States of America. Today I'm having Japanese food for lunch.

I watched Broken Flowers yesterday at one of the three local movie theaters. It was a good movie, but perhaps I am partially biased towards anything that Bill Murray does because I find great pleasure in his comedic style.

I am still enjoying McLeod Ganj. My only gripes are the incessant beggars, who don't remember that you've told them "no," one hundred times, or given them money one hundred times, and the abuse of car horns, which happens to aggravate me for some reason.

I have five days left here, and it certainly 'flew by'. I am excited to start school, and see some of my special people before I leave for New York.


So wet, India part five:

May 28, 2006 at 07:00 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | 2 Comments

Yesterday was mostly uneventful, until Kimiko, Chie, and I ventured out for a oncert fof North India classical music. Just as we were about to leave it started pouring, and then hailing. After the hail stopped we decided to start walking towards where we thought the concert was taking place. Much to our dismay our five minute walk became a thirty minute walk, and the drizzle that we had left under didn't hesitate in becoming a downpour with more hail.

By the time we arrived at the concert hall we were all thouroughly soaked, and quite cold. Upon arrival we were told that the concert was cancelled, but we were invited into the hall to rest since we were soaked and had come so far. Thankfully the performers did arrive, and we were treated to three ragas, two with flute and tabla,  and one jugalbandi with shenhai, sitar, and tabla. The music was certainly nice.

We had to leave the concert a bit earl so that we would be able to eat food, as it was late at this point and restaurants were beginning to close. We wound up eating at a less than decent restaurant, where I ordered falafel and hummus with pita. When the waiter brought food out he dropped my pita on the floor, and in a thinly veiled attempt to fool me into believing he would get new bread he went into the back and returned a moment later with bread that was toasted, but not too warm. I didn't complain, at that point I was so wet, and my shoes were so soaked that I didn't feel it was too important to fuss over some drity bread.

My shoes are still wet, and I have to go and look for some place to dry them. there was hail as big as strawberries, or grapes. 

Emphasis on eagles, altitude, and clouds, India part four:

May 27, 2006 at 03:55 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | Leave a comment

I don’t know if I can stress the immaculate wonder of the place that I am currently staying. The altitude repeatedly leaves me thoughtless every time I look out across the mountains:

1.) Pink House is a three story–with accesiable roof–guest house situated on a slope within the Himalayan mountain range. It is surrouned by other guest houses which are situated in the same format. The wonder lies in accessing the roof–when you are on top of the roof you are at the same height , or a bit lower, as the flight path of the local birds (eagles, large crows, various finches, and other birds that I cannot identify). This morning I had a pot of tea on the roof and there were eagles flying around no more than thirty feet from where I was sitting. I am perpetually awed by this.

2.) If I look out–I think to the West, although I’m not quite sure–I can see the ridge of a nearby mountain, but beyond that there is zero visibility. The reason why I cannot see past the mountain is because of clouds. I am so high up from sea level–Florida–that I am where the clouds are, this concept is mind-boggling.

It has been quite difficult to find a decent pot/cup of tea here in India; chai abounds, but for those of us who prefer the fidelity of a fine full leaf brew there is little accomodation. As luck would have it though, my guest house serves a peculiar full-leaf green tea. They call it Kashmiri green tea, and it has notes of cinnamon, clove, and corriander in the bouquet, as well as up fropnt in the palette. It finishes with a subtle notion of warm clove.

I have decided that going out in mid-afternoon here is a bad idea–traffic is at its peak, thus exhaust fumes are as well. This wouldn’t be so bad if walking didn’t put me within inches of every vehicle, and its exhaust pipe; havoc for the lungs and the body.

I went yesterday with Chie and Kimiko to try and make arrangements to meet with the Dalai Lama, but we had no luck. Next time.

Last night I went to a concert of Tibetan folk music that was certainly taking place at some degree of fantastichood. The concert was a solo recital, and began in the dark because the power went out. After two songs with a two-stringed folk violin–that is quite similar to the chinese er-hu–the fellow performing proceeded to treat us to performances on two different types of lutes–one small with a low dynamic, and high pitch, and one large with a beefier dynamic, and lower pitch– coupled with singing, as well as two different flutes, and more violin songs. The concert took place at the local school in a concrete room, where we sat on faintly raised platforms, and watched our entertainer play before a wall painted with mountains and clouds, and adorned with a shrine for the Dalai Lama.

Of considerable import are the many colors and varieties of yak, and sheep hair socks–all are considerably well-colored and come in a variety of shapes, including one with a toe sleeve for use with sandals.

Prolifity increases, India part three:

May 25, 2006 at 13:08 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | Leave a comment

I am now in Mcleod Ganj. Commonly referred to as Dharamsala, because its in the same vicinity, Mcleod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama and many things Tibetan. The scenery here is nothing short of spectacular, being that I am accustomed to a flat Florida panoram. On my way to the internet cafe, that I am currently typing from, I saw the snowy crest of a distant mountain peeking out from behind a closer mountain.

There is Tibetan food everywhere, and I had what may have been my best meal yet in India–a simple vegetable, tofu, and noodle soup. The wonderful thing was the fresh greens–spinach–which seem to be impossible to come by. It is probably difficult to imagine how good leafy greens taste when all of your meals have been quite oily and dense for the last 2.5 weeks. A common Tibetan food that I have become quite fond of is momos. Momos are the Tibetan version of dumplings, plain and simple.

I will be spending the next eight or nine days here in Mcleod Ganj at 'Pink House'–my guest house. I've been practicing tabla regularly, working on a few small drawings, and reading at a terribly slow pace.

Yesterday when I was at the bank:

Me: What time is it?

Indian Security Guard: It is eight twenty o'clock.

Language makes itself into a wonderous thing.

The drums, and the snakes,India part two:

May 24, 2006 at 08:54 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | Leave a comment

Yet again I wrote a lengthy post that failed, so this is a truncated version of my recent past:

1.) I am now travelling with two wonderful young ladies from Japan: Kimiko, and Chie.

2.) I am currently in Vashist, which is quite “up there” in the Himalayas. From my guest house–and the rest of the town–Everest is clearly visible. Vashisht has snake charmers, and every time the cobra charmer asks me if I want to see the cobra I give a flustered “No,” and mutter that someone is gong to die.

3.) Tonight we leave to go to Macleod Ganj, the largest Tibetan community in India, and the home of the Dalai Lama.

4.) A glass of fresh fruit jiuce costs only twenty rupees (fifty cents).

5.) There are many different bargaining styles here, you have to figure out which one is going to work best, and then milk it for every rupee you can have discounted.

6.) All of the restaurants in these tourist areas serve Chinese, Italian, Israeli, and ‘Continental’ food. Some serve Mexican, all do it Indian style.

7.) Men are always acknowledged first in a restaurant.

8.) Marijuana grows on the side of the road like a weed.

9.) India is a lot like the U.S., but with less roads, and more people. And cows everywhere. Other than that it’s exactly the same. People of all types of social class are out and about making a living, having a vacation, and just enjoying themselves. Perhaps one difference is the result of being poor, in the U.S. being poor is a gravy train compared to what poor people here deal with every day (the labor they toil in, and the conditions they live under).

10.) The contemporary Indian Aesthtic–in all forms from fashion, to architecture–is attrocious. It seems like the classical Indian style had so much character that was expertly crafted, and finely tuned, but all of the attention and skill is lost in its ability to adapt to the contemporary world. I liken contemporary India to a pubescent child, in a global sense–it is struggling to fit into the world, and take part, but it can’t figure out how to make what is distinctly ‘India’ work within this context. For example, sex is fashioned everywhere in India, however it is practiced only between married couples. To have sex before marriage is not acceptable, but the image that is presented is not one of an abstinent place.
11.) I’m having a great time, doing a lot of contextualizing, and learning. Sorry I haven’t written more often.

It aint a shower, it’s a bucket (India part one)…

May 14, 2006 at 14:11 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | 5 Comments

India premier:

Because I already wrote an extremely lengthy post about India–which did not load, and was lost–this is going to be a numbered list event.

1.) I am met at the airport in Delhi by Shiv Sahai, he takes me back to his apartment where he lives with his wife Vijnay, his mother, and his father. Shive Plays tabla, his dad plays sarangi–a type of Indian violin.
2.) I spend my first two nights, and three days in Delhi.
3.) Shiv’s across the hall neighbor wants me to take her beautiful niece back to America with me–sorry.
4.) Delhi is about as safe as the Bronx at 3 A.M. in a klan hood, mad skeezers.
5.)Shive takes me to buy a tabla in some beat-ass alleyway. The tabla maker’s ‘shop’ is a hole in the wall that is literally filled with dayan (the wooden drum).
6.)The roads in India are insanity. This is what is on Indian roads: cows, cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, auto rickshaws–covered three wheel scooters, cars, buses of various sizes, people walking, and people hauling all kinds of overflowing carts. The roads outside of Delhi that I travelled on are two lanes wide, and it takes forever to get anywhere.
7.) On driving the roads in India: welcome to Mad Max. The only law that is obeyed is stopping at red lights. Driving on the opposite side of the road is totally fine. Horns are measured in disuse, as they are used for spatial indication, thus horns are always blaring.
8.) Shower=bucket of water that you pour over yourself. Toilet=porcelain hole that you squat over. I must admit that both of these are not bad, although it took me a bit to get over the stigma of wiping my butt with my hand (I didn’t poop for two days).
9.)I saw no other light people in Delhi.
10.) I poopoo Delhi.
11.) Rishiskesh is full of foreigners, but not many Americans. There are lots of European hippies here. In my opinion they are filthy–cigarette butts everywhere, trash everywhere–but I supose that thye fit right in.
12.) You thought that the Ganges was a holy river? So did I, but that doesn’t stop the literal mountainside of garbage that flows into it.
13.) I thought cows were holy too, but that excludes the times when people are hitting them, sometimes with sticks.
14.) The staff at the guest house where I am staying is amazingly friendly, and enthusiatic.
15.) American capitalism is a wonderful thing, because my hard-earned dollars go quite far. One night in a guest house=120 rupees=three dollars. I can drink two glasses of fresh pineapple juice for a little less than a dollar.
16.) 95% of signage is handmade. Margaret Kilgallen would have shit herself.
17.) If I don’t have your address already please email me. Conceptual postcards mailing tomorrow.
18.) It is wonderful here please do not worry for me, I am wishing you all the best while I am abroad. 

racing the clock…

May 9, 2006 at 13:12 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Im in Heathrow airport in England. I bought two one litre bottles of volvic water, and with my change I got a short amount of internet time. In said time I am posting an entry here. Time is up.

Update from upper state…

May 7, 2006 at 15:32 | Posted in new york | Leave a comment

Here I am. I am in New York’s Manhattan. Today is Sunday, the seventh, and I arrived on Tuesday the second. I will leave tomorrow for India.
My time in New York, has thus far been rife with non-stop engagement. I have not had any amount of time in which I am not engaged in some specific activity, or en-route to one. I feel like this experience has been connotative of the city itself, and perhaps denotated by it.
I spent a good portion of yesterday walking through Chelsea and looking inside of art galleries, which was better for the company than the work. I am, most often, not interested in the artwork that I see, because most of it purports itself as cerebral when it is merely a decorative thing to hang on a wall. There were a few things that were nice to look at, and one thing in particular that was nice to look at as well as thought evoking.
I am entranced by the magnitude of things to do, and places to eat. I have consumed food at different establishments every day, each of them tasty, and superb. The Whole Foods in Union Square is amazing and debilitates any notion of a Florida Whole Foods being an example of the same phenotype.
There is an epoch here, within which I find a bounty bodies of outward splendor, both in dress and physical character.
This is most certainly a place where I find recognition, affirmation, and exposition of those tenets of mine which were–in previous Floridian locus–solely mine, or if held by others rarely engaged in fruition. The vast organ of humans in this place seems to assure that anything human becomes exponential, so long as it is nurtured.
I am excited to be here, and excited to be coming back.

Hasta Manana, adios…

May 2, 2006 at 04:39 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tomorrow morning at 10:05 (in the morning) I will fly to New York, where I will spend seven days–if you include tomorrow. While in New York I will go to museums, restaurants, and Tisch.
On the following Monday (June 9th) I leave from New York at 10:30 (in the evening) to fly to Delhi. I have a seven hour layover in London’s Heathrow International airport.
At 2:10 (in the morning), on June fifth I fly back to Florida.

Adios (with excitement).

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