Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Impossible Technology

Well, I have tried uploading pictures and a video but it just doesnt want to work. The technology here is impossible. I have been spoiled with all the new-fangled gadgets we have in the west.

Im still in Pushkar right now. Its a beautiful holy city with what should be a lake in the middle. But due to pollution and a lack of education the lake has been drained for cleaning. Hopefully the people will not destroy it again but its unlikely. When there is water the people come here to pray for the happiness of family and friends and to bath and purify in the holy water. They make offerings to the water and the gods. Some of the people try to scam tourists and make them pay outrageous amounts of Rupees to throw some flowers in the water and paint their faces with paprika and turmeric. Haha. We totally went and did it, knowing what it was, just for the sake of the experience. Haha. I wish we had taken pictures of the color and rice smeared on our foreheads... its was a sight to behold.

Its very peaceful here. Usually all you can hear are the birds singing or the shop keepers calling to you from inside. Its nice here but small and Im ready to keep moving on.

The place we are staying has a garden and a small pool that is more like a pond. I wake each morning to the sound of birds and monkeys and the sun burning through the door. Its nice but hot! They keep saying that the monsoon is coming and that it will cool off but it only rains for an hour out of the day and its little sprinkles. Just enough to make it humid.

The food here is really something amazing. I loved Indian food before and even more now that its the real thing and not Americanized. The breakfast is usually heavy and spicy. Gets the blood going in the heat.

Jake will be flying back to Thailand on the 5th of August so that means Ill have at least two weeks by myself to wander around! I am very excited about this!!! I miss being alone and having time for myself. Its not terrible now, just different and not what I am used to.

I'm thinking that I want to spend that time working for a volunteer organization or something similar. Id like to focus of HIV and AIDS treatments and education. Im not sure yet and its not looking good in terms of finding a decent organization to be a part of but if I can find one Id really like to help out.

And if I like it a lot, Ill have another month left on my visa when I get back from the states to continue work! I hope to find something to do other than wander for that time. The other option is to go trekking in Sikkim for the two weeks or lounge on a beach... I like the first option better.

I know everyone wants to see more pictures. I really wish I could share them with you! I even made a video where I do a little dance and talk about my adventures for you but alas.... Ill keep the video and possibly upload it later with all the pictures.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Your First Time? Welcome to India!

(Disclaimer: The key board here is older than I am and sicks as if a Popsicle melted over it in 1990. Any misspellings or punctuation or whatever that looks weird is probably that. Sorry. Also, it may seem as though my tone is one of frustration or discontent but its not. I am as happy as a clam. Most of the pictures taken in India have been taken by Jake, that is why there are so many....)

Its 38 degrees and my pale face and body are pink and pouring sweat from the heat. I drink three to four liters of water each day and Im still dehydrated. White people just weren't cut out for this sort of thing.

The senses are constantly overloaded here and its wonderful. I adore the sounds of noisy rickshaws, honking horns, and people in the bazaars. There is always something to look out for here or someone to sell you something you couldn't ever possibly want. The smells of this country can not be described. Its like rotten eggs, flowers, sweat, masalas, moth balls and ten million other things all wrapped together in a sweet little package made especially for your nose.

I have been here all of five days and it feels like a year. My days are usually filled with trying not to overheat and avoiding scams or the lies of the people following me down the street. I suppose that sounds like hell for some of you but its like a big, exhausting party for me.

Everywhere I go I am stared at like Im some kind of alien creature. I hardly notice anymore. The people look at me as if they have never seen a white person before or as if I should be ashamed of my skin.

I think I have now experienced racism. At the train station the other day, I went to stand back by the wall and half the people cleared out as if I had some disease they could catch, and the other half sat there, squatting and staring at me. Occasionally people spit in my direction but I cant tell if its because Im foreign or if they dont like me....

I have been the model tourist since I got here and I find it sickening. Ive seen so many things that Im "supposed to see" I am a little ashamed. Its difficult not to experience this place but I think that by following the path of white people from one monument to another is not experiencing India.

Some days its like hell or purgatory. Yesterday, trying to get from Delhi to Agra was chaos to say the least. We were sent from one train station to an information office to another info office to a different train station and then back to the first. Ugh. By the end of it I was losing my sense of humor, which is vital to surviving this place. By the end of it, we had been in a big circle around the city! In retrospect it was funny and my own fault for listening to people. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt but here you cant. They will take you for a walk around the city and still you wont find what your looking for. I honestly think its an Indian past time to confuse and torture tourists. Maybe to see how far they can go before they lose their heads. Haha. I can appreciate that.

The best part is that once we were on the train and headed to Agra, we realized we would arrive after dark and didn't have a place to stay. An older man offered to help us and we accepted. HAhahaha! Oh GOD! If you could have seen the place we ended up. Truly it could have been worse but there were bugs and rats and no locks on the doors. The place was empty besides our critter friends. Jake got to learn how to use an Eastern style toilet. That was funny. I was just so tired and bored of the mess of the day I agreed to stay as soon as I saw the sheets were clean. Even that was questionable.

Delhi is a fantastic mix of city life you could never get anywhere else. The traffic is absolutely insane and impossible. The noise is out of control. There are vegetarian places on every corner and everything is good because its spicy and Im usually hungry.

Eating is the best because you never really know if its going to make you sick or not. I have, for the most part, taken all the precautions for staying healthy but you can never know for sure. And everything from showering to brushing my teeth can be a task. But its a challenge and anyone who knows me knows I thrive off of it! Its been so much fun getting things to work properly.

There is never an guarantee here. Ever. Things will go wrong if they can and people will do everything they can to make sure that is the case. Even those who seem to be helping you, we find out later, were just screwing you in less obvious manner than the guy before.

It feels good to be bargaining again. Everything is up for negotiations, everything. The mark up for being foreign is so much it can make your head spin but its all part of the fun.

Right now I am in Agra, home to the infamous Taj. Its glorious to say the least. In actuality its pretty difficult to describe and I haven't been inside yet! There are plenty of other beautiful things to see and do here but they are usually overlooked because the Taj is so famous. Ill go tomorrow to see it a dawn when the stones are still cool and there aren't as many crowds.

Today was spent seeing most of the city from the back of a rickshaw cab. We paid a young guy to take us around from one monument to another so we didn't have to keep dealing with different drivers. It was a good touristy day. Hopefully only one of a few in this trip. We saw the back side of the Taj from a garden, Chini-ka-Rauza (an Indian Muslim tomb) and Itemad-ud-Daulah, otherwise known as the Baby Taj.

After a morning trip to the big white palace, were hoping to make off to Ajmer tomorrow. There is a small town just next to Ajmer called Pushkar that I am extremely excited to see. It is a religious village with many temples. The town is mostly strict vegetarian (yeah, a vegan town!!!) and guests are asked not to eat meat or drink alcohol while there. Bikes can also be rented for only Rs 30 a day, less than one dollar. I cant wait to ride bikes and eat vegan food!!!

Pictures from Brno!!

Pictures from Berlin!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Leaving Berlin

Im feeling much better today. I still have a million things to think about in the next 48 hours but I think I will survive.

There are so many things to talk about and I have no idea where to start!

Lets see.... Well, Ill start with sexy pictures. Everyone always likes those....

I have a new set going up in Member Review on SG. I like it. Its not my favorite set to be honest but I think it will do well none the less. Thoughts?

Im off to London in a few hours. I dont really sleep anymore and when I do its in the middle of the day instead of at night like normal people. Actually, its kind of like being on the same sleep schedule as Portland. Im about nine hours off.... Strange how that works. Im just staying up because I know that if I go to sleep, I wont get up in time. I figure I can just sleep in the airport tomorrow.

I have some pictures of my last days in Brno with Denie that I need to upload but Im feeling far too lazy for that right now. Its a shame really because there are some really cute photos in there. But later.

Ive had a lot of fun here in Berlin. I cant say it has been my favorite city thus far but I would visit again. Never Never Never would I live here. Its so cold! Its been raining and windy since I got here and far too cold for the month of June. It got down to 10·C the other night!

Im beginning to look forward to India again. Ive been stressed out about meeting up with Jake and dealing with everything here too. I did a really stupid thing and thought the 16th was Wednesday but its Tuesday and I had to get everything in order a day early. I dont have my ticket from London to Delhi but Im going to sort it out tomorrow. The worst thing that could happen is that I have to buy a ticket at the airport tomorrow and it ends up being expensive. As long as its not more than 1,000USD I can handle it.

India will be great though. I have decided that I am not commiting myself to anything. If I want to be with the people I have planned to meet, I will but if not its not fair to myself to suffer through two months.

Lately I have been getting really tired. I think Im starting to want to settle for a bit which is strange because part of me is still wanting to move. I think Im just not cut out for long term travel the way I want to be. Oh well. I still have a few months left before anything can be decided so maybe Ill change my mind again.

Barcelona will most likey be my destination at the end of all of this. There are plenty of reasons to go and only one or two, well three actually, not to. Id say thats pretty good.

The rain has finally stopped and that is a good sign for getting to the airport. I was worried about getting wet on the way and catching my death because Im always cold in airports anyway.

As for what I have done since I got here...well, it was pretty much nothing. I didnt sleep a lot and then I kind of did. Its weird. I didnt see many tourist attractions but then again I never do. I did see the wall at 4am. I was supposed to shoot a set against it but then they are paining over all the old stuff and putting up shitty murals. There is on that says ¨how´s god? She´s Black¨ haha. Id say that was the only good one. Well, then again there was one with Batman and Michael Jackson... not really sure what they are trying to do there.

I shot a set with my friend Andrea. I really like it which is good because shooting it was hell. I was so cold inside an abandoned Russian radio station pressing my bare skin agains glass and concrete. It was so cold I had a chill for more than a day. But it looks nice and its the first time I really like my ass, ever.

Sorry, back on topic. I went to a bbq one day and then tried to find a party to go to but they all sucked so we just walked around for a while. I got to see Berlin in a more natural way I think. Had I only seen tourist centers I would hate this place.

Its a very American city. Long, wide streets and thousands of corporate stores on every block. The urban sprall is endless and it take about an hour to get from one side of the city to the other by train. The neighborhoods seem to be pretty segrigated too as far as who lives where. Reminds me of Chicago. Its cheap here though which is one benefit I suppose.

The sun is finally coming up here and I think I am about to take my last proper shower for a long time. I better enjoy it now.

I fear that I will turn into one of those hippie traveler chicks in Inida. Ewww. I hate ankle lenghth skirts that are made of cotton and dyed off white. I dont like the shirts that always go with them either. If I leave India wearing a braclet with sea shells or rocks I give you permission to knock some sense into me. If you dont, maybe I should be knocking sense into you... haha. Kidding, of course. But the clothes will be functional and I cant really argue with that.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Past Lives

So I have way too much time on my hands because I was playing on the internet and found a bunch of pictures of me from way back when. I think they are funny because they are like looking at a totally different person!

Im pretty sure they were all taken at about the same time but I cant be sure. I think the last one was when I had just turned 21. The rest I should be about 20. In any case, it was the year I moved into the house on Stark St and was still working at the club. I think I was still going to school then too...! Wow.

There are so many more pictures like this in Portland. I would love to share them with you but they are all packed away, waiting for my return.