Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good Days Followed By A Bad Day

Since I last updated a lot of things have happened. I'm currently in DC after a weekend in Richmond. Its been really nice seeing everyone, making new friends, eating vegan food, hanging out and not stressing about things.

I am a little stressed today but its been a bad day so far. I have a really nasty ear infection right now. My left ear has been bleeding the past two nights and the lack of health care coverage here has made it difficult to get it treated. Its now spread to the other ear and I may have a slight sinus infection to go with. Sexy.

Today was spent searching for the clinic so I can get this shit taken care of. Joanna came with me for moral support and company. We walked all over trying to find the place and ended up at the drug rehab center. Oops. I finally found the clinic but they cant see me until tomorrow. Bummer. I hope my ears don't bleed again tonight.

On the way back from the clinic I found myself confronting a very large man on the street. I'm thinking I should probably be more intimidated and afraid of people than I am. I have become somewhat aggressive with age and its bound to get me into trouble one of these days.

The asshole checked me on the sidewalk. I didn't do anything to him he just felt like being a racist dick and proceeded to push me over and say something about my being a stupid white girl. My hot temper gets the best of me. I wanted to smash the glass bottle I had over his face.

I have no patience and I feel like people are just pushing me to see how much shit Ill take before I snap. Its not going to be much more....I hate people.

But in lighter news, I spent the weekend in Richmond and had a great time. I made two pies while I was there and hung out with friends. I also went to something called "Best Friends Day." Not exactly my cup of tea but it was fun none the less. Lots of drunk punks in a dirty lake. My ability to be a social cameleon ensures that, while I am fake a lot of the time, I have a least a decent time no matter where I go. That being said, it was fun enough and I got to see Torch for a hot second.

But now Im back in DC trying not to punch people and to clean out my ears. Ill be here until Saturday morning and then Ill head back to NY for the rest of my time on the East Coast. Its a shame I have to leave so soon. I have some really great friends out here and its sad to be leaving them. Sigh. Some day Ill be good at goodbye, maybe.

I would be lying if I said that I was really excited about going back to PDX. Im more nervous than anything. Mostly because I dont know what the next four weeks will hold when I dont really know a lot of people there anymore. It will be wonderful to see my grandmother but strange when it comes to pretty much everyone else. My mother is dating a guy and now they live together with his two kids. I have no interest in being big sis to anyone. Most of my friends have moved away or the relationship has changed too much since the last time I was there.

Riding a bike is what Im really excited about. And catching up with an making new friends.

I havent taken any pictures of my time back in the states yet and I feel bad about it. Ive been trying to be better about it but sometimes I just get so caught up with hanging out and having fun.

For today, I have a few more errands to run while people are working. Saves the Day is the soundtrack to my day and Im totally ok with that. Makes me so sad and happy at the same time. Im hoping this whole ear thing wont cost me a lot so I can get a new ipod but Im not going to hold my breath on that.

Sorry Im in such a bad mood and not better at updating all of you. Its the first time Ive had the time to update since I got here and now Im grumpy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting to NYC

Oh my god. What a long series of craziness!

Ok. From the beginning. The journey to New York in total was going to be over 80 hours. Right from the beginning it was action packed! Well, not really. But some crazy shit did happen.

On the overnight bus from Pokhara to Sanauli, at about 2am, the bus tipped over. The roads in Nepal are pretty dangerous and narrow and sometimes there isn't enough space to pass one another. On a road that was bordered by one cliff and one hill, we were, thankfully, on the inside. The driver pulled over just a little too far and the wheels sank into the gutter. The bus tipped onto its side and was stuck. I wanst hurt, although a lot of people were. It took what felt like a life time to climb out onto the road.

So at 2am, in the middle of nowhere Nepal, six Nepalese men and myself went hitch hiking. Its totally normal and reliable form of travel there so we hopped onto the top of a lori and rode the rest of the way to the border. It was fun but nerve wracking because I kept thinking that if it tipped over too, it would be my end.

I reached the border of Nepal and India at about 6am. Woke up the immigration officer and after a 40 minute battle, he finally got out of bed and stamped my passport.

On to Gorahkpur. I had reserved a train ticket but, per standard Indian crap, when I gt the the station to pick it up I didn't actually have a place on the train. A 7 hour bus ride to Lucknow would remedy the problem and I could take an over night train from there. Simple enough right?

The bus to Lucknow ended up taking 10 hours. We got stuck in a major traffic lock, took a detour and ended up with our bus stuck in mud in some village somewhere. The only time I have ever thanked being a woman in India was when they told me that I didn't have to stand in knee high mud to help push the bus out.

I made it to the train station with only 10minutes to spare. Good God, it was stressful.

The train was posh though. 2AC with a bunch of women and chai and bed linens. I slept well.

I arrive in Delhi in the morning and spent the day napping, eating and wandering around the markets. I bought spice for Phil from a man who I chatted with and drank chai with for hours.

Later in the evening I went out to wander the bazaar at night. I stopped to buy bangles and talked to another man and his brother for two hours. They were Muslim and two of the nicest people in Delhi. They invited me to dinner with their family and to continue talking with them until I needed to leave for the aeroport. I accepted.

I forgot for that moment that Muslims eat a lot of meat and when I arrived for dinner was served Buffalo meat. oops. But, for me, it was a unique opportunity that probably wouldn't arise again. To avoid being rude I ate the meat and with the men no less. The women ate later in a separate part of the house and I was privilege enough to sit with them and see behind the burkas. Totally worth eating meat, even though it was nasty as hell, for the experience of a life time.

The eldest woman, I forget her name, invited me to her grandsons wedding. It is a great honor to have foreigners at weddings in India and since the family liked me and I them, she said that she would begin looking for a wife for her son and would have a big wedding next year. I agreed that if they boys emailed me and were serious about my coming back, I would be honored to be their guest.

Anyway, I left them to head out to the aeroport and to my wonderful surprise I found that the rickshaw drivers were on strike that day. Great. After an hour of bargaining and finding three British guys to go with we split the taxi for Rs. 800. (this was an outrageous price. Its four times what it should have been, even with four people. But they had wanted to charge me Rs. 500 on my own so...) There was a strike, what could we do?

At the aeroport, my bag was too heavy to check. I had to pack things with me and throw a few things away. I finally got on board and was finally off to Moscow. OMG!

Moscow was boring. The aeroport is lame, nothing there. I met a German girl who was just a doll. We have agreed to keep in contact and when Im back in Europe Ill have another person to go hangout with!

The 11 hour flight to NYC was just long and dull. I felt like it would never end and that I would explode with anticipation.

I kind of panicked upon arrival. I hadn't heard from anyone about a place to stay and couldn't get hold of Phil. It was all finally worked out and now I'm sitting happy in Brooklyn. Vegan dinner, a long sleep and a breakfast of bagels later and Im feeling relaxed. I just need a shower and to find a phone and everything will be complete!

Seeing Phil is just wonderful. I have missed him so much. And in a day or so, Ill head down to DC to see a few more people!

I still have pictures from Nepal to upload and all that but for now, Im just enjoying the fact that I can wear short shorts, eat western vegan food and fucking relax!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can you open my magic box?

I dont really want to leave Nepal and go back to India. As much as I enjoy India, Delhi sucks and Nepali people are so much nicer. Its going to be a very long journey.

I leave tonight on an overnight bus to Sunauli, the border. Ill arrive at 5am, wait for the border to open and walk across to catch another bus to Gorakhpur. From there Ill get on a train. Its 16 hours by train from Gorakhpur to Delhi.

My flight out of Delhi is at 2am on the 18th. From Delhi Ill fly to Moscow where I have an eight hour layover. Then another flight to New York. Yuck.

10 hours to the border
3 hours from Sunauli to Gorakhpur
16 hours on a train to Delhi
7 hours flight from Delhi to Moscow
+11 hours flight from Moscow to NYC

Total: 47 hours of travel. This does not include wait time/layovers/ and the possibility that Ill be going directly from NYC to DC, which is an additional 4 or 5 hours.

But for right now Im still trying to enjoy what Pokhara has to offer. Im a little ill today because I accidentally drank too much last night and got locked out of my hotel in the rain. Thankfully I asked one of the guys I was hanging out with to walk me home and when I couldnt get in he invited me to take the extra bed in his room. It was essentially on the other side of Lakeside.

I fell asleep to him playing guitar and singing songe in Swedish. Haha.

But to explain my over consumption of alcohol last night: I have a magic box. Its a small wooden box that has to be opened a very specific way. Beer here is really expensive so as way of getting out of my bill for one beer, we told the bar owner that if he could open it we would pay for the beer and taxes. If he couldnt, he would give us free beer. Turned out he couldn't open it and instead of giving us one free beer eacg it was bottomless glasses of whiskey. Oops. It was fun and I didnt get too drunk but it was certainly more than Im used to drinking.

I love my magic box.

Before I went to meet the guys last night I stopped into a jewlery shop and ended up talking with two Muslim men for over an hour about Islam. Some of you know how fascinated I am with Islam so I was really excited to discuss the Quaran and the history of Isalm.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Craziest Week of My Life So Far!

Where to start? I always do this but this time its really difficult because there is SO much to tell. Ill just start from the beginning and forget what ever I already told. You can read it again, it wont kill you.

I left Jake at the train station in Varanasi on the 3rd. It was supposed to be an easy train ride north to Gorakhpur to catch the bus to Nepal. The trains in India are insane! I couldn't find the proper car or anyone to help me find it when I bumped into four British guys. They were also looking for the same car and were worried about missing the train. They took me under their wings and I went off with them to find my proper place. When we finally found it, it turned out I was sitting in a private compartment with six Indian men, alone. Andy came over to check on me a few times and told me to call if I needed anything. The men stared at me for almost an hour before they got bored and went to sleep.

The next morning, as we arrived in Gorakhpur I met three girls from Canada. I caught a bus with them to the border, thinking that the guys were headed somewhere else. But to my surprise, I found them at the border office as I arrived. They had somehow beat there!

We all decided to take a bus together to Pokhara and set off! It took 12 hours to get to Pokhara instead of six. We were all tired and hungry and thought it would be better if I stuck with them instead of wandering the streets alone. I shared a room with Max and the other three piled into another room. There I discovered that my ipod was missing. I'm pretty sure it was stolen. I thought I would be more upset than I am.... still, it sucks.

Our first full day in Pokhara was spent riding motor bikes around! It was so much fun and I got tons of great pictures from the back! The lake here is so beautiful and warm! We also visited the bat caves and I broke my second camera of the trip in there. Thankfully, the screen is the only broken part!

Another day in Pokhara was spent wandering around and taking it easy. We had a pick nick at the lake and went swimming with the local kids. It was good to rest up because the next day was our rafting adventure! The guys had run into a friend from home and invited him to come along on the raft. We were now a group of nine! And the boy/girl ratio balanced out a little!

The rafting trip was fun, even though I thought I was going to die. Id do it again in a heart beat!

We ended the rafting trip in the middle of nowhere just outside Royal Chitwan National Park and had to take a truck into town. They guys drank a whole bottle of whiskey on the way and were completely pissed by the time we got there. After my "near death experience" I wanted a drink and ended up pissed as well. But it was all good fun.

We went for elephant baths in the morning! I thought that riding an elephant would be cruel but when its to the river for a bath they love it! They go nuts for spraying people with water and playing and splashing. I had such a fun time but ended up really dirty because of it. We even got a ride back to the hotel after the bath.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out and nursing hangovers and making plans for trekking. Two of the girls had to head back to Pokhara and couldn't go trekking so we had to say goodbye. I was sad to see them go and will have to make a trip to Cambridge to visit next year.

The trek was so crazy and amazing and exhausting and wonderful. I hated so much of it but also loved it at the same time. It was two full days of walking. 16km the first and 22km the second. We walked through the jungle to a village and then back again. It rained most of the way and the leeches were out in full force. Nasty. I was covered in them but Danny got the worst of it out of everyone. The grass in the jungle is crazy. We felt like ants crawling trough someones front yard it was so tall! We saw two wild rhinos and a tiger and some deer. Now Im glad I did it but at the time I was miserable.

We stayed in this tiny village where I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life. We drank beer and ate more Dal Baht than you could dream of and went to bed early. I have so many cuts, scrapes, blisters and leech scars on my feet and legs its disgusting. Im hoping everything will heal by the time I get back to New York otherwise Ill have to wear trousers and trainers the whole time Im there!

Haha. To make things even better, after trekking 22km the second day we had made arrangements to sleep in a tower in the jungle. We were all very tired, grumpy and hungry and the guide wanted us to go as soon as we got back. We all refused and insisted on real food and showers. We only got the first before we had to go.

The tower was horrible. Overpriced, dirty, filled with bugs and not enough space for all seven of us. I don't think it would have been so bad but we were tired and just wanted rest.

The next day we headed back into town where we sat in the same restaurant all day. We had three meals there and lounged around until late in the evening. Finn and I ran off to find tee shirts, and everyone else went to check the internet and to buy bus tickets and stuff but other than that we didnt leave for 24 hours! As a joke, Finn asked if we could sleep there and the waiters said yes! So we slept there!

Finn and I had a great time with a shop keeper trying to buy silly things. We were bargaining hard and he wouldnt budge! We finally offered him whiskey and he finally lowered his price! Haha. I love it.

Sleeping in the restaurant turned out to be a crazy idea. The waiters gave us a "special lassi" for free and tons of free beer. They watched porn with us and tried to make a dance party. It was all crazy fun. I have a new love of funk music and some memories that will last me quite a while.

Somewhere in all of that we had a dance party in a rooftop restaurant. The Nepali guy in the middle asked me at the end of all of it: "Sometime? Long love?" Hahahaha. He was really drunk and we all got a laugh out of it.

But my ass hurts and its already taken me three hours to do this much so youll have t wait for the rest of the photos until later! Dont worry, Ill upload them before I leave Nepal.