Category: Asia

Vietnam postcard

[From January 2009.] This grit swirl hornblow scooter mayhem, haze and heat leaning on French and traditional Mekong architecture, I’m filthy sweat beyond report grinning my way through the transition from Vietnam’s central coast to […]

India postcard

[From December 2007.] Drinking chai and chatting  with the Tiwari brothers at their book, moneychange, taxi, travel arrangement, and internet shop, some tourists talking about Shantaram.  When they leave, Sunit twists up his face and says, […]

Long Asia Tour Packing List

This is the packing list that I used for an ’07-’08 cycle expedition tour in Asia (Pakistan/India/China/Tibet/Nepal).  As I look it over now, it seems intolerably, unthinkably bloated. In my defense, I was doing a number of diverse things in addition to touring, including two stage races, one one-day race, several academic lectures, and research at Tibetan monasteries. But what on Earth did I need three pairs of underwear and two t-shirts for?

India postcard

Baba is asleep in his usual spot across the walkway, Dog Girl and Australia are asleep on a cot, Kiri has gone home having rethought the whole thing, and Maruti keeps trying to talk to me. Soon he falls asleep, but I can’t. Tons of crazy shit happen in the night, and now I understand what the noises are that I’ve wondered about from my apartment.

India journal entry

[From December 2007.]

Holy shit, went to a wedding last night, and it was insane and wonderful.

Three of us — Sunil, his cousin, and I (Raju had to work) — took a cycle rickshaw uptown, stopping on the way due to the incredibly dense traffic and to get beetlenut.  Of course, my mouth immediately filled with blood red saliva, and I’m sitting there with it spilling out on to my chin and running down my throat, and I’m like, “do I swallow the first part?” because it starts with chewing the leafy outside, which causes the spit, and they have no idea what I’m saying because my mouth is full.  Until I get it across what I’m asking, it’s not as if Sunil’s english is that great anyway, and they’re shaking their heads vigorously, no, “no drink!” and I’m thinking, uh oh.  But it only made my stomach achy later, though that was somewhat overdetermined.

Sunil and his cousin keep looking at me funny until I’m like, “what?”

India postcard

[From December 2007.] Today Raju and Sunil took me around the textile neighborhood of Benaras, into factories and dye shops.  We walked around the winding back streets, jumped into tuktuks piloted by their friends and […]

Nepal postcard

[From November 2007.] Pedaled into Chitwan National Park via backroads and dirt paths, spent time with elephants and debated metaphysics with Nepalese Christians, of which there are not particularly many, but they somehow found me.  […]