Sunday, July 6, 2014

You just woke up disoriented and with this bracelet on your arm?

That means you've been to fusion.
It's ok if you don't remember, but the name should ring a bell as a place you were planning to go to a few weeks back. 
Here area few other symptoms you might be experiencing which should convince you I know what i'm talking about.

Your joints (the body ones! your smokables are safe in the drawer you put them in) - you can hear a light squeaking or cracking sound in between your joints when you lie still for more than a minute - this is fine. Well, it's probably very very bad, but it's fine because there is a reason for it. The reason being that you probably haven't stopped moving for about 5 days straight, which should not be "fine" or "cool" (as the kids say these days) with your body unless you take a shit load of drugs.
Which... brings me to my next point.
Whatever your poison is, and I judge no substance as I do no wo(man), you probably took a lot more in a lot less time than you ever did before. This in turn, as was to be expected by the pre-fusion you who probably forgot to give a fuck, is extremely awesome for the version of you which you have no memory of, but also a very classic dick move by that very same guy.
What to do? Drug switch! switch to legal drugs for a while. whatever you can get; aspirin, advil, herbal tea (the one that makes you go poop) swallow as many as you can without crossing the suicide line*. and then, sleep. sleep like you never slept before. (Do not die!)

*important side note - I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about and if you die overdosing on aspirin it's because you are stupid and it's your own fault.

Con-fusion -  You may miss out on parts of conversations, forget words you thought you knew, mis-read human reactions to what you do or say and in general look to the outside world anywhere between weird and retarded.
What to do? Don't worry about this one. It's just you getting used to the boring pointless rules of society again. Fusion had you surrounded by people who were constantly happy and excited about stuff. Now most of the people you see are just waiting to finish their day so they can watch another episode of something that looks and sounds like a thousand things they saw and heard before.

legs - those will hurt. a lot. and they should. because unless you are a professional stomping and jumping athlete (those exist, somewhere) your legs are not built for those repetitive movements to be performed for that long.
What to do? find a Thai person (or just a person who can perform Thai massage) and ask her/him to dislocate and relocate every bone in your body right after she finishes mashing back into human form what is left of your muscles. (You can also lie on a road and let a truck run over you, effects are similar and it's cheaper) in the meantime, don't walk! anywhere! Give your feet a vacation. Don't dance. Even if your body is moving around. Slap yourself in the face as hard as you can. Maybe use a shoe so as to make it more memorable. Stay. Put. Relax!

Constantly feeling half dead - You are TIRED! as FUCK! you WILL fall asleep at every occasion. This situation will continue for a few days. 
What to do? regardless of how many hours of healthy amazing (aspirin induced?) sleep you get. It will not be enough. You need a week to get all the awesome out of your system. That "awesome" tells your body that if go back to sleep maybe you will wake up back in fusion. You won't. Life is samsara and the suffering will continue until your rebirth in June 2015. Lucky for you the zombie look is making a comeback in recent years.

Techno - you cannot hear it anymore. Not in the magical sense that it disappears from the world, no. in the very real sense of feeling like your body rejecting a transplanted organ. Only this time it's sound. See, your head, it has been hearing techno non stop for days now. days! Even if you think you listened to something else, it was always there, lurking, beating, injecting bass into your tired easily infiltrated brain. 
What to do? Now it's rehabilitation time. try something with less bass. maybe some classic rock ballads or some bach or schuman. those will sound alien and weird at first but after a few hours of therapy you might be able to maybe, just maybe, go to another berlin party in a week or two.

un-warranted feeling of sadness - walking down the street you might get the so called flashback. it's not one of those somewhat mythical and highly controversial LSD ones but rather a very much real and common "oh, this actually happened to me and it was awesome!" one. these can be triggered by any display of happiness by the people around you.
What to do? To get rid of the aforementioned sadness maybe try and stay at home for a few days with zero human contact and no romantic comedies. Those are just bad, fusion or no fusion. (except for Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, gondry is awesome)
Another very important un-sadness tip is to STAY AWAY from anything shiny! I cannot emphasize this enough. shiny things are the best and the best things are fusion things and fusion things will make you nostalgic and sad. Go to a dark or at the very least very badly lit bar. meet a guy who has been drunk for 10 years now and has never left his city. become best friends with him for 2 weeks until it all passes.

Perception of time - for the next days after the festival people you meet who seem to remember you disappeared for a few days, and for some reason remember where to, will ask you: "so, how was it?"
your automatic response will be "what" but at this point you should already understand and remember where you've been and will try to answer but come up with nothing. and they will try to push for an answer with questions like "what did you do there? on the first day for example" and all you can remember is setting up the camp (vaguely, vaguely...) and then a blur of colors, emotions, music with absolutely no time stamp on any of them. You might remember picking up the program and choosing things to go to, and then another memory of throwing that shit away and just walking around swaying from side to side for hours to wherever the music is playing with the occasional Dixie stop.
What to do? don't worry about it. perception of time is an overrated concept. who cares what happened when? as long as things keep happening you are either alive or a part of some robot/alien/some rich guy simulation, enjoy the ride.

glitter - when you woke up this morning after cleaning up the saliva from the side of your mouth you noticed something blinking at you from your pillow. that's glitter. if you go to the toilet and look at your face again and move it from side to side to the light of your bathroom mirror you will notice endless particles of this sparkling material. it. will. be. everywhere.
What to do? getting rid of the glitter will take anywhere between 10-15 showers. if you need to get to work soon I would advise to just go to a pool and swim for a few hours. Make sure you swim HARD! (which is the same as playing hard. In that it means absolutely nothing and is just a way for a person to prove he is a douche by saying it)

But honestly, all of this is all bullshit. The only thing you NEED to do is put a reminder for December to buy a ticket for fusion 2015.
I'll see you there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a short delhi post

Delhi... my home away from home away from calm and serenity.
Again i arrive to the busy streets of pahar ganj bursting with riksha
drivers offering competitive over priced rates for transportation, a multitude of rasta wearing
europeans and who could forget the beloved "mother and daughter" re-discovering
their relationship... (mom finds out her daughter is a slacker who smokes drugs, daughter finds out mom is a flirt who likes old crazy hippies..., see also: daughter finds out her mom is hot and no one pays any attention to her).
Arriving to delhi around 11 PM we were forced to look for a place close to curfew time.
After all i've been through, for some reason i was still naive and headed straight for the guest house i stayed in last time since -they said they'd give me a discaount-... I - AM - AN IDIOT... what was i thinking?!
arriving to Anoop hotel (remember the name, never go there, and if you do please tell them your not going to stay there because I told you it's shit. thank you.) i demanded my discount, was informed i never stayed in the hotel and the price i was offered was higher than what i paid last time. greedy assholes, i hope they burn in hindu hell while the devil stuffs gold coins down their throat, then i hope they get ass raped with credit cards and have their penises tied to 10 Kg hanging gold bullions.
Sorry, got carried away... anyway we moved to a room with no windows which was much cheaper and the next day was spent with shopping and random running around looking for places to drink.
Evening arrived and we found ourselves in a bar in our area. the time was somewhere around the end of july, and so the indian people was still grieving the death of their messiah "michael jackson". the bar - like any other place with a screen - showed michael jackson music videos in repeat for the 3 hours we were there. a hippie group sitting 2 tables away from us were got wasted on local hard liquor and on probably less local hash. one of them got worked up and started doing jackson impersonations. apparently that didn't go well with the sikh owner (probably a devout fan of jackson and his legacy) and he got really upset to the point he was ready to lose the entire table - 8 costumers - just to prevent the sacrilege of his beloved artist.
while this was happening an indian guy from an adjacent table waved at me to join their table,
i was thinking "great, nice local people to converse with", joining their table the regular "wht's your good name", "what is your country" were followed by the not so regular question posed by one of the guys "well, i am a student and don't have too much money, can you pay for my drinks?", this is where i get up, and move to another table full of young europeans. I mean really... at least he could talk to me a little more before asking for money,offering me sexual favors, or offering me something to smoke... who knows, i might have bought him a beer myself
even without being asked for it, but nooo... he had to be abnoxious and stupid. (which is even better for me, just saved me money for another beer for myself).
meanwhile... at the other table...
i joined a group of 3 girls and 2 guys noisily drinking beer and discussing their travels.
don't remember anything interesting but after the bar we went to their hostel, where one of the guys managed to fall of the bed and vomit on the floor while i was getting a blowjob and my friend was busy with the other 2 girls doing some kind of weird S&M shit.
shit... i'm lying again, except for the vomiting guy, that's all true. but we just sat there, listened to music untill they kicked us out saying they want to sleep. which was just as well. Looking back
at that night i can't remember a single one of the 3 that actually looked good...
Waking up with a minor hangover the next day about an hour left untill our train is due we went out for a little shopping and train ticket booking. got on the train when it was almost off the platform and TA DA! we are in Varanasi!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rishikesh. yep. rishikesh...

yes! spirituality! benny is in the house!!! we arrived to rishikesh in the dim lighting setting of
a moonsoon afternoon. upon our dis-embarkation form the bus we were immidiately approached
by a very spiritual riskha driver who offered to take us to a very spiritual guest house with
very spiritual guides to help us find our way.
after 15 minutes of driving we arrived to a guest house. which didn't look very different from
the 30+ guest houses i've seen so far but was obviously much more spiritual since it cost about 30%
more than the prices i was used to. (spirituality, like everything else, has it's price).

And so after incisive searching I finally found a place after looking up a message i got online from a friend. When we arrived at the guest house the rickshaw driver apparently knew The landlady, which left me a bit perplexed since he took us to 5 other expensive places before and told us he doesn’t know other good cheap places. He also took the liberty of sitting in our new room and not leaving until he got a tip (“no, no, not 30… I want 80…”)

Settling in and paying didi for the first night (a price we later discovered was higher than she offered to other travelers, surprise, surprise…) we went out to explore rishikesh. Home to the mighty ganga river, a multitude of temples and other stuff that doesn’t matter.

First day of arrival we performed our first sacrilege by going to the biggest temple and

playing with the thousands of gods (hi fiving, skirt lifting, arguing using foul language), a photo of D Honoring the mighty god of construction is included.

After surrendering ourselves to a puja ceremony (and surrendering 50 rupees each in the process) we got lost in the infinite rooms and corridors of that 7 story building, waking up a homeless guy, sleeping in one of the deserted rooms intended for the gods, in the process.

He asked us for some money but being homeless and probably hungry he was no match for our superior walking away speed (another homeless person out-smarted! Ha ha!).

After hours on end we finally found our way out of there and set our steps toward the bridge which they say connects the touristy part of the city we stayed in, to the more authentic one on the other of the river. Although we never really crossed that bridge we did see it and the monkeys collecting passing tolls from the hands and bags of un-careful Indians and tourists crossing it.

Now… this is something most people don’t know but around 467 BC the monkeys used to run a ferry on the river (long before the bridge was built) and they used to charge a sex toll for

crossing. You could have sex with 1 monkey to cross in economy monkey class boat or have sex With 5-7 of them to go first class by monkey catapult.

All true… but don’t Google it, it’s a well kept secret and no information about it can be found anywhere (except on the secret monkey intranet).

Moving on, on the way back from the bridge we stopped in a massage parlor that looked pretty decent and got an appointment for the next day. The lady inside (who looked pretty good by all standards) assured us with smiles and winks that she had been studying kerla massage techniques for 4 years back south in her home town (retrospective note: lying seducing bitch!).

The next day we came in for a massage. Got covered in oil (I do mean “covered”, completely) and for one hour had hands sliding over our bodies (D who was treated by the lady we talked to the day before even got his wee wee oiled!, I was in the hands of an old lady and thankfully mine was left un-touched). After the endeavor we asked about the massage course (and were given a 60% discount, as a former salesman I should have known something is fishy, discounts which are “just for you” usually are).

Next day arriving at the establishment we saw this “she devil” sitting at her desk with a “massage for dummies” book, now get this: prior to explaining anything to us, she consulted the book (imagine going to a history course in uni and having you professor looking at a book to remind himself what year world war 2 started…). After our first lesson we came out very frustrated, we actually understood about eurovedic massage less than we did before the useless waste of time that con called a lesson. We spent the following hours letting our anger boil inside of us for falling into her trap, 3 hours and 4 cups of coffee later we came back there and cancelled the rest of the course.

IF she would have come to visit us and drink with us at our guest house as she promised she would when we met and IF she would do something kinky with at least one of us, as she implied she would by touching my friend’s penis and by opening the shower door when I asked for soap. We might have let it slide… Be that as it may, she never came and nothing happened and we felt cheated and angry.

Still in a course attending frenzy I enlisted to yet another massage course instead.

This one promised no discounts but had an instructor that actually knew what he was doing without consulting a guide book (also I got this cool certificate I can hang on my wall now).

Same night we also met a Swedish and an English girl who made our stay that much more pleasant (no, you perverts! nothing happened!).

My first subject was my friend D (cause nothing brings heterosexual travelling partners closer than a foot massage…) and the instructor was wearing training pants and everything was fine, We agreed to do the back the next day. That night an English girl whom we’ll name A arrived at our guest house and not wanting to keep massaging my hairy friend I offered her to be the subject of my next lesson, she was somewhat reluctant but agreed once I re-assured her it’s a back massage and she has nothing to worry about. Next day we walk into the massage room with Ramzy (a-la instructor) and at this point he informed me we’ll do the front today encouraging A to lie on her back and take her shirt off. That same Ramzy who seemed fine with doing the massage with pants on just yesterday took them off and replaced them with a loin cloth created from a towel while displaying his tanga underwear clad package.

Needless to say I felt awkward but A kept her cool, probably because, unlike me, she didn’t know it can be done with the instructor’s pants still on. The whole affair felt weird and A left after an hour despite my pleads to use her as a training subject for a while longer (she did say I was pretty good though and left her e-mail before leaving, so I guess it’s ok, right?).

Next day I managed to convince the blond Swedish girl to be my massage subject, this time it really was a back massage… surprisingly Ramzy decided to leave his pants on this time, for reasons which are beyond my understanding (surely the blond Swedish girl was worth the traditional pants off ritual…), and that was all.

I graduated the massage academy summa cum laude and received my well deserved certificate (which of course came with an offer to buy over priced massage oils…).

That night (or maybe it was the night before? Fuck it… you wouldn’t know the difference anyway ) me and the swedish girl went to buy beer at the local kiosk owned by Danish.

We were invited to sit down and join him for a smoke, when all of a sudden, 3 hours passed. Looking back I can remember talking business about running a kiosk, smoking a few joints and laughing my ass off about a product which, by it’s package, now comes with more “grung” (or some other non-existing ingredient…) which obviously makes it better since the “grung” word was written inside an exploding frame thingie…

Going back to our rooms we found Rickey who was stalking the girls room, he talked about he’s

Life, showed us some passive aggressiveness and was generally fucked by an india\drug over dose. Next day we packed our bags and got a rickshaw to the train station. Got on the train when it already started moving (again…) and I found myself back in delhi…

dharamshala -2 the revenge.

"this time i will do more than smoke and drink mint tea!" that was my promise
to myself prior to coming back for a second visit in dharamshala. and i would repeat it
like a mantra to anyone who'd listen! (no one did...)
For you see... the last time i was here, in this magical home of banished tebetians and the dalai lama (some 4 months before) i spent most of my time i
n a horizontal position inhaling and exhaling...
This time though, is going to be different! i'm going to ggo places! (coffee place - Mcloud gange),
change my way of thinking (nothing good in these parenthesis... made you look...), drink more alcohol (this one worked just as i planned it) and maybe even meet my soul mate... (i was so close... and then i introduced myself...) but most importantly, i WILL do some courses!
first 5 days were spent mainly moving between the movie room and the outside chairs in the israli
restaurant... (lazyness - 1 self fulfillment - 0)
and then... a godsend! a friend from singapore is doing a yoga course! i can join him! teras of joy went down my cheek as i contemplated the happiness of actu
ally doing a course in dharamshala... i knew i can count on his serious attitude to make it happen.
the next day 10 AM i was at the yoga place, wearing my only wide pair of pants, and my sandals
which were just used for 10 days of trekking. as a result my sandals aquired this rather distinctive and disgusting scent... one which i became aware of once i took of my sandals and
realized that they smell, and as a consequence so do my feet... th
is has put my in an awkward position, in which i have to divide my attention between the teachings of master yogi and the need to keep my feet on the ground so the smell doesn't bother the other students while they're
trying to do the "manstrating frog in a lotus" position.
2 hours of closing my eyes to relax and opening them again every 10 seconds to look at other
participants to know what the hell i'm supposed to do (the yogi had a quiet melodic whisper-like
kind off sexy utterly un-understandable voice) it was over.
i said thank you and promised to come back, i never saw him again...
now... you people have no idea how hard it is to wake up at 9 PM after a night of hard drinking
that ends at 3... and to wake up to do yoga... of all things...
maybe some of you have an idea
, but tou wouldn't go to yoga either so get off my back!
In order to save my soul from damnation allah has sent a messanger to me, telling me about
a painting class that was taught in the afternoon. "Finally!" i thought. something i can do
while intoxicated and still feel like i'm being creative or productive or other "-ive"s....

It was a chilly tuesday (or any other day) when i came into Krishna's shop.
(a l
a art teacher and seller of stoned baba paintings extra-ordinaire) he ushered me in and
seated me on the floor next to the canvas, took a brush and painted an outline of a sun, then, he put the brush in my hands and told me to... fill the outline it using the yellow paint.
i thought "ok, this is probably a test, i will have to prove my steady hand with the brush and
then he will get me on my way to creating my first kandinsky" i finished coloring the sun thingie
(just mildly going out of line...). krishna looked at it, took my brush again and added border outlines on the top and bottom and on the saides, and said to me:
"not color these lines with this coloe, don't go out of line". apparantly the sun wasn't enough and
he needed more assurences. so i did as i was told.
and let me tell you! i was like a devil with a coloring book! i filled those outlines like there was no tomorrow! upward strokes, downward strokes, even side strokes! any 5 years old would look
at me with shock and awe! as it were, the swiss girl who was sitting next to me looked at me like
i was a retarded elephant. (and you know the kind of looks they get...)
after 2 hours of relentless (and expert) coloring efforts i was sent back home to let the color dry.
arriving the next day for my coloring class i discovered krishna is not there and was informed
by his neighbour shop keeper that he is a bit sick and should come back any minute.
i sat in the nearbye coffee shop and waited to be called upon. after 15 minutes i tried again and was told by the same neighbour that he was just there and (in order to preserve the culture i guess..) said he'll be back in one hour, of course i can there an hour later to be told by the neghbour yet again that he thinks that my class might be cancelled for today
... (you don't say, sherlock...) so the next day, to get back at krishna i didn't come to the class. (except for the vengence there was the thing of me waking up too late and having a scary
craving for breakfast and some sofa chilling time).
Since i had only 2 days left prior to my scheduled departure to rishikesh i had to complete the painting ASAP. and so the following 2 days i worked for 4 hours every time when on the last day
i kept coloring untill i had 1 hour left to the bus. at this point krishna took away the brush from me and helped me finish painting the palm tree trunks and most of the leaves... (i did 1... he did the other 56...). i ran out of there to pack and we had to catch a taxi to chase down our bus and we cought it midway towards the next town (after the taxi driver nearly killed us and blew his
horn at the bus for 5 minutes).
despite everything i was happy and pleased with myself. ever since i have been carrying this canvas with a painting of palms over a sunset which was colored almost entirely by myslef!

if any of you devoted readers have a sketch you'd like colored proffesionaly, please supply me with the colors, instructions and 10 hours of work, and i swear, I will give you the best coloring money can buy! (prices may vary upon size of canvas, coloring time is a constant.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ladies and gents, please welcome : leh and kashmir!!

ahh!!! woooo!! we love you leh and kashmir!
i want to have your baby!!! i'm your biggest fan!!

ok, ok... everyone keep cool. don't get over excited, it's bad for business...
let me tell you all about it and then you can make a calculated wise un-impulssive decision.
i was in manali for 2 days when i made contact with "a" with whom i used to travel and she told
me to get to leh as soon as possible. and so i did...
after 3 days in manali i took the night bus to leh.
there are 2 options for this ride.
A) take the ride straight, 18 hours of driving persuming there are no other cars on the road, no debris or snow falling from the snowy mountains surrounding the road, no harsh weather conditions and perferably the mini bus has no passengers.

B) the the ride with a sleep over in a tent village, bringing the total of on the road time to 30+ hours.
being in a hurry to reach leh, i chose option A.

2 AM. i am driven to a junction and waiting for the mini-van. the mini van arrives, i am seated
next to a french girl who again informs me she get's motion sickness and might throw up on me on the way... (why does this keep happening to me?!?!).
we start going. this ride is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world (second highest motorable road in the world) but i decided it's not going to stop me! and so every 5 minutes i could see a rock to split my head on, a cliff to break my legs from, a puddle of muddy snow to help our mini van slide towards oblivion...
after wrecking my nerves on different kinds of deaths during about 16 hours of driving we
stopped for "30" minutes in the tent site so the driver could drink chai, powder their noses and freshen up in general.
2 hours later we understood something is not quite right. asking the drivers of our mini van and a few other we realized that they have decided to rebel and spend the night in the camp despite
our agreement... can't say i'm angry, that's probably what kept us alive.
well... again we were given 2 choices:
A) sleep in the tent with blankets and a heating oven.
B) sleep in the van.
the place is about 5000 meters high, so it get's very close to freez
ing temperatures at night.
and I, am an idiot, so i didn't think about that before choosing option B since i'm a cheap idiot as well as just a stupid one... paying 2$ for a mattress just seemed like too much to me when i can
have unlimited space in a van instead.
it all came down to one iraeli idiot (me!) and one italien idiot (what's his name?!) shivering in a van that's getting closer and closer to sub zero temperatures as the night progresses.
having all those empty seats around me didn't help at all and after 5 hours of shivering and 15 minutes of crying like a 13 yrs old pregnant girl dawn finally came and the sun saved me from certain death by hypothermia...
a few hours later we were in leh. it took me 20 minutes to find "A", my contact here, and it took her 20 minutes after i found her to convince me to come to an organize
d trip to kashmir.
i was left with 2 days in leh. i had to do something special so i got on this bycycle trip that goes on
the highest motorable road in the world (kardun la pass). and again... i didn't realize how cold 5000+ meters above sea level could be. so i didn't take any gloves with me. and so 2 minutes
after mounting the bike i was off it blowing hot air on my hands so i don't have to cut them off when i'm finished. (it also seemed like a good idea to retain feeling in the fingers holding the breaks when going down a cliff road surrounded by trucks...). the only way to really save my hands was using the amazing heating power of my testicles, i mean really, it's like magic.
your entire body could be freezing but your balls are just the right temperature!
(next time someone you love gets a cold, like grandma, just take those balls and put them on her
temples, you'll see the cold goes away in seconds, i did it twice, i should know).
sunday morning i find myself confronted with "T" the leader of the organize trip and i see this bunch of people and realize i'll have to spend an isolate week with them and i've never seen them before...
a 22 gypsy impersonator, a 23 yrs old crazy "i miss my boy friend" , 59 yrs old " i'm just as hip as you kids" mother, her 24 yrs old "i don't smoke hash, i'm naturally high" daughter my friend "A" with her "how much do you owe me" motto and our guide and his wife. our guide was the type that would turn any sentance into something dirty and sex related (anal, oral, beastial, sci-fi... anything!) his wife was just trying to cope with him by smoking enough drugs and rolling joint's in a frenzy that would honor any amsterdam coffee shop proffesional.
he took her to a trekking honey moon making her wealk miles upon miles, so no wonder she just
wanted to rest and toke up most of the time...
and so, this company with a few othe individuals who might (but probably won't) be mentioned later on set out to phal gam from leh.
we stopped in a town called cargil on the way. nothing, there's absolutely nothing there except
the feeling of being an infidel. which is no fun, trust me...
we stayed one night and moved on to the picturesque town of phal-gam. a town located a little to the east of srinagar, on the banks of a river, garbage on the streets, guest house hustlers hunting for tourists, a guy offering clean shaves using a butter knife sitting on the pavement with a mirror shard... you get the picture.
our guest house was a little off the main streets and so it looked completely different, located on
the banks of a small river, well attended flora, around the clock tea and water...
anyway, it was good.
we had tons of garas between us and got high periodically. one of the hardest questions i had to face when not climbing a mountain or eating inside a tent was "who should bring munchies?!".
i'm a practical guy... so when i'm hungry, i go and get something to eat, but i was stoned out of
my head most of the time, which encouraged me to find other solutions, like harrasing one of the
non smokers to go and bring us some chips using phrases like "wouldn't any one want something to chew on?" (for which i would immediately get a response from our guide "what? like a penis?
hahahaha...) or like going to sleep hungry and cranky...
after our initial week we were offered to prolong the experience and go on a glacier mountain trek. being an adventurous moron i said yes... and so on our 8th day we set out to the glacier trek. first day we went to sleep next to a river. next deay we were pushed awake by "T" who told us the weather is not so good so we better get going early. now...
it may come as a surprise to you... (it certainly was to me...) but glaciers are essentially huge chunks (like... really huge... 5 miles huge) of ice, and as such they need extremely low tempertures to stay just that... huge chunks of ice. i was wearing my short sleeve t-shirt, and had my rain coat tied to my backpack. after crossing 2 rivers and going up one hill a slow drip starte to descend on us, cooling our bodies and making it easier for us to keep walking.
5 minutes later the drip turned into light rain, making our bodies slip from the mud on the boulders and grass on the hill side. 10 minutes later mother nature came at us with all she had!
it was pouring buckets, we were forced to hide wet to our bones (or was it our bone marrows?)
under a tiny rock with a smiling goat herding kid. (probably warmed up by our suffering...)
we used our "hands on testicles" trick until we felt comfortable enough to keep walking...
we moved on... our local guide "RAMZAN" (probably a result of selective breeding between a volcano and an aircraft carrier) who didn't feel the rain or any of our collective suffering just kept repeating the mantra "yesss it is right over hill, not vorry, come, come..." i started suspecting he's trying to kill us and in a desperate move tried to clap my heels together while
whispering "there's no place like home", obviously nothing happened except for me slipping and
grabbing a ledge of ice just in time before sliding off to the half frozen river some 200 meters down. also getting the last dry part of my t-shirt completely wet and seeing the grim reaper on one of the hill tops smiling at me.
finally we arrived at the glacier... which looked - tam tam tam tam tam - just like any other mountain!!! only more slippery... the visibility was shit, we got there and guess what, once we were half way back the weather and visibility actually started to get better. kashmir screwed me over again... we got back, ate the rest of out lunch potatoes and went back to our guest house.
two days later we were on our way to dharamshala.

2 posts in one day!!! yeah!!! try and stop me now fuckers!! (i'm kidding, your not all fuckers, and... mom, dad, if your reading this... your definitely not fuckers, ok? sorry for the language)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ah... manali.

Getting out of delhi i took the "volvo" bus.
If busses in india were arranged by some hierarchic system the volvo bus would
be right up there! maybe second only to a helicopter and sometimes would
probably be higher than the helicopter under some circumstances.
The volvo is often referred to as "the king of buses" the "archbishop of road transportation"
and lately also the "Megatron of tourist mobilization".
in reality, once you get on one of these revered vehicles you realize
it's just another bus, although slightly bigger. still the same pushback seats... still the same scorns
of indians boarding it on set locations to try and sell you potato chips. still impossible to sleep on.
(in fact, sleeping in any kind of vehicle in india will prove impossible when your driver takes
u-turns around mountains at 80 Km/h).
whenever you mount one of the night traveling buses here, you are essentially given 2 choices:

1. the driver is listening to up-beat indian music at 175 decibels (5 decibels beneath "death of hearing tissue" loudness) and you live to tell the story of the ride. music, driver falls asleep. you die along with 40 other passengers and you get to tell
the story to your great great grandmother in a cocktail party in the afterlife. (adding juicy details to make her proud...)

in case your ipod (other player brands encouraged) is just out of battery, by the end of the ride the 2 options are so close to each other you can hardly choose which one is better.

well... luckily for me my seat neghbour was an israeli-arab acctress and we had enough to talk about to get my mind of the music (that's one of the things i can say in favour of the conflict, if i find an arab girl to mary there will never be any awkward silences...).
when we weren't debating border locations she felt sick and the for some reason the indian
lady throwing up 2 seats ahead of us didn't make it any better. she pleaded me to ask the driver to stop so she could clean her stomach, afraid for the well being of myself and especially my clothes i got up and crawled up to the driver seat while the bus is swaying like a frigate during a tsunami.
reaching the bus driver cabin just in time to see the mountain side coming right at us and the driver turning non chaulantly to the left only slightly scraping the side of the allready very scratched bus... (don't worry. it's perfectly safe, statistically you have more chance of being run over crossing the street than falling off a cliff with a bus, chances of being run over though are just around 57%...)
i appeoached the driver and tried to explain the situation of my sick neighbour:
me: could you stop for a minute please?
driver: what?
me: stop for 1 minute please!
driver: why?
me: err... my friend is feeling very sick and other people are throwing up and i'm afraid if
we don't stop soon someone will either suffocate on his own vomit or go on a killing spree in the bus.
driver: friend not feeling good? use bag. - hands me a plastic bag the size of my fist -
me: err... what about the suffocating people and the killing spree?!
driver: - hands me another bag - here, take 2.
me: and i need to go pee pee. (i use my superior mimeing skills to show him what pissing is...)
driver: oh... ok, stop in 5 minutes.

i go back to my seat, defeated and knowing that the son of a bitch is lying and he's 5 minutes will probably be at least 30...
2 hours pass and we finally stop. my neghbour "R" is already changing betwean shades of red and green getting ready to fill my clothes and hair with vomit (since the tiny bags are definitely not going to help...) BUT! once we stop, she goes of the bus running, and when i get out 30 seconds later she's fine. like nothing happened! nothing! she just smiles at me, happy as a hippo! i find that amazing... women having the ability to just forget whatever they felt just 2 minutes ago. it's like they have no long term memmory of physical suffering, i'll have to research this phenomenon when i start my Ph.d in sexual applied sciences or something...

the bus stopped in buntar which was my original destination. i was sleeping... got pushed awake by some israeli girl whom i met on the previously mentioned stop only to tell her to bugger
off and go back to sleep untill manali.
arriving to manali i was hoping to find a room me and the israeli arab girl could share. for reasons i would not like to share with you narrow minded people...
we visited about 11 guest houses, some were full, some were too expensive, eventually we split up and i found a room with a great view and only a mild history of robberies. (they happen a lot in manali, so if your room get's robbed, remember, i told you so...)
manali is pretty conviniently divided into 2 parts. new manali and old manali. new manali is controlled by the local indians while old manali is pretty much over flowing with israeli tourists and you can even find some other nationalities if you look hard enough.
not wanting to break that gentle balance i stayed in old manali and after buying a small amount of some very good garas shaped like a pita bread i went down to the ATM and made the "decision" to wait in line for 50 minutes to take out some cash.
the reason for this extended waiting period is because a lot of indians have an apparant problem with "lines" (the kind you stand in)...
they just don't get the hang of it. or maybe it's the west that has a distorted view of how a line
should act... basing my knowledge on the geometric definition i'm pretty sure we got it right though. anyway... i'm standing in a line with 5 foreigners in front of me. i have 4 minutes to wait. when all of a sudden another line forms next to our line. this line however consists of only indians... i look bewildered at the new line, then at the door hoping to see a seperation for foreginers and locals like in the taj mahal, but there's nothing.
they just decided that they don't like our line and think they can make a better one... and it works... they keep pushing through the door going before the first man in our line and so we keep waiting there... after 45 minutes i've had enough and learning from my indian friends
i push my way towards the door. and... no one seems upset. they seemed more confused when we were just standing there waiting patiantly... (see? i just wrote a small culture piece!! hurray!)
i'll go on with one more culture shock i had and then we'll leave this town...
setting: it's the beggining of july in manali, its cold, the rain hasn't stopped for 6 hours.
mud is on the road riksha driver are hiding in their rikshas with the curtains pulled...
even homeless people are not sleeping in the street.
a river is flowing on the way from old manali to new manali.
a rope is stretched between the banks. on the rope, a man is hanging in a saddle of sorts.
aanother indian guy is swinging the rope up-down. the man in the saddle get's he's ass and legs
wet in the freezing river in the freezing cold and screaming with happiness...
my point: these people are completely crazy, who would think of an attraction like that in the fucking winter!!! crazy people! that's who...
on my way back from downtown manali my auto-rickshaw got a flat tire. i was moved out of the rickshaw and used as a human jack, holding the thing tilted while the driver changed the tire using a hammer. a hammer is your all around tool in india. it's the only one they have and it somehow eveolved to the point you can actually fix anything with it. i've seen a guy change a lightbulb using a hammer... honest...

dearly beloved, finally another post is published. next one is leh and kashmir. i hope. also i hope it will appear here today... love. ben.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

delhi stories Pt.2 The mighty TAJ!!!! (tam tam tam ! ! !)

"OH! your going to india?! you simply must see the Taj Mahal! it's a fuckin' wonder!"
that's what every idiot on the planet who's ever heared of
a country called india can tell you..
"it's amazing, and enlightening and blaaaaaa!"
the only real wonder is that this over-sized building can somehow convince people to come
and see it in any kind of weather. obviously i'm one of those idiots... and this is my story...
I remember it like it was yesterday... the date was, err... something like the beginning of june...
i think...
what i'm sure of is that i was sitting in my A/C room with 2 ceiling fans spinning on top of me
watching yet another so so funny episode of sex and the city... err... i mean robocop 3... yeah.
i was watching the manly movie of robocop 3 lying down in my underpants and was only mildly sweating thanks to the abundance of cooling devices in my room.
after all the killing of criminals on the TV stopped i went out of the room to the slightly warmer
computer area (only 2 ceiling fans with no A/C... cheap assholes...) and through the magic of
facebook messaging found out "C" is coming to delhi for a few shopping days before flying back home.i met them later that day and they informed me of their plan to visit the very place this post is trying to warn you about. they lured me in by assuring me everything is taken care of and
all i needed to do was say "i do" and i'm done. (being stuck in delhi for over a week now i had very little to lose) disregarding all my friend's warnings i said "i DO" and 2 days later i was forced
out of bed by a call from the reception at 6:30 AM. (i should have seen dawn as a bad omen
and quit the expedition at that moment... but nooooo....)
they got me inside a car with a driver\guide\random person and got on our way through
foggy delhi towards boiling agra. 3 hours after we set out the driver takes us off road to a
tourist trap disguised as a small temple\castle. we walk inside and take a seat, all around us are
"best quality" over sized wooden elephants... (you simply must have the best quality elephant, even if it does cost 150$ more than a similar one in the main bazaar (cost: 10$), but if you buy one there... what will your friends think?!)
now the plan of these establishments is to pay a handsome commision for your driver if he makes you stay and eat there, luckily for us our driver saw that we know how this works and
after we pleaded him for a few minutes to take us elsewhere he yielded and saved us from the 8$
cheese sandwitch (2 slices of bread, one slice of heap cheese) and took us 300 meters on to a dhaba who tried to rip us off by placing bottles on the table when we arrived but the prices were
reasnobale so we decided not to kill him just yet... (i forgive you old dhaba guy... i forgive you)
we got back in the car and continued our journey. the driver decided to be nice to us and to his
desired extra tip by pointing out monuments in the area with an accent we did not understand
("so this is a palace for who?!", "this be rhddadfg for 200 dsfkjh and that one...") but we smiled
and kept asking questions as expected from us tourists.
we reached the main gates, our driver looked around, decided it's too dangerous for him and drove 100 meters further to a safe haven in the form of a restaurant.
while pushing us out he mentioned a few more words of advice of which what i could understand was "say no to anything your offered" and "don't take your clothes off when they tell you".
we walked back to the main gate and 5 meters from the entrance were attacked by a blur of Indians.
first offering to take us by rickshaw instead of the 3 minutes walk and then offering us water
when they can see us with full bottles and then offering nothing but still asking for money in return.
oh yeah... forgot to mention... the heat... it's un-fucking-bearable!!!! i was sweating the second we got out of the climate controlled car. i was sweating from areas i had no idea had sweat glends and i was soaking wet a minute before we entered the main gate.
soaked tourists always look like easy targets. it means they're suffering and being children
of capitalism we are trained to consume to feel better. so i bought another bottle of water...
25 minutes and 750 rupees later i found myself in one of the longest lines i've seen in my life but also the most un-organized one. my female friends passed through the ladies line (4 women) and
the people in the men line (248 men) let me go in front of most of them (probably hoping to help me have sex with all 3 of them, man solidarity has been put to a test and won!)
Now i have just 6 people ahead of and i could actually see the light glowing through the metal detector. but then! out of the blue and grey and offf-white! comes an indian whale! looking very much like the fat guy in some movie you've seen. and sweating like that same guy on a tredmill.
unlike a fat guy on a tredmill this was a fat guy in line just behing me and he was hoping to get me killed by making me smell his armpits which were convinientlyplaced on top of my head.
after my shirt was soked with his sweat in an equal amount to my own i finally passed through
the metal detector and met with my friends who were hiding in the shade of a dog and a small
child with a toy umbrella.
the marble floor is said to reflect the rays of the sun beautifully.
that happens only between 5-6 AM, we on the other hand were there around 2 PM.
at this time the only thing reflected by the marble floor (or the parts you can see between the scorns of indians...) is UV radiation.
seeing all this people and knowing how you feel makes you go "WOW!!! what the fuck is wrong with them?! what the fuck is wrong with me?! and then... you finaly walk through the arc and see the taj, and now what you'll probably be saying is "err... is that it?!"
unlike the fantasy i had in my head there were no drums, no red ribbons flying my way,
no great spiriual enlightment... no nothing, just a lot of hindu mumbling all around me and a very
distinct smell of sweat. along with our ticket we were handed 2 extras (having paid 75 times more than locals) a 200 ml water bottle and shoe covers. i though they should be used
to protect your feet from the puddles of sweat but appearantly it was another clever way
to go against religion and towards tourists.

shoe covers - a thin paper like cloth with an elastic band, placed on shoes to confuse god and
make him think your barefoot while wearing your favorite sandals underneath.

the reason shoe covers were invented is because your supposed to enter the Taj barefoot.
as you know, the entire building and it's marble surroundings are heat traps and will burn
any foot unlucky enough to be western or just not hard working in the farming sense.
so we got those on, took 20 minutes around this nightmare and moved out. on our way back
we could see entire families trying to get shoe covers out of the garbage bins since the entry
fee for locals (10 rupees) does not include them and why buy them when you can get them for free?!
getting out of the place i still felt it was too hot and bought a small globe of the Taj with small
white stuff covering it. i was offered to buy it for 10 USD and got it for 5 rupees after the kid
ran next to our rickshaw for around 5 minutes which was pushed from the back instead of
being sat on and driven like you would expect...
that's enough of this story, i'm tired and it's not going anywhere.
oh, and on the way back we had a mouse in the taxi, the driver assured us it was ok, but
it didn't seem to convince the 3 ladies in the car who refused to put their feet down during the
following 5 hours drive and kept screaming everytime they saw a wire or a piece of paper moving around in the car.
send me an e-mail, i'll send you all the high quality pictures of the taj mahal i have. i'll even
pay to have your photo stitched to it in photoshop by someone. just do yourself a favour and don't go there.

love. peace, coolness.