Thursday, July 31, 2008

sudden interest in botany ray

I have a new roommate. His name is Hanta, and he is a mouse. A very, very small mouse, and I’m afraid I’m going to accidentally transport him to my next destination, which incidentally is Simla. I’ve already bought my train ticket to Delhi, so my travel days better go exactly as expected, or else. I got the best ticket to Delhi that they had (first AC class), but it’s likely I’ll be asleep for much of the trip, since it leaves before 7am.

I think I got majorly hit on today. It probably could go into My Studies blog, actually, as it is more related to that, but eeyuck, I’m too skeeved out to give a detailed account. I’m not sure how I could dress more conservatively, short of a burqa, but something about me screams ho in Hindi. I doubt they even have a word for that. They probably just say “American.” I repeat: eeyuck.

And lastly, I will try to fill in the blanks for some of our quotes. Here’s one from Ladakh. It more of a dialogue:

Me: My friends…are they here?
Guest House Owner: Hmmm…Americans?
Me: Yes! A girl and a boy…the girl has long, curly red hair!
GHO: Ah, ah, yes, they are here. [directs me to a room with two Japanese-American girls. I apologize to them]
Me: [thinks long time] Ummm…red hair? Like this [indicates curly] and like this [indicates a red flower, which turns out later to be a plastic bloom pasted to a real plant]
GHO: Oh, oh! A lady and a gent! Gent is Indian?
Me: [decides the language barrier doesn’t facilitate me explaining that Alex is Filipino-American.] Yes, that’s right!
GHO: No, no one here like that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

my studies wear me out

I've made several update in the Studies blog, and once again I have no energy or creativity to update this blog.

S informs me that I probably have some horrible dermal parasite which hasn't manifested yet. Yes, I used her initial because of confidentiality purposes. like you can't figure it out if you cared.

I can't believe it's almost 7, and I've been at the computer for hours. It turns out the computer lab is a sociable place, though, and I've met several people. One girl is going to take me out and show me the campus tonight, since I keep getting lost. Everyone here is the Nicest Person I've Ever Met, making Punjab my favorite state. Or at least Chandigarh my favorite city. In the world. Maybe that's going a bit far, but I feel wonderful about it right now. Except about the S key on this keyboard.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


What was that last (now deleted) post even about? I have no idea, and of course you can't be expected to either. Sorry about that. No more posts before 8am.

I haven't posted or written in my Studies blog because my computer has up and died. Which is lame of it, and I tried to explain to it that none of the other computers wants to play with a dead lappy, but it remains dead. I'm sort of in mourning, though there's still hope that if I get a new charger, it will work again. For now, it's just a fragile hunk of junk that I'm forced to carry around with me everywhere. Dumb computer!

It's my third full day at LBS in Mussoorie. India is growing on me more every day, and I'm afraid after all my homesickness and misery, I'll be equally unhappy to return home. No, that's not true, because I can't wait to see my family and my cats and my friends (including Andy, yay!). There are things I won't miss about India, that's true enough. But I have a feeling that I will look back quite fondly on most of this experience for the rest of my life.

Next week, I have the chance to visit an ashram. Which kind of is amazing when I think about it. They're just going to let me stop by and check it out. I'm really looking forward to that, so I hope my bad travel luck doesn't strike on that particular day.

I keep dreaming of Ladakh, and flying! It's the awesomest dream ever!

This update is equally disjointed, but I have no excuse of exhaustion. I guess my excuse is hunger because I'm about to go to dinner right now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

but omg, i really did get a reversible sweater thing!

I listened to Sufjan Stevens for about all of yesterday, and I think I'm over wanting to pinch his little cheeks and tell him how much he's grown. At least for a good while.

I'm about to go to lunch. I'm not even hungry, but that's how much I love lunch!

When I come to update here, I feel like I've already said everything in the Studies blog. Maybe I need to better differentiate the blogs. It's nicer to have the whole experience in one place, and since the Studies blog is the most verbose, it pulls in all the other details as well. I come here and find myself with nothing left to talk about besides "What in the world is my hair doing lately?" or "OMG, y'all, I got a totally cute reversible wrap yesterday!"

Last night in bed, I watched Bollywood for an hour. But the thing is, the sound on my TV doesn't work. So I watched Bollywood with the sound off. It's OK because I already knew most of the songs for the videos, and I could just listen in my head. I noticed a lot more details about the choreography, too. This is probably what my friend Jay does when he'd bedridden from back surgeries. Except I had no excuse but laziness.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

the henney buggy band

holy! sufjan stevens is totally adorable! did everyone know this already? i imagined him with sickly washed out skin and horrendous ape-like orange eyebrows. and thick like an oak tree, which is all fine, but not what i would call adorable.

but i was wrong about him being christian, according to wikipedia--he's just very spirtual. it's just danielson that's christian.


I'm in a nice place, called Mussoorie. It's in the clouds. I don't have altitude sickness so far.

But just to let you know, I'm at the next destination. I didn't update my Studies blog yesterday today, so I need to work on that. But the rooms here are swank, the food it good, the people are helpful. All good news. I hope I get a lot of work done here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Creased Comics, Brad Neely

Friday, July 18, 2008

follow me around

  • You will become a hypocrite, you will become a liar, and you'll try to paper up your own cracks, and everybody does it, and that's what becoming an adult is. And then you have babies, and that's it.

(Thom Yorke)

I've quoted this before, but every once in a while, I decide to get morose about growing up, growing old, not growing anymore. Although, about that last one, thank god...I feel utterly gargantuan in India! Just think if humans had a third growth spurt! I'd crack through the sky, not just the ceilings here. And why have I never noticed that my hands and feet are like gorilla hands and feet?

I finally had a nightmare that I was glad to wake up from. Good thing, as I was starting to get really, really homesick. I couldn't take one more dream about my cats.

Had an exhausting day of being what Jenny calls the White Girl Freak Show. We got stuck on a neutral ground one night trying to hail a rickshaw, and she said something like "Tonight, on a very special edition of the White Girl Freak Show," since cars were slowing down to get a closer look, passenger sticking their heads out and waving. Anyway, that should go the quotes, too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Thse are in no particular order. If we could plan it better, we would have ordered it by things that you might funny vs. things we will always find hilarious and no one else will get. But we didn't think that far ahead while we were thinking of them. Put these on your own blogs, Sarah and Alex.

“There goes the King! That guy owes me money!” Otsal, guest house owner.
We were having dinner outside with Otsal. For like two hours. He was very jovial, but was verbose. He mentioned he went to school with the queen of Ladakh. Later, a Bolero (SUV) drove by the restaurant, and the guy said the quote, offering to call the king back for us.

“Brad and Angelina came to this shop, and I didn’t know them. I just thought, yah! They take quite good care of their bodies.” Praveen, internet shop owner in Varanasi.
We couldn’t quote to do Praveen justice, but we wanted at least one quote from him. His trademark was to open his eyes wide and say “Yah!” He had lots of stories about his various customers throughout the years.

“I think some people think we Brahmins have an attitude.” Praveen. Who totally had an attitude.

“I wouldn’t be too proud of the United States.” Guen (goon?), the Belgian boy whom we grudgingly had allowed to sleep on the roof with us.
Funnier was when Sarah whispered to me under the blanket “That was rude!” We couldn’t stop giggling after that because he kept saying rude things until we made a point of going to sleep.

“Score one for America” Sarah.
Related to the above; we were on the roof, and it was raining. So Sarah and I both thought really hard to ourselves “Stop rain stop rain stop rain stop rain” and then it let up and stopped. We felt superior to our rude Belgian roofmate.

“Storm is a selfish bitch. That’s probably why they got Halle Berry to play her.” Sarah.
We realized that Storm, the X-Man, would do better to stop drought and famine with her powers, and leave the fighting to people with less transferable powers.

“That’s incorrect.” Carrie.
When a armrest of the seat in front of us fell backwards into our seat, Carrie stared for a moments, and then said this the first time. She continued to say it, for instance if a straw was faulty, or if anything ever went wrong or unexpectedly (which it did).

“I’m sorry. Would you like to punch me in the stomach?” Carrie.
Carrie had talked about how she likes to get her dad and brother to punch her in the stomach to build up muscle like Muhammed Ali did. But they never liked to do it, so she tried to trick them into it. In Varanasi, Alex was stressed out about a near-miss incident with two shifty looking guys who clearly were up to no good. Alex felt like he needed to be our protector, but he’d felt helpless and weird about it, so he was frustrated and pent up. Carrie made this offer, but Alex laughed and said “No, I’m trying to protect y’all, not punch you in the stomach.”

“Cover stealer!” Sarah.
Sarah whispered this very quietly into Alex’s ear in the middle of the night, waking him up, and making them both crack up hysterically in the middle of a sleepy night.

“That’s precious!” Sarah.
Quoted on Carrie’s blog.

“I did a photo session with the guy from the guest house kitchen. He wanted…he wanted them with his mobile phone in one hand, and waving with the other.” Sumit, semi-professional photographer.
Our friend who took fantastic pictures. Here is the actual picture, which we were excited to finally see. Sorry I can't figure out a way to put it in the post itself--something keeps backfiring.

“I think you just want to sit next to him, and it’s really starting to piss me off.” Alex.
Sarah doesn’t like when guys have a barbed wire tattoo around their arm. She and Alex were on the plane to Leh, and Alex was in the middle, with Sarah in the aisle, and a barbed-wire tattoo guy at the window. She kept offering Alex the aisle seat for his long legs, and he finally got irritated and said this quote deadpan to her, which made her laugh hysterically. Poor guy with the barbed-wire tattoo.

“Yes” The universal answer to any question you ask in India.
Is this made of solid gold? Does this cab go to Texas? All of these questions will conveniently be answered “yes!”

“Our people are the filthiest on earth!” Guy from a shop in Jodhpur.
Apparently, an OK way to start a conversation is to yell this to tourists across the road.

“What’s the point?” Travel agent.
In response to our talking about getting altitude sickness in Leh.

“Jesus is lord, Jesus is lord.” British tourist.
After visiting monasteries in Leh, she said she counteracted “all that” by repeating this phrase to herself.

“Great job” Sarah. About everything, usually sarcastically. As in, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.

“You can’t build up a tolerance to amoebas, dude!” Alex.
One of our classmates bragged he’d been building up a tolerance to the tap water—brushing his teeth with it, drinking a little teaspoon here and there.

“Those monkeys totally could have had their way with us.” Alex.
Quoted in Sarah’s blog.

“This is so awesome. India is so fucked up.” Alex
Quoted in Sarah’s blog.

“So elegant. So, so elegant!” our professor, snapping picture after picture with his disposable camera of everyone in their Indian suits.

“Deer garden? Like where they grow deer?” Carrie.

“Shit show.” Jenny.

“What the hell does that even mean?” Alex, about the above quote.

“Love thy neighbor, but not while driving.” “Be gentle on my curves.” Road signs in Leh.

“Full Full Full Masala” Battery ad in Varanasi.

“Exhibition cum Sale” Sign in Mussoorie, and a few other places. Gross!

“Do you think it’s like a fountain show?” Carrie, about above, at 6am.

“Educate yourself!” Forestry expert, asking if Carrie knew the origin of the word Hindu and Indus River.

“Your thank-yous are too heavy for us.” Sunny, our guilt-ridden scam artist.

“[I’m sorry I tried to scam you out of thousands, but] you didn’t even tell me happy birthday!” Sunny, contrite but confused about the concept.

“Did you have the sexes?” Some of our scam artists, and their odd turns-of-phrase.

“Whatcha doing?” A wide-eyed Sarah and Carrie, asking Shlomi, our Israeli seatmate at the airport, about what turned out to be a prayer cycle of some kind. It involved wrapping his arms with leather attached to boxes, and tying one on his forehead. Neither of us had ever, ever seen this.

“We can get by without toothpaste, right?” Sarah and Carrie, realizing neither of them had toothpaste or deodorant for 4 days.

“[Dani, a blonde girl] looks like an old man with her hair. And Sarah should wear more sunscreen so she won’t get more freckles. I like my skin color.” R, young and rude.

“It’s like everything I put in my mouth is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!” Carrie.
At the five star hotel dinner in Mussoorie.

“She’s clumsy.” Jenny.
Explaining why Sarah fell, in the manner of explaining that someone is mentally retarded.

“Do your have spare breakfast?” Security agent at the airport in Leh.
Turned out she was asking if we had spare batteries, which we couldn’t take on the plane. But breakfast made just as much sense to us at 5am.

“I didn’t know I could do that!” Alex.
After doing some amazing sand dune aerial roundoff. Pretty much sums up Alex.

“That’s some real man-on-man love there.” Sarah.
The men here don’t seem to have the homophobia we have in the states, maybe from not believing homosexuals exist. But they are very comfortable holding hands and riding four to a motorcycle and things. Sarah said this about a man sitting on another man’s lap.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

communications breakdown

Here in India, it seems perfectly acceptable to hang up on a person if you can't understand them. For instance, I've been hung up on or otherwise ignored twice today. But it's OK, see, because it works both ways. I get a lot of wrong numbers on my mobile, and I just have to say "Hello, hello? Do you speak English?" pause "If you don't speak English, then you have the wrong number!" pause "OK, bye, nice to talk to you!" What gets annoying is that I can have this conversation four times in a row with the same person, for instance, at 6am. And they just keep calling back. I wonder what they're saying to me. "I know you can't understand me, but I have a dire warning about the future!" Yikes! That's all I can think of that would make them dial the same non-Hindi-speaking number four times in a row at 7am.

Another thing about the phone here is no one says goodbye. I keep saying "Bye!" and feeling like a total tool! And yet one more thing about phones is it's OK pretty much at any time to answer them. You can be in a meeting with the president, and if your phone rings, she will understand that you have to answer it right then and there. Maybe this is because voicemail is a commodity here? I don't know. But these things that would be rude elsewhere are not here.

That little update about phone etiquette in India should be a clue that I've been on the phone most of today. I have, and finally, in the last hour, I accomplished a few things. So I'm going to get back to it to hopefully accomplish a few more things.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

extra blog entries

I have updated a few days of the ¨My Studies¨ blog (right), for those interested.  It´s meant to record, not to entertain, and it doesn´t have much in the way of wacky observations about India.  But just wanted to give a heads up because no one would think to check there, but I am doing a lot of work there, mostly for my fellow researchers.

Jenny has let me stay in her apartment all day, so I want to use this time wisely, not by updating my blog.  No offense, but see ya later!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Slip slidin away

Well, the band has officially broken up.  Sarah is on her way back to the States now, and I already miss her. Alex is in Dehradun, working on a project that is bigger than expected.  Jenny and I are starting our solo projects with a new record label.  OK, wait, this metaphor doesn´t work exactly.  But the point is it´s very sad.

Ladakh continued to be wonderful, and I miss it very much now.  Maybe not everyone should go there because that wouldn´t preserve its natural beauty.  After doing my interviews, I realized how much the tourism is hurting the region.  Too bad.  But maybe I´ll go back to volunteer for an NGO, and then I´ll feel better about it.  No indoor plumbing would be a start to making it better.

Sarah and I spent an entire day together yesterday with all our stuff (so, basically, immobile), so we ended up talking a whole lot, which is one reason I miss her all the more acutely tonight.  We also spent our time compiling a list of quotes, which I will update shortly (we agreed they belong on all our blogs, so once Alex has his say, we´ll have a full collection of quotes).  I would put them up now, but my computer can´t get online.  I´m using Jenny´s roommate´s computer, and it´s in Spanish, which is confusing.  But look what I can do!

รง  ¿what the hell did you just say to me? ¡I said to go f yourself!

This is actually a sample conversation between me and my rickshaw driver a few days ago.  I was so angry.  I was so angry, I cursed to a person.  Who deserved it, no question, but what of it?  

Today I went to a ladies´s beauty parlor down the street from Jenny´s and got a manicure and pedicure for just a few dollars.  Amazing, yes, and it was so nice to have clean feet for the five minutes between the end of the pedicure and the start of the walk home.  Feet do not stay clean here.

Well, that´s all I have for now.  I´m going to start updating really detailed accounts of my days in my ¨Studies¨ blog, so those who are stalking me, or mom (the only people I can think who might have interest in this) can read it there.  None for now because my own computer won´t go online, as I said.  I´m tired from a party so I´m going to sleep now.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


At times I've been, err, lukewarm about India. But today is not one of those days. I find Northern India, Leh in Ladakh in particular, to be a glorious place, one that everyone should visit (and one, judging from the number of tourists here, that most DO visit. Why haven't I heard of it before?). I had to come here for my research, and I'm getting a lot done, though not as much as I'd like, but what's wonderful is walking between each of my appointments, I can see where three different mountain ranges meet, all around the city. At different times, the sun strikes them in different ways, so you can never get sick of it. Ever. It's always beautiful in a different, shimmery way. Maybe this is the way some people feel about diamonds or something. I find diamonds hideous and weird, but I never knew I had such an affinity for mountain ranges. It may help that I have some medicine for altitude sickness, which I have never had before when making quick airplane-aided ascents to the mountain towns. It falters a little bit at times, but for the most part, the worst of it has been dehydration, tiredness, and achey joints.

So, anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know, if you can get to Leh in your lifetime, try to.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

tenth year reunion

when i graduated from high school, i knew everyone in my class, and most people in the class behind me. now, on facebook, there are names that don't sound vaguely familiar to me, and i'm shocked to find they graduated with me! it's freaking me out a little bit, although i remember even upon graduation thinking, there are a few people here that i only said about 5 words to in 4 years...i will not remember them when i'm on my deathbed. but i had no idea i'd be so out of it just 10 years later.

speaking of which, no i'm not going to the reunion. i have nothing against high school, and in fact some of my very good friends are going (i had some very good friends in high school), but i have no desire whatsoever to go.

the phrase "very good friends" makes me think of my phrase o'the year. "we are all essentially alone." compliments of my psychology professor. thanks for the upper, professor! now i can't stop finding examples of this everywhere. i'm trying to share all these important personal details with my boyfriend, but i'll never be able to share all of them, nor would that really accomplish anything. besides, i'm copping out and telling him important details about driving my parents car through the backyard fence. but what else is there? what is a person made of? is a person made of the time her dad hung her a swing on the front porch? or built a jungle gym in the backyard? or the first time she copied a work of art with a charcoal pencil? is a person made of knowing how to add oil to a car? is a person made of her favorite word, or her favorite animal, or favorite song? or the number of cells in her body? it's none of these, right? not even if i asked and answered a million million of these questions? there would not only be one more question of the type you asked, there would be a whole dimension of questions you didn't think to ask.

uh so right...back to work. that's all i do. i will work every weekend till i get back. i can't tell if this will make the time shorter or longer.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

no post radio

sorry for not posting anything real for a while. no excuse, really, although to catch you up on the past week:


And that's about it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

cricket: it's not just a bug

What if I played cricked with a tennis ball on a badmitton court? Because I did! So what of it? And I really liked it, and it's actually a pretty simple game. Who knew? Games never sound simple when people are trying to just tell you the rules, but then you get up and have a heavy bat in your hands, and you hit the ball, and you have a vague notion that you're supposed to run somewhere, and you do, and you were right! That is how it happens on the big screen, too, the professionals just cover it better.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


This is something that makes me smile whenever I think of it, and none of us has updated about it, I don’t think.

In Nepal, when Sarah was having her chronic insomnia, we all took naps while she had to just sit there and watch. But she was in a really good mood anyway. Right after, when we were walking around the neighborhood, she said serenely “Everything just seems to precious to me. Those kids at the school next door, you two sleeping, you were just lying there, so precious!” But just then she got cut off by tripping over a rat, and she hopped around a bit to miss stepping on it, interrupting herself “Oh oh my god, is that a dead rat?” But she recovered quickly to say fondly “That’s precious!”

Yes, it’s one of those hard to capture funny-things, but it will make ME laugh to read later, and that’s what’s important here.