Jaipur, India, 2006
The Dali Lama said something to the extent of this: small problems, hardships, or inconveniences should be but mere ripples in the sea, floating just over the surface. If you were to let the small things turn into waves, you’d only be knocked down more often than not. This notion is the key to survival, especially in India. India’s relentless. Just when you think it’s as hot as it could possibly get, it gets hotter. Just when you thought you couldn’t be any dirtier, you get pushed to the side of the road by a rickshaw, or cow, and step into a puddle of water (insert question mark) and look up in frustration just in time for the rickshaw’s exhaust to blow right in your face. The streets alone are relentless. Walking through them requires the same strategy as a video game and produces the same quantity of outcomes. It’s a wonder to me how my toes have escaped being rolled over. They’ve curled themselves under in deep fear of their lives. Horns are honked so often, I’ve come to believe the horn itself must be India’s native musical instrument. The people are also relentless.
You have to be very selective of the stores you chose to enter, because once they lure you into their doom, the lose all
understanding of “no thank you” or the more blunt response of “I don’t like it, I don’t want it” and “please, it’s not expensive, it’s very inexpensive” is suddenly the only english they know. Some will even follow you down the street, dropping the price of the one thing they think you have have glanced at, and the price drops with every step you take until a cow slowly intervenes and passes between you – or it doesn’t – and you have to turn around with attitude and say, “LOOK, I will NEVER come back to India EVER again if you don’t stop following us”. The latter of course being the less desirable of the two.
But it’s all ripples, really. No big waves have dropped on us. The frustrations or inconveniences have only made the colors brighter and the Himalayans bigger and between the two – the good and the bad – there’s no competition, not even a discussion of such nonsense.
And just like that… it’s off to Egypt…
Srinagar, Very Northern India, 2006
We’ve been alone on our houseboat, without the arrival of any other travelers, for some time now. Combined with a shortage of money, we’ve become slaves to boredom’s spells. I feel like a six year old, hiding out in my fort, peeking out my box cut window I draped lace over to see who is entering and if they’re earned their entrance
through testimony of the secret password.
What is there to do with boredom? We’ve fished by means of a hanger and earring, to no avail. We’ve played both charades and ring a bangle around a glass. We’ve finished the list of who would you this and what would you that? We’ve spied on our neighbors and have shared long moments of silence always polished off by immense laughter. I’ve watched Janet’s handstands progress and rolled in laughter when she fell. We’ve picked boyfriends from magazine clippings, we’ve walked laps around our common area and we’ve snuck up on each other unexpectedly, we’ve bitch slapped mosquitoes and flies to their graves and followed mice to their corners. We even jimmied wires together to charge my camera battery.
Boredom. It’s almost nauseating how fast paced our American lives are that it can almost make one crazy when there’s nothing to be done. How we’ve longed for it and we long to leave it all baffles me.
Delhi, India, 2006
everyone knows it. They stare like we’re something special, they open doors like we’re famous, they observe us like we’re another species, they wave like we’re the first ones of our kind they’ve seen and may ever see again. And we do the same. We stare because we’ve never seen this culture amongst their own and we observe because we’ve never seen cows wander the streets alongside traffic worse than you’d find on the 405 freeway. What’s new to them is old to us and what’s new to us is merely tradition to them. When all is said and done, I think we fancy each other.
Bangkok, Thailand, 2006
Bargaining is an art. Bangkok has taught me that. Love, too – like bargaining – is also an art. I’ve taught myself that. There’s rules to follow and strategy in the planning. First, you have to know what you want. Second, you need to decide where you want to get it from. Third – and perhaps most important – is knowing what you’ll settle for. And lastly comes the decision to take it – even if you’re getting the deal you want, or leave it – because sometimes you get what you pay for.
As far as the sellers are concerned, they too must follow rules and produce strategy. My best advice to them is to let the buyer come to them. People know what they want and they’ll seek it out until they find it. The more you push someone to buy a product, the more the buyer considers the true necessity
of what they’re being pushed to buy, the more bothered they become and the more motivated they are to walk than take a tuk tuk or taxi and give them money.
It’s business, it’s strategy, it’s love and it’s all the same.
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2006
looking back on it all; returning to your “normal” habitual life and recalling the days you spent on the other side of the world… so free you hardly even recognized it because it just felt so natural — so connected to the Earth.
Hat Yai, Thailand, 2006
been touched by a loving hand – I can tell in their smiles.
San Fernando Valley, 2006
“Stand on the peak of the mountain and contemplate the long ranges of hills, observe the courses of rivers and all the glories offered to your view, and what feeling seizes you? It is a calm prayer, you lose yourself in unbounded space, your whole being undergoes a clarification and purification, your ego disappears, you are nothing.”
-Carl Gustav Carus
the one thing I can’t do anymore than wait for — travel. I can feel my senses awakening. I sense my view of the world on the brink of change. I crave it – can’t wait to get away.
I’ve been wanting to share some of my travel tales on here for some time, for a lot of reasons. For one, I want my words to live somewhere other than the bursting-at-the-seams journal I have them in now. More than that though, these tales are the foundation of who I am; they mark a point in my life when I was wild and free and my mind ever-expanding. It all started when I was lost and, by the end, I was found. These tales are my personal journey, before I was a wife, before I was a mother. I’ll be posting these every Monday, I hope you enjoy.
San Francisco, 2006
“…And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’…”
One charge gives birth to another. Now isn’t that the truth and pattern of life? Reproduction. Cycles. It all comes in waves; waves of furry, waves of peace. One wave continuously follows another.
scenery. Been dreaming big dreams of far away places. Ready to break out the box we all trap ourselves in. Been thinking about my future. Ready to close old doors and open new ones.
Yes, indeed, change is in the air.
This year, the tide has changed. I’m smarter and stronger. Amazing who you become when suddenly it seems you’re all you got.