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  • hardie karges 3:58 pm on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , motorcycle, ,   

    Motorcycles swarm the roads like flies on… 

    IMG_0197…sand, through the hourglass, they sifting ahead to the front of the queue at every red light.  They occupy no lane of their own, nor could they if they wanted to.  Women ride sidesaddle lady-like on the back to keep their virtue intact, or at least the illusion of such.  Motorcycles go both directions on the road’s shoulder with impunity and full moral authority.  Southeast Asia is a motorcycle culture.

    You should see the old quarter of Hanoi, which has no traffic lights.  Every intersection is a scramble of motorbikes and people that has to be seen to be believed.  Only then will you realize how they won the war.  They simply out-endured us, as they do everything.  In Bali, when the traffic backs up, motorbikes simply take to the sidewalks without a moment’s hesitation.  A motorbike is still a status symbol in Cambodia.  Laos doesn’t have much of anything, but is slowly catching up.

     
  • hardie karges 11:46 pm on January 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Gem Show, , ,   

    The Chinese Are Coming! It’s Hypertravel, Baby; Hostel, that is… 

    IMG_0416But they’re not manning warships and they’re not carrying guns. They’re doing business, of course, and cooking up a storm. You can do that at most hostels, at no extra charge, eat food just like Mama makes and maybe bring Mama along, too. All the ‘Air BnB’s in the world are no substitute for a good hostel, and VRBO’s don’t even count. Those aren’t ‘sharing economies’. Those are vanity economies, in which a group of uber-rich teenagers decide to rent a house for a rave, when most have never even signed a lease in their life, and many of us sellers are looking for a new lease on life. Caveat venditor…

    Hostels are the true sharing economy par excellence ab origine. You hang out with others, eat with others, and even sleep in the same room with others, if so inclined. And when those people come from all over the world, then you’ve got something pretty special. Unfortunately the USA has no hostel culture, of course, and little experience with them, not provided for in building codes and left to dangle and die for no certain reason. Some people seem to think they just aren’t American, I guess… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 12:14 am on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have reserved an AirBnB in Franklin, TN for May 4-9, for my family to help celebrate my 91st birthday. They are taking me to the Grand Ole Opry on May 6. There will be 11 of us.

      Esther

    • hardie karges 12:43 am on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like fun, Esther; Happy 91!

    • Norbert 7:20 pm on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good luck for the future, Hardie! I had visited a number of Buddhist temples in Kyoto, about 10 years ago. Some of the rituals there strangely reminded me of what I remember from Catholic churches, like how the monks ceremoniously entered the place (of course, without the presence of a Christian-style altar).
      Besides, I have had some good to very good experiences with AirBnB, even a few interesting interactions with hosts. I think although cooperation with others and group consensus are very good ideas, putting individuals together in one place is not enough to get there. They also need to have the right mind-set and mentality. Alas, many of today’s (mostly Western) individuals are too much self-centered and focused on self-promotion, even in situations when they have nothing to gain from appearing “competitive” or “see how unique, interesting and important I am?” (like when in a hostel). This “market-conform” behavior has become a “second nature” to them, difficult or impossible to chase away. I guess the underlying problem is that the spreading of capitalism, especially in Europe and North America, was particularly easy under conditions of simultaneous conquest, colonialism and post-colonialism, which facilitated the development and incrustation of an “individual robber baron” mentality first among the big and small robbers themselves, then among those who objectively and/or subjectively benefited from their robbing activities, as the conquered and colonized were being marginalized or exterminated. Nowadays the world has become so small and crowded that unrestrained “help yourself and grab what you can” behavior is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain unless more and more violence (= “all against all”) is applied, again; and even “at home”, which exposes the uncivilized character of this approach more clearly than ever. An approach that may not even be close to functional, as evidenced by the Russian crash landing of the 1990ies. To some extent, China, where a party officially called “Communist” is still in power, seems to have skipped this ultimately illusory, individualistic phase of development, or, at least, dampened its excesses. On a much smaller scale, also Cuba is trying to get a soft landing, which was at least my impression during my 2000 visit there. We’ll see if this is the last word of history…. (well, of course there is no last word in history).
      How about opening a hostel in La Habana, in a “collectivist” country? C U there…. (Just kidding)

      • hardie karges 7:22 pm on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Norbert, things getting crazy here now, full house in a couple days… (I agree with most of what you say, BTW)… :-)

  • hardie karges 5:30 pm on January 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rivers,   

    Rivers Meander 

     

    Tibet waters Asia. From its 20,000 foot plateau flow the headwaters of the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Salween, the Mekong, the Yangtze, and the Huang Ho. The headwaters of the Indus and Brahmaputra almost meet, almost making of India an island reminiscent of its former history as a transient sub-continent looking for a home plate to slide into. The upper waters of the Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze run almost parallel for 250 miles, only fifteen to thirty miles apart as the crow flies. Those three empty into the Andaman, South China, and East China Seas, not far from the cities of Rangoon, Saigon, and Shanghai, a distance of over 2000 miles on that same crow’s odometer. It would be much farther than that by boat, and an immeasurable distance by yardstick. How long is your coastline? That depends; how short is your ruler? Napoleon’s ears prick up and Zeno’s paradox takes over, and you never really get there, because the halfway points are infinite. I’ll take wise old crow; he cuts to the chase.

     
  • hardie karges 7:18 pm on January 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    BORDERS 

    IMG_0138Borders are where creativity happens, the edge of turbulence where one reality attempts to mingle with another in a dance of denial. To win is not the point. To create a viable form in a previously unknown dimension is the fruit of forgiveness. Mutually exclusive equations hold hands in a symbolic logic and agree to disagree for the sake of the children, taking solace in the beauty of combination, lying fast asleep in a bed of leaves.

    Limbs intertwined avoid unclipped nails and other rough edges folded under for safety, weapons washed waiting for demons of the night yet unslain. The morning comes right on schedule, like cosmic clockwork, the law of large numbers happening on such a vast scale that we don’t see the changes, the uncertainties, and minute indecisions within the scale of our own puny lifetimes, much less the passage of our sun across the sky. Motion is the normal state of nature, a fact so obvious yet so illogical to common sense that it’s scarcely acknowledged even now.

     

     
  • hardie karges 4:30 pm on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Affluenza, El Chapo, , narcotrafico, screenplay   

    El Cheapo and Kidd: Mini-Screenplays for Imaginary Mexican Shorts 

    006INT. – Mexican Jail Cell – Day

    ‘EL CHEAPO’ GOOSEMAN is a 60-ish Mexican drug lord. He trims his mustache, preening in the mirror. He looks very self-confident, self-absorbed and unconcerned. F. (LOU) ENZA KIDD is an 18 year old American white kid. He doesn’t look too happy, head in hands and no trace of a smile.

    ‘EL CHEAPO’ GOOSEMAN

    Que hiciste?

    F. (LOU) ENZA KIDD

    (annoyed)

    I don’t speak Spanish.

    ‘EL CHEAPO’ GOOSEMAN

    (clipped and deliberate)

    What deed jou do, mon? Why are jou here?

    F. (LOU) ENZA KIDD

    Don’t you know? Everybody else does. I got drunk and accidentally killed some people, so my mother brought me here to escape. What about you? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:23 pm on January 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rainy season   

    The Rainy Season 

    IMG_0243The rainy season in Asia gets old, especially when it floods, which happens a lot. It’s not like Oregon, where the clouds are just there all the time, but really not doing all that much, just drip drip drip like excess stomach acid after a plate of spaghetti Bolognese.

    Here it pours down with the force of Holy Hell, sometimes with light and sound, usually not. But nothing can match the thunderstorms of good ol’ Mississippi, best seen from above in small aircraft, a symphony composed and directed by God.

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 7:45 pm on January 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Floods, tornados, thunderstorms – rain, but no snow yet this winter.

      I enjoy your posts!

      Esther

  • hardie karges 4:00 pm on January 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Jet Rag 

    IMG_1438

    Hardie Karges and Golden Buddha

    Asian jet lag is the worst, for an American, one day of travel and a week to recover, like the heroine hangover of a lost weekend.  That’s the nice thing about South America, little or no jet lag when it’s all over, at least as long as the continents stay in their current configurations.  You can go north and south all you want with little or no effect, except maybe a little Coriolis effect pulling you a bit to the right, like the brakes pulling to one side in my old pick-up.  Maybe that’s why Asia is so different, because it’s so far away from the seat of rationalism and so close to China.

    Like Mexico, ‘so far from God, so close to the United States’, Southeast Asia is ‘so far from Buddha, so close to China’.  For centuries everyone in Southeast Asia, all of them of near or distant Chinese origin, have been embracing other philosophies and life-ways besides the Chinese central dogma, about equally divided between Theravada Buddhism, Islam, and Communism, deriving from India, Arabia, and Europe.  This is not the crossroads of history, nor the world.  This is the detour, the long way home.  You could get lost here, but that’s maybe okay.  At least the women are beautiful.  If this is a dead end, then you could do worse.

     

     
  • hardie karges 5:29 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Xizang   

    Hold the Press! Late-Breaking News! Tibet Is Open! 

    IMG_0064I just got direct word-of mouth from travelers in Asia that Tibet is indeed open for independent travel, as I’d hoped, and I quote my friend Tom F:

    “I just talked to a traveller who was there, in Lhasa.  You just get their regular China visa.  They want your entry and exit points.  Make sure those points are not anywhere in east (west?) China, (Tibet or Xinjiang,  Qinghai).  They want itinerary I think as well… Once you get into the country,  do whatever you want.   it seems there’s no interior monitoring of where you go after you’ve  entered the country.  it may be riskier if flying around the country?  that may be monitored.”

    There you have it, hope for the disenfranchised China hand.  C U in Xizang!

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 5:44 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry – not a candidate for much travel any more – but of interest, as my granddaughter and her husband went to China and Thailand last month. They live in Nashville – Sherri’s daughter: Shannon McIntyre Hooper.

      Esther

    • hardie karges 6:53 pm on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You can always travel in your mind, Esther… Happy New Year!

  • hardie karges 12:36 pm on December 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Democrat, Donald Trump, , President, ,   

    Announcing a New Travel Service for Wannabe Trump Refugee Expatriates… 

    Image result for cubano de talBeat the rush! Don’t Delay! Don’t get caught looking the wrong way! If the thought of Donald Trump as our next President is as disgusting to you as it is to me, then start making plans to leave the country now, while the dollar is strong and the lines are short, because they likely won’t last long! Thousands of Americans reside in other countries even before the Trump card is played, and you can bet that number will increase if the Donald (el Donaldo, where you’ll likely be going) is elected.

    Have you ever been to Asia? It might be a good time to visit! What about Latin America? Pues si, como no!? And the hottest travel destination in the world IMHO is Eastern Europe. Imagine, Europe at half the price, and equally cultured and beautiful! Of course, traveling there and living there are two different things, and working there another degree of difficulty altogether. So first, define your objective: escaping the new revised USA of Donald A$$hole Trump, of course, got it. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:41 pm on December 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    A Year Without Borders: Visions of Tibet 

    This is the first year in thirty-five or forty that I haven’t crossed a border. Oh, woe is me. What am I gonna do? I call feel the existential angst setting in, passport getting moldy, and moss growing where wild hairs used to be. I guess I could go sixty miles down to the Mexican border just to satisfy that ethnic Third World urge to merge, but—naah. Maybe it’s time to grow up, get a life, get a career, make some babies, make some grandchildren and—naah. I’ve got a better idea: as soon as this current hostel project is finished two months from now (and counting down)…

    I think I’ll take a trip, somewhere different, somewhere challenging, something exotic, something fragile, something like: Tibet. Yeah, I think that’s the ticket: Tibet, while there still IS a Tibet, occupied by majority Tibetans, not Han Chinese transmigrated in to control the elections, the natural selections and the flow of information, Han Chinese to turn what was once sacred and beautifully scarred into what will soon be self-satisfied and smug, driftwood polished by time tossed into the fire for kindling and kitchen work… (More …)

     
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