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  • hardie karges 12:35 am on August 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Linguistics 101 

    In Nepali language the word for ‘forest’ is ‘jungle’, got it—who knew? The word for ‘cannibis’ is ‘ganja’, got it—no surprise. And the word for ‘reservation’ is ‘reservation’, got it. What gives here? So why do I have reservations about learning it? Now that’s another issue…

     
  • hardie karges 4:21 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery, part 2: Karma Krushes Dogma… 

    IMG_0543

    Continued from previous…

    You can’t beat the price: less than one hundred clams USD for a week of classes, room and board, $125 if you want a private room with shared bath—yeow! Don’t spend all that extra thirty bucks in one place! Boutique Buddhism in Phuket, Thailand, this same week will set you back almost $2K, with a 5-star hotel and waves crashing in on the beach, sex optional. For that price in India you can get a day or two with the Dalai Lama himself (no sex, sorry)!

    The only problem is that they’re a little disorganized here, and a little unclear on certain points of dogma: like whether Internet use is or is not consistent with the Dharma. And at some point they decided that the course I’m taking would be a silent retreat, cue thunder for unsympathetic magic, which is not so bad on the surface, as long as it’s merely suggested and not strictly policed… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:33 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hmmm.

  • hardie karges 1:50 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhist, , , , ,   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, Part 1… 

    IMG_0530The malls on the Miracle Mile in Kathmandu are lined up like forgotten cemeteries outside a former battle field, most of them empty, dead or dying, lucky to have a coffee bar to anchor the whole place, while pedestrians walk past with eyes on their digital devices oblivious. I wonder if there’s any connection? I hope so. Auto traffic backs up on the back streets like blocked intestines wherever two cars pass and veggie vendors congregate if there is any more room than that. Nepal time is fifteen minutes behind India, no further explanation necessary…

    So I left. Think of Kathmandu and you don’t usually think of hot sweaty sticky atmospherics, just the opposite, but that’s what you get in the rainy season, an inch a day, and plenty of reasons to leave, with visions of equanimity, though still much better than the rainy season in Thailand, BTW, and climbing up a few hundred meters helps, plus it puts some perspective on it all, with all the little people down there f*cking and fighting, no slight of hands, and growth the only mantra… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:42 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , visas   

    Got Visa? 

    More and more visas are available only by applying online now, including extensions and other adjustments, which is fine, as it allows you to keep your passport in your pocket for a much longer time, rather than floating around some office in some weird country for many days, during which you might really need it, that and/or the freedom of movement that it allows. The problem is that many of these online applications still require paper submissions, which requires a printer in that same weird country, this is an age when cyber cafes are increasingly rare, and smart-phones can’t even interface with them, not directly.

    Or even if you’ve got a cyber-cafe, you still can’t save the document to the hard disk, and they may or may not let you attach a flash drive. In short: digitized systems are great; hybrid ones are not. Make up your mind, one way or the other. If it’s digital, then it’s digital—no paper. If it’s paper, then provide the forms. Travel should be becoming easier, not harder. And don’t even get me started on ‘reciprocal visa charges’…

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:56 pm on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll never have that problem.

      Esther

  • hardie karges 12:50 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Durbar Square, Freak Street, , , , Thamel   

    Kathmandu, Nepal: Namaste’s and other cliches 

    IMG_0496(Sigh) Finally! I can use the word ‘Namaste’ without feeling like a total New Age newbie, intoning with every simple ‘hello’ the implied meaning that ‘I bow to the divine in you while you return a bow to the tourist in me’ when all I really want to do is say ‘hi’ or maybe ‘good morning’ and you can do that here, since it’s embedded in the language, like Hindi, no accident, brought here by the Gurkhas and now the lingua franca for lack of better options. It is close to Hindi and uses the same Devanagari alphabet…

    Considering that two months ago to the day I had a catheter up my little thingie AND THAT FELT GOOD considering the options, I’m glad to able to take 3mi/5km walks these mornings in Kathmandu, just like old times just like old spaces old places, last here some twenty-odd years ago, and then only briefly, figured no big deal “I’ll be back soon” and it never happened until now on the spur of the moment through inspiration in the most unlikely of places: my in-laws… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:58 am on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cookies, , curry, ,   

    Curry Cookies, and All That Spice… 

    What is the deal with Indians and their curry powder? I mean: there are a few things that taste good without it, right? Right? This has to be the culinary cliche’ of all time, beyond Americans and their hamburgers, Italians and their pasta, Mexicans and their chilies, or Thais with THEIR chilies. This was made clear to me when, in a hurry, I picked up a pack of cookies for later consumption, without first checking the ingredients, secure in my conviction that I had a safe bundle of something sweet and filling for later–wrong. When I finally got around to them, they tasted like–you guessed it–curry! AARRGGHH! What to do? Peanut butter doesn’t help, only drags the PB down to that level, too. I mean: Americans don’t have hamburger flavored cookies, nor Italians their pasta-flavored cookies, nor Mexican their chili-flavored ones. Thais probably do, but that’s to be expected. I guess I’ll just wait for a rainy day and i’m truly desperate. There are plenty of these here in Nepal…

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 10:25 am on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Strange for sure.

  • hardie karges 3:30 pm on August 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Greek, Indo-European, , Latin, , Nepali, Sanskrit   

    Learning Nepali: Hacking and Cracking, Chomsky Notwithstanding… 

    “…some random mutation took place, maybe after some strange cosmic ray shower, and it reorganized the brain, implanting a language organ in an otherwise primate brain” — Noam Chomsky, “world’s smartest man”

    So all of this should be unnecessary, really, then, in learning Nepali, shouldn’t it?

    ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch ek dui teen char panch

    It all sounds Greek to me: ena, dyo, tria, tessera, pente. Wait, that does sound Greek! And that’s no accident, since (Indo-European) Nepal–via Sanskrit–is is probably as close to it as its direct cultural descendant English. And so it goes down the Latin connection: unum duo tres quattuor quinque, uno due tre quatro cinque, uno dos tres cuatro cinco, um dois tres cuatro cinco, unu doi trei patru cinci, une deux trois quattre cinq, or through the Germanic lineage: eins zwei drei vier funf, or through the Slavic: adin dva tri chyetirye pyat, or the Persian, independent of Greek and parallel to Sanskrit: yek do seh chahaar panj, all of which sound closer to the source than English, though it’d help if we’d pronounce as written, not morphed through centuries of spoken fashion: an tuo tree…seesh sevn eicht, etc…

    All of which makes Indo-European the most successful language lineage in the world, the Chinese family second, and arguably Chomsky is on safe ground here, with ‘core vocabulary’, such as simple numbers, but much shakier as concepts progress and expand, such that this linguistic ‘mentalese’ doesn’t help him much on Havana TV, speaking Pidgin English with one of Fidel’s flunkies, unable to converse in America’s second language and first in much of Occupied Mexico, to this day. I hope he speaks a mean Hebrew to compensate the lack, since many amateurs can do better than that. Me, I persevere, plowing fields wherever there are seeds to be planted and fruit to be harvested: neung sawng sam see ha, satu dua tiga empat lima, yi er san si wu, mot hai ba bon nam, muay pi bei buon pram, etc… This could take a while…

     
  • hardie karges 1:22 am on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alcohol, beer, , , , ,   

    Kicking Caffeine's Butt: Living on Red Bull, Vitamin C and… 

    Caffeine could all be a thing of the past soon, and it’s kinda’ sad, I guess, even if my poor beleaguered prostate gland will love me for it. And this my last vice, too, 200 ml (or is it 200 mg?) of coursing through the veins every day, turning on switches at every turn, leaving the lights on in case of late arrival. Not that the Third World helps with the withdrawal any more, whether it be Nepal, where I am currently, or Thailand, where I was last week, or any place else, where you could barely find a cup of Nescafe twenty years ago, and now is brimming to overloaded with fresh roasted Arabian and a cute barista to boot. This is the new social medium: roasted and ground for a night on the town. Alcohol is for losers, I guess, though at $2 a pop for a can of 7% ‘extra strong’ brew, that might be worth re-considering. You gotta’ be flexible… Author’s note: If you gotta do the Red Bull thing, then go for the gold ‘Krathing Daeng’ cans for local Asian consumption, not the blue ‘Red Bull’ for tourists: same stuff, half the price (you heard it here first)…

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 6:10 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think all bad habits are for losers – I guess.

  • hardie karges 3:53 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blackouts, electricity, ,   

    Nepal and the Price of Progress: Ten Bucks a Night… 

    In Nepal, getting a good Wi-Fi signal is the least of your problems. Getting electricity is the real challenge, with power out typically half the day. What decade is this? What century? About the only thing you can be sure of is that the power will be off most of the day, and on most of the night, when you most need it. Welcome to Ethiopia. At least Pakistan turns theirs on and off on the hour, and on a schedule. Now that’s progress!

     
  • hardie karges 1:06 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dog Star, , , Sirius, Stan Brakhage   

    Nepal: Cat Man Do, Dog Star Man, Sirius Serious Seeliat… 

    WELCOME TO NEPAL……land of mountains snow trekking Sherpas Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund what’s-his-name gets all the credit ’cause he’s white and knight and ruggedly handsome so Maoist revolutionaries finally call a truce after monarchy self-destructs gone with the wind like all bad ideas Communism included India and China on the flanks threatening Bigness if not largesse no exit no fresh air even at 9000-plus meters 27,000 feet marching to a different drummer grandiosity with no grand city, just Cat Man Do it all night and all day with tourism on the rebound after Lost Decade incomes like falling snow in the Himalayas…

    India’s poorer cousin buck-toothed and bejewelled smiles, “Welcome to Nepal,” now set your clocks back fifty years, hungry ghosts inhabit the streets at night seeking succor in the day it’s just tourism consumerism and caffeine, terrorists now ready to govern, tourists ready to shop, villagers offering handicrafts for those who no longer care for artisan labor, trekking for those who never even walk, books for those who never read, and records for those with no devices to play them. “Hey Mister you wanna’ taxi” but there’s no place to go, been there done that twenty years ago and counting by twos, even and odds with drunks and sods… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 3:07 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I am breathless after reading this and almost seeing you in your birthday suit.

      Esther

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