Updates from April, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 3:33 am on April 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Batu Ferringhi, Cameron Highlands, , , , , , Penang   

    #Cameron Highlands #Penang #Malaysia (continued): It’s Malay-ville, Jake… 

    Sunset at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia

    Sunset at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia

    The problem is that Penang has the smallest meal portions of any place in the world that I’ve yet seen, absolutely ridiculous, hardly worth the money effort or time, for anything stir-fried in Chinese woks, that is, not made up in batches like the Malaysian and Indian curry stalls frequently known as ‘economy rice’, maybe derives the minimalist system from its rep as a hawker haven and night market, where nibbling and walking are part of the game, but when I sit down park my butt I’d really like to fill my empty belly, too, you know, otherwise I’d rather just go buy a loaf and some PB & J…

    Which is exactly what I do, since I can, haven’t had one in months, inspired by scams science and supermarkets, factor portion size on to already not-so-cheap prices and you’d do better than the Penang hawker stalls in any Chinese fast-food-joint in LA, everyone looking at everyone else’s plate here like perverts in the public bathroom glancing around to see who’s got the biggest noodle, you might do better if you speak Chinese dialects but I wouldn’t count on it… (More …)

    • Traveling Ted 5:39 pm on April 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I found Malaysia to be interesting, but I only spent a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur on the way to Borneo. I would love to come back and explore the rest of the country starting with Penang, Langkawi, more of KL, and beyond.

      • hardie karges 1:05 am on April 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Malaysia is good. If a bit generic, and theme-parkish, it’s also a good introduction to Indian and Chinese cultures, besides Malay culture, so allows a traveler to sample various cultures while avoiding some of the extremes of those other countries themselves…

  • hardie karges 1:31 pm on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Kuala Lumpur, , Pening   

    #KualaLumpur #Penang #Malaysia: It was Chinatown, Jake… 

    Chinatown, Georgetown, Peneng, Malaysia

    Chinatown, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

    Malaysia is generic Asia, composite Asia, Malaysia Inc more a country than a nation, a piece of land—God’s palette—and composed mostly of ethnic Malays, Chinese, and Indians, united more by rice and noodles, aunts and uncles, than English laws or legalisms, but they don’t call it ‘diaspora’ unless it’s bad news—Africans or Jews; that doesn’t include Europeans with money, Thai females with domestic skills, Indian merchants with cloth or Chinese mom and pop with family back home Hokkien or Fukien their way up the food chain to a better life, the more money the more kids the better…

    (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:06 pm on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your way with words still amazes me, and I enjoyed this new post.

      Our Easter Sunday went beautifully – at church, and lunch, at nap time, and weather-wise.


      • hardie karges 2:32 am on April 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Always nice to hear from you, Esther. There will be one more installment on Malaysia, then I’ll take a break for a while. Please stay tuned.

  • hardie karges 1:17 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Mt. Lavinia, Negombo,   

    #Colombo #SriLanka, part 2: In Search of a City in Search of a Beach 

    Beach at Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka

    Beach at Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka

    Sunday finally comes and I haven’t been to church since February 2012, in Majuro FSM, back when I figured I might be dying pick a cancer any cancer must’ve worked ’cause I certainly don’t feel like I’m dying now never felt more alive in fact, death now on back burner status indefinite hiatus waiting for a call-back and options on future rights plus a more prominent role in the sequel, agents negotiating furiously…

    Christian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka

    Christian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka

    So I figure now’s a good time, put on my best Muslim shirt—white muslin—and go look for a Christian church, Baptist is too small don’t wanna’ be noticed, Methodist too hot there on the sunny side of the street, so today I’m Catholic with high arches and cool temps and the canonical language mostly in English, God knowing I’m glad to be Buddhist so that I can do whatever I want as long as it hurts nobody and even quaff a brew or mount racy steed if I have a thirst and a need and fertile soil begging seed, no matter what any guy with a book or a beard has to say about it…

    (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 7:02 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Another great post – we went to Brandon Methodist today – Palm Sunday. Very busy week ahead, being Holy Week. (Allegrezza Piano Co. moved my Steinway from my house to Charla’s house last week, and the symphony last night was thrilling – featuring four generations of the Loudenich family premiering in the USA at Christ UMC in Jackson.

  • hardie karges 1:13 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    SRI LANKA, part I: Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians, Oh My! (and Tamils, too; they’re Hindu) 

    Welcome to Sri Lanka, home of Thereavada Buddhism...

    Welcome to Sri Lanka, home of Thereavada Buddhism…

    Maybe the nicest part of the Indian sub-continent is not India at all, but that southern neighbor composed of erstwhile immigrants, coming from both north and south, back in times of erst, looking for liebensraum or maybe just a living room, or a kitchen, looking for turf or maybe just booty, and instead found bounty, like the latter-day Portuguese or maybe their nemeses doubly Dutch, twice removed, once by the Portuguese and then by the Brits, on one of their infamous booty-calls that turned out historic…

    Wall paintings at Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

    Wall paintings at Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

    A stepping stone placed by Ganesha, it is said, perched cock-eyed cattywampus off India’s southern coast, like Taiwan to India’s China, an afterthought to continents, and just a stone’s throw across the old strait and narrow, lies the nation, Sri Lanka, by some accident of history and fate, geological and psychological, the migrations of peoples part of what it means to be human, part of what it means to be mortal part of what it means to be a creature of the dust on Planeta Tierra… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:45 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Another outstanding and interesting post. I don’t know how you get to so many different places.

      • hardie karges 11:17 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Esther. I guess that when I get started, it’s hard to stop. 🙂

    • vokland 5:40 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is it really drinkable that water from the tap?

      • hardie karges 11:10 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hard to believe, I know, but yes, it really is…

        • vokland 4:50 am on April 11, 2014 Permalink

          Good to hear that! I’m going to Sri-Lanka this year myself. What I’ve found out from the Internet is quite different. I have another query if you don’t mind answering of course. What is the best way to travel around the island?

        • hardie karges 7:00 am on April 11, 2014 Permalink

          I prefer trains if there’s one to where you’re going. There are fewer of them, but they’re quite civilized compared to buses, as roads are slow and badly congested. There is no need for special foreigners’ ticket counters like India, either. Have a good trip and thanks for your comments.

        • vokland 7:27 am on April 11, 2014 Permalink

          Thank you! Looking forward to reading your upcoming stories!

        • hardie karges 7:56 am on April 11, 2014 Permalink

          You’re welcome!

    • hardie karges 11:08 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Stay tuned for Sri Lanka, part 2…

  • hardie karges 8:36 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Maldives, Male'   

    #Male’ #Maldives: Caffeine in the Clubs, Muslims on the Beach 

    Burqas on the Beach in Male', Maldives

    Burqas on the Beach in Male’, Maldives

    The Maldives are a string of pearls posing as islands floating gracefully over the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, 1192 nuggets—1000 of them unpopulated—not simply strewn higgeldy-piggledy atoll, but arranged in a double helix and organized into garlands and necklaces and defined by water level as footprints over the ocean surface, any higher the water and they cease to exist as a landmass, demoted like Pluto by science, thereafter to live their life as a mere underwater ridge threatening ships and subs, number three on the international extinction list in fact highest point not much higher than an NBA starting center…

    Dockside in Male', Maldives

    Dockside in Male’, Maldives

    The Maldives must sound like a dream to anyone in Central Asia: Muslims—or me—high up on the hills in the ‘stans or the Kush on the steppes in the bush—cold barren steps to righteousness rewards guaranteed only in Heaven and I’d hedge my bets on that if I were you, where virgins must be bound and chained to maintain ritual purity and you need sheesha, shawarma and shish-kebabs to stay warm, curries lacking punch and pungency for lack of spices, so might as well forget them altogether, get your bellyful of gusto from a goat slowly roasting over charcoal and incense…

    Market in Male', Maldives

    Market in Male’, Maldives

    The Maldives must have been the Islamic paradigm for paradise, pristine waters warm and wonderful, perfectly azure going to like them, gently throbbing surf and all the fish you can eat, French fries and hush-puppies optional, palms gently swaying coconuts bananas and mango for the picking, and a handsome gentle populace, smiles free and willing and a warm island welcome for the tired weary traveler, like Ibn Battutah, the Muslim Marco Polo, way back in the 1300’s, he and his four local wives, not counting slaves, blogging it for the future and trying to civilize the natives, trying to get the women to wear clothes…

    Airport Ferry in Male', Maldives

    Airport Ferry in Male’, Maldives

    That’s no problem today boohoo many wearing full burqa head to toe, others toeing the line of holy writ with fashion scarves and pseudo-veils still others naked-faced and unafraid sucking face in parks with boyfriends just like back home, but some even wearing full burqa in the surf as custom permits if hubby requires it rules and regulations getting tougher all the time…

    No one would take a second glance but me and any lifeguard forced to rescue such dead textile weight from the surf, I wonder if they even remove the burqa to copulate and populate, got an eye slit up top should have a pink slit down under for those intimate moments when nothing else will do, most men in the world having never seen their wives naked in the first place, could easily fake it with silicone and lipstick who’d know the difference anyway…

    On the Beach near Airport in Male', Maldives

    On the Beach near Airport in Male’, Maldives

    But the modern nation is a beachy sun-bleachy ‘Muslim Lite’ to be sure, for the most part, thinly veiled women allowed to ride motorbikes and move freely on road and beach, while thinly veiled Rasta-men, cigs dangling from tender lips sip caffeinated drinks in the pubs and clubs, Red Bull instead of Red Hook, the better to stay awake during prayers, yeah right, uh huh, fortunately the Rastas have other sacraments, too, I bet, the better to transmit the DNA of island culture from Caribbean to South Pacific all the way to here, God’s little GMO people half-African half-Indian half-Arabian…

    Cafe in Male, Maldives

    Cafe in Male, Maldives

    Still though she may sell seashells in the Seychelles, he is more likely to be selling them here, managing the women by managing the money, too bad, hawking the same cheap 50’s curio crap that used to be sold in a million souvenir shops, as they’re still called here, from Daytona to Durban to Copacabana to Capetown to here, a guaranteed catch for lackadaisical beachcombers with fewer hairs to comb even than beaches, more tall tales to tell than true travels…

    Most tourists go to the fancy resorts, of course, couple hundred bucks a night and up, sipping the pricey drinks that are forbidden to locals, prices so high already no one knows the difference, but I don’t do any of that, I content to be a vulcha in search of kulcha, settling for rice and noodles greased up in the same island way that passes for local in the Caribbean and Pacific, the better to weigh you down in the hot sun and steamy skies, tuna this tuna that fresh from the boat nothing Star-Kist on these starry starry nights, sorry Charlie, we want tuna that tastes good…

    Hardship Posting in Male', Maldives

    Hardship Posting in Male’, Maldives

    You can circumnavigate the entire main island in an hour or so, walking at a moderate pace with time for sight-seeing, the pint-sized capital of Male’ is that small, dodging motorbike maniacs, cafes and boutiques lining streets called ‘magu’ with a distinct nasal accent in my mind’s ear, enterprises ranging from distinct downscale but trending up…

    One hour of walking and you’re drenched must shower and start all over again, temps almost constant all day all year no more than 5c/10f variation from low to high, but the night is a different world come alive with heavy metal playing in the park, halogen and benzene, motorbikes backed out into the street like Ramadan at midnight waiting to fill and before the sun comes up…

    It almost reminds me of Montego or Bali planes surfing in low onto airstrip promontories, here the airstrip bigger than the big city itself and rickety ferries take you to fragile landmasses still it’s all good fun and unique if not always cheap but that’s all relative, isn’t it? If we can’t be family, then at least we can be friends, that’s the island way, mon, but it’s truly strange to think that some day not long from now this could all be gone, submerged, covered with water and left for future archeologists to pick up the pieces, try to make sense of it all…

    • Esther Fabbricante 9:42 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your writing is still astounding and captivating and I look forward to our new posts with great anticipation and eagerness.

    • hardie karges 1:21 am on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Esther,,,

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:24 am on April 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      A very rainy Sunday here – Greg’s 62nd birthday- my child #3 of 5.

  • hardie karges 12:47 pm on April 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Election Day in #Kabul #Afghanistan 


    Karzai and author Hardie Karges

    Karzai and author Hardie Karges

    Tomorrow is election day in Afghanistan, and all fingers are crossed, all eyes watching. Regardless of who wins, the future is not so bright. The Taliban vows to punish anyone who votes. And they aren’t known for making idle promises. Of course the real challenge begins when the US pulls out later this year, and questions remain what sort of contingency will live on here. The smart money would probably bet on smart money, with few soldiers. That would probably be the best move.

    Of course the widely predicted civil war won’t necessarily occur when the US pulls out, and if it does, that doesn’t mean that the Taliban will win again. Another possibility is that the country might be partitioned de facto into a Taliban-controlled south and a more liberal—less conservative, that is—’Muslim lite’ north, where women can walk the streets without a burqa and men can eventually learn to appreciate that, and their equality. Isn’t that the real problem anyway: ignorant a**hole macho men who’d rather beat women down than lift themselves up? Old ways die hard, I guess… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:57 pm on April 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am astounded by your knowledge of the situation there and do appreciate your input.

    • REM 5:29 am on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Quite insightful as usual…and happy to see your death wish went unfulfilled…

      • hardie karges 8:19 pm on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, me, too, overall a worthwhile experience, actually… me, bad-ass? Ha!

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