Updates from September, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 6:51 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , desert, Desert Hot Springs, ,   

    Perfect Day, Infinite Gist, final part: Bus, Crappers, Caffeine, DFW, D-i-v-o-r-c-e… 

    Desert Oasis in California

    Desert Oasis in California

    (continued from previous)

    And so the bus breaks down, at three in the morning, with battery problems, or something in the electrical system, as those things are hard to pinpoint without accurate diagnostic tests. Anyway, it’s not good news, though somewhat mitigated by the fact that the desert is not so hot at three in the morning, AND…

    …the place has crappers. This is important for early morning ablutions, almost indispensable, in fact, given the circadian rhythms of the human body, without even considering the semi-trauma of being broken down on the side of the road, albeit in a pump-and-poop parking lot. It’s not the first time I’ve ever been in a broken-down bus, but the first time in America. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:25 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kota Bahru, , Syugai Kolok,   

    #KotaBharu: on the Thai-Malay Border 

    Market in Kota Bahru, Malaysia

    Market in Kota Bahru, Malaysia

    June 2014

    Crossing the border between Sungai Kolok in Thailand and Kota Bahru in Malaysia is no big deal, just walk across like they should all be, only problem is you’re still miles from the real city on the Malay side no problem just hop on the city bus, only real problem is that there are no forex facilities, so you’re sh*t out of luck, nothing in your hand but your rubber d*ck, if you don’t have a piece of magic plastic that burps out bucks at the punch of a bar code, numerical equivalent to happiness…

    Once again a line in the sand makes all the difference in the world, like TJ or TG, shops closing here while opening in Thailand, sun down means desires up, that’s Thailand for you, but this is the conservative part of Malaysia, the Muslim-est part, that is traditional, hot curries without all the messy juices between the bed sheets; it’s a dry heat, I guess. (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 10:38 pm on June 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I just don’t know how you do it, but I really do enjoy reading about it.

  • hardie karges 12:35 am on May 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , train   

    Asian Swan Song: Stir-fried, Sweet and Sour, part II 

    Bangkok elevators

    Bangkok elevators

    …continued from previous Sub-title: Leaving Bangkok in the Broad Daylight (leaving the trash leaving the filth leaving the skyscrapers leaving the street-scrapers leaving the leaf-blowers leaving the elevators leaving the percolators leaving the bar-girls leaving the traffic snarls leaving the uncertainties leaving the eccentricities catching the wind catching the morning sun catching a second wind catching a train…

    The landscape is alternately hilly and swampy, populated and rural. There are rubber trees and palm, pineapples and mango—cash crops all. Rice is seen less down here in the south of Thailand. That’s mostly up north. That symbol of life and tradition is also a symbol of poverty. Nowadays cash is king; without it you’re resigned to a peasant’s life and existence. (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 12:54 am on May 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Your stamina and expertise are far beyond my comprehension – and how you put it all into words is remarkable.

  • hardie karges 2:22 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Great Wall, Tiananmen   

    BEIJING RUNAROUND: BUSES & PLANES & SUBWAYS 

    035

    Tourist district of Beijing

    …flight leaves Bangkok at 1:20 in the morning, already doomed as far as I’m concerned… seat back doesn’t seem to want to recline backward… arrive in Shanghai at six in the a.m. with seven hours until my onward connection, but I have to change airports—not terminals—to do it.   Fun fun fun… exchange houses in China will fleece you right there at the airport, charging you fifty yuan to change your money, so I ask him for it back. I thought he said fifteen.

    I get to the other airport with plenty of time to spare, quick tour of Shanghai in the process, nothing to do now but free-base caffeine… my only goal is to find my Beijing hotel before dark using the subway system in a city I’ve never visited using a language I don’t really know written in characters that mean little or nothing, though the character for pot-stickers looks surprisingly accurate… too bad I don’t eat meat…

    018

    The other Tiananmen Square

    Shanghai’s is the airport of the future, symbolic of their field-of-dreams mentality, their edifice complex, the notion that the world is there (and theirs) to be developed, a mall in every village, an airport for every town. I’m not sure I like that vision; I’m pretty sure I don’t in fact. Nature may not always be right, but probably more often than humans. I don’t think I’ll ever lose my love of fields and streams, mountains and valley daydreams.

    …weather is bad, so the flight is an hour late leaving Shanghai, still I find my hotel before dark by the grace of God. Allahu akhbar. There’s a reason I book hotels close to subway stations… it’s a peach, $30 net with a couple bucks extra for the best breakfast I’ve had since Istanbul; hard-boiled eggs, salad fixin’s, and forty-two different kinds of tofu, a vegetarian’s dream in cheap hotel heaven… hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but I guess a hard-wire connection will do. Steve Jobs wouldn’t like that, though, would he?

    Great Wall at Badaling

    Great Wall at Badaling

    …first day I walk so much that my feet are mush. Tiananmen Square and Sanlitun Village—the foreign quarter—will have to suffice. I’ll save the Forbidden City for another day. I can do that any half day. The Great Wall will take a little more planning… mostly waiting actually, for the bus. I blow off the tour companies and opt for the public bus, but that means the long lines familiar to Communism.

    Wall’s impressive, too, as much or more as any picture could attempt to do it justice. I even thought about walking it, but… naah. On the way back, though, I jump the bus line when I hear the guy yelling, “Spaces for two!” At least I think that’s what he said. Most Chinese travel in packs. They yell a lot, too. You’ve probably heard that they’re not really yelling, that’s just the tonality of the language. That’s pure BS; they’re yelling.

    …a little bit of old China—but not much—lives on in the back alleys of Beijing. Here you can find the best street food and the most interesting little shops.   They’re rapidly becoming upscale and fashionable, too, since the faster they disappear the more valuable the few remaining ones become. It reminds me most of maybe the old quarter in Hanoi, with which it must share a common ancestor, if Hanoi is not a direct copy itself. Fortunately that district is not far from where I’m staying, so it’s the best of both worlds for me. I like it. I’ll be back.

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 6:37 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Of interest to know that you are a vegetarian. Wondering how you get your protein? And you are such a pro at taking in all the sights and describing them to us ‘laymen.’ Very impressive, indeed. Keep healthy.

      • hardie karges 3:20 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Was a better vegetarian then than now, though still prefer it. Never gave up dairy and eggs, though, major sources of protein, as well as soy products. Brown rice is my staple food, much more protein than the white versions. I haven’t heard of rice gluten causing problems, though not sure…

  • hardie karges 7:28 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Chengde, , Forbidden City, Wangfujing street   

    #CHENGDE #CHINA: PARADISE LOST IN AN EDIFICE COMPLEX 

    Chengde is finger-lickin' good

    Chengde is finger-lickin’ good

    August 2012

    China’s cities are so large and massive, and growing, that it’s sometimes frightening, and as hard as ever to travel independently… scarcely a word or destination written in Pinyin (Romanized Chinese)—much less English—in the typical Chinese bus or train station, nor counter help equipped to deal with it verbally… Hotel staff are a little better—but not much…

    …a travel-guide can come in handy, and that’s a tough admission to make for someone who typically eschews them. Here you can actually chew them… this is 2012… not 1984 nor the 1998-99 era when I was last here… malls may be pretty much up to international standards, but the typical “supermarket” lags way behind… rows of shelves and piles of provisions stacked haphazardly upon them… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 10:02 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Your descriptive powers leave me hanging onto every word which you write.

  • hardie karges 7:23 pm on February 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Cuba’s Ironic Curtain, through Uncertain Countryside… 

    Old Cathedral in Trinidad

    Old Cathedral in Trinidad, Cuba

    Continued from previous…spent four days getting my internal bearings greased and realigned, so now my Cuba trip is one-third over… good to finally get out into the Cuban countryside… too little of that, and too much city…

    …nothing spectacular about the Cuban countryside, but still it’s nice, rolling fields with agricultural plantations and the occasional wilderness.  We pass through Cienfuegos, a small city on the western coast, where half the passengers, mostly backpacker types, disembark…

    …finally pull into Trinidad an hour and a half later… I gulp audibly.  Uh-oh, I’ve been here before… rot sets in first where the fruit is ripest… it’s too small, a tourist enclave and little else… lady on the sidewalk holds up a sign reading “ROOMS $15”, looking for all the world like a cute little webcam ‘performer’ with a sign across her bare midriff reading something like “$.99 min.”  (More …)

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel