Updates from August, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 1:56 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , insurance, , kidney stones, , Obamacare, , ,   

    Hooray for Travel Insurance! Just keep traveling, fellow Americans… 

    IMG_1302

    Author’s Note: Medical issues of a sensitive nature discussed here…

    Well, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write a post lauding the insurance industry, but since I once wrote a ‘sh*t-list’ post on the bad ethics of bad bizniz, here, then I guess it’s only fair that I write a special post for one of the good guys, in this case Aon Travel Insurance, who just wrote me a check for almost $2222 (I’m too lazy to look up the actual number), for what was hopefully the last of a series of ‘pee gravel’ episodes in my ‘Year of the Kidney Stones’. I almost didn’t even file the claim, I was so skeptical…

    Back story: I’ve traveled to some 155 countries, but almost NEVER got the suggested shots, much less purchased travel insurance. After all, some of the shots seemed worse than the disease itself, and travel insurance was only as good as the doctor, and the hospital, and the country, and the policy, AND… (More …)

     
    • Esther S. Fabbricante 4:22 pm on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, my! What a life – and Godspeed.

    • jgf 12:50 am on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on truckin’, old man. Love and Bliss from Joketown!

    • davekingsbury 11:34 pm on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Studying is a sort of travelling … what’s that line from TS Eliot? I read much of the night and go south for the winter. Or something. Anyhow, best wishes for the next phase …

  • hardie karges 10:39 am on July 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blues, , , Dos Lobos, , , Los Lobos, , , religion   

    Leaving LA in the Not-so-Broad Daylight… 

    IMG_2509I’ve been accused of writing country music songs in my spare time, to make ends meet and to fulfill other sporadic random urges, apparently, so maybe I should. Here goes another attempt, one more time, so how’s that howling coyote go? Wa-ooo, wuff wuff wa-ooo, get along little doggies…

    Except that the LA in this case is Los Angeles, not Louisiana, and the time in question is midnight, not daylight, BUT: Hey, it’s better than ‘LA in the Rear-view Mirror, US in the Gutter’, which is how I really feel. Don’t you just love it when happy coincidences converge in real life? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:04 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amtrak, , , ,   

    LA at Midnight, Tucson by Morning… 

    IMG_2475Thumpity thump thump thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump, thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump thumpity thumpity thumpity thump thump…

    “Man with a plan don’t play with no band just me and these hands and a few hundred fans who never hesitate to step up and donate, so please don’t wait, I get off at the next gate…”

    The guy on the Metro ‘Red Line’ is playing a tune, using only his hands, and the long metal walls of the subway car, in a style probably best described as rap, early style, long before hip-hop, long before the progeny and the misogyny and the world-wide knock-offs as appropriate to local milieu… (More …)

     
    • esther Fabbricante 9:40 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Too deep for me.

    • hardie karges 10:00 pm on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Okay, no more deep stuff, I promise…

    • davekingsbury 10:21 pm on June 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I like deep … travel writing with a free-wheeling Kerouac style spiritual dimension still has a way to go – surface not even scratched – and is always up my alley, done v well here, keep up the g work!!!

      • hardie karges 8:14 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, sir, thank you thank you thank you… there is no higher compliment than Jack K…

  • hardie karges 1:49 am on June 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nubian, Sudan   

    #Egypt in #Music, #Nubian and Urban… 

    Egypt (Misr) is a mother, the mother of us all. With origins at least ten thousand years ago and a well-documented history for at least half that, this is where it all began, the bottle-neck between Africa, Asia and Europe, where black and white have rubbed shoulders since time immemorial and big ideas have been made and canceled as a matter of course, where Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mamluks, French, British and Ottomans have all had their day, until Egyptians ultimately have their say and their way, and agree to disagree…

    The last six years say it all, at the start of which I could travel freely all over the region, over land and water, like a pilgrim in search of everything, now divided into safe zones and no-fly zones and there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I zones. Pick any God. The pyramids are the big deal, of course, but Thebes is all about columns, though never given credit as the prototype for Greece, with whom Egyptians share more DNA than has ever been acknowledged, either, only now obvious with the world genome now revealed…

    If you want to travel there, do it. There is an overland route going south, too, you know, South Sudan optional. Sudan also has a border with Eritrea, and onward to Ethiopia via Djibouti, more of that same Greek/Nubian DNA there, apparently. Get visas in advance, if possible. You can always fly. The horn is the heartland. Welcome to the Bible. Go before WW4…

     
  • hardie karges 1:32 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kristina, , Slovakia, Travnice   

    #Slovakia in #Music: #Kristina and #Travnice… 

    Slovakia is probably best known as little brother to the Czech Republic and half of the former Czechoslovakia of Warsaw Pact fame in the Communist era. But there’s more to it than that, though, as this video shows. I myself only passed through the capital Bratislava through the night on a train from Prague to Budapest, but that much looked quite nice. It’s on my list for a return trip. This is the song Kristina sang for her Eurovision contest. Then there’s something straight out of the past, out of the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, and no more than a strong yodel or two from the Alps. Enjoy…

     
  • hardie karges 12:12 pm on June 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Som Tam, street, , , Tom Yam   

    #Bangkok After the #Food Ban: Don’t think twice, it’s all right… 

    IMG_2427Okay, so I’m being a bit snarky and ragging on a couple of friends who took extreme exception to the ruling Thai military junta’s recent decision to crack down on sidewalk vending, including food vending, to which some of them responded by threatening to cancel their biennial bivouacs in the Land of Smiles. Well, that crackdown got written up as something like: “Ban on Thai Street Food!” which of course is total BS, as no food in Thailand is banned, to my knowledge, certainly nothing like the status of pork in Islamistan or the status of bovine burgers in India…

    No, this is a crackdown on sidewalk vending…

    Not to mention the fact that of all the pictures of this supposedly ‘banned’ street food, none—absolutely zero—of them was indeed street food, i.e. sidewalk food. Now I doubt that the average farang—Westerner—even knows what som tam is, much less ever eaten it, and that is probably THE most popular ‘street’ food in Thailand, whether Bangkok or the countryside. I mean, the first time I ordered that ‘papaya salad’ on a restaurant menu, I almost died when I saw what they brought me, and NO, cream is not an optional topping. Marinated emulsified fish is… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 2:11 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chechnya, , , , mob, Papua, snuff, Uganda,   

    Cry for Guatemala: and Cambodia, Uganda, Chechnya, PNG and Afghanistan… 

    Okay, so I can’t play the video that inspired this write, since it’s a snuff film, and I can’t do that, in all good conscience, so I’ll play this one instead. Sometimes I think that maybe we need some rocket-launcher control legislation, since I’m not sure what I’d do if I had one—no, not that, since that’s a sin, and I’m a Buddhist…

    That a sickening ‘snuff film’ made the rounds recently, of a girl being torched in public, by an angry mob in Guatemala, is sickening beyond belief. The fact that she may have committed an equally heinous crime herself is immaterial. Guatemala is a Christian country. I know it well. What has happened to the world as we know it? Can it get any worse than this? Or has it always been like this, and we are just now getting the news because of smart-phones and social media? None of the above or all of the above? (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:05 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      An eye-opener!

    • Anna 11:16 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The world is a sad place.

    • tom 8:45 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Some good hot topics. Ill vouch for homosexuality in some muslim countries. As i was approached to partake. Unwillingly of course, in a few muslim countries. I learned that long hair on a man is a sign that you are gay where i was! I feel its Difficult to curtail sexual urges for sometimes 5 to15 yrs. Till a man reaches 30 years or more before he can afford to pay the dowry for a wife. But as youve written , theres shit that happens everywhere.

  • hardie karges 2:07 pm on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Homer, , , ,   

    Homer and Me, and My Big Fat Buddhist Odyssey… 

    IMG_0599Some things you will think of yourself; some things God will put into your mind.”–Homer

    Well, I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up—a Buddhist; a professional Buddhist, that is, and that can only be one of two things: a monk or a scholar. So after dillying and dallying with it for almost a year now, mostly as temple boy in the Thai (Theravada) ‘forest tradition’, but also with stints in Nepal and Burma, I’ve applied and been accepted into a Chinese-style Buddhist College, here in Thailand—cool…

    It’s not that I felt no calling until now; it’s that I felt so many callings, all at one and the same time, or in rapid succession, with no clear direction shown, no clear preference known, just a morass of tangled wires and spliced-together leads, all leading into 1000 different directions from the source, an interminable present that becomes past almost effortlessly, future only a mathematical probability, so that focusing exclusively on any one thing has always been a challenge—and borrrinnngggg (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 3:43 pm on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You have revealed a lot in this blog!

    • hardie karges 6:36 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on streaming consciousness… and commented:

      Live from the other side of my brain…

    • tom 9:22 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      So you settled for had rai?
      Nothins forever. Just enjoy it till ya dont anymore. Ask questions then wait for answers.
      Worked for me. Best of luck my friend. May be swingin by late this year. Ill let ya know!

      • hardie karges 10:35 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Had Yai unless the Taiwan uni comes thru unexpectedly, then more soul-searching. Masters should be no biggie, PhD is another issue. Where you?

  • hardie karges 1:52 pm on May 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Doi Mae Salong, Kuomintang, , Santikhiri, ,   

    Doi Mae Salong (Santikhiri): Thailand’s Best-Kept Secret… 

    IMG_2407For most people, travel is a special activity that you do maybe once or twice a year, with elaborate preparations and financial considerations, nail-biting calculations and apprehensions of misappropriations. But most of all: it’s exciting! It’s fun! You’re enthusiastic! But for some others of us, who travel so much that it’s more ‘normal’ than ‘ab’, sometimes we just can’t get it up for the journey, especially if we’ve already ‘been there done that’ and there are no screaming kids to disappoint…

    So I did something a week or two ago that I’ve never done before in forty some-odd (all together now: “some very odd”) years of travel—just canceled; called it off; yanked it; scrubbed; pulled the plug; I feel so liberated now that I don’t have to do all that travel—aaahhh!!! I can relax now. And that’s about the size of it. When you’re tired like the end of a trip, before the trip’s even started, then: do the math, take a bath, put the baby to sleep… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:59 pm on May 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Energy drinks, , , , ,   

    ADDICT! Confessions of an American Coffee Drinker… 

    IMG_0099.JPGHi. My name is Hardie, and I’m an addict.”

    “Give Hardie a nice welcome, group.”

    (Multiple voices in unison) “HI, HARDIE!”

    “Why don’t you tell us your story, Hardie…”

    005

    Same in any language…

    Well, I knew I had a problem when I started carrying around a pack of Nescafe, for travel, and totally unselfconsciously, mind you, the hard stuff, too, not the 3-in-1 lady coffee, and I would mix it straight with bottled water and maybe a little sugar, if I was lucky, and happened to have some…

    At that point my habit was probably 200mg a day, though I’m sure I did 400mg many days, espresso cappucino latte’ macchiato, I’ve tried them all, including the Italian ‘ristretto‘, hard to find, like mainlining a little bit of Heaven straight to the carotid artery, pure caffeine, milk and sugar optional, add water to taste, it keeps you awake during prayers, yeah right…

    (snickers and subdued laughter, smiles on a head or two nodding)

    I got my start in the Millsaps College grill, lousiest coffee in the world but cheapest, too, ten cents a cup, and honor system, so you could just thump the cup if you were short on change, for good luck and good measure. That lasted a couple years, there and assorted mini-marts and lousy greasy spoons, Maxwell House, Folger’s, Yuban, Taster’s Choice, mother’s little helpers with a Good Housekeeping seal of approval…

    …but I saw the Promised Land in North Beach, San Francisco, 1974, espresso for a dollar or so a shot, way outta’ my budget, though, me hanging shopper ads on door knobs for less than minimum wage in nameless suburbs where the others lived, enough for a $25 a week studio pad on Washington Square, but I knew then what I wanted to be when I grew up. So it came three years later in Mexico City…

    While Lupita was doling out Burroughs his little pile of junk on anonymous street corners in DF, I was in the downtown cafeterias, real cafeterias, coffee-houses, European-style, with the good stuff, black meat, cafe’ espres’ and cafe’ cortado, just like the Beatniks in North Beach, but only a quarter dollar USD, so I could imbibe, in post-devaluation Mexico, and you get a waiter dressed-like-a-penguin to boot…

    Like Water for Nescafe…

    007 (2)…only problem was that you could get nothing of the sort outside DF, so I’m hooked by then, and stuck in Oaxaca, looking to score at 6am, and nothing open till eight, and then only Nescafe, “agua para Nescafe” infinitely preferable to whatever else might be on tap, at least they’d let you mix it yourself from a large jar with crusty rim, keeps me off the streets and out of the gutters, and somewhat normal for another twenty-four hours at least…

    But Portland, OR, sealed the deal for me, where coffee was already king in the early 80’s, and you could score for the good stuff all over town. But my favorite was macchiato, aka ‘meth’, because it had a dollop of creamy froth to neutralize the acids, but no one would mistake it for a lady drink. That’s the problem with cappucino: unless you know your local dealer, they might put cinnamon or something on it, and by then it’s too late…

    If they don’t have macchiato, then I’ll usually just order the espresso to avoid that possibility, same with latte’. But when Starbuck’s finally hit the big time, it was hard to pass on that two-dollar twenty-ounce bad boy called ‘Veinti‘, so nobody ordered it but me, because they didn’t know how to pronounce it, much less actually know what it means. I figure that monster cup had about 400 mg. of pure caffeine, maybe more if you filled it to the brim, no room for milk—ha! I know that trick…

    Then the energy drinks came along and upped the ante post-Y2K, though I’d known them for years in Thailand, where the Red Bull and many others originated. They made caffeine a party drink, speed-balling caffeine and alcohol, so that you can drink all night, because in effect, you never really get drunk. You just go out of your mind! And the American manufacturers actually improved on the taste of that medicinal-flavored retch—though it does grow on you…

    But most of all there’s now a clear equation of what one milligram of caffeine should cost, and what your choice of flavors are to go with it. Between that twenty-ounce Starbuck’s bad boy and those Monster energy drinks with 160 or 240mg frequently found for less than a buck, I refuse to pay more than five cents USD for a milligram of the drug, and I expect to have my choice of delightful flavors, coffee in the morning, lively limey citrus in the afternoon…

    IMG_0959But my conscience still nags me: isn’t there something wrong with this? I know the Islamic mullahs long ago ruled that it’s okay, but still… Then my Buddhist priest not only okayed it—he started fixing me up every morning before first light, then again in the afternoon, too. He says it helps with meditation. You got that right…

    Fast-forward to the present, and I finally decided to quit. Junk is junk. Maybe it was the betel-nut chewers in Burma or the heroin junkies in Amsterdam—I don’t know. How can I live with myself if I’m disgusted at the same time? If you want to move forward, then you’ve got to leave some things behind, that’s what I figure. Freedom starts in your own mind. If you need help getting up in the morning, then you need to make some changes in your life.” I shrug. “That’s my story.”

    Wow, Hardie! That’s some story! And I’m sure that all the others and I are glad to see you clean, straight and sober. It must feel good knowing that you’ll never have to go back to drinking that nasty stuff…”

    (space intentionally left blank)

    Wait a minute. I didn’t say that. Did I say that? No, I definitely did not say that.”

     

     

     

     
    • davekingsbury 2:20 pm on May 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My nerves are shot to pieces after reading this graphic account … only one thing for it … brew myself a cafetiere of full-strength Kenyan Fair Trade!

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