Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 12:55 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Balkans, , , Herzegovina, Serbia, Tito, Yugoslavia   

    Serbia: War is Over (if you want it)… 

    Hey, it’s not easy being Serb, or any southern Slav, showing up on the southern gates of Europe post-Rome and looking for a place at the table, a table already pre-set by Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians and Celts to boot, remove your shoes at the door, please… (More …)

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    • davekingsbury 10:34 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice stream-of-consciousness piece, Hardie …

      • hardie karges 12:59 am on October 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave! Hmm, maybe this should be the s-o-c blog, wouldn’t be hard if it’s a country I’ve already visited, just random access assorted memories travels travails and frustrations, toss them in a hot skillet, stir quickly at high temps, season to taste… hmmm, not bad flavor… good idea, Dave!

  • hardie karges 12:33 pm on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Indian Ocean, islands, Mahe, Seychelles, Victoria,   

    Seychelles: Seashells by the Sea Shore 

    Tourist mags and online rags usually start any article on the Seychelles islands with something like: “Welcome to Paradise–Lucky You!” and then proceed to talk about the various suns of beaches that define the place, with scarce mention of the various sons-of-bitches that threaten it… (More …)

     
  • 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… 

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    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 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 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 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 1:53 pm on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , night market, ,   

    Part 2, Street-Food Crisis in Bangkok: Panic, Hoarding and General Pandemonium :-) 

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    Let there be food on the street…

     

    Continued from previous…

    Solution: Ever heard of ‘night markets’? That’s what occurs when a few food vendors gather in the same area, after sundown, and it becomes a kind of makeshift food court, or much much more, and far preferable to sidewalk usurpers who become our—the pedestrian’s—mediator between life and death. Whenever these stalls are organized, everyone benefits, in hygiene, safety, diversity and organization. Apparently that’s what the Bangkok government wants to do…

    But the idea that street food is Bangkok’s best food is ludicrous. That’s like saying that America’s best food is KFC. Of course, part of the problem is definition. What passes for ‘street food’ in CNN’s next ’23 best’ are nothing like Bangkok, including New Orleans, which by Bangkok standards has NO street food, ditto Istanbul, or Paris, or Cairo, Marrakesh or Mexico City, all places that I know personally. Their sidewalks aren’t taken over by sidewalk seating and eating, just Bangkok, and much of Asia…

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    Morning market haul

     

    And the narrative that this is where poor people eat is absolute BS. This is where tourists eat, and tuk-tuk drivers, and working women, many occupying seats for hours at the time. People on a tight budget eat in the market, with much better food, cheaper prices and reasonable hours. According to a local hack:

    “It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and supper: market food, not to be confused with ‘street food’, to which it is superior and more varied IMHO, including famous Thai curries, which are almost NEVER found on the street (read: sidewalk). Here is a typical morning market haul: spicy southern coconut-based curry (30B), northern tomato-based hot sauce ‘nam prik aung’ (20B), stir-fried chicken w/ ginger (20B), and sticky (glutinous) rice (20B). If I’d bought 25B worth of rice, instead of 20B, it would’ve lasted me all day, 95B = less than $3. Try that with ‘street food.’ เต็มอิ่มแซบ (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:41 pm on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Yaowarat   

    Part 1: Street Food Crisis in Bangkok, City of Angels, L-O-S… 

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    Best northern food in Chiang Mai, but not on the sidewalk…

    Land of Smiles, that is, until you f*ck with the food, just one spoonful short of the prized phrik (hot pepper) or sacred sugar, and you’re in real trouble, Thai food something of a gustatory dialectic wending its way between the extremes of spicy and jeut, sour and sweet, hot and cold flavors, filling or not. And now the military government wants to clean up the sidewalks of street vendors, including food vendors…

    Well, you’d think North Korea had begun launching missiles down south, the way the Twitter-verse and Facebookers are responding to Bangkok’s crackdown on ‘street food’ this week. Now everybody is Anthony Freaking Bourdain, with epicurean DNA, a favorite street chef in Bangkok, a culinary stiffie and a golden thumb for golden drum-sticks, browned and crisped to smoky perfection and ready for prime time… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 9:06 pm on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My son has just returned from Thailand and he and his family enjoyed the street food … will show him this when I see him next. Wonder if he had that som tam …

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