Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"This Umbrella Isn't For Rain"


I know it looks like I'm ready for a rainstorm. But this umbrella, you see, isn't for keeping me dry. It's actually to keep any negative sentiments from getting into my head. Like when people are having a bad day, and they try to share their misery with people around them. I don't go for that, and it doesn't touch me because of this umbrella.

This is how I keep a happy face even with times are rough. You should try it sometime.

"Get me OFF this damn bus!"


Wow, I've endured some hellish bus rides in my day, but that one has to take the cake. It wasn't so much the crush of the 87 people crammed into this tin can masquerading as a city bus, but the carry-ons that some passenger had. One guy had a pail of dead fish he'd apparently caught fishing this morning. Another guy had a friggin' cobra -- and it wasn't dead. Scared the hell out of me, although the guy assured the rest of the passengers that the damn thing had been de-venomated.

Anyway, it's great to get off that bus, I can't even put it into words right now. All I know is I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff!

Yangon, Burma. 1:13 p.m.
Temperature: 94 degrees
Humidity: 90 percent

"Man, I Should Have Asked That Girl Out"


Looking back on the situation, I'm realizing that I totally should have asked that girl out back in college. I mean, she was obviously into my scene, and adored me to an almost embarrassingly obvious extent. But I never pulled the trigger on that one, which sucks, because now I'm sitting here regretting the decision, like six decades later.

What the hell was I thinking? All it would have taken was a little courage. But I totally chickened out. I guess the other guys would have given me hell for it, too. Those guys were idiots though, who cares what they think.

This really sucks. I wonder what she's up to these days?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Flip Side Of Kashmir


Hong Kong is about as opposite as you can get from the small towns in the north of India. These are seething, noisy streets that are brightly lit and resplendent with the smell of commerce. This hits you in the face here even harder than the humidity does.

Within the neon glitter, you feel a long way from anything resembling remoteness. And you can barely continue a singular thought for more than 30 seconds before being interrupted by some kind of craziness. A bit different from the silent solitude of the mountain lands.

But there are mountains here, that's the ironic thing. See that crazy skyscraper to the right of the photo? That's the Hong Kong International Finance Center, Hong Kong's tallest building. At 1335 feet, it's the seventh largest building in the world. And there's an even taller one under construction right nearby.

Someone stop this crazy merry-go-round -- I wanna get off.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are You Sure About This?


"Skydiving, huh? Wow. I mean, if you want to do it, go ahead. But it sounds pretty scary. Hope you've given enough thought to the possibility that the parachute might have been worn out from the nibbles of a thousand unseen moths. And that it might fail you right at the moment you pull the ripcord. and that you'll go hurtling toward the ground at like 188 miles per hour."

"On the other hand, you might have an amazing experience that will forever change your life in ways you couldn't have imagined. Until you took your life in your hands."

"Wait, actually, can I come with you?"

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bad Place To Wake Sleeping Dogs


The northern Indian city of Leh is a winding maze of alleys; the narrow, dimly kind that stray dogs like hanging out in. I found that out the hard way one afternoon when I stumbled into -- and woke up -- a group of sleeping stray dogs, which immediately gave chase.

These tenacious dogs chased me through the dusty streets of Leh for a good 45 minutes, and every time I found a good hiding spot, they'd sniff me out right away. They were good, these dogs. It wasn't long before I became exhausted by all the running -- the town lies at an elevation of 11,500 feet.

During the chase, however, I got a pretty good view of Leh, which has a deliciously medieval type of feel to it. And eventually, I managed to escape the dogs by hiding out in a giant monastery on a hill overlooking the town. I ended up staying for six days, although five of those days I stayed because the damn dogs were waiting outside for me.