16 December 2006
my impression of them is entirely one of Predators.
i remember driving home one warm summer night (that car begged for trouble with its busted speedometer) and seeing the emblematic silver and blue reflectors glint in the dark as my lights swept over a seemingly unremarkable bush on the corner of an abandoned intersection.
headlights suddenly appear in the rearview as he pulls out behind you. The white lights become nearly blinding as he pulls up real-close-like to check your tags. the violation begins; adrenaline rushes through your veins like street drugs only dream they could.
He turns on his flashing lights and power; he runs his finger over the gun's safety. He opens the police car door slow and saunters up to the Suspect's Vehicle, thighs forward to ensure maximum virility assertion. He shines his thick flashlight in the Suspect's face, illuminating and assessing any racially suspicious or erotic facial features the Suspect may possess. He shines it around the interior of the Suspect's vehicle, oogling its contents to the fullest extent of the Law, Ma'am.
he attempts to trap you by asking you if you are aware of why you were pulled over. he uses a slightly condescending voice laced with his knowledge that he is correct and waiting for an explanation of why you would foolishly DARE to disobey him. he is aching to tighten the handcuffs around your slender wrists.
His questions the Suspect to establish a crime; his finger unconsciously caresses the Baton. It feels smooth and reassuringly heavy. He was already ugly but when he leers at his prey it's much worse; the layers of fat around his beady eyes wrinkle as he surveys the Suspect's exposed Collarbone. Though his large frame is tending towards corpulent these days, he still holds himself Upright and Powerful with the full righteousness of Democracy and Freedom. His testosterone clouds the air.
you stare back and refuse to drop your eyes; you dare him.
---well, girl, since you're not too drunk and don't look like an illegal alien... I'll let you go this once but (he bares his teeth like a hungry ape) you better watch your... ass.
12 December 2006
on the day my brilliant luck finally runs out; remembering all that mischief and mayhem,the glorious vistas from untold miles on the road, the midnight-to-dawn discussions with my brethren when we thought we had the weight of the world on our shoulders, the torrid love affairs, the nights we got so drunk the earth pulled us back into her arms and we couldnt see nothin but the cold steady stars overhead.
27 August 2006
american accents. i heard one or two over the course of the summer but nothing to prepare me for the nasal, bullhorn-esque quality of the way
my countrymen project their vowels.
then i was astounded to find myself shocked at the bare flesh women of all ages rep; it had been a while since id seen babyboomer tits and flabby legs squeezed into last summer's JC PENNY short & tanktop combo.
And god, the frosted blonde cropped coifs framing such painted faces. perhaps the women of india have a better idea by leaving it up to the imagination.
was i staring with shock at a woman in a tube top?
fuck their tracksuits are so tight, the patterns are all wrong and we move so blockily.
but yes here the waves have crashed and the beach is now empty. these days of adventure, intrigue, and romance are over and im wrapped in a white blanket against the colorado chill, jetlagged and waking up with a start from bittersweet dreams of far of places & faces.
im typing this but my eye keeps strayng to my parents new &ridiculously fast post-children vehicle.
its almost dawn, the roads are empty and i cant resist, so now ill go;
standing still is killing me. ive made a pact with the devil-- i may travel to the end of the earth nearly effortlessly but i must always do it alone. i may only love my fellow passengers till the ship lands and then im off with one hand on my chest and the other clutching a ticket.
cowardly, maybe. but the hope is that if i fly fast enough ill finally defeat gravity and break away completely
24 August 2006
Correspondingly, I have had moments of the highest moral clarity and moments of absolute depravity.
I'm rolling with shock at the cross-continental itinerary looming ahead of me, at the fact that this is over--no more talking with the doctors, living alone with the insects, tearing through the abandoned late night streets on a motorcycle with the shanties and palaces glinting in the moonlight,
so now I cant do nothin but watch the last day go up in flames above the smog and incense, knowing that
NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME
22 August 2006
15 August 2006
12 August 2006
08 August 2006
06 August 2006
1. my perspiration now smells like garlic and indian spices
2. im beginning to speak with a strange indian accent; at first it was to be understood and last night when i was talking with a fluent english speaker i realized that my intonation is getting more unpredictable every day and furthermore my grammar has fallen to shambles.
3. i drink the water from the cup in restaurants and dont get sick. so far. im sure in 3 months when im swollen with tapeworms ill rue the day i decided it would be an effective cost-cutting measure. but pshhhh that's then; this is now.
4. ive begun to find scrubbing my clothing on the stone satisfying, and now i know why they dont trust washing machines.
last night was an adventure that began with the mounting a of roaring and chrome plated motorcycle to only the Hippest of clubs containing nouveau riche in halter tops dancing jerkily while drinking only the most expensive of vodkas, and ended with my hair's strength being severely tested.
yes, indeed, im pleased to report that i am alive and well.
03 August 2006
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <firstname.lastname@example.org >
Date: Jul 27, 2006 5:17 PM
01 August 2006
24 July 2006
20 July 2006
17 July 2006
14 July 2006
08 July 2006
05 July 2006
01 July 2006
29 June 2006
so the more im finding out about this city the more agreeable it is becoming,but that might just be from my western eyes. i was tempted there for a moment to call it a civilized city, but then i remember that
quote civilization end quote
is a subjective thing inof itself; and who am i to extol leafy streets,
speed limits, and so many dapper young professionals as an evolutionary step
forward? quincy are you listening.
im often reminded of this nagging underlying question of why i chose this
undertaking in the first place, and what significance it will play in
formulating the future. but, of course, the answer lies completely wrapped in
the chaos of the road and therefore cannot be extracted without losing its
truth. yes, when i in my foolish youth demand right! or wrong! india merely washes me with watery ambiguity that refuses to answer one way or the other.
one thing is, however, completely certain as far as im concerned:
traveling the world and ruining my finances
(and possibly mental stability..and at such a tender age!) in the meantime just to SEE it is
bangalore is nice but my soul is bedraggled from all the transiency
its so surreal to see the dawn rising up over the leafy highway after a hard restless night on the road; the day always seems louder when it comes unbidden and unproceeded by sleep.
so im bleary eyed and my pack is getting lighter. the most recent possession to divest itself was my photo cord. which is too bad because we went to this elephant reserve and some astounding things were captured........
but, like layers of an onion, things just keep peeling away from me. at this rate i will return to the united states possessing only sandals & bandannas.
&aside from the fact that one bandanna has reached near biohazard status,
it could be worse
25 June 2006
20 June 2006
18 June 2006
17 June 2006
it's quite hot in the vallies between the himalayas and our area is
characterized by epic trees and dramatic descents into the glacial water.
these mountains have a certain violence to them. in front, the green foot hills
covered in jungle look peaceful enough. but a long glance through the humidity
haze just right reveals these stony, staggeringly tall jagged peaks raking
through the clouds.
we rented a humble rowboat for the river that feeds into a huge lake near where
we are staying. the river moves slow and is the temperature of bathwater at the
surface. leeches aside, quite pleasant.
so we set out further towards the lake and entered a period of silent
timelessness, staring at the ridges of the mountains and the clouds and birds.
then of course the boys got hungry so we landed our craft at the foot of a long
set of stone steps delved out of the mountainside (the mountains literally fall
into the water--this lake is still so new that there is no shore). climbed to
the top where there was a single table with an old drunk man.
we sat on the stone verandah and consumed chai and fresh fish till we were
satiated. a tarantula captured and killed a beetle.
then the monsoon poured over the bowl of the mountains and rushed towards us
with surpising furiosity. within minues the rain was raging and treebranches
were being ripped apart in the wind. we moved inside and rested in a rainy day
half daze till the calm came back. then back to the lake for hours
more..swimming in the middle, exploration of a swamp, etc.
finally after one of the most dramatic sunsets ive ever seen, we figured it was
time to return the boat. it being a complex post dusk navigational feat to find
the tiny cove of our origin, i am surprised we made it on the first try.
we disembarked and made our way up the stairs to the owner's shack.
there was a small group of very excited looking men standing at the top of the
stairs. the owner came up to us, obviously distressed, and they all started
talking at once in their broken english about the storm and how dangerous the
'that water 180 feet deep in middle! no tourist know!'
'every year they die, in the monsoonsummer 25 europeans die!'
we, being previously unaware of both of these facts, were slightly taken aback.
they said theyd sent out search parties & asked everyone if theyd seen us; since
we were gone for some 7 hours, they concluded that we had drowned
11 June 2006
i will try later; we are departing kathmandu soon and moving up into the mountains for a few days before returning to india and making our way south on the 17th.
we still can't get train tickets.. we may have to hitchhike or ride busses (UGHHHH)
(but don't worry, I'll just shave my head and carry a large knife in my teeth to ward off danger).
10 June 2006
andrew (in english)-17 yr old hungarian from rachel's school.
will-18 yrold new mexican
adam- 18 yr old brit
rachel- my lovely lovely old friend
the first night we'd checked into our hotel, by 5pm andrew was bored of our
enthusiastic sampling of nepali tobacco additives, went to the corner store,
bought a 750ml bottle of cheap rum and a litre of coke, and drank ALL of it. by
530pm, when we took it upon ourselves to go in quest of MOMOS, he was visibly
intoxicated. things maintained a semblance of order at the restaurant until our
chai came, which he knocked over and attempted to slurp off the table. then it
was bathroom time and he stumbled into the direction of it (out of view of us)
down a hall, followed by a muffled crash and the waiter running shouting NO NO
NO after him. he was soon too drunk to remain in the restaurant at all, as he
was spitting small particles of partly chewed Mo meat all over the table. The
other patrons, who were very polite and quiet, seemed nonetheless not
entertained. especially considering it was a week night, and not even dinner
time. adam tried to get him home while rach and i stayed for a cup of chai. we
paid a little extra to compensate for the food in various states of digestion
that was spackled all over the seating area.
we got back to the hotel and adam said, in all seriousness, guys, ive lost
what the fuck do you mean you lost him?
well he pulled a trick on me; waited till i was unlocking the door and ran off
giggling. i think i heard him fall down the stairs.
at this point we divided into search parties; the streets are crowded and
labyrinthine. rach and i hired a cycle rickshaw to circle the neighborhoods,
though considering all the back allies and hidden squares, it was an exercise
in futility from the start. the man was ancient and dusty and it was painful to
watch his ribs sick out and the thin sinew of his legs strain against our
an hour went by. we talked to the nice young hotel manager about calling the
police but he warned us against it--anyway, he said, it doesn't get dangerous
till at least a few hours after sundown. (even if youre a thin blond
so we could do nothing but wait.
an hour later and i hear him screaming down in the courtyard. adam and rachel
were trying to get him upstairs but his gangly frame hid a surprising amount of
strength and he was utterly determined to resist us. the three of us jumped on
him, held him down and tried to get his hands behind his back but he fought
fiercely. he broke free and made a run for it and this time we had to tackle
him. due to our screaming and the sounds of our violent scuffling, a crowd of
locals began to gather.
additionally, the proprietor was looking a little put off, especially after
andrew said those things to him. i began to worry.
we held him down and splashed him with water again and again, we tried to make
him eat crackers or at least water but he simply became more belligerent.
finally the proprietor threatened to call the cops; we were clearly not able to
control our companion.
but i hadnt heard such nice things about nepali police.
finally these huge fat mongolian looking dudes with shaved heads appeared. we
made sure that andrew looked them full in the face before giving him the chance
to come upstairs on his own accord. wisely, he relented.
upstairs we finally got him in the room and locked the door, at which point he
stripped naked and chased us screaming some of the most ridiculous things i
have ever heard before eventually collapsing into a heap on one of the tiny,
sometimes i wonder about our bouts of youthful recklessness and whether or not
we are tempting fate or disaster. but really, there is only so much i can do..
cause..fuck. we are ARE young and stupid.
...and really, lessons learned the hard way tend to teach us multitudes.
08 June 2006
02 June 2006
the security guard searching our bags at the rizy mall (which we were entering in the eternal quest for a quality bathroom) said: these bags! (gingerly prods thru greyish wadded up clothes) You carry all the time?
I said yeah, it's kinda like we're homeless!
Security guard: Homeless? (confused because we're white)
Yeah, we are traveling just with these daypacks.
Security guard (observing our state of dress): and you do this on purpose?
Mostly. It's refreshing freedom.
Securituy guard: oh-kay. bye have nice day.
An hour later, as the monsoon was pouring down in rivers from the sky, no taxis would stop, and we didnt have anywhere to go anyway except a vague notion of across town to Rachel's ex-boyfriend's house (=AKWARD), I kept thinking..this is refreshing freedom! yes..refreshing! ..then an hour walk through shit color ankle deep water which soaked everything in our unprepared bags (ruining all books and scarring my passport for life though somehow my camera appears to have survived), my clothes rendered horrifyingly translucent by the torrent with every man i walked by reminding me of this fact.... my earlier words became a bad comedy.
but im feeling better today, now that we are fully outfitted with drycleaners bags and colorful umbrellas. im at the train station facing 30 hours in a box till the border of nepal. fortunately there is enough good people watching to keep me entertained forevah-evah. see you there...
ps sorry im at the worlds shittiest computer and cant spell check
30 May 2006
ok so i turned down the chance to be an extra in a bollywood movie yesterday. we
did go to a movie, though, to get out of the heat for a while. <i>x-men 3</i>
was surreal--not just because it was hugh jackman growling in front of
elaborate explosions, but because the movies here are a whole event, with the
national anthem beforehand, an intermission and everyone dressed like they goin
to a fancy dinner. We with our filthy packs and unkempt hair most certainly
ruined the ambiance. sorry dudes.im also learning important hindi phrases such
as 'turn left', 'how much', 'you sisterfucker', and 'i'll break your face'.
i swear this will get interesting once we hit the road, though laying prostrate
in the disabling heat drinking kingfishers all afternoon has its own merits
27 May 2006
24 May 2006
27 April 2006
7 may- depart amherst and arrive in Denver (airplane)
13 may-depart Denver, arrive Charlottesville (airplane)
[15 may-possibly depart Charlottesville for new Orleans (bus/hitchhike?)]
25,26, or 27 may, depart united states, possibly from Atlanta GA (?)
26, 27, or 28 may- arrive in Bombay, INDIA, find rachel & co
commence travel (rickshaw, hitchhike, bus, train, boat?, walking)
central india-goa-tamilnadu-sri lanka?-chennai-?-back north-nepal(!??)
first week of july-bid companions farewell, get to Bangalore, commence medical internship
1 september- depart India
get to denver somehow
4 september-fly to Amherst
GOD I CAINT WAIT TO BUST OUT OF THIS WHITEBREAD TOWN FOR A TIME; the Man’s breathing down my back. fight the power.
(return to academicscramble)
12 April 2006
02 February 2006
MEXICO CITY-LATE JANUARY2006.
We were sitting in the kitchen which was mostly devoid of food or decoration due to misguided monetary priorities. My dinner of dry toast and the remnants of a tub of yogurt had been unsatisfactory. Craving distraction, I eyed the walmart bag where a weed plant, harvested two weeks ago from the roof, was wrapped and waiting; I fetched it and started rolling joints. I lit the first and took a respectable drag.
then I started bitching about that week's cold weather and how sick I was of the apartment.
My roommate informed me he was getting tired of hearing it, but I smiled at him through the haze, passed it on the lefthand side, and soon he was sympathetic. Magically, after the second joint was burnt to a roach, a plan formed.)
Let's go south.
Ibrahim Ferrer was playing at his full tragic volume, booming through the narrow apartment, and we rushed around, gathering supplies. Ten minutes later I was packed (forgetting my camera and swimsuit) and sitting on the stoop, stoned, staring out at the street scene, smelling the empanadas and watching the humans pass by. Ibrahim's voice swelled and spilled out the door.
Colin, it's going to be dark soon. He was frantically re-ordering the contents of the truck in such a way as to accommodate us and two of his friends.
Don't worry Natalie, they live five minutes away, I know exactly how to get there. His eyes were completely bloodshot.
After an hour of orbiting the same labyrinthine streets of our neighborhood again and again, we managed to find them, and after two more hours of battling snarled traffic on Insurgentes, we broke free and started to fly. We wove recklessly past all manner of vehicles and soon the lights of the city stretched and spread as far as I could see behind us as we rose up the mountain pass. The music was blisteringly loud
A Dios le pido...
A Dios le pido...
A Dios le pido...
Un segundo más de vida yoooooooooooooooooo a Dios le pido
and when I started getting restless, crammed in the jumpseat behind the bench, Brooke handed back beers. Four later and I was calm again. We stopped, we started, we smoked reds and I rebuffed the friendly overtures of a blurry succession of gas station men. Hours later, in the middle of the night, someone nudged me awake and I saw the lights of Acapulco sloping down to the sea. We drove past it.
Colin swung a left. Ok guys, I know it's around here somewhere. We were suddenly on a dirt road and the smell of trees and flowers filled the car. We sped around for a while and then abruptly came upon a truck full of military police. They stopped us. More came out of the darkness.
-Where are you going at this hour? How many in the car?
We were just—
Beer cans rolled under my feet. We reluctantly disembarked and watched them throw open the back of the truck and begin a pillage of our belongings. Colin talked a mile a minute, trying to establish a repertoire, but they weren't feeling charitable. Their machine guns glinted in the moonlight.
Colin whispered to me in English: aren't you glad I convinced you not to bring the weed?
Once they'd gone through everything satisfactorily, we were allowed to continue. I watched them fade in the rearview mirror to tiny cartoons in green helmets, and then I passed out again. (later we found out that there had been a turf war that night very near us; drug lords killing each other for the valuable access to Acopulco's rich tourists.)
The next day, Scott snapped the perps standing in front of the truck, looking typical:
That night, after two rounds of long neck coronas on the beach watching the sun set, we decided to go out-- which consisted of dusting the sand off our butts, putting on shoes and speeding thru the countryside to an actual hotel a few miles up while blasting obscene mexican rap music.
The place was beautiful, with a large circular pool and tables set around it and down on the beach. There were white canvas canopies and lit candles and well-dressed older couples talking quietly. Despite our own motley attire, we were seated. We immediately ordered them to bring us an outlandishly large fish, whole and blackened. And cocktails. At this point Colin noted the pool's swim up bar, which was not presently in use.
We have to do it. You don't get a swim up bar every day.
Colin everyone else is wearing dinner jackets.
Who fucking cares?
With that brilliant argument, I was convinced. Having no swimsuit on under my clothes, like the others did, I stripped to my underwear and climbed the deck. we jumped in and evenly coated each and every proximal dinner jacket with tiny droplets of poolwater; disapproving murmmurs became audible.
We then proceeded to have a few swim-up drinks each. My racy garments, now wet, were verging on scandalous, and furthermore, our volume was increasing by the minute. Eyes turned towards us more and more frequently. The gracious waiters finally coaxed us out of the water with promises that our fish was almost done.
I attempted to dry off with the leg of my jeans but the gin and tonics had complicated matters; this is when the indelicacies began in earnest. Scotty observed and said loudly:
Hey Natalie! Nice crack!
Mouths fell agape.
I responded with the(at the time) clever: ... chinga chinga CHINGA tu PUTA MADRE! The waiter overheard and gasped. A hush fell. Grandmothers blushed.
Fortunately, at this moment, the glorious meal arrived and was laid out before us: the fish was so very fresh, nearly as large as a skateboard deck, and delectable to the last morsel. Some untold time later, we received a check for 1100 pesos, thanks mostly to the cocktails. Scott, upon seeing this tab, found it prudent to shout, though I was 2 feet away from him, something along the lines of: HEY YOUNG BUCK, you got this, right, OR SHOULD WE (volume increases further) TRADE YOU TO THE WAITERS FOR THE NIGHT? OH WAIT THATD ONLY PAY FOR LIKE HALF! he laughed raucously at this phenomenal joke.
I topped my previous retort with the even wittier and considerably louder CALLATE,YOU MOTHERFUCKER. The waiter evidently understood English too because he looked flabbergasted. Attempting to smooth things over, I grinned at him, but in retrospect this could have sent the wrong message, judging by his reaction.
Meanwhile, we emptied our pockets and left what we could, but it was nonetheless necessary to make a timely exit. We stumbled out in quick succession, turned that ass-shaking rap del DF up even louder, and swerved back to home base, where we undertook the formidable task of consuming all remaining alcoholic provisions obtained from town earlier that day.
More beers and a bottle of rum later, the time of liberation was upon us. I emancipated myself from my clothes, climbed some kind of chain link fence, and was soon sprinting down the abandoned beach under a huge moon. The rest of them had no hope keeping up with me! ....unfortunately, I was quickly carried away by my own momentum, stopped paying attention, and soon found myself nearing the edge of a crowded wedding party. Wearing tan lines.
I bowed and backed up. The sound of my companions laughing uproariously behind me reverberated across the sand.