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  • hardie karges 7:03 am on February 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eggs, , Inuits, travel, Vikings   

    Buddhism, Global Warming and the Guy Who Loved Fried Eggs… 

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    Buddhist Temple in Myanmar

    I know what you’re thinking: that this is a story about someone who loved fried eggs so much that he wanted to see if Global Warming would fry one for him, maybe on the sidewalk, as the old saying goes, only to find that he died before he could even finish eating it…

    No, not bad, but no Havana for you. No, this a true story—two true stories, actually—the first about a tourist in my hotel in Yangon, Myanmar last month, who I had the pleasure of watching over the course of a half hour in the breakfast buffet line. Now most hotels there give Western tourists a standard breakfast of toast and eggs, usually made to order. But this was Chinese businessman style, hence the buffet–nice… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:20 am on October 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , travel   

    Religion 221: Less is More, Time for New Paradigms… 

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    Christian church in Ethiopia

    If the Renaissance man was our hero of the 1500’s and the scientist our hero of the 1600’s, then Enlightened Man was the paradigm for the West in the 1700’s and the entrepreneur was the paradigm in the 1800’s. But then the paradigm in the later 1900’s took a dive and our new culture hero was the wild man, the playboy, the gangster, the rogue, the drug addict, the bad boy, the bad girl, the streetwalker, you get the idea: so what is the paradigm of the 2000’s? The hacker, maybe, or a terrorist? Sounds grim…

    Or maybe it’ll be a ‘gender-fluid’ ‘metro-sexual’, born and bred to do the exact opposite: never bear nor breed. Such dirty work is better left to specialized breeders and the truly old-fashioned who know how to do little else. LGBTQA’s have better things to do with their specialized hardware, especially now that non-traditional marriage has largely withstood court challenges. Now nothing is prohibited. That might help ease population pressures… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:56 pm on May 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , travel   

    No Direction Shown, No Direction Known… 

    The great migrations have already begun, the migrations that follow the collapse of civilizations, the migrations that mark our reversions to instinct, the migrations that herald the coming of new eras. People once followed herds of game in hope of food; now we follow herds of heroes in hope of happiness. The best travel is the old-fashioned kind, miles of trials, count your age by the stamps in your passport. The nice thing about a perfectly symmetrical planet is that if you walk in a straight line in any direction, you’ll come back right to where you started. I like that.

     
  • hardie karges 4:58 am on October 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , travel   

    Like my Indo-European ancestors, I travel a lot, forty-eight countries and counting, 

    slightly less than one a year, but I figure to rectify that soon. But who’s counting? No, I haven’t been to the Arctic Circle yet, but I’ve come close. I’ve watched the sun surf the Atlantic Ocean at Reykjavik in June, refusing to go down until the clock hits 2300 hours, like Michael Jordan finally laying the ball in after a twenty foot long jump and immeasurable hang time. Short of a season in Uranus (pronounced YOUR-anus), that’s the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the Sun wobble gently in the middle of the sky, going nowhere ultimately, at least not relative to my own position. These days I triangulate myself mostly between the US, Latin America, and Thailand. If I didn’t triangulate myself, then how would I know where I truly am? Right now Thailand wins on points, decimal points. The same house in the US would cost me at least ten times as much as what I pay in Thailand. Also, that’s where my wife is, so follow the pull of gravity. This is old-fashioned gravity, not the Einsteinian geometrical function. No, Tang’s there literally pulling. Tang’s my wife. She’s more than a breakfast drink. Thai women are beautiful, but they’re out of their minds; out of their minds and into their bodies. People ask me what Thailand’s like and I say it’s like Mexico, except that the food is good and the women are beautiful. Those are gross over-simplifications, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from saying it. If it did, I wouldn’t be writing this tractatus right now. Mexico beats Thailand hands down in arts, culture, and literature, though. Thailand is not an intellectual culture. Asia is a woman; Europe is a man. Thailand is the breeding ground, a Buddhist magnetic field of passive attraction, flowers waving gently in the wind. The middle path lies right between the legs.

     
  • hardie karges 4:27 am on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Caribbean, , travel, Venezuela.   

    Wander Love 

    I judge a country by the beauty of its women. Even after thirty years of travel, there’s still a lump in my throat, still a lump in my pants at the thrill and fear of landing in a country for the first time.  Unfortunately, Venezuela and the Caribbean don’t seem to have the lithe blithe femmes carrying a tray of fruit on their heads like you’d want them to, all smiles and sex and shortness of breath.  In actuality, the only women I’ve ever seen with fruit on their heads are the Hindu Balinese ladies on their way to temple with offerings, legs strapped together with tube skirts for virgins, sex the last thing on their minds.  Venezuela is part of the Caribbean segment of Latino culture, hot, kinky-haired, and thick of speech, akin to Panama and the Spanish Antilles, and Central America to a lesser extent, not surprising since it shares the same tub with them.  In Panama, salesmen line the streets in front of their stores, clapping their hands in short staccato bursts, as if that sense or urgency will inspire increased sales.  In Venezuela stores have long surrendered their fronts to the throngs of ambulatory vendors appropriating the public right-of-way for their private benefit to the point where the sidewalks are almost impossibly impassable.  This seems to be a growing trend, even in countries like Venezuela and Thailand that have technically left the Third World, as least in terms of GNP.  Unfortunately the flight of the filthy rich obscures the plight of the filthy poor.  The rich get richer and the poor get babies.    

     
  • hardie karges 1:29 am on February 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , travel   

    Night Life 

    The girls of Ensenada will never make a Playboy shoot.  I know that there are a lot of lonely people in the world, but this is ridiculous!  Nightlife in Mexico is surreal.  With their bouffant hairdos and gaudily painted faces, it’s like something from a dream, or a circus, or maybe just the past.  Mexican women are to normal women as Mexican food and music are to their ‘normal’ counterparts, an acquired taste.  Ensenada comes awake all of a sudden when the love-boat lands.  It’s like night and day.  The only thing I’ve seen like it is in Songkhla, Thailand, where bar girls watch and wait behind counters deadly silent, counting I guess, as if something will surely happen if only they wait long enough.  It does.  The foreign off-shore oil-field support workers come in, somebody rings the bell hanging over the bar, and all of a sudden the place is an uproar, with dancing and drinking erupting as if from a long dormant volcano.  Of course, nothing beats the ‘wookie bar’ along Sukhumvit in Bangkok for surrealism.  If you turned Thailand up on edge to sort out the loose nuts, this is where you’d go to pick them up.  Is this where you end up after cruising the parking lot of Shoney’s Big Boy in Jackson, Mississippi, as a teenager?  It’s bumper-to-bumper on a Saturday night in Ensenada.

     
  • hardie karges 4:45 am on January 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , travel   

    LAOS 

     

    Laos is a ramshackle village, a forgotten place on a forgotten map. Lights go off in the outback at nine, so do it with flashlights. Till then the crowd outside divides according to TV programs, Thai or Chinese, or maybe a French bistro roasting in Asian backwater. By day pigs wander the streets looking for something they might have forgotten, and turkeys keep watch from behind their wire fence. Buffalo jerky lies drying in the sunlight, while flies fall asleep on their pile of shit, and yard-dogs forget to bark. Akha men look like refugees from a Fassbinder film: tribal bikers on dope, kings in their naked village of naked women and naked babies. Still, the babies suck tit like there is no tomorrow, so maybe they’re right. If you want to see Thailand like it used to be, then you go to Laos.

     
  • hardie karges 8:29 am on January 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: border towns, , travel   

    Tourism gets ugly when the natives get restless 

    Border towns of the world unite! Expose yourselves! Celebrate your absurdities! Strange flowers grow in strange places, back to back to the same fence with a neighbor you hardly know, selling tickets to an arena where reality is the only show. Tijuana, Tangier, and Istanbul define the turf long taken over by Bali, Bangkok, and Bora-Bora, pushing back the borders of consciousness to a neighboring dimension of time and space. Tourists line up to see the natives sing and dance and otherwise entertain the bored wealthy Europeans seeking novelty and succor. The world’s sunny beaches are increasingly filled with sons and their bitches occupying space once given to fishermen, and complaining about the high price of fish. We are all in the same boat, rich and poor, a ghost ship to the future. Don’t rock it, rock out. Time to shake hands rather than fists.

     
  • hardie karges 10:54 am on January 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: memory, relativity, , travel   

    special relativity of travel 

    Time travel is the best kind.  You don’t have to move a muscle or start an engine.  You just flip the pages of memory and sit back and enjoy as images pass by on the projection screen of your mind’s eye.  There’s only one drawback; it involves getting old.  So, as with most of life itself, it all works out in the long run; the less you’re able to travel in space, the more you’re able to travel in time.  Don’t laugh at that old guy with spit dribbling down his chin; he’s trucking in his mind.  This world is science fiction, the fractal edge of the universe in the process of expansion, chaos meeting the void, waves crashing on the beach, the fragile border area between existence and non-existence.  This is Interzone, the international zone, the chaotic border where languages fall flat and desires become erect.   Modern standard Pidgin English is the lingua franca according to the fashions of the day, Chinese language torture, the tongue of half-baked smiles and crocodile tears.  This is science fiction; this is World War III; this is reality.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea where I am.  I search an empty mind for the most recent memory, any memory, anything.  What’s a computer without an operating system?  Insert boot disk.  Finally a reference point emerges and the rest can be extrapolated.  Sometimes I wonder if a different memory had popped up, then maybe the entire extrapolated world would be different.  Is history constantly shifting its point of reference?  IS there such a thing as objective reality?

     
  • hardie karges 11:20 am on January 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: flight, international, travel, US Customs   

    You Can’t Fight US Customs 

    The Customs guys in Houston had a little table set up on the ramp to the airplane for the international flight. I’ve never seen anything like that, so ignore it. They flag me over. I’m Mr. Profile, by the way. They have a picture of what the typical bad guy looks like; it’s a picture of me. Hey, can I help it if I’ve got an eccentric flair for fashion? I’ve got carry-on luggage, so immediately I’m suspect. Under US law, if you’re carrying more than $10,000 in ‘monetary instruments’, then you gotta’ report it. No big deal; I know all that. I travel all the time; it’s a way of life. I deal with Customs officials all the time; it’s a way of business. I even do my own Customs brokering, so know the rap. They think I’m trying to be a smart-ass. They want to see all my money and such so we do that, counting every penny. Back then, ATM’s weren’t so popular, so I had traveler’s checks, plenty of them, since I buy handicrafts. It all added up to about $9,300 or so, well under the limit, or so I thought. Let’s wrap this up and get on with our lives. But no, the guy with the badge is getting excited. He leaves and comes back a few minutes later, telling me to follow him on to the plane. Like a good citizen, I obey. We go into the cockpit, where he informs me he wants to ‘know what that bulge in my pants is’. I shit you not. I had to pull down my pants for some pervert with a badge while two pilots and a flight attendant looked on. I guess know I know why it’s called a ‘cockpit’.

     
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