Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dec 18th: Just a few things I saw today

1. A man with no hands eating popcorn
2. A dead puppy lying on the side of the road - on its back.
3. Dozens and dozens of dust covered combat boots also on the side of the road.
4. My CNG driver get out and attack a younger man who was trying to sell me a copy of Bill Clintons autobiography
5. An exposed wound about the size of a medium cheese pizza on a women's abdomen - exposed to me as a way to wheedle taka out of me (note: the wounds appearance and texture also resembled a medium cheese pizza).
6. A labourer balancing on bamboo, with no safety harness of course, about 7 stories high. I think he was painting?
7. A man get hit by a motorcycle and then getting up and brushing himself off (OK, that was actually three days ago).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Voyage to the Unknown Village

[waiting for the midnight train to... some village Jame nor I ever caught the name of. We're pretty sure we ended up about 3 hours north east of Dhaka by train - about 25 clicks from the Indian border. Dee left, Arman center left, Noran center right, Jame right. Jame is not from Bangladesh despite his appearances]

[man love on the train. looking back on the 18 hours together,
the man pictured on the right here (Ronan?), did not speak a word
of English the entire duration of the trip ]

[sleeping on the train - at least we had seats]

[film by Jame; untitled]

[breakfast. delicious spread of different home made pastries that Noran's mom*(?) put together. we arrived in the village closer to 6am, and woke a few short hours later to some great food. actually this was the recipe for the rest of day: eat sleep eat sleep eat sleep.
*I should point out that though we stopped in a few homes that day for tea and meals, not once did we meet the daughters or moms that prepared the fine food]

[well well well. morning rinse at the well]

[stroll through the rice fields - some of Noran's family's land]

[this guy worked on Noran's cucumber patch (I'm guessing he worked on the other plots of land but I like to remember him as the cucumber guy). 'this guy' could very well be Noran's grandfather or father - thanks to the huge communication barrier with my guests, I'll never know]

[one of a few lunches - the works]

[the shadowy main strip of the village]

[shadowy people]

[we sat above on a balcony sipping tea and listening to rap music while across from us two young men doctored some passport photos on an old dusty PC]

[this is where rice is made. every day I learn something new]

[this is where the rice comes from]

[this is where baby chickens are made]

[tucck tuk tuckk tuckk]

[it was hard getting a shot without Arman in the mix... but this one I
rather like of his dark shadow below the black smeltering smoke]

[some kids play with lego, others play with knives]

[one hundred year old tree with clay brick stilts ...

... it's hard to say who was there first, but they seem to be
enjoying each others company]

[playing farmer]

[playing tire. trying my hand at the ol' tire and stick game...

...these kids weren't bad]

[this face reminds of some drawing or painting, but I can't quite place it...
like Justin Gabbard maybe ? can anyone help me out here?]

[remember that cucumber guy from before? yeah,
well now I'm eating that cucumber]

[sunset - hard to capture the beauty]

[Arman, an affable admin assistant at IUBAT; also with analogous accountability
and aid acted with astounding alacrity along our 18hr adventure. Amen]

[stopping at a petrol station at dusk -
on the way back home 22hrs after leaving Dhaka]

[trying to sleep standing on the over packed train back home. end of trip. bye for now]

Saturday, November 19, 2011


[leaving Dhaka]

[I sat next to this guy on the plane - he kept leaning over me asking how far up in the sky we were and pointing to the sky asking if it was the ocean/sea. I tried to draw him a map explaining that our route from Dhaka to Kathmandu didn't involve any large bodies of water. The other odd thing was that he took his seat next to me during take-off, he must have left his initial seat while the plane was being taxied, but he chose to sit and lean over me even though there were many other free and available window seats. Note: Despite his breadth, he never used the armrest - presumably a concept/word he is unfamiliar with]


[fab breakfast for $2 - top notch]

[pretending to read a book in my hotel room - Kathmandu]

[Entering the town of Pokhura. I don't, nor want to, know what this is. I get a very bad feeling just looking at it. Kind of reminds me of Bart Simpsons crib]

[I found these local men more amusing than the paragliders.
I spent the afternoon reading next to them on the lawn as they most have snapped
a cellphone picture of every single glider that landed
- 70 at least, all the same angle]

[Pokhura lakeside]

[spent the day with these kids. really sweet and funny no-gooders.
met up with them again once I returned to Pokhura to play football]

[this monkey chased us around and bit one of the boys -
two of them were absolutely terrified of the creature. tragic, but very funny to watch]

[Me and 'the boys' sharing sandwiches]

[At dusk, the eve before I embark on my trek, I have my first sighting of
Machapuchare - aka the Fish Tail, aka My Beacon]

[closer glimpse of Machapuchare. after refusing to pay the ridiculous taxi fee from Pokhura to Nayapuli I opted for the local bus instead. I had to stand in the aisle for majority of the 3 journey, but I still feel it was worth it. Most of the guys sat rooftop, which I was happily offered, but I was too concerned with my well being]

[The bus stopped about a dozen times along the steep dirt highway. We came to one spot where there was 3 or 4 shacks, which I suspected was yet another stop to grab a bite. Turns out it was my destination, luckily I asked. I was the only one getting out there and it didn't really appear to look anything like a village or town. I asked the bus driver which way to Nayupili, and he said this was it. OK, I said, which way to Baharanati (the next village I was to walk to). He pointed first North, back to where we had came from, and then South further along the highway. Apparently both ways led to Baharanati. I went South, but oddly, he was right, both ways did in fact lead to Baharanati. Like Rome in some sense]

[just outside Baharanati (sp?) on the way to Ghandruk]

[rice fields at the end of harvest. little did I know when I took this picture
that I was lost. I was one of the only person on the trek without a guide.
not an issue most of the time, but a few times a day I would wander off
trail until I was turned around by local hill people]

[hard to make out, but that giant bush with feet
is a woman carrying a bunch of ivy]

[view from my window - Ghandruk, first night]

[getting closer]

[family's son that I stayed with]

[big dipper over South Annapurna]

[funny. I stopped on the side of the path here, completely wiped,
to catch my breath, and then was passed by a family carrying
a fashion shopping bag and teen daughter on a cell phone]

[Tadopani. behind me, Annupurna South]

[having a late night hangout with a guide - Happy Beamil]


[my room in Tadopani - reminded me a lot of a scene from
Davy Crocket, I think some kind of bedroom in the Alamo.
My brother might know what I'm talking about]

[very cold]

[ridge before Ghoropani]


[way to Poon Hill]


[Ghoropani at sundown]

[430am hike to Poon Hill for sunrise]

[twenty or so minutes later]

[very cool; just as the sun peaked it's head over the horizon the polar moon dipped
beneath the mountain ridge - literally within the same minute.
almost like two characterstaking turns sharing the stage]

[so glad my pal Frances could join me the hike up]

[Poooooon Hill]

[Sanctuary Lodge - back in Pokhura]

[monkey temple - Kathmandu]

[can't get enough of monkeys]

[god of energy]

[i feel ya, bro]

[monkey temple hq]

[I don't know why I bothered asking others to take my picture,
the result was always disappointing]

[spectators at Pashupatinath. out of respect I decided not to take any pictures of the dead bodies which were burned and swept (of what remained) into the river. but you can google it for yourself]

[there was this woman, presumably a mother, who went into this uncontrollable
cry as the body was burned. the mourning stuck with me for a long time]

[by Durbar square]

[Durbar square - at least I believe so]

[flight back home to Dhaka]