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Monday, March 7, 2011

Beware of pirates!

ROUTE

For those of you who haven't gone through all of these blogs, I wanted to give my initial route: London, Amsterdam, Munich, Prague then who knows where. What I'm expecting is: London (spend lots of $), Amsterdam (drugs and hookers), Munich (practice my German, see old stomping grounds), Prague (famous for dentists when I get there).




SILVER SELLING

Well, due to a very clever idea by TJ, I managed to sell my 2 OZ of silver that I'd found in my stuff. I have no idea where the hell it came from. Silver goes for (at the time of this writing) $35 per ounce. I sold it to a jeweler.



More fun than a stainless steel cock ring.



LIBYA

"Gadhafi...is now sending text messages to his supporters. He has promised 500 Libyan dinars (€287, or $396) to every family that supports him. People are standing in line to be paid their money. This is apparently the only idea the billionaire dictator still has: to buy back his control of Libya."



THOUGHT OF THE DAY

"Who discovered we could get milk from cows and what did he think he was doing at the time?" - Billy Connolly.



GREECE

A good article on Greece Pete pointed out.



GEORGIA

I came across an interesting article on Georgia (not the state, the country) in an unexpected place. I find it interesting that the foreign teachers make $300 per month - and that's double the local teachers... After reading the teacher (who got dismissed from the program) blog entry, I was thinking 'meh'. That lady has some challenges I don't. Although racism is something that should be part of the past, being black still puts you at a significant disadvantage in many countries for some reason. No, I am not planning on being a teacher over there - though if I end up doing it for a few months it wouldn't be a horrible shock to me.



DARK TOURISM

Found an article of interest to Pete. Given that I'm going to be spending money pretty fast (bad BPS, bad) no, I have no personal interest in this at this time. It might be something to do 'next time'. I did like the term 'dark tourism' I found in the article. That seems to be the term for things like concentration camps, etc.



INDIA

Talking to a couple of nice guys in the ole coffee shop about India. It doesn't seem there are any major land mines, culturally, for me. I realize in America I may (to some people) fall under the category of 'opinionated asshole'. I can't deny it. However, when I go to other countries, I like better to ask questions. I don't pretend to know everything about everything to do with a culture that I've never been to before. I realize that does take me out of the category of 'typical American tourist'. Sorry. Anyway, I was talking to to guys about India. They are from there so I figure they know what they're talking about. They told me some of the customs and such. Interesting things I gathered:

No toilet paper. Any time you get cultures that don't have toilet paper lying around, you get the cultural thing of 'wash your ass with your left hand'. Naturally, this means 'don't eat finger food with your dirty assed left hand'. They have it in many of the Arabic cultures and, apparently, in India as well.

Shoes in homes. I was cautioned about this. Unlike many American's, I do tend to notice giant piles of shoes just inside the door. If you see a giant pile of shoes, chances are good that taking off your own and adding them (temporarily) to the pile is probably a good thing.

Men holding hands. Ran into this one in Korea. When I was 18 and seeing it for the first time I thought that Korea must have a huge gay population. This is not the case. In that culture, as in India's, it doesn't mean anything. You're just 'holding hands'. Apparently it was only recently that homosexuality was decriminalized in India. I'm guessing homosexuals doing anything conspicuously so will probably get (at least) some verbal abuse. However, you can hold hands in public if you can't restrain yourselves.

No personal space. Again, ran into this one in Egypt. If you take both of your arms and extend them in front of your body then touch the tips of your fingers together, this (in America) is your personal space. Other penises entering within this space are not welcomed. Yours may growl at it. In Egypt, you could literally be belly to belly talking to someone. Combine this up with the problem of $100 being 'a lot of money' and pickpocketing and this is a possible issue in India. So, no personal space.

Conservative. Being invaded by conservative, prudish Brits seemed to have wiped a lot of the Kama Sutra type thinking out of the country. I regard this as a huge cultural loss for the Indians. Since the Brits got Indian cuisine, this puts them as the winner in this particular match.

Getting sucked in. This was by far the weirdest thing I was briefed on. Apparently, a lot of people become 'Indiaphiles'. People who begin to love India and all things Indian more than the natives. There are lots of investment bankers from New York city who go to India and get their head zapped. Things like meditation, culture shock, the Indian love of family and such create some sort of weird brain chemistry that just fucks these people up to where they stay forever for the cheap lodging/food/religion. I told Vighnesh that I was already insane so I wasn't at all worried about being driven insane by that kind of stuff.

Melting people. In the south, it gets over forty degrees Celsius. With over 100% humidity. For those still stuck in the archic system, that's over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Fucking hot. Avoid in the summer time or die of heat stroke hot. Northern India is not so hot in the summer.

Pale skin. People always want what they can't have and so pale skin is considered more attractive. Since I am very pale from a healthy computer glow and have so much skin, I will be like a big luminescent god there.

Holy cows. Cows not in India are not anyone's ancestor so it's OK to eat them. Interesting. Also, cow tipping and playing with the holy cows is NOT OK.

I find this kind of thing interesting.

I would like to thank Ankit and Vighnesh for taking the time to tell me a little about India.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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