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Friday, March 16, 2012

SHANGRI-LA

PARENTS AND STUFF

A long time ago (in a galaxy not so far away) I set out on my trip. My parents had two requests:

1. We don't want to know anything dangerous that you've done in the past.
2. We don't want to know anything dangerous you are currently doing.

Without telling them I've been threatened by both locals and tourists they still consider anything outside of the USA as 'remarkably dangerous'. Like western Europe. India is pretty much in the 'oh my god how have you survived this long' category for them.

Fine. I don't tell them things. Anything, actually.

I'm OK with that. I've never had a close relationship with my parents.

Then today, I get an e-mail message from them asking what my schedule is. This is very strange for me. I think the chances of them traveling outside of the USA are about the same as someone mailing me a large bundle of money and it actually reaching me.

So, it makes me wonder 'WTF'...

Note, I had asked them why they wanted to know my schedule but they never got back to me.

For long time readers of the blog, this may be the first time you've heard me mention my family. For those who know me well, the whole 'Logan has a family' thing may come as a shock. I realize that many people hold the believe that I sprouted fully formed from the earth and was bitter and unhappy about it. This may be true. It is also widely believed that I have always looked much as I do now. This may also be true. There are pictures (somewhere) of me much younger but those could have been forged.

One can never tell.



DELHI BELLY

To put it in a very polite fashion, Delhi belly. Impolite, explosive diarrhea. Not a real uncommon thing in a country as dirty as India. Or Cambodia. Or Laos for that matter. Anyway, I've gotten it again.

So, I post on FB:

"Thought: trying to sleep under mosquito netting with explosive bowels is a challenge I wouldn't wish on most of you."

Chris C had the best retort:

"I piciture you getting up in the middle of the night... moaning because yiou back hurts and now the urge to shit is making you move faster than you usually do... the netting gets wrapped around you and you stagger around looking like a cheap halloween ghost in sheet... you find the door and rush through to find you have actually stumbled into the hallway... your moans and groans grow louder as you bump against the walls making a huge ruckus... the angry hippie emerges from his room to see the large ghost flailing about and screams in fright falling to the ground clutching the logan ghost monster which makes the netting drape over the hippie who is now convinced the ghost is eating him... the angry sitar woman rushes to the hippies aid to see the naked logan monster standing in all his... Splendor... she screams and looses same sanity dropping the sitar on the hippie breaking the infernal noise machine and putting her into catatonic shock for the forseeable future. Freed from his netting logan turns around to flee toward the bathroom when his clunch fails and pure consentrated evil explode from logans backside. The angry and noisy neighbors lay smothered in covered like a BAD hot fudge sundae. Logan closes his door and makes his way to the bathroom to shower and roll back into bed... karma finally catching up with evil neighbors..."

A good movie scene!



TRAVELERS LORE

From Sabine

hey.. just read some of your blog!:).. ohh and im quoted!:).. anyway have some information regarding "going to nepal" that i thought i'd throw in your general direction.. use it as you please!... just coz i saw you were writing about it on your bogg.. and i happen to have tried both methods of reaching nepal.. several times!
TAKE THE BUS!
the bus leaves in the morning, reaches the boarder generally by evening late afternoon, you then check into a hotel, and next morning catch a bus to Kathmandu.. ( this is anyway how it turned out when i did it.. time is always relative!)
this is the easy "no hassle" option ( dont get carried away by the no hassle part though.. you still have to spend a lot of time in a small bus seat!)
If you're feeling funky.. then jump on the train going north ( any
train booking wallah will know the name of the station you then want to go to, but i cant remember!).. at the end station get a bus top the boarder, and then from there get another bus to kathmandu.. the good part about this is that the train just is more comfortable.. in the scense that your not "stuck" in the same way as on a bus.. also it leaves in the evening.. meaning that you dont have to "waste" daytime sitting on a bus (again time is relative, and somehow relatively longer on busrides!)..

both options take more or less the same amount of time, cost more or less the same.. but with the bus option you yourself dont have to move as much.. just lean back (!!) and enjoy!.. with the train theres the " sleep might be possible" option..

both the train and bus option still means that you have to catch a bus from the nepaleese boarder to kathmandu.. they leave quite often and take between 8-12 hours... my experience tells me.. the buswallah will most probably insist on 5-7 hours..

If the hostilities continue at kedar guest house you should check amima lodge.. its right on Assi Ghat between the bookshops harmony and indica books.. prices are resonable and the rooms are simple and clean.. the ones ive seem at least!

Off to Kalkatta!.. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time i Kashi!..

oiii.. btw if you go from Durga Kund (rickshaw wallahs will know this place) towards Sankat Mochan there is a grey marble temple on you left hand on the way.. check it.. but most importantly go upstairs inside and to the back, pay the 3 Rps fee and enjoy some pure indian sillyness!!! one of the little hidden things to see!



VIVA NEPAL

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I am going to get to see the grey marble temple Sabine has spoken of. A combination of the rising heat, Delhi belly, general irritability and being threatened by more people than I am accostomed to in a country has caused me to purchase the bus ticket for the border of Nepal. The bus leaves at 8:30 AM, arrives at 4:30 PM. Supposedly.

Originally, I had been told that the bus ticket was 1000 RS but this was all the way to Kathmandu with a mandatory night stop over. I had read this is not the way to do it so I asked for a ticket just to the border. Turns out that is only 500 RS. I booked it through Chnnu of the "Festive Villa Restaurant". I was told it's a 'nice bus' so we'll see what I actually get. I would like to point out that she didn't try to gouge the ticket price. That is honest and sadly rare here.

For 500 RS, I'm not really expecting all that much. But we'll see.

I went and settled accounts with the lady of the house as her husband is still off buying more land. That was painless and I didn't get robbed there. Happy.

Since my belly is currently fighting with the strange pizza like substance I put into it (Pizzeria Vaatika Cafe - decent but nothing special. Normal size, extra cheese, diet coke, 260 RS) I am planning on sitting in my room the rest of the day.

This comes as quite a disappointment to all of the merchants who would love nothing better than to lure me into their shops.

Tomorrow at 7 AM, I have asked for a tuk tuk to be waiting for me outside of my lodging just to make sure I have one. It will cost nearly double what a normal tuk tuk would (80 RS) but with the heavy pack on avoiding too much walking is not a bad thing. Chnnu booked that as well. I cautioned her that if it is not there at 7 AM exactly, I would go on foot. Since I've never had a tuk tuk booked in advance ever show up on time, I really don't expect to see it.

But I could be surprised. Who knows.

So, tomorrow I shall make my way to the Nepalese border and from there catch a bus to Kathmandu. This is thought to be the mythical 'Shangri-La', but it's probably just another claim to attract tourism. I doubt any immortal beings are still alive today. If I can get a cheap, cold, non-sucky beer and a good steak it would be close enough to Shangri-La for me.

Due to travel, it may be a couple of days before I can update.

Due to the amount of fucked up things that happen to me while I am in transit, it should be an interesting read for you. Less fun for me.



MOVIE REVIEW

The King's Speech

I remember when this was in the movie theaters not too long ago. There were so many people giving me impassioned speeches on what a great film it was and so on. And on. At the time, I didn't see it because it didn't look like my kind of movie. No humor. No explosions. No humorous explosions. But, later I thought hey - this made a lot of awards and hoopla lets give it a chance. See what's up.

No humor, no humorous explosions.

It wasn't a bad movie but it wasn't 'oh my god'. It was about someone put into extraordinary circumstances overcoming adversity. Respectable but we do get movies like that all the time. The fact that it was based on true events, neat, but meh. Who really cares?

I'd give the movie a 6/10. It was good but not earth shattering. I really don't understand why people got so worked up about it.



TV SHOW REVIEWS

'Being Human'

So far, I'm not horribly impressed. They have three main people in the cast. A werewolf who is a socially awkward pussy. He doesn't seem to have any control over it or any real upside. He just freaks out once a month. They have a charming attractive vampire who is 'on the wagon'. Christ, I'm tired of 'sexy' vampires. That cliche plus the 'on the wagon' one - dull. They also have 'the prince is angry with you' cliche from the 'Vampire: The Masquerade' RPG. And last off, they have a ghost who is totally wrapped up in her ex-fiance. She had what appears to be a dull life and spends most of her time pinning for her lost love. Fair enough, that does strike me as the kind of crap ghosts get up to.

But the series thus far has been pretty dull. Not a lot going on. Some threats of menace from here or there but nothing I've really been made to care about. I'm going to try to make it through the first season. Unless it picks up, it gets 4/10. Note, I made it through the first season but it was an effort. I have the second season mysteriously (and slowly) showing up. Unless I am out of other stuff, I won't bother.

Hell, at least on the show 'Misfits' you could look forward to them occasionally brutally murdering a probation worker.



'QI'

Logan watching a game show is as strange of concept for many as 'Logan having a family'. Understandable. Most game shows are pretty much right above 'reality shows' for appealing to the lowest common denominator. This game show is hosted by the extremely clever Stephen Fry. He strikes me as the kind of person I'd love to have a few cups of tea with and chat. This game show has questions that nobody usually knows the answers to. Like Jana's tour guiding, points are not only given for being correct but for having interesting - even if completely false - answers. As a result, I consider this usually to be funny as hell. Of course, some shows are better than others; some shows get me laughing hard enough that people who don't know I am listening through headphones may think I'm completely mad. Which may, in fact, be true.

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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 | Portugal: Faro

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