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Friday, April 6, 2012

BEHOLD THE POWER OF CHEESE!





BEHOLD THE POWER OF CHEESE!

I was in a store and they had a big wheel of cheese. In Asia, cheese is fairly rare. I asked if I could try a small piece to see if I liked it. The proprietor happily cut off a bit. I tried it and didn't like it. But I recognized it.

"Yak cheese?" I said.
"Female yak!" He replied.
"You try to milk males here?" I said.



ASIAN PLUMBING SUCKS

When I was in the Republic of Georgia, there was a lot of hubbub about the plumbing. If it was difficult people would disappear and not try to fix it. If they did fix it, they usually left it messed up. The lack of 'skilled workers' was amazing.

It turns out this is an 'Asia-wide' thing.

Pretty much all over India and Nepal the plumbing sucks really bad.

When I first got into the room I'm at, the toilet had a slow leak from somewhere. This would leave the floor wet. If you wanted to take a dump you had a choice. Get naked or wear wet pants afterward.

After they 'fixed' it, water would explode out of the top of the tank when the toilet was flushed. I swear to gods that sometimes it is best just to throw yourself violently to one side after flushing. I had one urinal that would spray you in the crotch after flushing.

Unless the guests complain, such things are never ever noticed or fixed.

Fortunately, after a couple of attempts, my toilet was actually fixed.

I am waiting for it to randomly explode now.



SHOE REPAIR SQUAD

A group of three Indian males wanted me to go down a dark alley with them so they could fix my sandal. After discovering that repeated attempts to lure me down the alley failed, they opted to fix it somewhere more public. Then, they offered to sell me drugs. Yippie.



BEERS

Nepal Ice - not as good as many of the others. I'd avoid it.



THE THREE UNRELIABLE AMERICAN W'S

According to a Nepali gentleman (Nirgel) I was talking to, he said there are three W's upon which - in America - one may not depend: weather, work and women.



ASIAN LORE

According to a man from Nepal, Asians will freely spend money on three things: girls, gambling and alcohol. This explains why the beer prices are insane here.



RESTAURANT REVIEW - THE MAROON RESTAURANT

Owner, Nirjal. He's super cool with very good English skills.

The breakfast is a pretty good value at 180 NRS. It's more food than I can eat. It includes toast (2 s), cooked tomato (Brit style), eggs, sausage and potatoes. Normally it also includes cornflakes or some such but I take an extra cup of coffee bringing the total I get to two. It's a filling breakfast and tastes pretty decent.

The dinners are about 350 NRS on up. I've had two and both I would call 'decent' but not wonderful.

I've discussed 'kickers' and 'draw' items with Nirjal and he may be making a very cheap breakfast to get more clients daily.


RESTAURANT REVIEW - Munchster

Pretty much a fast food place. Chicken burger and fries with small drink, 200 NRS.

The meat was so thin it only had one side.



NEPAL GANGSTER ACTIVITY

From the various locals I've spoken with, loansharking and other gangster type activities appear to be widely done within Nepal. These sort of things are invisible to most tourists but I spend a lot of time hanging out and chatting to locals. These things are of course illegal but done on a very wide scale.

They also have a lot of very strong unions which do sometimes go on strike here. Often, when you hire someone it is completely impossible to fire them. I'm thinking that will help keep the country 'developing' as opposed to 'developed'.

No, I'm not planning on pursuing this line of inquiry. It's all risk and no reward. I just thought I'd make a note of it.



ON LIVING CHEAPLY

When I was initially doing research for the trip, I looked up the average wage made in various countries hoping that would give me an idea of the cost of living. It really doesn't. Although the average person in Nepal might make less than $100 per month it is pretty grim to live like that. You will be in a very depressing area and eat only noodles and drink water. Sad.

The actual trick is to find out how much it costs to live comfortably. Right now, I can live decently on $25-$30 per day. Note that this is only spending a tad over $20 per day but I also have to add in things like the cost of the visa, transport, medicine and whatnot. When you're on the cheap end of the scale it tends to add up very quickly.

Before I went to India, I had a lot of people telling me I could live for under $10 per day. Apparently, they were willing to accept hardships which I do not want to accept or they were not good at keeping track of how much they actually spent or they were full of shit.

In both India and Nepal to live decently - with some comfort I would advise a budget of $30 to $40 per day depending on what you are doing. Don't forget that Asia has a double standard on prices and you will pay between 10% and 600% more than the natives for things. I call it the 'rip off whitey' factor.

If you want to go trekking in Nepal, your daily allowance will need to be increased. According to travelers I spoke with, prices of everything rise with the elevation.

With the exception of constantly sweating, Cambodia is thus far my country of choice for the intersection between living cheaply and comfort.

In order to get to the other countries I may skip over it on the way out but then hit it when heading back. We'll see how my schedule works out later.



TRAVELER'S LORE

By Nepali standards, Indonesia is cheap. Unfortunately for the people of Nepal, the government of Indonesia still has a grudge about World War 2. For a three day visa, citizens of Nepal get to pay $100 USD.


In Bhutan, the minimum salary is much higher than Nepal although the standard of living is much lower. A lot of Nepali go there to make some money and take it home.



QUOTES (AND PARAPHRASING) FROM SMART PEOPLE

Why the quotes? As Sir Winston Churchill said, "It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations." I've learned that people who call themselves 'educated' don't tend to be. Schooled perhaps but not educated. Since the grand sum of my nearly five decades on this planet has highlighted the vast depths of my ignorance I like quotes. You don't have to sit up all night thinking about something clever to say about a topic. Chances are good someone a lot smarter already has said something a lot more clever than anything I'll come up with. Even if I spent two nights thinking about it. So, I study quotes from time to time. Since I do, you get to as well. Lucky bastards.

"To travel hopefully is better than to arrive." - Robert Lewis Stevens, 1880.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine.

"One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy." - Sir Richard Burton. [This is the longest quote I like. Beyond this length, you may as well write a short story rather than a quote.]

"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert "Dune".

"The wise man travels to discover himself." - James Russell Lowell.

"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled." - Mohammed. [A zinger from Mohammed! Who'd have thunk it?"

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark.

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca. [Side note, it's amazing how much stuff Seneca is credited with saying. He must have been a very clever dude.]

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux.

"I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list." - Susan Sontag



LOVE POEM




VIDEOS

Temple re dedication parade
Walk through Pokhara Riverside
Monastery
Parade 1
Parade 2
Potato Festival Documentary
Village of the Bored

Monkey Temple 1
Monkey Temple 2
Monkey Temple 3

Frightening Food [Note, this was the special, it was 'decent' and 350 NRS.]



PRICES

Climbing Mount Everest, $200,000 to $500,000 per person. Huge amounts have to be paid for mandatory training classes, government permits and such. After all that money is done, then you can buy gear, provisions and whatnot. It staggers me just how much it costs.

Surf n Turf, 450 NRS

Big, thick steak from Everest Restaurant which is supposedly the best in town, 600 NRS. Note, I have not eaten here.

1 comment:

  1. I prefer
    Roses are Red
    Violets are Violet
    The clue is in the name.

    ReplyDelete

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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