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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

THE COMING OF SETO BHOOT

SETO BHOOT COMMETH

I've known Matt for about nine years now. We met back in some guy's basement over a gaming table of some of the crappiest gaming (D&D) I have ever been to in my life. We did (much better) RPG's together. Later we shared a flat (apartment) in the states. Neither of us knew that in a couple years we would be meeting up in Nepal.

If anyone had said that then, we'd have said "You're nuts". Well, actually it would have been phrased more rudely but you get the idea.

I decided to make Matt's arrival to the Kathmandu airport special. I made him a sign and held it up for him:[Definition, wanker].

Needless to say, Matt was delighted I had made him a sign.

It took him a couple hours to realize I was also wearing a "Matt L. is a tosspot" shirt.

You've got to love a country where you can get cheap custom work on a T-shirt.


While Matt was in England it was stormy. The day he left for Nepal the sky was clear. The day he got here some rain coupled with extremely strong gusts of winds heralded his coming.

The phrase 'White Devil' came up. Since Nepali don't have devils but ghosts fulfill that same job function, Matt became 'White Ghost". The English pronunciation and the Nepali one can be seen on this T-shirt.
PIMPS HIDE YER HOS!


More on the exciting adventures of Seto Bhoot in the next edition of Logan's Voyage! [Note, in this point to get the 'spinning newspaper' effect you should twirl your monitor.]



FLASHLIGHTS

I have a small but very bright LED flashlight. The reason I don't have a hand crank - usually larger, heavier. LED's don't suck much juice. Even with the crappy quality batteries you get in Asia you don't go through that many. I'd suggest the brightest possible because it is a potential weapon to temporarily blind someone. Mine is fist sized and could be used to reinforce a punch. Despite my strenious attempts to avoid physical conflict I try to plan for the worse.

Having a flashlight you can hold in your mouth is a good idea because you'll be doing that a lot. If you have one of those head lamp flashlights and are anything like me, you'll misplace it soon.

Crank flashlights also make noise. Not cool to use when you're trying to dig out stuff from your pack in a hostel with a lot of sleeping people around.

Since my personal philosophy is "If you don't have a working flashlight on you at all times you are stupid and will probably fall down a hole and die." I recommend 'small, light (weight) and bright'.

Thanks to Jamas for asking about this initially.



NEPALI WITCHES

I was talking to a couple of guys in Nepal about ghosts, zombies and UFO's today. Yeah - this is what happens when I get too much time on my hands. According to them, in Nepal they have a certain type of witch. One of her feet is on backward. Other than that, this type of witch looks like a completely normal woman. They are suppose to be extraordinarily beautiful with very long hair and well dressed. What happens is when a man has sex with them, they get thinner each time and will eventually waste away.

I regarded the man across the table and said "Let me get this straight. These witches are beautiful women. They have a relatively minor physical disability, like to f*** and I would get thinner doing so? Where can I find one?"

But they didn't know. Crap.

Later, I found out this was a ghost. Trickier...



RESTAURANT NOTES

"Yak Restaurant". Stopped by, didn't stay to eat. Looks like 200-400 NRS plus 'service charge'.



NEPALI NOTES

They don't have a big tradition of stand up comedy here in Nepal. I've been told Asians take themselves pretty seriously.


I remember in Bosnia they were proud to tell me about their three different religions closely co-existing. Here, there seem to be a lot more.


Within even the capital city (Kathmandu), there seem to be a lot of unexpected shortages of things like gas (for cars), cooking gas, water, electricity and so on. This seems to be pissing off the locals.



HINDUISM NOTES

Disclaimer: This is all gathered from conversations with people.

You have to be born a Hindu - conversion is not possible. This means that all of the tourists who dress in the 'look I'm a Hindu' costumes are merely playing dress up.

Hindus have 'puja' celebrations. Some of these are public, others are extremely private - families only. It is possible to get excluded from these family ones by a multitude of sins. Marrying a foreigner, marrying outside of your caste, missing one without a good reason and so on.

During a 'puja' they sacrifice and eat some animals. Things I approve of.

Hinduism is a more strict religion than first thought.



EXIT STRATEGY

Well, I've got a tentative 'exit strategy' for Nepal. I'm going to go visit a couple places in east Nepal which are outside of the 'you pay us big money whitey' zones then further east back into India while my visa holds out to a place called Darjeeling. They have tea there. From there I can figure out if I need to extend my visa or just head south to Goa.

Once I'm in Goa it becomes a question of Sri Lanka airfares. If they aren't too much, I can head down there (possibly by sea) then over to Philippines or Indonesia.

Well, it's a plan of sorts.



HOME?

One of the things people have asked me a lot is 'when will you return to the USA'?

It brings to mind an episode of 'House M.D.' I saw. In this episode, the normally partially crippled House had his leg miraculously get better. He became an exercise fiend. He jogged everywhere. He played sports. Joy in moving around.

Same same.



TRAVELER'S TIPS

It is much easier to get change in Nepal than it is India. Whether the shop keepers are more affluent or simply better prepared is unknown.

When in Nepal, pick up 'Shaktijal'. It is a small packet of powder. One packet plus one liter of water, mix and drink the whole thing. Within half a day this gives relief from minor 'travelers tummy'. For the bad food poisoning with things like the cold sweats, go pick up medicine from the pharmacist. The 'Shaktijal' seems to work within half a day - a minor miracle.



TRAVELER'S LORE

Bali may not be as expensive as first thought. I spoke with a lady about it. From what she told me, it was pretty affordable if you avoid anything imported.



PHILOSOPHY

Skype has a huge advantage over normal phones. Namely, free calling. The biggest disadvantage is that you can't 'drunk call' someone who isn't logged on for free.


The Asian mentality toward business within the countries I have visited is summed up as 'money now'. Things which do not generate money right at this second are ignored as long as possible. We've seen some of this in the USA with such things as moving all of the jobs out of the country then wondering why everyone is unemployed and not purchasing your stuff. What is interesting in both Asia and the USA is that everyone looks to the government to solve their business woes. I haven't heard of any government doing anything useful that affected my life nor the life of anyone I've known in their businesses, but I've only been here for a short time.


I say a group on Facebook called "If you can't afford to leave a 20% tip don't eat out". Would this count as an 'entitlement' thing?



TRIBUTE TO FIREFIGHTERS

You know, in the states people say that firefighters have it pretty good. They have some job security, a decent amount of time on and off and they get to ride a huge red noisy truck through the streets to their destination which they get to douse with water.

Not bad.

But what I've always thought of firemen is that they might have to die in a horrible manner trying to rescue some moron who isn't smart enough to operate his stove without burning his house down.

So that, to me, more than makes up for all of the good stuff firefighters get.



MOVIE REVIEW - JOHN CARTER

IMDB gave this a 7/10. I'm going with a 6/10. I thought that the scenery was stunning. What they can do with CGI these days is amazing. And it only cost them $250M. The 'M' is for 'million' for readers unfamiliar with that 'gosh I'm rich shorthand'. The movie looked damned good. The acting was fine - it didn't detract from the film. Four armed guys - yeah, I can deal with that. They even had a couple moments of great humor where I laughed out loud (literally, not the stupid LOL thing) such as the head slap. But there were way too stereotypical elements. The lovable, loyal dog like creature. The woman wanting to get married against her will to the villain. Mind you, the original story is one hundred years old. Maybe all of these elements which are now blase were still new back then.

There is an easy formula which usually tells me if a sequil will be made. On the IMDB site, it tells you what the budget was and how much the movie made. If the movie didn't at least equal the budget, it's pretty hopeless. And a quarter of a million bucks is a hard number to hit. Right now they have well under $200M. Sadly, I feel chances are against us seeing more of these.

Overall, the movie was watchable but had a few spots I found boring. And anyone that has to work day and night for ten years for a solution - that's just poor writing. Hell, that is almost as pathetic as wandering aimlessly around in the wilderness as the narrative also meanders around because someone has switched from author to movie maker too early.



MOVIE REVIEW - UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING

6/10. Some good action. Talking around it as not to give away any plot points to those who haven't seen it. It reminded me of a couple different movies. Something about time, family (the steriotypical kind) and missing the big twelve of what the humans were up to felt like they'd shoe horned the story. The big twelve (is it a basketball reference?) is something that I think it a more interesting part potentially. This has been threatened in many movies and books but never has it been really explored. I think there would be a lot of interesting points dealing with say 'religion' in that context. [Sorry for this, it will make sense once you watch the movie - assuming you paid attention to the movie.] Overall, decent. The gross doesn't make me think there will be another but we'll see.



VIDEOS

Nepali Parade in Kathmandu

Death by Rickshaw
Giant Prayer Wheels
Tibetian Music
Loud Horns
Matt Missing Monkeys
Bhatkapur Arrival
Useless Tour Guides Info
Amidst Bhatkapur
Kiss The Goat
Innsmouth?
Smell O Vision
Maintenance
Thirteen Upcoming Deaths
Matt Fixes Matt

Garden of Dreams
Farting on Peoples Dreams
Matt's What?
Boring Picture Gallery
Tranquillity Sucks
Worst Zoo Ever
Zoopert
White People On Display
Monkeys With Guns
Nepali Language Quiz
Escape from the Worst Zoo Ever



COSTS

Travel pants I think they're made in China but the regular ones might be made there as well. One pair starting price was 2850 NRS, bargained down (hard, long) to 1700 NRS (20 AUD) for two pair. They roll up small, don't weigh much and have the zip on off legs.

Guide, 10-15 USD/day
Porter, 10 USD/day

Shaktijal (for travelers tummy), 10 NRS per packet. Very cheap. Note, the pharmacist will usually try to sell you more expensive medicines that may do the same thing but this is the one locals I've spoken with recommend.

Flaffel wrap, 175 NRS
Chicken wrap, 210 NRS

Water, 1 liter, 20 NRS
Mt Dew, 600ml, 55-60 NRS. (Note, diet soda is available only at very inflated prices and rare).

Money pouch that can be worn under the shirt, 100-300 NRS depending on materials it's made from.

Traffic tickets, 200-1000 NRS depending on how much 'sucking up' you wish to do. Note if you work for the government or are (seen as) rich, you may not have to pay.



DAILY COSTS

For those who have wondered how much it costs to live somewhat comfortably in Nepal, here is a breakdown. Note, this is for days I am 'being good'. By that, I mean not drinking beer, riding a Harley up and down the streets dragging chained old people and all of those other things women like in a 'bad boy'.

Breakfast, 170 NRS
Dinner, 285 NRS
4 juice boxes (200 ml each), 80 NRS
Cigarettes (20, local Nepal brand), 100 NRS
3 bottles of water (1 L each), 60 NRS
2 packs of cookies (10 cookies each), 30 NRS
Lodging (private room with shower inside and fast wifi), 500 NRS

Total, 1225 NRS - approximately 17.50 USD or 9.17 GBP. It looks even cheaper in British Pounds Sterling.

It is possible to live even more cheaply if you strip away more comfort and live in a dorm - but I'd like to have some degree of comfort. This does not include the visa charge (about 1 USD per day) nor my medicine (no clue but it's not optional).

3 comments:

  1. I've been watching the videos with the Translate Audio (aka generate subtitles) switched on. What you say gets pretty fucked up! Funny!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your daily cost of living doesn't look that great to me.
    Here is our breakdown, living in the US for 2 people:
    3.22 a day for electric, 2.90 a day for water, 13.87 a day for a home, 3.83 a day for internet (very FAST business class line), 9.68 a day for food (bought in bulk at the beginning of the month and eaten from meals prepared at home).
    that gives you $33.50 in US dollars for 2 people to live on, or $16.75 a day per person.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Things are always cheaper for multiple people when divided up. Plus, for a dollar more a day, I get to see Nepal.

    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

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

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