Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
- Nepal: Monks using it as offering to some Tibetan deity.
- Guatemala: Met a hippy from Spain (Do they call 'em hippies in Spain?) who blamed Coca-Cola for more than just rotting teeth. She said the company backs the killing of union leaders in Colombia. The materials I used to research didn't make any mention of this, but there is a web site dedicated to it - Killer Coke.
No matter how out of the way you are, if you are thirsty someone will probably hand you a Coke. Coke claims to be in 200 countries world-wide. This just in- there are currently 192 countries on Earth.
Now that is marketing!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I have fallen off the wagon. I'm drinking again. I can't seem to quench my thirst for salt water. Sometimes I poor a glass over my head and let it crust into a nice white layer on my skin. I miss the ocean that bad.
I miss sun-generated heat, colorful fish in the ocean, colorful fish on my plate served with mango, free diving, SCUBA diving, and, most of all, my flop-flipping flip-flops. I have had the good fortune to spend much of the previous three summers in and around the ocean working as a SCUBA instructor ('02- Key West, '03 Key West, '04- Baja), but in '05 I only had the opportunity a handful of times when I was traveling in Central America.
I'm one of those people that requires at least a month or so on and under the water each year. My name is Kelsey and I am an Oceanoholic.
With the help of my OAA sponsor, I have come a long way in the battle with this horrible disease, but today I broke one of the groups sacred rules: Do not read articles about sunny places, perfect beaches, and lazy days on the water. I get the NYT's travel section delivered by email each week and today I made the mistake of reading The Flip Side of the Bahamas by Danny Lee that featured the quiet island of Eleuthera.
So, I read the article and the drinking began again. Despite the fact that Eleuthera sounds like a part of the urinary tract, I gotta go!
Oh, and it's not true, drinking salt water doesn't make you crazy. If you don't believe me you can ask my imaginary pet sea turtle Bill.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
"Somewhere deep in the heart of middle America a little old lady is about to inform her fellow fast food diners of a horrible truth."
Stop the music. Zoom to the little old lady's face.
"The devil never sleeps." NOOOOOOOOOOO! We are all doomed.
I ran into a friend's grandma who randomly blurted this out today at McDonald's when I was mid-bite into my egg McMuffin. It really was kind of creepy coming from such a sweet crackily high-pitched voice.
My thoughts raced as my state of horror elevated: What if she's right? What if the devil never sleeps but spends all of his time trying to do evil? He could be among us right now?
Then I remembered that this is coming from a lady who I know for a fact eats potpourri.
I finished my value meal in peace.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Okay here is what I found: 1984 is a "dystopian novel setting forth his (Orwell's) fears of an intrusively bureaucratized state of the future."
Dystopian? This is another word that people use to sound smart. There was an Orwell, does this mean there is some guy out there running around with the last name of Dystop?
Back to 1984. As you can tell from my above research I was right about the pigs.
I read an article in a popular travel magazine in which the author was writing about memory chips being imbedded in our passports. Apparently, he felt as if he needed to boost his intellectual confidence and busted out the "O" word, calling the chips "downright Orwellian."
I have no idea what the chips would have to do with pigs, but to me they may not be a bad idea. They are supposed to speed up the process of passing through immigration. Those lines make me nervous. I don't like being in inter-country limbo. Plus, I always feel like I am hiding something.
There is also the safety issue. I once met a 22 year old American student in Eastern Europe who was fresh off a few months in Iran where he had gone native - wearing bed sheets, sporting an unkept fundamentalist beard, the whole works. It scares me to think that this fella could have handed his passport to a tired immigration worker who flipped past his Iranian stamps and allowed him to waltz into the country. This guy should have been detained and questioned.
That's just my opinion. I know that it's downright Timmermanian , and perhaps a little Kelseyian, so you'll have to forgive me.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
What do the Headless Horseman and St. Valentine have in common?
Their heads...err...their lack of heads.
On this day in 269 a roman priest named Valentine was beheaded. How we went from a beheading to greeting cards and boxes of chocolates remains a mystery.
I hope your day is memorable too, but not quite as memorable as the holiday's namesake.
I don't mean to brag - because, trust me, there is nothing to brag about - but I guarantee my first time in NYC was different than anyone else's. That is unless you are Nepalese, a Tibetan monk, or both.
Yesterday I mentioned my time in Nepal in '01. In '04 my monk friend Khenpo Sange visited NYC and I went to meet him.
I spent the long weekend hanging out with illegal immigrants who spoke very little English. We ate about 8 meals a day of home-cooked Nepalese delicacies. I can't stand home-cooked Nepalese delicasies. I was excited when we finally decided to eat out, until we walked into a Nepalese restaurant.
I spent most of my time staring at the wall while Khenpo spoke with his friends in Nepalese. At one point they were kind enough to put on a movie, 3 hours of home video from a Nepalese New Year's party. It made the wall look exciting.
It was great to see my friend Khenpo, but I do believe that weekend was the longest of my life.
Monday, February 13, 2006
My trek lasted one day before an infection in my foot flared up and I limped back to Kathmandu. I spent the next 2 weeks hanging with a monk and his flock of monk underlings who I had met on the flight in from Thailand.
I attended ceremonies, ate sticky rice with my fingers, was blessed by reincarnated bulletproof monks, and helped rebuild a monastery. My time in Nepal was more memorable than any trek could have ever been; read more about it here.
When the Nepalese government had sent troops out to confront the growing Maoist threat, the country became a litte too dicey for my tastes. I left. Since the Maoist uprising, over 12,000 people have been killed, soldiers and civilians alike in conflicts and random bombings. The country as a whole seems to be nearing anarchy - people are calling for the King's execution and government officials have been thrown in jail.
It is a war that never makes the newspapers.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the maoist uprising. Read about it here.
Monday, February 06, 2006
"There's tourism and there's travel. The traveler doesn't know where he's going, and the tourist doesn't know where he is."
But what if I don't know where I am going, and I don't know where I am? What does that make me?
Other than unsure of myself and my general location/direction, it makes me know that Henry Rollins is way cooler than me.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
I have never pulled out a calculator and worked up the numbers, but I have a strange suspicion that I lose a lot of money working as a freelance writer. This may be why my checking has a tendency to work its way to zero. Who would have thought that traveling months on end and coming back to write 800 word blurbs about the trip would not make ME heaps of money?
Last week in the Hub, a weekly paper in Champaign, Illinois, to which I contribute, one of the columnist used me as an example of the low end of an imaginary pay-scale:
...By the way, I am not so gauche as to quote an exact figure, but let us just say my stipend resides somewhere in the neighborhood below “Koplinski boodle,” but above “Kelsey Timmerman cabbage.”...
You mean people actually get paid in something other than fresh, green produce to write?
I'm not in it for the money. I'm in it for the cabbage. Well, the cabbage and the LADIES!