Asia 2009 − 2010

Miscellaneous 2008 − 2009

Bolivia, August 2008

India, Oct 2007 − Mar 2008

Vietnam, Apr 2007 − Sept 2007

Thailand, Oct 2006 − Mar 2007

Miscellaneous 2007

Miscellaneous 2008 − 2009

Sunday, April 20, 2008 − Back in NYC

Let me say my first impression was that my people, Americans, really are overweight. My second impression was that it's really clean here, well not my apartment, but that's another story. And so very free of vermin. I can put bags of anything on the floor here without worrying that a big rat will rip a hole in it. I can leave food out all night and nothing will ravage it. I shower whenever I want here because it is very easy. I turn on the tap and always there is hot water, day and night, always. No thought involved.

After all my kvetching about Indian people, there is something I really miss. People are really helpful in a way that is shamefully lacking New York City. In India, people know stuff: when the bus is arriving, which train car to get into, where to purchase a ticket. The passengers, employees, and vendors will all help you if they can. Unlike NYC, where if asked ask a question, employees, particularly MTA personnel, will respond rudely and inadequately. It's horrible and makes my head explode.

After having been away for 18 months in cultures where English is in no way prevalent. I find that not surprisingly, I can't remember certain words, or phrases. It comes but slowly. What I do find surprising is that I will often type a word that sounds similar to the word I am looking for. I mean we all do this but it is with words I am not even conscious that they are homonyms. Also, I delight in ordering things, and explaining how I want it. I can chit chat with anyone and everyone. What fun.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 − Another Great Day in NYC

Being unemployed and being an artist means your obligations are minimal. It's really easy to spend a day not accomplishing much of anything AND not having fun. So, I decided to run out to Jackson Heights Queens to get more tea powder for my morning chai. I love this part of Queens. Everyone is there - Mexicans, Indians, Nepalese, Filipinos, Koreans. I accidentally got on the express train so I decided to walk a few stops instead of waiting with the plethora of scream pushing teens. First I stopped into a fish shop that true to New York fashion also had fried fish and sushi. I ordered a snack of 6 scallops for $3 which were cooked to perfection. Then I stopped at a fruit and veg store. I bought 10 garlics to make pickled garlic and a bag of bing cherries for $2. Next stop Crystals Filipino restaurant for Sans Rivele and a cup of coffee. Sans Rivele is really without rival. It's a dessert made of butter cream between thin layers of crispy cake. The piece they gave me must've been at least 4 inches by 4 inches. My whole purpose of this trip was the Indian tea powder so I headed to the Indian grocery. It was incredible. So cheap and everything I could possible want including frozen idly, package sambar, cardamom − just seeds no pods, tea powder for $2.50 which is almost half the price in Manhattan, nag champa incense for $1 and in Manhattan it has to be at least $3. I intentionally didn't get a basket because I had to carry all this stuff home. So when my arms felt like they were going to break off, I headed to the check out counter. All these purchases pretty much ended my adventure, so I wondered over to the subway and headed home excited by the prospect of a few delicious meals.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 − Hare Krishnas

For months now, I have been wanting to go to the Hare Krishnas here in New York City. Having gone to college at huge university in the Midwest in the 80s, I was familiar with them. I have to admit I totally saw them as a cult, and so now, I did not want to go alone. I could get no one to commit. What is it with New Yorkers? Honestly I am so fed with people cancelling at the last minute or not showing up but I digress. Someone from Integral Yoga, where I volunteer and take classes, told me about this Hare Krishna center on St. Mark's does a Sunday program. We went together. We arrived at 7pm. The "service" started around 7:30pm. Dinner was around 9pm. It was interesting to chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I few years ago, I think I would've been totally freaked out but after being in a couple ashrams in India, I can appreciate a good chant. I remember when I first was introduced to chanting via Buddhism and yoga in New York City, I was really resistant to chanting in other languages. It seemed like voodoo to be chanting things I couldn't understand. Then, one day in my meditation group, we chanted something had been translated into English. It was the most horrible thing I had ever heard. Since then, I prefer my chants in the ancient languages. Right now, I am listening to the Hare Krishna chant, which they claim to chant it once is to totally rework your life and release all karma, but it just doesn't move me. After chanting in India, there were certain chants that I really liked but Hare Krishna isn't one. I have to wonder why. I followed Ganesha in a past life? At the service, they read from some scriptures. I don't really remember what but something relatively generic. I found the group to be a bit snarky. Dis-ing on other Hare Krishna groups and Catholics. "Those OTHER groups are like that but we are like this." Apparently, they missed the I am ok, you're ok movement. I asked about Krishna being blue and didn't really receive an answer. I also was trying to find out if they thought Krishna really exists or if he is a myth. I didn't get an answer to that one but that's my own fault because I couldn't figure out a way to tactfully ask if he was make-believe. I didn't feel pressured at all, and generally accepted. I do have to say the food was fabulous and abundant. The great meal really warmed my heart.

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