Sunday, February 22, 2015

When will I learn that being over friendly can be interpreted as …… something else besides just being overly friendly?

So…I am missing something. Something either about the cultural norms in the places I have visited, or….I am a really odd peg that has rarely been encountered…and even though I am obviously a freak…freaks may be cool to collect? I dunno?

Not sure which.

Friends!!! Right??? What?.....Oh. 
Because of my culture, I have been trained to talk, when I want, to whoever I want.  Add to that the internal golden retriever Jennifer…who like a good dog….LOVE’S to be social and gets overly excited when meeting new people. YES YES YES!!! (See?)

Some understand….”It’s a freak…Just say hello…Don’t make eye contact….It will eventually tire and move on.”

Others…maybe… for some reason (see above) misinterpret and I get…um…sort of into trouble.

It usually happens within max 30 minutes of meeting. And it goes something like this…

" married? NO. Hmm…Children? No…hmmm. How old are you?” LONNNNNG PAUSE. Obviously the toughest part of the deliberations. Then…finally, THE QUESTION….The one every girl wants to hear immediately after meeting random strangers…where she is depending on the random stranger so she will not die.  

“You consider marriage with me?” 

“What?!!!!" ……"I’m sorry ….the boat engine was suddenly very loud…I think I heard you say…Spanish moss in the highlands over tea? Is that what you said?"

F. Nope.

This is where I add to the conversation….and say something like….

”Um….Just so you know the normal kinds of topics at this point in our short relationship should be…..oh I dunno… stuff like…

“Why the hell did they decide Neil Patrick Harris should host the Oscars? I KNOW…SOOO hooo humm…” (Sorry Neil…I was really searching for material…and well. And then they made you do the skit with the fruit of the looms…and you should know…at this point in your career…you should have the power to edit.. Be like Nancy Regan and JUST SAY NO!) . Or….

“You know what I think? I think triscuits if
mixed with chocolate…..would still taste like crap.”
Or…”…well.. I think you get the picture.  

What is UBER fun about when this happens is that once the cat is out of the bag…..and for the LOVE OF GOD…there is NO way possible to put THAT cat back in…well…..then…it is pretty much a certainty that the rest of the “trip” will be a little…less “comfortable.” Because…Well.. you can guess what the answer was…..Although given it is a Jennifer…you can also guess that this bit was highly entertaining also. ;)

Problem is….it always happens where again, I am depending on "said stranger" to get me “home” ALIVE. And now…NOW there is a hesitation in that possibility!

Examples: 1) Now I have to hope this guy who is taking me in his car to help me gather footage in India will actually take me back to the airport….(see:

or….Now this long ride on the boat back to shore will be…umm…..more quiet. Especially if they dump me near the crocodiles and tigers. (Wait…..actually…in that case…it would be a lot louder….and then quiet….ehhum.)

Or…”Yes maybe now would be a good time to take my breakfast dishes…away? Young ….Bell person? Because its wayyyy to early for murder don’t you think? In the morning? Save energy or later? Maybe need to play football or cricket or run marathon…later? Yes?...Yes?”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Those irritating rocks…..AGAIN! and well what do you know! Isn’t this the road where I once wrote my will on Whatsapp?

So I have been traveling back and forth and back and forth between Khulna and Mongla where the dolphin researchers are assessing the oil spill. This is finally my last trip home. A trip that is about an hour through a mostly rural area dotted with a few small villages. It is dark and chilly and I am ready to just get some food and sleep. We are moving along in the car I have hired when all of the sudden…bang bang bang against the door. Hey! I know this sound! I also recognize the looks in the faces of my car mates. The one that says…..”This is how I would look if I just found a scary clown under my bed….or a
tiger” (depends on your personal fear bucket list). This is then followed by a look given to the driver that says …”PLEASE do not stop! “. What…pray tell….was this? Rewind to Bhaglapur trip one…remember? The one where I hired a car to take me an 8 hr drive through an area that locals would not travel. Because of the threat of…I dunno. Murder? Mayhem? Something like that. I forget. Where I just wanted to NOT have to get out and throw up in a random rice field? That trip! YES!

So it seems that along with my weird karma about hiring drivers that for some reason tend to give up on me mid trip and then switch out with someone else….someone else I do not know….I also appear to have knack for travel in cars attacked by the “rock throwers” (see:

Last comments to the driver as we get out at my hotel and assess the damage. “Eh…You just need a little white car touch up paint to cover that right up!” Just like…”Oh…a little dab of blemish cream will hide that gaping hole left in your face after you were attacked by the rhino”…or…”Yes…I realize you just ate ten blue candles…no worries…they will look especially cool when they…..come …..out?”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Have you ever wanted to be in the circus, with everything covered in dew?

Short answer…NO!

Today I headed back out to the Sundarbans and I have to get out before dawn this time. Something to do with……oh blah blah research starts at sunup…..blah blah. Sure. Ok.

Well to get to the boat that is doing research requires…I get onto the river. To do that means I must take a car to the river and then hire a boat to take me to the research boat. Sure. I can do anything…no worries! Get to the port. Oh yeah…..I don’t speak Banlga. F. Hmm. Driver doesn’t speak English. Hmm.

See the bamboo in the background?  Jennifer....Meet your friend dock!
I am Circus...I am Circus
Well I am in luck! BC low and behold (and I have no idea how this part evolved in my favor) an English speaking guide was at the hotel next to the river who said he could help. Yay!!! I thought everything was fine. Then……we began our journey. A journey from the comfort of the land…….to the boats that were um….not so much on the land. So……how did this journey go? Well unlike the states, in this region of the globe, instead of a big marina with docks and boat slips for everyone….all the boats are tied to one another and the closest to shore is attached to……well…..a bamboo stick that is supposed to be walked upon to get to the first boat. Yep.

The guide started by looking at me and then asking if I would be ok with this….dock….thing…to apparently walk on. Being all puffy and wanting to look bravado and all…I just sneered and said…..huff…..”yeah……of course!”. Well apparently I did a great job of lying because he took me at face value and off he went ahead of me at lightening speed. Fine…LETS GO! I start off and it is fine at first…..bc at first we are just a foot over the ground and the water…….but as all good “docks” will do…they eventually should bring you I suppose higher off the water to get you to a boat. Higher sucks for Jennifer’s who I think I mentioned before are um….afraid of heights. Shit. So I start to see the end where he is now on boat one. Great! I am going to make it! Then I get to the end. ….PAUSE…..The end which is about 7 feet higher and 2 feet away from then the next step (boat one). Add to this…is a nice layer of dew covering everything. AND…I have a 70 pound backpack on which makes me…tippy usually in the direction I don’t want to go. And in this case…that could be into the river below. Oh dear what?

I look at him and I can also see the fear on his face. Fear that says ….”this  American could easily die now…How will ever explain this to the village”.

I summon all courage left (really only a tiny bit saved in my left pinky toe….and it was the kind that well maybe could push me through but would not be without silly squeals and wimpy moans). I decided first…..HAND HIM THE BACKPACK! . YES!…This will help!.... Good! He seems delighted by this first idea also! We are making progress! Granted I am still on the dock. But something new has occurred! We relish this for a moment. But then we both know that more must be done apparently if I am to complete this little mini
adventure. I must now…get to the metal bar covered in dew 7 feet down and 2 feet over. Deep breath. I am circus…..I am circus….CIRCUS IN HELL! No…No Jennifer!…Calm thoughts……CIRCUS IN HELL!!! Ok. Fine..who needs calm thoughts anyway.

And then with one….two ….THREE…

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Does Fred Flinstone live here?

So I arrive in my favorite hotel in Khulna where I know I will have to deal with the normal hotel conditions. Clean… but…well. It’s not Kansas. And for god sake why would we want to be in Kansas! (sorry Kansasan’s). Anyway, I don’t care bc I know the staff here, I know they will watch out for me…and that is worth its weight in gold. So….

I get to my room, and lay down on…thump… …?........Did I lay on the floor? No. no…that’s not a floor. I know because I hit it about 2 feet before the floor. So in theory…this would be what we would call …..a bed….but it appears to have a mattress made of…stone? WTF? Why raise stone above the ground to lay on…when it was perfectly good stone when a part of the ground? I am perplexed by this! Me and my ahole first world problems. I actually have the gaul to go to the front desk and ask….if they have…softer beds? I get the look. The
Wilma Flinstone is fine with rock bed. 
look that says……American…(yea that’s right…there is a look that uses that term…American)….. American…let me give you no more words…but I will communicate instead with my eyes. …..Hmmm…Lets see..Yep!..Got it! I go now. Sleep on rock. Who doesn’t like rock? I mean like..please…