23.11.08

un autre repas

Yesterday I learned that you can't substitute slivered almonds for walnuts when you are sauteeing. When slivered almonds burn it smells like burnt popcorn.

Today I learned that everyone loves my salads and my basmati rice. This was my first time to cook rice.

I'm basically ready for my debut as a suburban housewife.

20.11.08

the next Frank Stitt?

Just wanted my lovely readers to know that last night we had 10 people over for Arthur's birthday. It was more of a "fancy" dinner...candles lit, the real silver, etc.

What did we eat in this culinary capital of the world?

Chicken pate d'Alabama and mom's salad with clementines and almonds.

12.11.08



Berlin has some really cool bars. Here we are at one of them with P. Diddy's son, Adrien, and his roommate.

German wieners are the best!



Caro looks like the perfect German lassi in this picture!


Getting my wiener schnitzel on.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin


1.11.08

destruction!!!!




Heidi Klum's costume is seriously PERFECT. She looks like she walked right out of the Kumortuli neighborhood in Kolkata.
Pascal now introduces me as either:

1. Kali, a close personal friend of Barack Obama. (I play along with this one and add that I was his mistress when I lived in Chicago...)

or

2. Kali, she's a Princess from the state of Alabama. (No one gets this one so it's not that fun).

People like to hold French newspapers and magazines (which all have Barack's mug on the front) up to my face and say "are you ready to become a socialist country like us? Say hello to your next President!" Pascal asked me yesterday if I was ready for America's second "Black Tuesday?!"

Every French child I've talked to doesn't understand the difference between "Obama" and "Bama." Or, they at least think there is some link. Wrong! They've never heard of McCain, of course. When I attempt to start a dialogue with any foreigner about why Obama is awesome, this is (I kid you not) what I ALWAYS recieve: "McCain is so OLD!"

I can think of worse things. For starters, I find it pretty humorous that the most partisan and liberal senator in our country talks about change.



Mon Dieu!

30.10.08

for those of you wondering if rando Indian journalist still writes me, the answer is a resounding YES!

Here's one of today's emails. I found it particularly fun...

"hi kali !!

some hindi word nd minings !!!!!!
specaly for u .............[mobile 0094144-75210]

1: hiiiiiiii vikram, how r u ? > namskar vikram, aap kaiese hai ji !
2: u living in my hart ! > aap [tum] mere dil [hart] me ho !
3: im happy nd fine ! > mai khush hu or achi hu !
4: im coming soon jodhpur
nd meet to u ! > mai jaldi jodhpur aa rahi hu or aapase milungi !
5: u r a noty boy ! > tum [ aap] badamas ladake ho !
6: what u douing ? > aap kya kar rahe ho ?
7: im missing u ! > mujhe aapaki yaad aati hai ! [ mai tumhe miss kar rahi hu ]

nd i want a glass drink watar vikram ! vikram mujhe 1 gilas pani pilao !..............

im waiting for u nd yor answer ! byyyyyy"

I will always be connected to India for better and worse. And next time I call Vikram (ps I never have) to tell him he's a naughty boy, I will just print out this handy list of phrases! It's like Rosetta Stone for dyslexics!!!

26.10.08

this post should shed some light on where I get my "quirks."


Just an excerpt from Molly's post-UT win email. I didn't think that I'd be in France and living the Tide's freaking awesome season vicariously. But I am.



"Our fam is so superstitious it's truly hilarious. Hunter's lucky shirt he wears for every game is this Wal Mart bama shirt that looks somewhat like a jersey but it's got a collar on it. And he has to drink a certain type of Sweetwater beer before every game. Oh and Will's 70's style Bama toboggan is lucky as well...it has this white bunny tail looking thing on the top of it. He was wearing it when yelling back at the bitter Vols fan that was shouting at us about red clay and pine trees."

RTR!!

24.10.08

Dang. I thought my days of acne were over 5 years ago when I turned from antibiotics and topicals to hormone drugs, aka Yasmin. Turns out I was wrong. My hormones are raging like they did on my 13th birthday. The past 3 days I've woken up with about 7 new whiteheads in my "T zone," and I've had a two day migraine that Tylenol Sinus, coffee, sleep, advil, and prayer won't cure.

To make matters worse, my naturally dry old-lady skin (my pride and joy) and my grease-less hair that I have to wash virtually never now gets OILY IN 1.5 DAYS. What is wrong? Why did God decide for me to peak in India, not France???

18.10.08

This is strange. I'm listening to Eli Gold on Yahoo sports.

"The wind is swirling," above Bryant-Denny, evidently.

And it's 9:31 p.m. in Chantilly. Arthur and Adèle are taking their baths and then
I promised them a Disney movie. I got a good feel for what being a housewife
is all about today (it's Caro's day off and I'm babysitting.) Gymnastics lessons, polo match, playing at a friend's house
for 1.5 hrs, cook dinner, clean, do laundry, ask nicely, get frustrated, etc.

Molly, I watched Adele's gymnastics class for about 30 minutes today and had the
strangest flashbacks of Mountain Brook Gymnastics. What was that weird
stretching that you and Mom did every night? And what was my ballet teacher's name?
Beth? The little girls in France aren't nearly as hard-core as y'all were. No matching
leos (they wear pj's, t-shirts, baggy leos, etc) and no stretching or crazy conditioning.
I think the point of gymnastics here is to look cute. Kind of like how I feel that the language
is mainly there to sound pretty. They share the facility with some
sword fighters and wall-climbers.

Did you know that corporal punishment is outlawed here? Thoughts?

Here comes the Tide. How about Eli's vivid language?


....4 hours later. We BARELY won. Now that my heart rate is up
I'm going to attempt to go to bed. If it wasn't already official, it is now.
The Renauldons have to think I'm crazy. I've been listening (not watching,
that's not possible yet) to a game online for over 4 hours. I would have listened in my
room but the internet signal doesn't reach my room so I've been sitting under a lamp in the living room. They got
home from a party 30 minutes ago (12:30 a.m).

I took a few breaks throughout the game. One to pour some drain stuff down my sink that isn't draining.
New appreciation for plumbers. One to fold my laundry. One to unload the dishwasher and wash 3 pans.
Mom, I know you're probably laughing right now. I've never done 3 loads of my own laundry in one day. I
did that today. (It was only 3 loads b/c it is a small, economical French washing machine, not b/c I've been letting it pile up,
fyi.)

By the way, mom sent a shaker (I requested it) with Katie and Amy last weekend. Today I gave it to Adele.
What was her first inclination? To use it as a duster. And mop. Both make more sense that the way we use them in 'Bama.

Then she rode the shaker like a horse. Then Arthur took it, put it on his head and said he looked like Michael Jackson. I'm still confused about this one. But right after he made this comment he went to my computer and youtubed "Thriller". Michael wears red in this vid if you recall. And that is the only connection I can make.

Then Adele put the shaker in her mouth. "Alabama dans ta bouche," I said. (Bama in your mouth.) I tried to explain that Bama is a state "etat" in the United States "etats unis." Now there is confusion over the difference between American football, Alabama, shakers, red and white...and whether red and white are "America's colors" or Alabama's.

I'm getting confused myself. Off to bed.

Roll Tide Roll.

16.10.08

ay bay bay



WELCOME TO THE WORLD DANIEL!!!

and congrats to Linds and Aar-bear!
Food I've made in the past two days:

1. Chicken Pate (really good!)

2. Flank Steak marinated in Worcestershire, soy sauce, red wine and lemon juice (really good).

Both were delicious. Especially considering that they were my first two attempts at cooking meat, ever.

Looks like I'm well on my way to becoming a an excellent housewife. Or, more likely, just someone who can cook something other than scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. Thanks "Food for Thought."

13.10.08




Most beautiful day thus far in Chantilly.




Amy and Katie came to visit. It was WAY too short, but so much fun to see them!

7.10.08

My good friend Laura passed along this interesting article about a new gmail feature. I'm un peu upset that it was not created 2 years ago. And the math questions need to be harder. Some people are smart and determined.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,434024,00.html

6.10.08

Follow your bliss



Patsy and I back in action! Love this lady.

1.10.08

Christians and Hindus clash in Orissa

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7641247.stm

Interesting story out of India. You don't hear about this much with all the Muslim/Hindu problems...

30.9.08

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7643373.stm

This morning there was an awful stampede at the Chamunda Devi Temple at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Around 200 people are dead, mostly men. Please pray for Jodhpur and especially the families of those who have been killed.


Driving in Deauville.


View from upstairs bedroom.



Mom, this is the best I can do. As much as I want to click away, I try to show photographic restraint at equestrian events, Hermès parties, and the like so as not to look like a tourist.

Unfortunately, there is one thing I have found. Like old-row boys driving down 13th St. in black Tahoes shielded by Costas... polo players in white pants riding Argentinian Thoroughbreds in France are always better from a distance. It's depressing, but true. Better I learn it now.

Girls look better in sundresses and by candlelight, men look better in white pants, everyone looks better at Gallette's and polo players and fratdaddies are better at a distance. Oh well.

29.9.08

http://www.startribune.com/world/29773444.html?elr=KArks:DCiUBcy7hUiacyKUU

After his meeting General Petraeus was in Chantilly touring the Museum on horseback.

requested by Pam




Living room and kitchen.

I LOVE POLO



I play polo now. I haven't played a real game, of course. I've only practiced a total of about 4 hours. But I can hit the ball while galloping, which I think makes me legit. There is nothing like riding a horse full speed into the wind while balancing a mallet in the air, and then leaning half way out of the saddle to hit a little ball! Seriously. It is the best sport ever. Extremely physical, dangerous, stylish, doesn't last too long, and virtually everyone is good looking.

The France 15





As in the Freshman 15 (or 23 in my case) except the culprit isn't Bud Heavy and Yellowtail and Arby's...it's baguettes and cheese and tartes and Chantilly creme and foie gras and Haut-Medoc wine that's to die for and real butter and whole milk and basically every fattening dairy product you can imagine. Yes, and I'm lactose intolerant...

And while riding horses is a good workout for the inner thighs, the rest of my bod (namely the lovehandles) are really going to suffer if I don't stop eating. Really soon.

26.9.08

It's a small world after all


http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/pdf/uk/newsletter%201.pdf

Last night I met a family friend of the family I live with/my boss. The wife is American and the husband is French. I had recently discovered that a friend of a friend was their au pair a couple years ago. Last night I found out that the wife went to SMU and Vanderbilt...and spends her summers in Nashville! A fellow American and SOUTHERNER!

Anyway, this is a newsletter from a nonprofit out of Nashville that supports Chantilly. Pretty cool...and random.

Picture is of dinner. The Renauldons in the foreground, Nancels in the back.

25.9.08

I have recently been told that I remind people of 1. Mary Poppins and 2. Doris Day.


Should I take either of these as a compliment?

24.9.08

Les Etoiles de Pau

I'm going to Pau, a town in the Pyrenees of southwest France, in a couple weeks for a horse show. It's the last competition in what you could call the 5 "Grand Slam" shows of three day eventing. Three day eventing or "cours complet" combines dressage, jumping, and a cross country course over three days. Wikipedia just informed me that Pau is a sister city of Mob-town, AL. Random. Also, the first Grand Prix in the world took place here in 1901. AND, the first golf course in continental Europe was laid out here in 1856.

There are only 5 other four-star CCIs (higher level than Olympics) in the world of this caliber:

Adelaide, AUS
Lexington, KY, USA
Badminton, UK
Burghley, UK
Luhmuhlen, Germany

I realize that this post is quite boring and my mom is the only one who will look at this website, but here it is for everyone:

http://www.event-pau.fr/uk/accueil/accueil.html

18.9.08

Normandy is AMAZING!!

17.9.08

my friend leslie is so funny

she needs a job...here's how she plans on getting it...

Dear Mr. Employer,

I would like to express interest in your company’s ability to save me from the hell that is moving back home after college. In case you were wondering, I possess no initiative, which is a direct correlation to the fact I sleep under my parent’s wedding quilt and help my grandmother tweeze her eyebrows on the weekends.

If you would be so kind as to review my attached attempt at squeezing all my qualities onto one page in a Microsoft trial edition that expired yesterday, I would be forever indebted. (I found that lucky adjective in the thesaurus) So skip your lunch break, ponder over my run-ons, and get back to me on how my life will change by spending 78% of my week in a box. Ciao.

Sincerely,
Apathetic in Alabama

16.9.08




channelling Stevie Nicks


Old men, my wheelhouse.


just another dog in another bar in France.


Watch out Saudi Arabia, I make a good lookin' Muslim. At the Cuban Cafe with one of the funniest people I've ever met- Ruth the journalist from Belfast.

Warm summer breezes, French wines and cheeses...



OK, so it's not so warm...but the other lyrics ring true.




Still loving on our horses even though they really weren't very cool on this day...Gardeau threw Caroline off and Palush doesn't know the difference between a trot and a gallop.





Riding around the grounds during the jumping show. Voilà Caroline la jeune fille au pair pour la famille Renauldon.



Pascal getting Gardeau ready for the polo game (it's been raining a lot lately and the horses need spurs so they don't slip and slide.)



Pre and post polo pics of Bienvenido, the horse I usually ride. He's from Argentina and is super nice to ride. This was the most gorgeous sunset ever.

Kali and Adèle's Saturday funday.




Seriously. Do not ask me where she learned about human anatomy!

12.9.08

R.I.D.E. Normandy

www.aso-equitation.com

That's the link to the R.I.D.E. Normandy show we are doing the press for...it takes place in Deauville next weekend and will have basically everybody that's anybody in the equestrian world. Recent Olympic gold medalist (jumping) Eric Lamaze, 11 of the 12 World Driving Championship winners, and members from the Olympic gold & silver medalist eventing teams. Should be fun.

PS- you can click on the British flag to read it in English ;)
www.jumping-chantilly.com/csi/accueil.htm

There you have it, the link to this weekend's show jumping competition in Chantilly. I just ate lunch in the tent for riders, press, and other important people. And WOW WOW WOW!! First of all today I am wearing jeans, flip-flops, a hoodie, and a T-SHIRT. Didn't really realize exactly the kind of people I'd be dining with (not that I would have changed, this J.Crew hoodie is the warmest thing I have at the moment and it is like 50° outside). So I was underdressed to say the least. According to Pascal this is OK because "we are Polo peole and we are cooler than that." Fashionably underdressed. Much better. Anyway, it started off with lots of Moët, then white wine and salmon and caviar...then red wine and beef tenderloin and quiche and a fabulous pear tart. Horses are jumping fences outside, well-bred hunting dogs are running around inside, baguette crumbs are littering the white tableclothes. Yep, I'm in heaven. I thought the world's best looking people were in the Deep South. Turns out they are in Chantilly this weekend. And the Prime Minister wil be here Sunday for the elite jumping. Roll Tide.
I'm going to start blogging more, I promise! And I apologize for the lack of funny videos... haven't made it to un vrai francais bar yet.

I arrived in Paris early last Saturday morning after almost missing my flight from Delhi to Abu Dhabi. Yes, I know everyone is advised to arrive at l'aeroport at least two hours prior for int'l flights...but I had bigger fish to fry (aka powershopping) and arrived 20 minutes prior to takeoff. Evidently Etihad Airways and Jet have some codeshare agreement going on, which is unbeknownst to me at the time. So I arrive with an email printout telling me the time I leave and arrive, and that's all. It doesn't say the airline, which is OK, b/c I booked an Etihad flight.

"Your name isn't in the system," the Etihad check-in lady tells me.
"Well I booked it and here's the gmail saying I did," I say.
"Do you have access to the internet...we need something with the flight number on it," she says.
"Do YOU have access to the internet? Because I'm in your airport and the flight leaves in less than 30 minutes," I say.
She looks at me like this is news. Why the hell would they have internet access in an international airport?!
"Isn't there some like airlines network where you can type in my name and find where I'm supposed to be?" I say.
I'm a little frazzled at this point b/c they are acting so calm, knowing that my flight is already boarding.
"Yes ma'am, what you can do is buy an Emirates flight and take the next flight to Dubai and buy a flight for Paris. When you have access to the internet you can email Etihad and see what went wrong," I'm told.

Seriously?!

Luckily an upset white girl attracts beaucoup attention at Indian airports, and soon the head honchos were leading me through security to my JET AIRWAYS FLIGHT. You'd think that airlines with a codeshare would be able to figure stuff like this out.

OK, so the flight to Abu Dhabi was good. Jet is by far my favorite Indian airline, if not my favorite in the world. The food is actually very edible, the service is perfect, there is enough leg room for ogres like me, and they still enforce the weight, height, and beauty standards for hostesses. Actually, I think the USA is the only country that allows 50 year old redneck women with poofy hair to be stewardesses. Asian countries do it right.

Abu Dhabi's airport is small, but really nice. Mosaic tiles form the entire complex and the duty-free stores have lots of pretty stuff I can't afford. As I was sipping a cappucino awaiting my connecting flight, a group of Muslim women with full burqas asked me what lipstick I was wearing. "Healthy Lips by Laura Mercier," I tell them as I pull the tube out of my purse. They want to get some. I wonder...when exactly will they wear it and for whom?

Flight to Paris is good. I arrive at 7:30am with no plans for where to go or how to get there. I find the lone computer with internet access in the airport and start googling "hotels in the Marais." Jot down some street names and Voilà, I'm ready to roll. After eavesdropping on an English-speaking couple behind me I decide that they are definitely tourists and therefore may be of some use...

"Ummm do you have a Lonely Planet?" I ask.
"Yes indeed," they answer, pulling it out of their rucksack.
Hells yeah...so I wrote down some more hotel names and proceeded to get in one of the Mercedes taxis lined up outside. First indication that I'm not in India anymore.

Can't remember my driver's name, but he was Portuguese and didn't speak any English. So I got to practice my francais right off the bat. I was really impressing myself. The words were flowing. "I'm better at French now than when I studied it in school," I think to myself. Finally we get to the Marais area (my fave in Paris) and go to hotel #1. Booked. #2, booked. #3-15 booked. Seeing my desperation, the receptionist at random Marais hotel #15 called a friend one arrondissement over (#1) and found me a room. I hugged him and went on my merry way. The hotel did indeed have a room. I don't know if it was worth 107 euros...and I definitely don't think the taxi should have cost 75 euros...but I was tired and sick of looking. Paris makes America look cheap.

Later that day I'm munching on a croque madame and drinking some wine when I meet some fun locals. I tell them that I don't really quite know what I'm doing in Paris, but what I definitely need to do is buy a phone. So they take me to two phone stores, we compare prices...they translate for me...and voilà! I have a French phone. At this point I'm scared to get in touch with my employer because I assume there is a reason he hasn't responded to my latest emails. I decide to not call until the next day. Besides, I need to do some shopping first.

Thank the good Lawd, he answered! And was happy! He thought I wasn't coming anymore. Hallelujah. So I go to the Gare du Nord, hop a train, and get my butt to Chantilly. (Update: he tends to delete emails written in English or sends them to spam...)

Since then I've been living with the most wonderful family, riding polo horses daily for a couple hours, eating fabulously fattening food, and attempting to translate French press releases into English. It's truly wonderful. The family I live with has two children- Adèle, 7, and Arthur, 10. They also have a German/Czech au pair, Caroline, who is so much fun...and really makes me look bad as she is fluent in German, English, French, Czech...can play the piano...dances...can cook, etc. I'm just really happy to be here.

Yesterday evening my boss had a polo match. After each checker in a polo match, the players change horses. All together, there are three or four horses. My job yesterday was to keep each horse warmed up between rides and adjust the tack for the game. Polo is fast paced (each checker only lasts 7 minutes) and very intense. I was jumping on and off horses, galloping in circles, and tightening girths...good times. Then it started raining...and it's freezing cold here, by the way. Lucky for me I had decided to wear an almost see-through white button-down. I don't know if it was out of pity or because I was creating a scene that another groom gave me his thick sweater. It didn't keep out the rain, but it did help in the modesty department. Finally the game was canceled (after 2 of our horses had gone nuts and broken their halters) and we rode the horses back to the trailor, took all the tack off, loaded them up, changed into dry clothes, and headed back to the house. "Are you missing India now?" Pascal asked me. Which is an interesting question that I'll have to answer in a later post. Right now though, I'm LOVING France.


Adèle, la jeune fille de Pascal et Sophie. Après le "Pony Club."

6.9.08




Me at the Sunset (underground) Bar. This was last Saturday. I tried to find a place that had wireless internet so I could at least listen to the game online. No internet cafe would open at 5:30am for me!!! Ugh!

So I went to the Sunset Bar down the street, because after questioning them earlier in the day, I was assured that "Am-ree-can football" would be shown on one of the 2 sports channels they receive.

Before even knowing this, I made a trip to my previously blogged-about hat stand in Dalhousie Square. This time not only was there a BAGFULL of UA hats, there was a gem of a hat that actually had ROLL TIDE embroidered on the back. How could I pass up this crappily-sewn paraphenalia?? It was a budget-breaking 75 Rs. I proudly wore it all the way back to my hotel where I changed into my Ganesha t-shirt (God I'm cool...I've never looked quite this awesome at Bryant-Denny) and threw on some Bama-inspired lipstick while listening to various Eli Gold, Doug Layton, and Ken Stabler broadcasts such as:

New Year's Day 1993
1989 Bama vs. Penn State
1989 Bama vs. Ole Miss
1996 Bama vs. Auburn
1972 Bama vs. UT
1985 Bama vs. Barners,etc.

I'll go ahead and thank the Donweiser for having these rousing clips available on the computer for my perusal.

Touchdown!
Touchdown!
Touchdown!
Touchdown!

As it turns out, only figure skating and soccer were being shown at the Sunset Bar. Not even one American football game. My deepest thought while watching these couples figure skate was "wow I should start roller-skating," because these skaters have the best glutes on Earth. (As it turns out this is quite hip in Paris at the moment.) Still, the Sunset Bar felt like the only right place to be. What else was I going to do- sit in my hotel room eating digestive cookies like the night prior? So, to commemorate the first football season I would spend outside Alabama, me, my hat, my Ganesha, and my new friends jammed to my trusty iPod which churned out the likes of:

Yea Alabama
The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down
Back Where I Come From
UA's Alma Mater
Sweet Southern Comfort
Southern Cross
Stars Fell on Alabama
Rammer Jammer, Vols edition
Bette Davis Eyes
Boys of Summer (thoughts of Mary Fran flooding my head :))
and basically every song Heart or Al Green has ever recorded.

All in all a good night. Made even better on Sunday at 1pm when Pamcakes informed me of our performance.

Bama's on the cover of SI.
McCain is going to beat Barack HakunaMatataWindbagSelfRighteous Obama.
And I'm in Paris.
Unbeatable.

28.8.08

I guess I got off easy.

Over four months in India, and besides the daily annoyances like getting ripped off, yelled at, stepping in human excrement, being inconvienced by lack of tp, baby wipes, faulty internet and phone, and vast cultural misunderstandings (etc etc) I have largely escaped most of the things that travelers are likely to fall prey to.

No malaria, despite only taking medicine every once in a while. No loose stools that lasted for more than a day, despite being quite adventurous with food and drinking some unclean Rajasthani water. I've only been groped by a couple males (nothing that some rock throwing, water bottle boinking upside the head, and yelling couldn't take care off...). And nothing lost or stolen, despite entrusting total strangers to watch my bags when I go to the bathroom in a train and trusting bottom of the barrel hotels to keep my luggage and passport safe when I go out of town. Oh, and I generally trust autowallahs and taxi drivers to take me where they say they are taking me- like yesterday, the taxi ride from Darjeeling to NJP (the train station) is about 3.5 hours long. I took a share jeep on the way up to Darjeeling, which was pretty intense because 2 of the 15 people in the 7 person jeep were puking the entire way...so I payed for a personal taxi to take me down the mountain. Anyway, I got to the train as it was taking off, and other than having to sprint through like 16 boxcars, everything went smoothly.

Upon arriving back in Calcutta around 6am this morning, my first real Indian accident happened. So I'm walking around outside the station with an Israeli girl and man from the Czech Republic- we've decided to share a taxi as we are going in the same direction. It's pretty chaotic, as always, with cycle rickshaws, walking rickshaws, autorickshaws, taxis, motorcycles, and people all going in all diections. My two compadres decide to stand and watch the luggage while I dodge traffic trying to find a taxi for the "right price," which is 40 rupees, but each driver is asking for 150ish.

I find a taxi and wave for the other two to come over. They don't see me, so I start walking their way. Suddenly I'm caught in a big cluster(****) of people and cars. And as I try to break free, it feels as if I'm caught on something. Turns out I was caught on a damn beggar's stealing hand. Pushing everyone away, I looked down at my purse and realized the outer zipper section was open. Of course I have so much junk in there, I had no way of knowing if anything was actually taken. The important stuff (passport, camera, ipod) are in the main compartment, and were all still there. I figured the punk just got some lipstick or hand sanitizer (if he had only asked I would have bought him some value-size Purell so he could share with his whole damn clan of friends who wipe with their hands...)

Anyway, this other man who is evidently mute, starts going nuts and pointing over to the field where all the beggars live. He's really frantic and I'm like "did they actually steal something?!" I really didn't care because I have a cold and didn't sleep on the train. Anyway, so then the good ole corrupt po-pos get involved. They seize this teenage beggar boy with brown teeth, and he's yelling and showing that his pockets are empty. Meanwhile, the policemen are raising their batons and appear ready to go to town on this boy. And, as far as I know, nothing was stolen, so I'm telling the police "it's TK, TK" and to let him go because nothing was stolen. But they are not having it- I think they just wanted to get their first beat-down of the day on. And then I'm like, why is this mute guy so concerned about getting some justice for this theif? So I tell the police, "maybe he's the one who stole..." Anyway, they don't understand English, and evidently don't need evidence to beat the hell out of someone, so my talking was futile.

Well, about an hour ago I'm digging through my purse trying to find my phone so I can figure out what time it is. AND, that's what was stolen. I hope that ass enjoys it since the Sim card has decided to not work in Calcutta and there is no money left on it. Also, I'm about to go cancel the phone. Some people should just stick to begging.

27.8.08




Cleaning the sheep's wool at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center, Darjeeling.


So I go to the Hotel Bellevue in Darjeeling. "I need a clean, single room for a night or twoish," says I.

"OK, we'll show you one upstairs," says awesome Nepali receptionist man.

Room is thi kai (OK in Hindi). "I'll take it," says me.

So they bring up clean sheets and stuff...and this is what a double bed looks like when it's reserved for a single person!!! Is it funny to anyone else that they put a single size mattress pad and sheets on a queen size bed??



If we judge by bruises, Rustom (my trusty steed) was more dangerous than the Scooty. This was the day of. As of today, my legs are one purple, unshaven mess.

24.8.08



This lady carried my bag all the way from the jeep stand at the bottom of Darjeeling, to my hotel, which is at the highest point. It was a TREK!! I was totally winded 5 minutes into it (the altitude, duh) and she's just moving along. I know it's her job (and I haven't seen anyone carry their own bags here...) but I paid her triple and had her join me for tea at the hotel. Awesome lady! We're going to meet for momos before I leave.


After my intense galloping in Mirik, with one of the horsey-men. I'm holding my whip (a switch torn from a bush) in my right hand. Kicking, prodding and slapping just didn't make this boy go. But when he sees the switch raise, he takes off!