Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They love spitting

And on this fine day, the old ama (grandma) simply miss-aimed the target. The spit brilliantly landed on my hair, given me enough reason to wash it.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to Asia


Touched down in Kathmandu airport yesterday afternoon. Back to Asia.

It was in Sharjah airport while I realized that I have left Europe. You have less individual space and always feeling somebody touching you, could be because of more populated or people are more carefree or simply we don't mind to push each other or to squeeze a little bit. A man with huge luggage on his shoulder stood in front of the airplane door taking picture, I was in his front and he hit me with his bag while he was turning. There is pro and con, of course. I love to be back to the chaos, but I do miss Europe. Very much indeed.

Istanbul no longer attracted me. Did I tell you so? Was in Istanbul for 4 nights, a city too much for me, too huge, too many people, too much cars and traffic jam, too chaotic, too noisy, too expensive. I almost went crazy in Istanbul. Can't imagine those living there, a city with 20 million people, moving from a neighborhood to another neighborhood took such a long time. Spent most of my budget in transportation moving from one host to the other.

Kathmandu is nice. Same same chaos, polluted, crowded, congested, noisy; but cheap. Had late lunch at a cafe which no foreigner will want to go. I asked 'chamal'(rice)? They said 'chao mian', pointed the basket of noodles on the floor. Yes. A huge plate of fried noodle with vegetables and meat for 45 rupees. RM2.2 may be. How good is life.

But I drank too much chai. Had some problem with stomach. Or perhaps is due to the tap water in Sharjah airport. It wasn't a choice though, because it makes no sense to buy 500ml water for 3 dollar in the airport. Anyway, I think I will be fine.

This morning we had a long discussion. With my Sikkim Nepali host who is a Christian and the Chinese Malaysian Australian (there is only one person here haha) who does't have a religion. I consider myself a religious person, although I have no religion, I have something to believe in. Shared with them 'thamism' though, as you can see, it is a religion of tham, (haha) who believe in everything is free to be determined by oneself, yet everything determined is pre-determined. And the belief of mine after death, no heaven or hell, but a new realization of consciousness in another body. The religion might make no sense to others, but it is a choice, and a personal thing.

Last night while walking back, my host asked, don't you want to call home to tell your mum you arrived safely in Kathmandu? I told him I don't need to do so, because of course she knew I will arrive safely in Kathmandu. It is a fact that both of us knew, no further confirmation needed.

Back to Asia, it is a complicated feeling. For sure the complication will increase when it comes nearer to time to go home. I love traveling, still loving it so much. But when people asked, 'so you keep moving around for the past 2 years?' I heard pity more than amazed, and feel shameful more than proud. It is complicated. I would say.

But now I am just going enjoy Nepal. Take a lot and a lot of pictures. There are always more stories to tell on the streets and from the people in the less developed countries. Till nest time. Namaste.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking forward

I want to fly to Kathmandu and throw all my torn shirts and pants.
I want to get everything new.
I want to eat the Japanese food in Kathmandu recommended by a Hui.
I want to spoil myself.
I want to couchsurf with the Malaysian.
I want to meet the Nepali who had been vouched for many times for his hospitality. They will pick me up from the airport.
I want to cross to India with a small crowded local bus.
I want to visit Mahdiar as a friend, not a couchsurfer.
I want to sing him sultanah ghalbam in returned. Now I can remember every single word.
I want to attend Prabhu's wedding in January.
I want to wear sari on his day. Tight and colouful sari with long black hair.
These are the things I am looking forward.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It wasn't funny

to hitch hike at night. Especially I miscalculated the time different between Macedonia and Bulgaria. The last hike was 730pm, in fact it was 830pm Bulgarian time. I wanted to get to Plovdiv, I promised myself never hitch hike at night, but I am too stubborn.

A truck stopped. I climbed up. Bulgarian truck driver, solo lady, alone, small steets, late night. It fits all the criteria and ambience needed for something horrible to happen. The advice of the Macedonian guy went through my mind - beware of Bulgarian driver, don't hitch at night, sex.

I was nervous. Yes. Right hand of mine had pepper spray prepared. If he come from the left, I will do this; if he attacked from the door, I will do that. All the movements rehearsed a thousand times in my mind.

The driver looks normal. I know how normal people look, believe me. But I also know how little I know about human being. The truck went at 20km/hour. I called my host in Plovdiv to let the driver know that I have somebody waiting.

As expected, the truck stopped at aside at some point. Now is the time, he is going to ask for sex, he is going to attack me in the dark. I turned my pepper spray on. The driver got down the truck, check the back and get on the truck again. He continued driving. It repeat several times. Too late I am too tired, almost falling asleep but force myself to keep awake. I shouldnt have hitch hike at night, what a stupid idea. It had been a long day, more than 10 rides, started from 8am walking down the Treskavec monastery in Macedonia. I wish I have some extra power to move the truck faster.

Arrived in a small town 25km away from Plovdiv at midnight. My host was waiting there already. Phew.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

No chance to change

Thinking of going to Damascus to take the plane instead of Istanbul. But bought the ticket a minute ago. No more chance to change. 25th Sep, hello Kathmandu.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Such a dramatic life


Walked on the street at Bitola, unable to find a cheap hostel, I asked for direction to Prilep.

Ended up as a guest (not overnight) in the girl house, who her mother just past away 3 weeks ago. She insisted to cook lunch at 5pm. Her father cried until one eye blind. She prepared the oil for egg, it gets too hot and the electric stove got fire. The father so creative to use the paper to cover the fire. Everything in a mess. We managed to throw the pan with paper to the basin before it drops on the wooden floor. Whole house in smoke. Too smoky and smelly I understood how people choked to death. We started lunch at 630pm. They poured me rakiye. From time to time the father cried for his wife. At one time he turned on the TV, there is some naked woman and suddenly he stopped the mourn. Continued after the scene. She talked about her mother, started to cry. I rub her shoulder to console. Told her about my dad, how my mum woke me up in the middle of the night. This is the first time I told someone verbally at such detail, but only after two sentences, I started to cry. Decided not to show any will to stay in her house, it is not too good. She accompanied me to find a student house which cost 8 euro for a night. We say bye bye. They need someone to keep them busy. They may want to go with me to the monastery today. I am not sure, because I went back to my room, after shower, sprained my neck.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The route

In Bitola already.
Tomorrow Treskavec Monastery, Macedonia (confirmed)
18th Sep Plovdiv, Bulgaria (confirmed)
20th Sep Istanbul, Turkey (confirmed)
24th Sep Kathmandu (confirmed)
24th Oct India
24th Jan KL

No plane ticket yet though for KL..
See u back home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You said I am a brave traveler.

I am not sure if that is a compliment.

So ironic when someone ask, are you traveling the world?
How do I tell that I don't want to travel the world?

This morning, sitting around the kitchen, the French guy asked if I went to Italy.
I said, no Italy, no France, no Spain, no Portugal, no Greece.
Aha, you can't see everything. You have made a good choice coming to Balkan. May be next time.
Well, I wish there is no next time.

It is a lesson learnt, not a competition, nor collection. I wish the warm and pain lasted till the last drop of the candle burned.
One need no bravery to travel, if he has a home waiting for his returned, and see gain or lose a blow of wind. Today can be windy, tomorrow might not; today the air is stilled, tomorrow might be windy.

It was cloudy today in Ohrid, tomorrow might be sunny.
Leaving on Monday to Bulgaria, may be visiting may be passing. Heading to Turkey. Perhaps Nepal, for sure India.
Then, Home.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tomorrow is always a better day


Well, I dont know there are actually some people reading my blog. I thought there are only little cats two three out there from home. Since there are regular visitors, I need to be a regular blogger. Seems like.

So. Traveled with the two Germans from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Albania through Montenegro. Nice couple, rich knowledge in history and issues in Balkan. It is rare to meet travelers who are conscious and aware about their own duty in traveling and ready to blend into the local culture. It is easy to set your foot on the road, but to know what is the impact and to know how serious is the impact, it takes time, responsibility and conscience. They are the travelers that open to all possibilities and ready for uncertainties. Even you meet so many people on the road, it is seldom you meet someone who follow the flow and omen. We traveled together for 3 days until they dropped me off at the road to Tirana. They dived their car into the beach in Tale and need help from police to pull the car out, yet emailed me with so much humor and laugh in it.

Shared the host in Tirana with 2 young hitchhikers from Germany and Sweden. So young you will envy them.

And I moved on the Pogradec. Stayed with an American who volunteered with Peacecorps. It fits all the stereotyping I had about the young Americans/westerners abroad who help to reconstruct a country. It is a joke. One of their friend visited them, he said what he do is to blend into the local, do drug and alcohol. To reconstruct, how? We were so drunk that night, 2 double shots of rakiye, I threw up in the washroom. Smelly and dirty.

So I moved on the next day to Ohrid. The legendary lake that is so beautiful. They said. It is a beautiful lake, of course, if you never see something more beautiful, then it is the most beautiful. I swam in the lake a few times, the small fishes came and kiss your wounded toe, reminded me on the fish therapy in Singapore or Malaysia, that once there was news that it is so unhygienic that the legs started to rot. Most of the time, I lay on the couch and do nothing. Tried to read Osho but not his fan. He sounds so contradicting sometimes.

My host has a summer house in Ohrid. She hosted 10 people at the same time. Crazy. One of the guest lost the key while go swimming, there is no spare key. She can still smile and talk soft. May be I will go crazy. Too far to become a saint. Or even get closed to. May be next life.

My time is up. I shall stop here and get some oranges before the market closed. By the way, I wanted to write you but I have a blank mind all the time these days. A lot of dreams. Have to spend time to write my diary. Said that everyday, but tomorrow is always a better day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sound and safe


Safe in Montenegro. Podgorica.

Waited for 4 hours for a car, outside Sarajevo. Then walk for some kilometers, waited again. A lady stopped, offer me a ride if I would pay 150 Euro for the ride. Haha. I laughed and shut the door. Waited for sometime again, a police officer stopped. Offer me some 10 kilometers ride, said if he can ask me a question. I said, yes please. He asked, sex? I said, no. No, why no? As if it is a pleasure for him to ask and I shall accept the offer. No, I said. May be anything else, oral? Urghh...

I was dropped some 10 km away from Sarajevo. Waited for hours, and get another ride directly to Foca. The young Serbs who gave me a ride doesn't speak English. Arrived at the destination, I asked him, how many km to the border. He said no no. KM is the currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he misunderstood if I wanted to pay. No way to get the idea through, I gave up.

Within 15 minutes, a Deutch car stopped. 2 kayakers driving in the Balkans. Offered me a ride. They are looking for place to put their kayak, wanted to kayak a bit before night falls. Was offered to travel together. They are impressed by the Malaysian girl who hitch hiking in the remote area in southern part of BiH. I waited for them in the car when they went down the river. Took a nap. Can't believe that that is for the awkward feeling in the morning. Of course, it doesn't end. They came back after 2 hours, we went to the camp site where they met the Serb who runs the camp. Tyre punctured.

Some alcohol at night. Late dinner. The sky was beautiful. Nice couple offer us their bungalow without needed to pay. We continued the journey today, in the morning. Crossed Montenegro. I had too much coffee. Vomit vomit vomit. Went for a wash in the river, cold. Stopped by police due to over speed, we didn't pay bribe but they let us go. A lot of fig trees on the road side, I wished we can stop the car. I love fig.

Sound and safe. The canyon is beautiful. Leaving to Tirana tomorrw.