I'll tuck you in and sing you a lala-bye.
Which lullabye? Can I pick one? You can also tell me a bed time story (but I tend to argue a bit during those)
argue... isn't that a great word? argue...
On vicarious travel, I'm shameless. I'm sort of known on awk, er, a2k, as being all about italy, but I didn't go there until I was 48. I did go to Mexico several times in my late twenties, early thirties, but Mexico is not all so far south of Los Angeles, my home place.
I spend a fair amount of time vicariously travelling, sometimes for the land and culture, and sometimes re politics/et al.
My favorite books have to do with another Where. I have to watch it, as my avidity can get sloppy. Not every book about another where is a book of consideration.
Much of my travel is by the description of others, though I've been on endless trains.
Have you read Paul Theroux's travel writing, osso?
i love travel writing, too. i have to be inspired to do my own though. when i first traveled to the 'third world', it was easy to write. everything was different, surprising, colorful, eye-catching. after things become 'normal', it takes more discipline and imagination...
plus, right now i find myself incapacitated. the visit of cambodia had a profound impact on me and i am on the fifth book about the pol pot's regime. mostly survivor stories. it thoroughly occupies my mind, there is little space left for writing. it's an obscure all-consuming fascination that i developed. just cannot stop reading. The books you'd find on my bed side table are: Stay Alive My Son, First They Killed My Father, To Destroy You is No Loss, The Lost Executioner, Children of the Killing Fields.... how can I write anything with my poor brain so trapped and overcrowded?
Yes, Pdog, I have. I like his writing.
Which ones did you read? He was a little sunnier (relatively so, of course) but also less observant when he was younger.
Well, I do have one memory to share. It came back to me on the drive from the theatre. I went to see the show my company put on while I was away. Plexiglass menagerie. Oh yeah. I missed the scene so much, and I didn't even know. Even all the over the top drag queens that take the stage after the show. But I digress. As my friends drove me home, I sat in the back seat, exactly the same way as I sat on the drive to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh.
All of us facilitators went together. Me, Varghese, Adam, and Ngarm, our Cambodian co-facilitator. He is among the people capturing my imagination. I know very little about what he did during the Pol Pot regime, but what I know is enough to paint vivid images. He was a teenager, taken, naturally, by the army. As far as I know, he spent 6-7-8- I don't really know how many, but many years in an army camp, later a refugee camp. What was he made to do? I cannot ask. We get to Sihanoukville, which is right on the ocean. Beautiful, touristy region. Ngarm drives us around in his nice new jeep. He points at a tall posh looking hotel. That was a detention center during the Pol Pot time. People were taken in to be tortured, in order to die eventually. Hundreds if not thousands of people were killed there. All of me is screaming inside to go look, but I cannot ask for that. If I did, we would have to "talk". I would somehow have to ask Ngarm what he did during that time, and that does not seem possible. I probably don't want to know either. I try to take a picture sneakily, but it comes out all blurry. I feel so frustrated and so...so... Western. At times like this, a black cloud descends over my head and suffocates me with all of my questions and scenarios that I imagine in my head.
Yeah, that's what it's like interacting with people above 35 years old in Cambodia. You will never stop wondering, but you never ever can ask.
Paul Theroux -
Riding the Iron Rooster
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia
The Kingdom of the Sea: A Journey Around Coast of Great Britain
The Old Patagonian Express
My Secret History
and by Peter Theroux -
Sandstorms: Days and Nights in Arabia
Dag, I emphathize about not being able to ask..
Yes, me too.
What a collection of books -- eek.
Re: Paul Theroux, love his travel writing, can't stand his fiction.
I've not been able to even buy his fiction...
although I think My Secret Life and Hotel Honolulu are called fiction, much of them read as at least somewhat autobiographical.
Sorry, last I'll do on this hijack...
I heartily recommend The Happy Isles of Oceania and Dark Star Safari (Theroux's last two travel books). He actually gets off the train and gets mixed up in stuff. (Read one his brother wrote about La-La Land. Not memorable.)
I can't stand his fiction, either.
Back to your regularly scheduled threading.
I just came by a website of a wonderful new film on Cambodia: New Year Baby.
It's not screened in public yet, but anyone can apply to host a private screening. I'm gonna do so asap.
This from the synopsis of the movie:
One Christmas Day, my parents called a family meeting. They sat down my brother, two older sisters and me - to reveal secrets after 25 years. My mother told us that my two sisters aren't actually my sisters. They are the children of my mother's sister, orphaned when their parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge. We learned my older brother isn't actually my full brother. He is my half brother - the surviving child from her first family. My mother's first husband and daughter died in the genocide. This was the first I'd heard of them. It was the first for my brother too. In that room of shocked and tearful children, my father got up and in his character, locked himself in the bathroom.
My parent's revelation raised more questions than it answered, so I became determined to document the full story. Last year, my parents took both my brother and me back to their homeland. Neither of us had ever been to Cambodia, save for my conception and my brother's harrowing escape...
Well, that gave me chills to read.
It's a strangely balanced teetertotter: some of us would have a great deal of internal pressure not to ask, while talking can be, if not comfort, a kind of support for their sense of themselves, the survivors.
well, this here is for paraover. He was asking "how am I liking the wedlock"?
Dear paraover. This is what happened a few weeks after I got engaged:
Current mood: blah
What's going....where am I? Arrrgh, the headache. What was I doing last, well, few months?
Sitting up, I get flashbacks... Oh yeah, I got...ENGAGED!!!? Good god, what was I thinking? Ooooh boy...
Making myself coffee before I even go to the bathroom, I barely growl at my roommate who happens to be in my path. I can just narrowly stand myself, not to even mention some other human whom I would have to share MY bed and MY room and my territorial imperatif with. I'm only thirty and I'm already a krank. It won't get any better as I get older, no sir.
Now I am sure there are some benefits to lifetime companionship... Like kids (ehh, that's a benefit? let me rethink...) or... not dying alone being eaten by my rotweilers (then again would I really care if I'm dead? And why would I have multiple rotweilers?). But for now I prefer to be able to sleep whenever the hell I want, to travel wherever the hell I want, to act inappropriately to my age and drive my bike through the town in the middle of the night if I just feel like it. Plus I can't do this to Jina. We are pre-destined to be old hags working somewhere in the godforsaken end of the world kinda place for human rights hating humanity with a passion. Drinking basil gimlets and gin and tonics from noon on. Phew, there, that's better.
Off to take a nap to get over the hangover.
Currently listening :
So... free as a bird again. As I should be. Who'd have me anyway? If they don't run first, I sure as hell do run away.
Sad to hear the news (I've good friends in Jaipur) and annoyed at the conspiracy being spinned in the media again. very sad.
India bomb blasts: 80 killed in Jaipur
By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi
Last Updated: 2:58AM BST 14/05/2008
At least 80 people have been killed and scores injured after a series of seven bomb blasts tore through India's historic walled city of Jaipur.
The blasts were carefully timed for the cool of the early evening when the streets fill with people after the heat of the day
The first explosion happened in a popular vegetarian restaurant in a crowded bazaar shortly after 7.30pm.
Within a few minutes, other bombs detonated at a nearby market place and inside a Hindu temple, packed with worshippers celebrating the holiest day of the week.
A fourth device exploded at Sanganer Gate, one of the main entrances leading through the walls of old Jaipur. Three other blasts took place elsewhere in the city, a popular tourist destination 170 miles south-west of New Delhi.
Among those killed were a 10-year-old boy and a bride in a bright red saree still wearing marriage bangles.
One suspect was detained and was being questioned, police said, adding that an eighth bomb that did not explode was found attached to a bicycle and defused.
While Indian officials did not immediately openly blame Pakistan-based militants for the attack, Sriprakash Jaiswal, the junior home minister, suggested the bombings were connected to previous explosions.
"The blasts are part of a big conspiracy," he said.
David Mulford, the US Ambassador, said: "There can be no possible justification for murderous attacks on innocent people."
Old Jaipur is a maze of alleyways, crowded with shops and restaurants, alongside the city's famous crenellated walls and palaces, all painted in pink ochre.
The blasts, a few minutes apart, were carefully timed for the cool of the early evening when the streets fill with people after the heat of the day.
"Obviously, it's a terrorist plot," said A.S Gill, the local police chief. "The way it has been done, the attempt was to cause the maximum damage to human life."
Vasundhara Raje, the chief minister of Rajasthan state, told state television that at least 60 people had been killed and 150 wounded. It is not known whether any foreign tourists were among the casualties.
The nearly simultaneous blasts bore the hallmarks of an attack by terrorists based in neighbouring Pakistan.
Indian intelligence sources said the bombs could have been the work of Islamist radicals who have been trying to infiltrate the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani territory in the last two days.
India has sent reinforcements to the Sambha region after gun battles between militants and border guards claimed nine lives. The army has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on villages near a 120-mile section of India-Pakistan frontier in order to stop this infiltration.
In the past, India has blamed Pakistan's regime for any terrorist attacks on its cities. When gunmen raided India's parliament in New Delhi in December 2001, the incident came close to provoking a full scale war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
But tensions have eased since then and there was no sign of the attacks in Jaipur causing a similar crisis. Both countries are now conducting talks on all the issues dividing them, notably the future status of Kashmir, which is claimed by Pakistan.
President Pervez Musharraf's regime denies supporting the Islamist radicals responsible for attacking India, notably Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist group once supported by Pakistan.
Mr Musharraf banned LeT in 2002 and insists that his security forces, notably the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, no longer have any links with the group.
India blamed LeT for the bombs placed on trains in Bombay which killed 209 people in 2006.
What's your take, Dag? Not Pakistani terrorists but...?
What's your take, Dag? Not Pakistani terrorists but...?
I would be interested to hear Dag's take on this....
I have always wondered about this too ...when the India media squarely and conveniently blames the "omnipotent" pakistani terrorists every time something like this happens.