October in Review
CAPTURING MOMENTS || October 2015
10.2-10.5 (Kathmandu, Nepal) → 10.5-10.14 (Changu Narayan/Bhaktapur, Nepal) → 10.14-10.18 (Pokhara, Nepal) → 10.19-10.21 (Chitwan National Park, Nepal) → 10.21-10.24 (Kathmandu, Nepal) → 10.24-10.28 (New Delhi, India)→ 10.28-10.30 (Agra, India)→ 10.31-11.3 (Udaipur, India)
- Volunteering for ten days in the quaint hilltop village of Changu Narayan at the Village Villa Homestay where Tim and I became a part of a Nepalese household and befriended backpackers from all over the world (miss you already Bertrand, Karolina, Babette, Marcos, Luke, Nick, Lucie, and Helene). My contribution was revamping the homestay’s website – check it out: Village Villa Homestay
- Spending a day whitewater rafting in a river fed by the Himalayas and sandwiched between one of the world’s most dangerous highways
- Due to a fuel crisis in Nepal, rode atop a bus and got to see Kathmandu from a different view and sweet locals paid for our fare
- Bypassed a foreigners-restricted policy and entered the Taleju Bhawani temple in Durbur Square (opened only once a year to the public) and got a glimpse of a traditional sacrifice of 54 male buffaloes and 54 male goats that happens during the Dashain Festival
- Visited the Taj Mahal, three out of seven New World Wonders crossed off, on my first year anniversary with Tim
ON A BOAT, Fewa Lake, Pokhara @ 5:15 pm
HOLY COW: AN INDIAN ADVENTURE by Sarah MacDonald
“India is beyond statement, for anything you say, the opposite is also true. It’s rich and poor, spiritual and material, cruel and kind, angry but peaceful, ugly and beautiful, and smart but stupid. It’s all the extremes.”
Synopsis: A decade ago, a guru prophesied Sarah MacDonald‘s inevitable return to India for love despite her vowing never to return. Now, she finds herself reeling as the prophecy comes to fruition with the love of her life beckoning her to relocate to India. Intense culture shock awaits MacDonald as she attempts, and sometimes fails miserably, at making sense of India’s eccentricities. As India grates at her ego and muddles her understanding of self, she turns to “the spiritual supermarket” in order to make meaning of her life.
This account does a brilliant job at showing how un-glamorous and downright absurd living abroad is at times. Nowadays, people tend to romanticize the expat life but MacDonald gave us the nitty-gritty when it comes to navigating an unfamiliar culture, especially one that is as jarring to the senses as India’s. Being in India now, her words have helped me with my own navigating. For example, the only way I knew to say no when being offered ‘bhang,’ (a marijuana shake) was because of a section detailing MacDonald’s one-time experience with bhang that ended with mild psychosis and vomiting. She remains candid throughout the book with her impressions of India and you can only respect her honesty as she comes to terms with how she changes over the course of two-year stint abroad. The language is comedic as it is vivid, with lots of laughs during and post-read just because you realized that she’s not being hyperbolic one bit. India is just as mad as she paints it to be and only with her honesty did I learn how to rein my frustrations when dealing with India’s incongruities as she was forced to. My only grip with the book was that the details became over excessive, which made some chapters drag and the narrative grow redundant. Otherwise, I have to compliment the cleverness of weaving stories that always gave closure to a reader searching for meaning in a sea of long-winded prose.
ON THE INTERNET
- If the capsule hotel concept in Japan wasn’t already cool enough, add a library of books to the mix and you get this place: Book and Bed Tokyo.
- A tribute to the New Yorker with a French Twist, The Parisianer.
- A heartwarming story of humanity at its best comes from Israel where a cafe gives half-off to Jews and Arabs who eat together.
- Need a good laugh? Meet Socality Barbie which pokes fun at the phenomenon of faked-spontaneity across all social media platforms.
- Momondo’s Annual Flight Study is a short, interactive infographic compiled by one of the best cheap flight search engines.