Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Legend of Bangladeshi Porn

So A long time ago there was a legend floating around beijing. The legend of bangleshi porn. According the legend there is a young chinese guy in the 'jing who studied the bangali language in college and had visited bangladesh. During this trip to bangladesh it was said he had acquired bangladeshi pornographic videos. I met this person and eventually became friends with him. I eventually became close enough to him to inquire about the lore of him possessing bangladesi porno he said it was true but he had thrown it away a long time ago. I was bitterly disappointed and believed the story to be an urban myth he was perpetuating. Eventually i forgot about the legend and let go of my dreams of actually getting to view underground porn from a poor 3rd world muslim nation.

Fast forward a year. I have found myself unexpectedly in bangladesh. I was wandering around Dhaka looking for an internet cafe so i could avoid the heat and mindlessly look at holga websites for hours. I asked anyone i could find with an inkling of english repeating "internet" "net bar" "cyber cafe" after about an hour of walking i was pointed toward a condemned looking building. along the front were many "fast food" establishments. in dhaka fast food means samosas and R.C. cola in little cans the size and shape of the ones red bull comes in the states Anyways i wandered around a bit found no net bar but had 2 samosas and a lemon lime R.C. cola ( dont ask ). I asked about a net bar and was pointer inside. I didn't even realize inside the building was a massive chungking mansions-esque market. It was all very strange and it was full of half shops selling computer parts and half communist bookshops. At least I think they were commie bookshops, they all had pictures of mao and lenin and were full of chain smoking deshy's dressed like beatniks ( or maybe like picasso in his later years ). I was walking along and i was taken back by one little dvd shop with a rambo first blood bangladeshi poster in the window. i was smitten and went in to inquire as to the price of the bangali rambo poster. right away the guy said you want "sexy dvd". HOLY SHIT. In a flash it all came back to me. I never even made the connection that i was IN bangladesh and had forgotten all about the beijing legends of bengladeshi porn. I said very confidently "yes! I do want sexy dvd!" he responded "you want bangladeshi or japanese?". I said "bangladeshi, of course!"Right away on a little TV hanging from the ceiling over the door he started playing one. The legends were real. It was like discovering the sasquatch or the loch ness monster. But discovering them having really nasty dirty sex on video which was filmed by a sleazy bangladeshi with no sense of cinematography or production value what so ever. It was glorious!

It is hard to describe bangladshi porn. It is kind of like of like a 1960's hindi move combined with the aesthetic of "americas funniest home videos". Needless to say I purchased copious amounts for a very moderate price.

I am finding that even after everything I have experienced travelling aaround the world I now firmly believe no matter how much time you spend in a country you cannot fully understand its people or its culture until you experience its amatuer underground pornography.

This little discovery has made all of the struggles and hardships I have endured in bangladesh completely worth it!

Unfortunately I was completely distracted and forgot to buy the rambo poster!

love column update

I am still improving the love lives of young up and cumming commies on a weekly bases. i thought i would share a gem of a letter i just received. not sure how to approach this one....

Dear Ben,
My boyfriend and I were in the same class and we broke up months ago.There is one thing which makes me anxious.That is, I can't help thinking of the intimate things we did before. Every time such a scene flashes,I hate myself and feel disgusted.I'm also scared to see him for I can't stand the embarrassment.What should I do?

any thoughts?

all american food

So I am am back in dhaka awaiting my rocket to khulna. the rocket is some type of transport boat that heads south through the mangrove forests. not sure why it is called a rocket but apparently it is common for these to crash into other boats. the trip should take about 26 hours and is apparently very cool.

I took the first class train ride from srimangal to dhaka. it was about 5 hours and not very comfortable. luckily diazipam ( valium ) is available over the counter and packs of 25 5mg tablets are only about 6 US cents. See as it is so cheap and the dollar is losing value so quickly I obviously purchased enough to develop a dependency worthy of down and out ex television sitcom star. so i jumped on the train popped valium put my ipod on and woke up 5 hours later when we arrived in dhaka. I checked back into the shady residential hotel full of osamas and head right out to get a boat ticket. closed.

I was wandering around the neighborhood and saw some a row of muslim restaurants. i guess in bangladesh technically they are all muslim restaurants but i man the kind where guys looking like osama are grilling kebabs. i sat down and right away an older guy in his 50's joined me he is a bangladeshy from queens here visiting his family. he joined me for a cup of tea bought me dinner he ordered me some beef kebabs rice and salad. it was fantastic. it was also nice to have a conversation in english with an american ( at this point an old bangladeshy guywho lives in queens is close enough )

After dinner i walked along the national mosques to head back to the hood and behind i noticed the national stadiums lights were on. Hoping to catch a cricket match i smiled at the gate keepr and said "AMI BUHJI NA BANGLA" or I don't understand bangladeshi. i got in grabbed a sea was suddenly surrounded by more osamas with the typical line of questions
"what is your country"
"what is your academic qualification"
"are you married "
"how old are you"

One guy told me i was very handsome and i laughed. then he held my hand and told me i look very sexy. This keeps happening and I am always worried if i am misconstruing the situation for and the actual intentions of their words are being lost in translation. then it kinda dawned on me why all these deshy men want a piece of my ass. talking to a bangladeshy guy from australia kind of confirmed my theory. In bangladesh it is absolutely unheard of to be 32 an still unmarried. so
being the incrediblysexy 32 yo unmarried foreigner they all assume i am good to go!

anyways the match itself ended up to be soccer and it was bangladesh versus either india or indonesia. it didn't look very professional so as far as i know it was probably a local high school match. b'desh won 2-0.

then i returned to my room and a few hours later I awoke to feel the wrath of not having eaten meat in a very long time. i got stomach cramps and feeling of diarrhea but actually let out a series of small poops of the size and consistency of golf balls.

next morning I awoke early and headed over to the the boat office and picked up a ticket for the rocket then headed over to the embassy district to see if i could get a new chinese visa here in bangladesh. ( mine is expired and i cant go back to china with out one ). The chinese embassy is over by this part of town called gulshan. it was pretty how different the other half lives
in one of the poorest countrie in the world.the embassy district itself was obviously nice. they are always rows of beautiful compounds and mansions on tree lined shady streets. but the area of gulshan itself was so different it was shocking it was a modern shopping district with the streets full of hip western looking banglas and the streets full of bmw's and mercedes. I was rejected for the chinese visa application due to new regulations of blah blah bla which is chinese for the clerk being being an asshole with a stick upp her ass requiring paperwork which proabaley doesn't even exist.
so depressed i started to wander around gulshan first i found an internet cafe banged out my weekly love advise column ( yes my column is still going strong )and managed to do some other work as well ( facebook ). I had heard
rumors of a mexican restaurant in the area. so i went looking. i looked all over and couldn't find it but i did find an A&W all american burger restaurant... whatever the fuck that is. Anyways I like root beer i like american food and even better i love "all american food". the place was like a giant burger king with at least fifteen employees and exactly one! I ordered a deluxe cheese burger, curly fries, and draft root beer which i was assured was hailal safe...
not sure what hailal is but i think its proababely like the muslim spock with the goatee version of kosher. i declined on the deal to upgrade my root beer to float status. a decision i deeply

regreted as soon as I made it! all in all it was all a bargain at 255 taka ( my hotel room is 120 taka )

anyways i was fucking flabbergasted at how incredible this meal was very happy yet at the same time was also overcome with a sense of meloncholy for not having any ice cream in my root beer.

Then to top off a almost perfect meal i headed over to the national assembly building to catch it at sunset and take some holga shots! see photo of said building above courtously of google images.

then about midnight i awoke for my tee time and hit the driving range. and regretted going for the deluxe burger instead of the standard size.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

bangladesh positivity

so I have been wandering aimlessly through bangladesh for a while and wondering why.

My favourite things to do is to travel and take portraits with my holga camera. The thing i don't like about travelling a lot of the time is hippie backpackers. Most of them like to just sit around guesthouses and play traveller rather than going places. they sit around and playing cards , smoke fist fulls of cigarettes, and act like they are solving all of lifes little mysteries( bullshiting ).

India was a little too much and far too touristy everywhere you went were pizza restaurants and hippies soaking up the experience of eating pizza and drinking coke while in india.

As cliche as it sounds its is a lot like that titantic guys movie "the beach" everyone go looking for something different and some adventure but end up doing the same thing. I am already living in china and have travelled to many places and india just was't doing it for me. it is cool to see the sights and wander around but they are all out for tourit money and have been getting it since the 60's. anyways i saw a picture of an indian map and saw bangladesh was next to india. i didn't really know anything about the b'desh so i did some internet reasearch and then after i was done looking at pictures of naked ladies i decided to wikipedia bangladesh. i never realized bangladesh was originally part of india and then after the indian liberation became part of pakistan. it was east pakistan and then broke free from pakistan in the 70's. its funny its is an over simplification but the main thing was they spoke a different language ( bangla ) and when pakistan announced urdu was the official language which no one in b'desh speaks that was the last straw. i always find the seperation of countries based off culteral identity fascinating because they never factor in things like natural resouces and their ability to sustain an idependent economy and always tend to fallinto poverty. even quebec fucked itself when they tried to seperate.

anywas b'desh looked different and untouched. so i came here and got exactly what i was looking for but also way more than i bargained for.

there are some amazing things about bangladesh. the first being the rickshaws. bangladesh must have 10's of thousands of them in dhaka alone. they are amazing. each one is a moving piece of art. the seats are always covered in a custom creative fabric there are lights and ornamentation's and gold tinsel hanging the backs feature original artwork depicting landscapes of gangster like movie scenes or portraits of women and the style is very much like that of american artist daniel clowes its very graphic and the colors are very coney island.

the cites themselves are crazy i thought hanoi was fll of energy. hanoi is n enya cd played in the background of in a new age store and dhaka is the middle of a mosh pit at a punk rock show.

old dhaka is amazing and has a river which you can cruise around in boats which are as decorated as the rickshaws. for the most part holga heaven.

the food of b'desh is not the greatest the samosas here are similar to india but are full of peanuts and some sort of beans. and the food is basic. some rice some stewed vegetables and some lentils and if your not afraid of the bird flu maybe a hunk or chicken as and a boiled egg. anyways they also have mecca cola which is a refreshing islamic alternative to coca cola the official beverage of infidels.

first i cruised to a city called chittagong which is just a small dirty city more of a hub than anything else. wanddered around met a ryada yada yada.

then onto coxs bazaar t is the worlds longest beach at roughly 180 km and is basically pretty untouristy. it makes tybee island look like daytona. it is not Caribbean beautiful but nice and its cool to see deshy chicks draped in black burkas walking in the water with just there eyes showing.

i chilled there and then head back to dhaka and then shot up north east. i am now in a city called srimangal which is the area for tree growth. it is a very small town and i have been spending my days biking through the tea plantations and spending my nights drinking sugar cane moonshine with the locals. this has definitely been one of the best experiences of my travels. and i have shot around 50 rolls of film and managed to find a couple lof cheap chinese b&w 120 film here as well. most of what i am shooting these days is portraits of the rickshaws and wallahs with my holga.

I have also met a few other random travellers. i briefly met 3 czech guys. passing through and there is a 50 ear old iranian lady here who has spent the past 2.5 years roaming the earth she lives now in london but just came from iran through Afghanistan into pakistan then india into bangladesh.... fuck. she had some moonshine last night and told some crazy stories.

bangladesh is definitely with out doubt the hardest country i have ever travelled but i definitely feel it was worth it... at least it was if i don't die before i get back to china.

and if i do make it back i will have like 80 rolls of film stiff left to be developed. some from my big xinjiang trip and tons from this so i will be osting a few holga picutres a day for about a year!

the plan for now is to take a boat or "rocket as it is known down south then back up north close to the indian border. then back to kolkata then to dehli to renew my chinese visa and hopefully if all goes well on to dharamsala to party with the dali llama and the rest of the exiled tibetean community.

Friday, February 22, 2008

positive posts

there havee been some really good moments but i justhad a terrible 5 hour bus ride that was 10 hours. tomorrow i will try and post some interesting stuff.

anyways i didn't leave i am even further in the heart of darkness now. i am in the north east in some small city in the middle of tea plantations.


baksheesh is the bangali word for tipping. as the only white boy roaming around bangladesh. I am a surrogate santa clause.

Everyone assumes i am extremely rich and my one and only purpose of coming to bangladesh is to give everyone money. the funny thing is when they ask for baksheesh they bring their fingers to their mouth and kiss like they are about to say bellissimo... but instead they say bakheesh and want money.

It is insane the things i am witnessing. most people just ask for money. but some also try and earn there baksheesh in the most ammusing ways.

hotels are the craziest.... especially since i am stayin at hotels that cost about 65 cents a night. the people will open the door show me my room not carry my bag than ask for baksheesh.

30 minutes later another hotel employee will open my door with out knocking. look around turn the lights all on and off making sure they work and ask for baksheesh.

30 minutes another person will come and change the sheets and ask baksheesh. 30 minutes later they will come and sweep and ask baksheesh.

I never pay but in the last hotel they changed my sheets twice a day and swept 4 times a day. seriously!

I got to a shop and buy a juice a boy will push me out of the way and put it on the counter for me and say baksheeh. he wants 10 taka for putting a juice at the register for me.

on a rickshaw if there is a bumpy road a boy will run up and push the rickshaw 4 feet then ask me for baksheesh.

on trains a boy with a crumpled newspaper will wipe the floor under my feet and ask for baksheeh.

in resturants one boy will bring me a 1.5 liter ($1) bottle of spring water i didn't ask for open it before i can stop him and ask baksheesh. another boy will bring napkins and ask baksheesh. my table will be wiped down at least twice while i am eating for baksheesh.

its baksheesh madness. if someone does do something helpfull i give them a taka or 2 but they make a sad face then ask for 10 taka!!!

keep on rockin' in the 3rd world!

this has got to be one of my smart ass friends! for those who haven't seen it this was posted in my comments section:

As a Bangladeshi "college grad" living in Dhaka, let me say welcome to a foreign visitor. Secondly, let me emphasize just how idiotic your generalizations about Bangladeshis are and how your spelling and grammar could use work. It's as if I went to New York City, got asked by some Brooklyn-ite if my house was currently flooded and my family was living in cyclone shelters and then concluded that "All Americans are stupid" and speak with a funny accent. Then I decided to go visit some Lynchian small-town, got myself my very own stalker and then bitched about it, all the while mispelling every third word. Am I right?

as far as the spelling and grammer i assure you i am not losing any sleep over the grammatical structures of blog posts that roughly 3 people read ( jaon, bob, and a few floaters ) or the spelling which is mostly caused by shitty 3rd world internet cafes keyboards with no letters and broken keys combined with my publich school education.

if this letter is really from a student in dhaka i wish you the best of luck my bangladeshi friend. cyclone season is only 3 months away... better start inflating those water wings before its too late!

i always love how people from 3rd world countries dislike the use of 3rd world and prefer to say "developing nation". developing nation implies that your country is developing and will eventually will join the global economy. the sad reality is unless you have oil the most development a 3rd world country can hope for is nike building a factory and hiring the children to make air jordans for 25 cents a day. ( i apologoze if that is harsh i am still in bangladesh )

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

bangladesh was a really bad idea. i have a stalker who has been following me. he followed me me from dhaka to this beach place and wont leave me alone. so now i am hiding and he keeps finding me. he is kinda harmless but scary. he is the typical english speaking college grad who has never seen a foriegner before and wants to make a foriegn friend. he just follow me everywhere and asks crazy questions after question and then say "am i right".
yesterday he asked me:
have you had the fucking with many girls.
i dont know
why dont you now have you forgotten?
i dont want to discuss it.
why dont you want to discuss it?
i just don
tis it very comfotable to have the sex with a girl.
i dnt know.
do you like me?
ah you very funny i like you very much we are good friends am i right.
do you want to make fucking with me?
in bangladesh no problem. boys are not supposed to make the fuckings but it is possible..
no i dont like boys.
i am not the gay. it is ok for men to make the fucking am i right?


it is fucking crazy all bangladeshi men are just like this and keep these crazy conversations going like this. crowds of people follow me everywhere and just watch. now people are watching me type this. they wont get away from me and my computer they watch EVERYTHING i do. if i do nothing in hopes they go away... they wont they just keep watching me.

there is some kind of crazy muslim sexual repression thing going on here where it is ok for men to have sex with each other until marriage. guys keep grabbing my ass and trying to hold me hand. they are treating me like some floozy in a nightclub.... its not cool.

i wanted to explore for a month but instead booked a 10 hour bus ticket to dhaka then out by boat from there!

Monday, February 18, 2008

subcontinental conversations

I am getting really bewildered by talking to people in bangladesh. it was exactly the same in india.

People who speak GOOD english always aproach you and want to talk with you... especially college students. but very quickly it becomes one sided converstion you cant get out of especially on buses and trains. i cant really understand it. they keep aproaching me and me "why" or asking very direct questions then say "am I right". and they are always very simplistic and black and white and there is no way to exit. if you answer yes or no or even i don't know your fucking trapped... especially around topics of religion or politics. .. and suprising enough teh bangali people only want to talk about these 2 things and are EXTREMELY opinionated. everthying starts off innocently then detours to either allah or clinton.

no way out. then they just keep asking more and more questions and just dont stop.

I am getting frustrated and want to puch people in the face when they talk to me.

examples from today. these are just from today. i have had dozens of these interogations.
the worst part is they wag there head side to side and pout there lips when they talk.

where are you from?
america is good am i right
everyone one in america is rich am i right.
not exactly.
of course they are i heard americans make $20,000 in america a year. am i right.
people make different amounts and the economy is different.
in bangladesh $20k is a lot of money am i right
so all americans are rich. am i right?
not really. things cost more in america. it is different.
but america is the richest country in the world am i right?
then all americans are i right.
i am not rich.
but you have more money than bangladeshi people am i right.
yes. in bangladesh my money is worth more but in america i am not rich.
then you are rich. am i right.
yes in bangladesh i am rich. (where i try to exit )
then all people in america are also rich am i right.
it doesn't really work that way.
where are you staying?
old dhaka.
why do you stay there the poor people live there why doent you stay in a nice hotel like the sheraton?
because it too expensive.
it doesn't matter to you you are an american. am i right.
no i cant afford it.
why cant you afford it.
because i dont have enough money.
why dont you just go to an atm and get more money.
because i dont have enough money.
of course you do you are a rich american.
if you say so.

how many km can you walk in 1 hour.
I dont know
why dont you know.
3 km
no i think you can walk 5 km in 1 hour am i right.
i dont know. i guess so.
why dont you know. how can you not know how many kilometers you can walk.
i am american we use the mile. but i guess your estimate is correct.
why does america not use the km? it is the international standard am i right?
ok, your right.
then why doesn't america use what the rest of the world is using
yes i will tell them when i go back. thank you very much.


do you believe in rebirth.
i dont know
why dont you know.
ok no i dont.
of course there is rebirth when a person dies they go to heaven or hell. am i right.
yes you are very correct.
then why dont you believe?
ok i believe.
then can you tell me why does a person go to heaven or hell.
i dont know.
do you you beleive in allah? there is i only one god allah am i right?
then you belive in rebirth. am i right?
then before why did you tell me otherwise?
i dont like to discuss religion.
why dont you like to discuss religion.
i dont know
why dont you know.
ok in america it is impolite.
why is impolite to discuss your religion.
i dont..... er it just is.
it is very important to discuss such things am i right.
soo right it hurts.
what do you think of the hilary clinton.
she is fantastic.
who will win her or obama.
i dont know.
why dont you know it is very important. the people of bangladesh like clinton very much.
because the election hasn't happened.
hillary clinto is a very smart lady am i right.
i guess.
why did the american people vote for bush he is avery bad man am i right.
very bad man you are correctomundo.
then why is he starting wars.
i dont know...

Friday, February 15, 2008


have you ever woken up i the morning looked yourself in the mirror and asked yourself "what the fuck am i doing in bangladesh"

if you have welcome to my world.

bangladesh is turning out to be a "rewarding" experience meaning it is absolutely fucking crazy
and just surviving everyday is my current goal.
. i would not say this place is dangerous but just going to a resturant is soo difficult it make eating out in china seemlike going to a mcdonalds.

the hotel i am staying in is about 2 dollars a night and is like the one tom hanks stasyed in in the movie big... bu mine is full of militant looking muslims with white dresses skullcaps big beards and old shot guns.

the only people who seems to speak english are christians who keep want ing to talk about jesus with me which is not something i feel comfotable doing in bangladesh. the funny thing about christians in other countries especially muslim countires is they are SUPER christian and start reciting verses and then always want me to say it with them. the problem being is i dont know them and dont want to recite bible passages on a bus full of osamas.

i have been invited ato a few bile studies here. and they are just like the salesman. they say my christian brother we go study bible together.. OK? i say no. they say why not it is good to study the lord... ok we go!

no we dont go.

Ben we are brothers we need to go ... ok we go.

no go.

ok we go no problems.

and so on and so forth.

anyways internet is rare and slow. so i will tyoe more stories when i get back to india. which might be sooner because of the difficulties and the expensies of being white in bangladesh.

next trip is going to be bangok. no problems there everything easy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

bangladesh is a go!

So i have had lots of wacky wierd david lynch movie like experiences.

oday for example i spent most of the day with my new nigerian friend steven. he is the african fellow i first met when i applied for my vissa. the two of us spent most of the day waiting for our interviews when it was time we were led by a 3 foot bangladeshian. he was not a midget... er little person. actually he was definately a little person. he was actually just like a bangladeshi mini me. andways he led us through this old colonoal mansion to the consulor general guys office.

apparently bangladeshi doesn't get tourists and he wanted to chat. he asked me why i wanted to go to bangladesh i told him spring break was coming up. he wasn't amused.

the real thing he waned to discuss with me was the poor job the english did dividing the state of west ebngal from bangladesh and all the problems it caused seperating familes. apparently the englsih man who did this was named RADCLIFFE. and he was certain i was a relative.

he exlained to me that from the sout the border was straight but radcliffe had a bit of drinking problem ( big suprise ). then after the southern part the first pint kicked in then as the pints continues to flow the border lines got more and more erratic then by the end it is shear chaos.

and apparenlty i was somehow responsible. i assured him i am not even english which he seemed skeptical of even though my american passport was in his hand at the time. he then started askingme where i as from. i told him boston. he asked me if was sure i wasn't from california. i said no/ he the asked "what about new york are you from there?".. i responded "nope... still from boston its written there in the passport."

a couple "ah yes"'s later he told me to return to the lobby and await a decision momenterily. and hour later i was told i had bee approved but had to return at 5:30 pm to pick up my passport. i then saw rambo and got a haircut then returned and pickd up my passport with a half rubber stamp half hand written tourist visa. they litterally wrote the dates in ballpoint pen and then initialed it. will try and scan later.

anyways 6am sharp i leave for banglaesh. not sure of the internet situation so i might be incommunicado for a bit.

wish me luck. if you never here from me again i either got killed by islamic militants or married into a royal family. hope for the latter but assume the former.

John Rambo

I saw posters for rambo all over kolkata. I have been eagerly awaiting this movie for sometime so i tracked down a modern theater that had this running in english. i had to take a subway and wander hrough a random unfamiliar and scary neighborhood to find it. it was in a very modern building surrounded by crumbling colonial building. this building was a fancy mall with nike, movado, levis shops, a strange store that sold nothing ut american junkfood and a foodcourt with a pizza hut.

I bought my ticket for 170 rupees ( $4.50) and then went to the concessions stand. they had super combos for 45R the options were popcorn & soda, nachos & soda, or samosa & soda. I got myself a samaso and limca ( lime soda ) and then at intermission i got a vegetarian hot dog( yes there is a break because indian movies are usually scorsesse long. )

the movie itself... wow.

After watching this film i was confronted with the limitations of language. i cannot find the necasarry words to describe this not in english or chinese not even by combining languages can i form a hybrid word powerfull enough to describe the greatness. awesomest movie ever doesn't even come close.

Everything stallone has ever done in his career was just practice for the real thing. stallone has perfected his craft both as a director and actor beyond that of mortal men.

this is the type of film that people like de niro and scorsese will watch and then give up in order to teach. then when they teach they will use rambo 4 as the example of perfection. citizen cane wil never be shone again because after rambo 4 it is an embarresment!

The aademy of motion pictures should not even nominate it because it would be a travesty to compare it to any other films of this decade. instead they should just change the acadamy award itself into a gold figurine of rambo.

taj mahal sideways

sweet t took this and e-mailed it to me from his sex cult. unfortunately its sideways and i have no software to edit it. can someone please download it fix it color correct it and send it back to me via e-mail?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

hippies and super pubs

so I am in calcutta or kolkata, dependeding upon whether you embrace the future of are stuck living in the past. I am still undecided on which stance i will take.

I rushed over to the bangaladesh embassy as soon as i got here and my apointment with the consul is on monday 10am. there i have to be interviewed to determine whether or not i am worthy to enter thier country. it is also $125usd for americans and $33 for everyone else. thank you george bush!

So anyways i am here until at least tuesday and have a lot of time on my hands ( a oppossed to usual )
The place i am staying is cool it has a roof top patio and some seating areas. the people are mostly japanese with a few hippies thrown in for good measure. the hippies are worthy of a whole blog post.

I have met a few characters they always whiter than me and greet you with "namastay" ( indian for hello ) and they all are pimping these hippie clothes they sell here in the backpackers areas and are covered in locally bought jewerly., and men always have rings on their fingers and thumbs... thumb rings weird me out I dont know why they just always have. I have had a few conversations assuming these people have been here for years... more often than not they have been here days and are here for less than a month. it seems that they are intent on getting as much out of india as they can in as short a time as possible and donning these costumes are apparently an important step. the weird part about these outfits is they are not really even indian I dont see any local people wearing them, they all dress in pimp ass 70's style polyester clothing. it would be like an indian coming to america and getting in the spirit by wearing traditional clothes and dressing like an i mean "native american". The thing is i have been roaming the earth for a while and one thing i find important is to blend as much as possible. there is no way i could pass for indian but dressing normally i can pass for a regular foriegner in india as oppossed to wearing these hippie outfits like a bullseye for scams and inflated pricing.

On another not the japanese people are in hippie overdrive but for some reason they can pull it off and still be cool. not as cool as when they rock neon on a ski slope but cool none the less!

Suprisingly enough i am not really making any connections with the hippies. You would think with my BFA and current lack of empoyment and/or ambition we would get along swimmingly. but unfortunately that is just not the case. they mostly just want to talk about how much india changes a person and random things about jesus living india. ( apparently there is a book about the subject for sale here )

anyways india has a serious hippie infestation. they already have the old pot smoking hippes and the drum circle hippies. pretty soon this place is going to be infested with the worst type of hippies... the college know it all hippies. when that happens it will be too late and nothing can save india.

Other than hippies onne very cool thing about kolkata is the fact that they have meat and bars! not the crazy bars that locals seem to like in in most asian countries but proper pubs where seedy local people come to get socially unacceptably drunk. anyways I couldn't resist the charms of a place called "super pub" so i stopped in to wet my whistle. last night was the first time i have had beer in a while and after 2 beers i was feeling good, real good. like a 13year old girl after drinking her first bottle of peach schnaaps. the bar was very packed and i met an assortment of crazy characters.

Last night i was chatting with "thomas" ( if that is indeed his real name ). thomas is chinese. at first he claimed to be from china prc. but when i started speaking to him in chinese he apparently could only say ni hao ma. he then admitted his family is from taiwan and he was born in kolkata. he apparently works for the government as a ping pong coach and used to be on the indian ping pong national team. thomas had very strong opinions regarding the youth of today and how they are abandoning ping pong in favor of cricket. Unfortunately they are only into cricket for the money and fame and not for the love of cricket.

I also met an 18 year old english kid who has been in india for 4 months he gave me a long drawn speech about the benifits of a polyamorhiousistically ( free love ) society. he was draped in hippie garb and necklesses, and was smoking these tiny little indian cigars called beedies that from what i can gather only foriegners in hippie clothes tend to smoke, anyway he lectured me on the benifits of a society based upon the concept of free love. he was very full of the type of wisdom that only an 18 year old virgin can posess.

as far as the meat situation goes i am still mostly meat free. there is meat here but it just isn't making sense. ( crazy i know ) there is no beef that i have seen. except roaming the streets. the chickens here apparently all have the flu. I also haven't seen any pork in local resturants ( sweet-t did have pork meddalions in varanassi but it was like 130 rupees )

the other option is mutton. the thing about mutton is in america we think lamb. the mutton here is of questionable taste and texture which leads me to believe that in indians when they say mutton they really mean goat. if youve never had goat it is very similar to eating dog. if you have never eaten dog then just don't... ever.
anywas veggie meals are cheap as hell and have lots of variety and are actually better than the meat dishes. a veggie thali is only 40 rupees and is huge! somosas are also only 2 rupees. so for the time being i am a vege-tar-arian.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

selling out

as you can see there are some changes here at professional man of leisure. I have sold out. In a last minute desperate attempt to keep the leisure going i agreed to have advertising on my site.

I hope this does not offend any loyal fans... but hard times are a comin!

It is not allowed for me to ask people to click on the ads. But i hope people do and do it often. then get their friends and family to do so also.

I am also trying to get a pay pal system rolling I have done the match and if i can get 100 people to donate $10 per month i can keep the leisure rolling!

kolkata (calcutta)

so after a night train from varanassi i arrived in kolkata.

more scam ranting. in india at airports and train stations you can hire pre-paid taxis at fixed rates so you don't have to deal with scams. the pre-paid rate to the backbacker ghetto sudder st. is 65 rupees. there is a big booth with a big sign listing all the prices. while in line DOZENS of guys come up and ask "where you going? sudder st.? 150 rupees, ok! no problem. lets go!" i just pointed at the sign. they say "no sign wrong. ok. no problem. how much you pay? 100 rupees" anyways got my 65 rupees taxi no problem. they just do not stop. but the thing is enough dumb people fall for it to keep the scammers in business.

anyways got here at 8:30am checked into a "hotel" full of japanese people. I heard the bangladeshi visas are now 1 week instead of same day so i hauled my ass over out to the streets to find the embassy. visa office closes at 11am so i was running around calcuuta like a chicken with its wings cut off. at one point i saw a giant african guy and wondered where he was headed. i decided to follow a bit thinking he might be headed to the bangladeshi embassy as well seeing as though it didn't appear to be anything else in the area. i followed for a few blocks then lost him. then i found a cop. or at least a guy in a uniform with a helmet on and asked him. he told me i was close said some things in hindi then pointed. sure enough there was a big walledbuilding with armed gaurds... the bangladeshi embassy. after proveding 3 passport photos and several copies of my passport and my passport i was told to return on monday to be intervied for the visa. If it was decided i was worthy of gracing bamgladesh with my presence i would have the honor of giving them 5000 rupees for the visa ( $125usd ). then i asked why so expensie and the big african guy was there ( fuck me in the goat ass he was going to the embassy ) anyways he was there and was a nigerian and gave me a brief explanation of international politics and americas role in them... never once did this even approacht he subject of thier effect on visa fees but it was eduacational!

any ways i am sure the moderate prices of the bangladeshi tourism establishment will offset the price of the visa.

Other than that just had a nap and a curry and overall i am digging calcutta. it is very colonial and cool and the holga lots of action until the visa is ready.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


so I have been in varanassi for around 5 days.

It is an amazing place but again like always the scams are overwhelming and unfortunately are most likely what i will always remember about varanassi.

day one we went to the burning ghats to see the bodies cremated. the deal is hindus come to be cremated here in order to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. they bath the body and then cremate it using fire from shiva that has been burning in the temple for 3500 years.

a gentleman came up to us gave us this big speech how he works with poor dying people in a hospice to care for them until they die and then they provide the creamation. he then asked for a donation. i suspected he was full of shit and scamming me but i just arrived in varanassi and was looking to improve my karma. i gave him 50rupees ( which is like $1.25 but a lot to give away here) and then he got all offended and said "what am i going to do with this this is nothing give me more money" i should have just taken my 50 rupees back but instead i told him that was all i had. then another guy came over and told me i was lying and to give them more money. i said i didn't have any then called me a liar then told me to give them 10 euros. i told them im american and don't even have euros. again they called me a liar and told me i i should be ashamed????

the city itself is just massive stone staircases for about 4 km along the river. it is like a 4000 year old beachside boardwalk. everyday i walk up and take holga photos and get harrassed all the way up and all the way back.

one scam is people come up and say "namastay" ( hello) and ask you which country your from then say "america very nice, nice to meet you" then they offer to shake your hand. then they grab on to your hand wont let go and start massaging your arm with their other hand saying "very good massage 10 rupee no problem". you litterarly have to crush their hand and shove them away and then they demand 10 rupees for the massage. I fell for that once did not pay and had 5 guys just today try and shake my hand.

the little kids come and offer to be your guide for the day 400 rupees more than a whole days travel budget. "no problem we go how much you want to pay"

its all soo frustrating you really cant enjoy this city.

what i am starting to understand with these people is the fact whether i want or need a product or service is totally irrelevent. its all a matter of coming to an agreement of price.

it doesn't matter if i want to buy a golden vishnu statue or not.

what is really being said is:. you have money and i want your money. i am going to get it. now we just need to agree how much you will give me.

anyways between the hippies finding themselves and the scams india is leaving a sour taste in my mouth. theis place is thailand on crack. i am looking to get away so tonight i am jumping a trin to kolkata and then i am going to try and get into bangladesh or maybe if that isn't a go i am going to head to nepal.

sweet-t bailed a few hours ago for mumbai ( bombay ) from there he is headig south to take a meditation workshop. from what i have heard this place is really a sex cult for old hippies. they even require an HIV test to join ( true! its called osho or something do a web search )

so many decisions. what do people think nepal, bangladesh, or follow sweet-t to the south to take a medittion class with a bunch of old wrinkly dudes with erections looking for "enlightenment".

no means no!

India can be exhausting. this suppossedly peacefull country can easily drive one to violence.

The touts here are beyond any other anywhere in the world. Everywhere you go everyone is lying to you keeping you going in circles trying to get every last ruppee you have.

When asking if there is a bus at a hotel they say no there isn't but they can arrange a car for 300 rupees. we went to the street asked the chai stall if there was a bus they directed us or a 200 rupee private car. at the bus station there magically was a bus every hour for 15 rupees.

The rickshaw drivers do not stop they follow you and harrass you and tell obviouse lies. on followed me and sweet-T for about 1 hour.

it went down.
where do you want to go?"
OK, agra fort 50 rupees"
"no not going to agra fort sorry"
"ok agra fort 50 rupees no problem"
"we dont want to go to agra fort"
"ok where you want to go"
"nowhere just walking"
"ok agra fort you name price"
"oK 40 ruees no problem, lets go"
"we are not go to agra fort please leave us the fuck alone"
"ok agra fort no problem very far 4km 30 rupees no problem" ( it was less than 1 km even though we were not going there)
"no leave us alone"
"ok agrafort no problem, you name price"

this is a small snippet. this cannot possibley be recreated how fucking insane this was. we stopped walking and sat on a bench and didn't repond and he kept saying ok agra fort no problem. lets go agra fort no problem. i then had the genius to cross the street because traffic was going the other way. there i was harrassed by other rickshaws. hello agra fort 50 rupees.

then the mother of all was arriving in varanassi. i met one guy with a rickshaw at the trainstation who seemed nice. decided to hire him to take us to our guest house. he then stopped for other touts on the way out. asking which guesthouse we were staying the told us how bad it was it had no rooftop or resturant. my favorite was one guy kept telling us we didn't want to stay there because it had too many japanese people. anyways we kept saying no we had a guesthouse ( which we didn't ) and they kept saying no problem you just look at my guesthouse first and if you dont like i take you to yours. We kept saying just take us to our guesthouse, then the rickshaw picked up his friend who kept telling us about his guesthouse. we kept saying no. he kept saying "no problem you just have 1 look first" we kept saying no. they then took us to the edge of the old city where you have to walk in. they said 1 of you look the other stay here and then if you like no problem otherwise you come to our guesthouse. that was fucking crazy to leave 1 behind???? so we both set off with these guys promising us free boat rides swimming pools roof tops resturants and telling us how bad the guesthouse we told them we were staying was. then how about city tour no problem tomorrow 400 rupees each ( which in india is more than enough for hotel and food for a day... meaning a fucking lot ) they told us everything always followed by no problem. it got soo bad we just stopped descided to eat lunch then get a hotel.

we ate relaxed then joked about the guy were waiting for us outside. then we went outside and 1 was still there. he was like where you go now. and followed us down the street. because no matter what guesthouse we were going to stay in he was going to try and get a commision from the guest house. he kept saying no problem my friend i am going this way. i lost it and flipped out and started yelling at him "yes problem, big problem" he then slumped off and left us to be harrassed by a bunch of new touts telling us how all hotels were fill except theres a few we even followed but nothing was what they promissed the main thing we were looking for was 2 sperate beds they kept taking us to rooms with kings size beds saying "yes yes look 2 beds no problem"

no we just get come my friend you want to buy silk?
"no i am a boy i dont want a pink silk blouse"
"no you just come look no problem"


"you want buy hash"
"no are american we dont want hash"
"you want good hash"
"whatever you want possible"
"can you liberate me from the endless cycle of death and rebirth"
"is possible how much you give me" ( true! )
no problem good hash you try you like"
"you just try i promise you like"
"ok, maybe"

an interesting side note. maybe its the circles i travel in but everyone here is perpetually stoned on hash. I am not just referring to the middle aged hippie burn outs but the local people as well. they are smoking hash out of these indian pipes called chillums. these things are like ice cream cones and everyone is smoking hash the size of a scoop of ice cream.

anyways india is making me tired. i am contemplating bailing on india and heading to bangladesh... I hear dhaka is a party town.