Happy New Year Everyone!
I’m back where it all started in my bedroom overlooking the glorious
San Pablo Bay in . Since returning your author has resembled a Cyclops since I landed at SFO with a severe eye infection and Santa left me a fatty face for Christmas. For my birthday I got the swine flu or some affliction which I’m still recovering from. But today was a California cornucopia stuffed with seals and miniature migrating birds, ducks, seabirds, seagulls, ravens, geese and the silver San Pablo Bay, the smell of the salty ocean, the bridge, the umber wetlands, and beauteous Mt. Tam cloaked in mauve mist. San Rafael California shades and Tam exudes power over the land seeming particularly conscious today. On the edges of my fever dream the world seems lurid and new a gentle voice reminding me this is Seaside this is your home, you belong here among the new Target that looms across the almost pristine wetland, still a refuge for geese on long haul migratory journeys. This is how it is supposed to be a refuge for me on my long transmigratory journey. Here are some of details that may have become skewed through delusional fever interpretations or the ravages of time on memory. California
Perhaps we should work our way backwards like that zany Seinfeld, an episodes occurring as mine did in Incredible India (incorrigible India) So set your gear in reverse and here we go.
was as taxing on the spirit as I anticipated. Mumbai was an orgy of humanity, Luxury hotels, beggars, praying Muslims, tenements, traffic, smog, and Subway. I spent my one day in Mumbai in a funky yellow and black cab bumper to bumper. An Indian traffic jam consists of constant honking, shouting, and beggars approaching the window with despairing eyes. A twist of fate and that beggar could be any one of us. What I have learned from traveling is that I am fortunate to travel at all. Most never leave their birthplace and billions live a hard life. The highlight of Mumbai was the harbor scene which was like a carnival and navigating the dark streets lined with bare bulb stalls hawking all wares. Hundreds of Muslims congregated in prayer beneath floodlights and video screen. Late at night I risked my life for McDonalds crossing a roundabout with cars going in infinite directions. I felt like a blind man in a meteor shower as rockets zoomed by my nose. At McDonalds I strut my stars and stripes ass in and ordered me some beef but was denied. Of course they don’t sell beef in Hindu India. HOLY COW! So after my chicken and delicious fries I played frogger huddling near a middle aged Indian couple that eyed me suspiciously. I nervously explained how I was afraid to cross the roundabout so patriarch led us across stopping midstream as tuk tuk’s whizzed by. Thanking him I made the curb and retired. India
Goa was a captivating destination with a palm clad sprawling coastline dominated by golden bluffs and the hazy curvature of the earth, a drum overflowing with the sparkling waters of the Arabian Sea. Little Hindu style shrines encapsulated beach Jesus. The big guy was on my mind a lot especially on a sweltering noonday hike with Becky and Ashleigh passed primal tide pools then jagged crimson rocks. It was a difficult scramble scrabbling across shards of sea formed rock, the teeth of our planet. Ashleigh did a great job traversing the terrain in flip flops and we all met safely beneath Old Anguna point. Our first stop in Goa was by far the coolest spot as Becky booked us into the
a groovy resort in a palmed pocket on Cuba Beach Street, a quiet hamlet off the tourist path. Despite the perfect conditions very few tourist were around leaving many empty t-shirt and water pipe stalls. But the spirit of Bob Marley was in us as we sipped drinks and listened to his greatest hits album at a seaside shack. I went for the best swim of my life a midday splash with Ashleigh we ventured out into the surf where I swam ahead in open water letting the tepid waves pass through me before they sailed on to Ashleigh. Finally I paddled back but was carelessly riding the waves towards the shore when a rogue wave crashed on my head slamming me into the sand and tumbling me like a sock in a Laundromat. It was actually scary and also funny as the last thing I heard was my friend calling my name then BOOM! I did venture into the water one more time for an epic skinny dip. Set your imagination to sepia and imagine a wavy haired male immerging into the frothy sea frolicking like Adam in an aquatic when two coy Eve’s in bikinis splashed alongside in perpetuity. But all things must end and alas my sojourn in Eden Goa and with Becky frittered away. Becky’s not overtly emotional on farewells but we had a nice dinner of fresh fish along the breezy coast enveloped by inky darkness and the succor of the sea. The waves seemed to echo the mantra “don’t get all worked up about it”
Goa our team endured an arduous travel day which was probably nothing by Indian standards. We were fortunate to be flying departing from Guwhatti the capital city of and Sweater –vests capital of the world. We did our best to be obnoxious Americans making fun of the locals. On the plane Ashleigh and I were hysterical watching two dudes in sweater vests agonize over choosing a shirt from the in flight catalogue, taking close to an hour often consulting each other. The three of us met a few days prior in Guwhatti apparently the most polluted city on earth sadly only a hundred and fifty or so miles from Trashigang. The city sits on the bank of the mighty Assam Brahmaputra River which looked like the of the Subcontinent. Mississippi Assam sits beneath Bhutan in the part of India beyond the chicken neck above . Guwhaiti proclaims itself to be the gateway to North East India, there’s an old archway in the area near my hotel. Ironically I happened upon the girls while on a walkabout through congested streets crammed with food stalls. I came to a more open area blocaded from vehicles where some demonstration was happening. On the sidewalk I saw Ashleigh and Becky having there packages sealed with candle wax. There was also a street side dentist a block away FYI. The serendipitous meeting was a temporary boon and we all decided to abscond from the city ASAP to the next bizarre movie known as the Jungle Resort ala summer camp. It was however a nice property despite many unusual quirks in services that one can only chalk up to Bangladesh . According to brochures we were a mere eight hours from Manas but why bother when you could see a chained up elephant in the driveway. I’ll say this Guwhatti was an authentic Indian experience trundling everything I own to the Pizza Hut and then standing helpless as a trio on the curbside until a local lassie helped us to a tuk tuk. We looked like clowns in a clown car with limbs and luggage akimbo sticking out the tiny cab. India
dragging a strip of toilet paper from my heel and that was the state of mind I have been in ever since. The transition from Phuentsholing into Jaigon is dramatic as the wayfarer passes through a flimsy gated doorway and into chaos. Instantly one is met with limbless beggars and bustling commerce that spills out into traffic of the dusty streets. Looking over my shoulder it’s hard to believe India is only a hundred yards behind me. I walked the main drag several times attempting to get my entry stamp being rebuffed back into the Kingdom for some additional paperwork. But after an intense afternoon relaying between border towns I got my stuff done and even managed to find a working ATM to score rupees. The ATM had a line seven deep of cantankerous Indians scowling and screaming at one another. WELCOME TO Bhutan ! This line was assembled on a narrow wooden plank stretched over raw sewage. I already missed INDIA , the week before I had traveled the lateral road and climbed to Tigers Nest. But I was on my way and a lot of moments lay ahead on the trail. Bhutan
It’s a sunny
California day and the new teachers just arrived in , congrats. As for me I have two more weeks to get organized and fly back to the Kingdom. My first two weeks in the Bay Area were hellacious with a severe eye infection (The eye of the tiger) parlayed into either swine flu or dange fever (flip a coin on that one) since the symptoms are interchangeable. It culminated with me crying in the bathroom wondering if I was slowly dying barely being able to drag myself out of bed to go see my hero perform at a benefit concert. But eventually I did recover and was able to earnestly spend time with my niece and nephew, and entire family. One night my mom pronounced that I was lucky to be born with her as my mother and that god gives people what they deserve. I am blessed with an awesome family including a brother who sponsored my trip home so I could spend time with his children. That has been the highlight of the trip seeing what a wonderful father my brother is and getting a chance to be an uncle. My niece Paige is adorable and my nephew Reed bears an uncanny resemblance to your author. I love them both and already am sad about having to return so soon. Perhaps Marin has softened me up, evident by my expanding paunch. It’s been a rewarding visit getting to reunite with Aunt Mare, dad, mom, Tyler, Beth, Reed, Page, Jazzy, Julie, John, and Morgan. These are the sentient beings that buttress my soul and I love you all for it. At the same time I have been perturbed observing the dichotomy of lifestyles between Bhutan Bhutan and and struggling with my own crippling anxiety that gnaws at me 24/7. I also realize that my life in the Marin County is on hiatus or more aptly finished as I know it. How do you say goodbye all over again? Impermanence and the Dharma are the ONLY realities left. My parents look great but are getting older, my niece and nephew are growing up without me, my true love Morgan is gone, and my beloved music fades away. Life is a tradeoff and the more you sacrifice the more innocence is lost. Metamorphosis comes in many stages and right now I feel like I’m crossing the bay in a cardboard vessel. I know this is the life I chose, a life I can’t wait to get on with but it still stings. It has been hard for me to assimilate and frankly I feel flat and aloof, A distance that was noted by my ex girlfriend and probably others around me. All I can say is that I love you all more than anything! As it turns out I also love the life I’m living in USA East Bhutan and am looking forward to seeing the kids and villagers again.