Other Textures

Been reading Gendrya all day in preparation for tonight’s Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4. Which self knows already from all the leaks has NO. GENDRY. Nevertheless. It is reportedly spectacular. There is a scene in which . . . but, no. THERE SHALL BE NO FURTHER SPOILERS.

She’s posted twice on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge TEXTURES. Now it’s time to appreciate these beauties from other WordPress bloggers!

Kudos to the bloggers!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

If Self Had But World Enough and Time

She’d go here:

  • Antarctica, to follow in the foosteps of Ernest Shackleton
  • New Zealand, just because
  • Burma, because she’s always wanted to
  • Vietnam
  • the Nile River
  • Cuba
  • Varanasi
  • Patagonia
  • the Serengeti

It feels good to make a list, doesn’t it?

Stay tuned.

The Punjab, February 2012

DSCN3709

Driving to The Golden Temple in Amritsar, February 2012

Someday, perhaps, self will actually sit down to write this story.

She was heading to Amritsar with the Colonel, his beautiful wife, and the Tibetan driver. The musical accompaniment, as we crossed from Himachal Pradesh into Punjab, was “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.” Self was trying hard to concentrate.

The reason self was with the colonel was: a few weeks earlier, she’d had a huge fight with her traveling companions and parted ways with them in the small village of Bir.

Self was so angry, she remembered stabbing at some appetizers (Samosas? Pakoras?) on a plate we were all sharing, and the (Samosas? Pakoras?) kept slipping off the tines of her fork. But still she kept jabbing, thinking: I AM GOING TO SPEAR A SAMOSA IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO. And everyone was sort of mesmerized, just watching. And then finally, after a long, long moment, the woman self will only refer to as Dimples spoke up and said: “Are you okay?” Funny she should ask. No, self was most def NOT okay.

That night, self struck off on her own. On her own! In India! In Himachal Pradesh! Where she didn’t know a soul! First time in India! She couldn’t even speak the language!

She decided she’d visit monasteries and only monasteries. Which was good, because then everyone she met along the way simply assumed she was dying of cancer and was on some kind of spiritual quest.

Unbeknownst to her, the travel agent who’d arranged the trip was having a meltdown. Self called her just before she left India, and she screeched into self’s ear over the phone:

“Oh my God! It’s you! You’re alive! WHERE ARE YOU?”

Self told the travel agent: “I’m in Amritsar.”

And the woman kept thanking heaven that self was ALIVE.

(To be continued)

 

Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge: PRIDE

The Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge this week is PRIDE.

Landry shares an e-mail from his daughter, in which she writes:

“It was not the exoticism of India that watered me but the feeling of having found my place.”

Self decided to post a photograph from a trip to India in January 2012. It was her first time to visit the country, which had always fascinated her. Dharamsala had not been on the itinerary, but she decided to go. And it was freezing cold (one night her inn had no power. And self thought she would DIE).

She is glad she went, for Dharamsala is a beautiful, magnificent place. And she would never have seen it if she’d “played it safe” and stuck to the original itinerary.

DSCN3495

Dharamsala, official abode of the Dalai Lama. Self was stunned by the whole idea of it, by the whole idea of HERSELF in Dharamsala, alone with two brothers who ran an inn called the Snow Crest . . . It was FREEZING in January, but the upside was: barely any tourists, only crazy ones like self.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sylvain Landry Weekly Photo Challenge: School

This is a picture self took in the village of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India in January 2012.

Thanks to Sylvain Landry for the prompt, SCHOOL.

School in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India: January 2012

School in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India: January 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Power Outage, Dharamsala, January 2012

Never mind the reasons why.

A hired car and driver were available, right that very minute. Before self could over-think, she heard herself say, “Take me to Dharamsala.”

About halfway there, self looked around and saw that they seemed to be approaching a huge mountain. The mountain just kept getting bigger and bigger. In fact, by the time self had actually arrived IN Dharamsala, the mountain had lost its identity as mountain and was just this huge representation. An all-encompassing I-am-in-India-having-an-out-of-body experience type of representation. (Just think: two weeks earlier, self could never have imagined that she would be in Dharamsala. In fact, she almost never used to think about Dharamsala. In fact, she knew next to nothing about Dharamsala. Until she got stuck in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, she was having a super-sized ADVENTURE with a capital A!)

“Where is your hotel, madame?”

Funny, those are probably the only words of English self ever heard the driver utter. He was from Tibet. Which is how she knew she could trust him.

“Um . . . ummm”

Self casts her mind back to the previous night. She’d stayed up, scanning tripadvisor.

She managed to dredge up a name. The driver took self to the name. It was inside a military cantonment. Oh thank God, self thought, I AM SAFE! (How did she know it was a military cantonment? Because the hired car was stopped by soldiers, a security check before entering said military cantonment)

Self was so exhausted by this whole first-time-in-India thing that she stayed in Dharamsala almost a week.

At one point, there was a power outage.

No no no noooo!

Self had been crouched in front of a portable space heater, praying it didn’t short-circuit in the middle of the night and burn her to a crisp.

But — power outage! Why had she never considered the possibility?

Self’s first thought: I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!

Teeth making loud chattering (involuntary) noises.

At some point, a knock on the door.

Geez! What next? Go away, self yelled.

Then she recognized the voice of one of the inn-keepers. “Madame,” he kept repeating, almost frantic. “Madame, are you all right?”

At which point, self decided to speak:  “M-m-more c-c-comforters!”

Man returns with four.

Next morning, having survived the night, self makes chit-chat with front desk. “Does that happen often?” She means: Power Outage.

Man nods convincingly. “Oh yes, Madame. Last year, we had no power for two weeks.”

!!!###@@@

Holy Cow! self exclaimed. Two weeks! How did you get through it?

At which point, the man just shrugs.

What must be endured, must be endured.

Of course! Because, no one has any choice. Self asks the stupidest questions sometimes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Pile of Stuff: The New York Review of Books, 26 September 2013

Oh why oh why had self mis-laid this issue. Apparently it lay discarded in self’s clothes closet for over a year. And today is a busy busy Monday (Mondays always are), but she just can’t help perusing the issue. And it turns out, there are so many interesting reviews!

Without further ado, here are a couple of books reviewed in the 26 September 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books:

  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis, by Julie Kavanagh (Knopf, $27.95)
  • The Lady of the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas fils, translated from the French by Liesl Schillinger (Penguin, $16.00)
  • The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace, by Alexander Stille (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28.00)
  • The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (Random House, $15.00)
  • Calcutta: Two Years in the City, by Amit Chaudhuri (Knopf, $25.95)
  • Subtle Bodies, by Norman Rush (Knopf, $26.95)
  • Mortals, by Norman Rush
  • Whites, by Norman Rush
  • The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced, by Stephanie Dalley (Oxford University Press, $34.95)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Humanity 6: India, January 2012

Because of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, HUMANITY, self has been re-visiting the pictures she took on her first (so far, her only) trip to India, January 2012.

She’s so glad the theme allows her to publish photos she’s never posted before, like the one of the roadside market on the road to Kasauli from New Delhi, and the one she took in a night bazaar, just outside the Red Fort in Old New Delhi.

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Baikunth, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Kasauli, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Humanity 5: The Shiva Temple at Bajnath (Himachal Pradesh, January 2012)

Self is really loving this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  HUMANITY.  She’s got so many photos that fit the theme.

In January 2012, self went to India. Specifically, the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It was very cold. In the villages and temples, though, people smiled at her.

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple at Bajnath

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Silhouette: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Because self visited so many monasteries in northern India, some people assumed self was “sick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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