Monday, August 24, 2009

Khon Kaen Drift, Bangkok and the U.S.

Yes seriously. I went to a drift competition. It was interesting to say the least. I witnessed a whole other world. I think I may have a guilty pleasure for anything with speed. I'm sure it's much more fun driving than watching. I was invited by a girl that I was introduced to who turned out to be a driver. Her brothers and herself are all racing-drivers-people of sorts. Anyways she turned out to be a better drift competitor than most of the guys. I have pictures, but you'll have to wait. The roll is still in my camera. There weren't any thug looking dudes there which was interesting, but there was a lot of DMX playing. Solid.

My time in Khon Kaen was mostly spent either eating or thinking. I tried lots of new street food and dishes. Went to the teahouse and hug out with Adisak. Hung out with a lot of Thai kids.

My last day in Thailand I spent in Bangkok. Adisak invited me down and graciously offered me a place to stay so I wouldn't have to pay for a hotel. So I said my goodbyes in Khon Kaen and took an overnight bus. Spent the whole next day hanging out with Adisak, his girlfriend Goy and his sister Poii in his organic food and stuff shop. It was fun. We talked, drank tea, made stamps and they made me food. After the shop closed we tried to make it to a gallery opening, but Bangkok traffic is infamous for keeping you form where you need to be. Then we went to a milk bar and ate toast with sweet toppings including one with bubble gum ice and jelly balls. Noodles were in order as well. The flower market was close by so we walked around there for a bit and they purchased flowers for there respective places of living. It was really cool, there were some beautiful flowers there that I have never seen before. I didn't have my camera which is kind of a bummer, but being that it was dark out it would have been a pain to photograph them. The girls went to bed after that and Adisak and I took a bus to a different section of town to walk around. There apparently is a water plant market sometimes but it wasn't the night I was there. That was a bummer. I really like aquatic plants, So instead we sat in the Democratic memorial, which happens to be a huge traffic circle and we talked for a few hours. During this moment I realized that I was worried about going back and I wanted to stay.

I happened to see a fixie kid going by.

The flight is what a 20 flight is. Except I flew on a great airline that has good food and tons of movies. Watched the new Star Trek, which they should rename cuz its not really Star Trek and a bunch of Japanese movies. I didn't sleep the whole time. I was so wasted at the end of the trip.

Being in the U.S. was and still is weird. I can't really explain how I felt. It was a little depressing. I am just now starting to recover from jet lag and such and the shop has plenty of work for me to do.

I'll leave you with this because I'm Italian.

Creep Goat and More

Two more pictures from Varanasi. I totally forgot about this. This goat was all up in my grill. I thought he was going to try to eat my shirt, so I had a staring contest. After we got up he just walked past where we were sitting. I guess he just wanted to get by and I'm a jack-ass for thinking he was like all goats.

The rest are from Thailand.

Seeing a pace-line in Khon Kaen was so unexpected. Especially on these mountain bikes.

I have no idea what this is, but is so METAL!

Pups. :(

Market at the school.

These bees have been here all summer. Everyone is afraid of them, but they are pretty chill.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

...and if I lead, no one's in my way.

It seems as though for a lot of people they "find themselves" while traveling around the world. At least that's the cliche. I personally could not find this to be farther from the truth. I do not feel like me. With the time that I have had to myself, I've gone over who I was, who I am and who I want to be. I am certainly not going to transform into a entirely different individual. I have always been honest with myself. No, it feels more like shedding skin. In our memories and documentation we will remember the old me, and with determination I will make the changes I want to see in myself.

I'm sorry if this too mysterious for you. I think if I listed or tried to discuss the "changes" it would make them insignificant as well as not allow me any breathing room.

One thing is for certain and I will share it with you. What I am talking about are things that I want. Sure, you can argue that you are ultimately the product of your environment; but there is a large difference between that and not being true to yourself for the sake of pleasing and being accepted by others. I can recognize this behavior and its pattern throughout my life. It's going to stop here.

You may find it naive and/or cute that only two countries have had some "profound impact" on my life. Or maybe you'll be offended for some reason. That's fine, it's your prerogative to feel however you choose. I will certainly not ever tell you how to react to something I have created or written.

But know this: Its not just traveling to and experiencing two very different countries and cultures from my own that have affected me. Its that I know that I need to experience more. Learning about something from afar is not enough. The world is far larger than I previously interpreted and I have have lived a sheltered life. Every time I go somewhere new I expect my outlook will be the least of things to change.

There are a reported 203 "sovereign states" in the world which makes me think there are more than a hundred times more different peoples and cultures worldwide. I want to know of all of them. Maybe it will help me gain a better understanding of life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Baroness Too!

Check out the new song on Myspace. So good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So Stoked! New Converge So Soon!

Not much more info besides album art and track listing.

God Didn't Save Your Life, You Did

Religion is fine and all. They are the result of some of the world's most compelling stories. It has allowed huge populations of people to survive through incredibly large periods oppression, not to mention the communities it tends to build.

I will however, never place any faith in something I have no proof of existing. God or whoever else doesn't know what's best for me nor do they control my life. I make my choices, just as those I interact with make choices for themselves.

Nor do I believe that everything happens for a reason or that there is some thing called fate. If that was the case, a lot of fucked up things have happened to a lot of people who have ended up with terrible fates. Or even still, an existence that doesn't even seem to do the word fate justice.

I recently have been around someone (though just for a few hours) that said she placed her life in the hands of God and Jesus is her savior. I could barely keep myself from telling her what a load of rubbish that was. To make it worse I read an article about how some girl had to jump out of a car before it rolled over a cliff. Her mother then commented that God was watching them and I thought "watching maybe, be he didn't do a damn thing." That girl was just smart enough to save her own life.

Sometimes I think getting a huge cross tattooed on my forehead wouldn't be enough to show my distaste for religion. But to each their own I guess. I will certainly not tell someone to not believe in a higher power. Just think it's foolish.

At any rate I want to see this movie along with Harry Potter when I get back.

Apparently its a little bit more than just a movie about aliens. And shit Peter Jackson has lost a lot of weight. He doesn't look at all like the same person any more.

Remember that time I was in Thailand and I told you nothing about what I was doing?

Also look at my tight ass jeans! I haven't had anything this tight on since I left the states. I can't wait to squeeze back into some.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Final Pictures from India

I developed two rolls of film here in Khon Kaen both shot over a course of time in India. One is from the first part of the trip and the other from the end. I did't realize, but most of the pictures from Varanasi are from the digital camera. Here are the few that I liked and retouched. There are more that I like but am not posting. The negatives that I had scanned were incredibly dirty so they were only quickly done.

They are not in order. They are backwards. I don't think it matters.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Maybe I have a Parasite.

I am now back in Thailand. My experience in Kolkuta was so frustrating that when I got to Thailand I felt relieved. I have come to the decision that all major cities in India suck ass. I know that I haven't been to all of them, but I have been to most, and based on what I have heard about Mumbai, I think my statement will hold true.

Unfortunately that feeling did not last very long. Last night I went to a hospital after having a severe headache, what turned out to be a high fever and diarrhea all day. Actually I think I had the diarrhea when I was in India. I was told that it is most likely a intestinal infection. Yay. Traveling in parts of the world where they only fry food is going to be rough on my body. I want some fucking steamed kale and quinoa. I ended up paying large portion of money for an injection and some pills because I don't have insurance. Though it was still incredibly less than any medical treatment in the US.

Getting from Varanasi to Kolkuta was ok. Another overnight train that gave me more sinus problems and an aching back and neck. This time there were a bunch on electrical and mechanical engineering students on the train that seemed to take a liking to me. I talked to one student for a while (I don't remember his name) and then went to bed. When I arrived in Kolkuta I immediately was offered over priced taxi rides to my destination. I got the correct fare and started the hour long journey across town to find out that my driver had no idea where my hotel was and dropped me off some where near it. I spent an hour looking for it with my bags while tired and hungry. Finally a young man took me to a place on his rickshaw called the number I had and dropped me at a hotel with a similar name. So I said fuck it and stayed there.

This hotel was ok, though the internet wasn't working and the restaurant in its main building was the only thing open for about a mile. Measly portions and not so great food. One interesting thing that I witnessed is that there were tons of communist flags and hammer and sickle logos graffiti-ed all over this particular part of town. Didn't find out what that was about.

Varanasi was a terrible place. The food was decent, but we didn't eat Indian food. When you get something like food poisoning with a particular food, you don't really want to eat it any more. Anyways, the town is super sketch with organized crime and the tourists don't help at all. I can't imagine what India is like during the high season. I hate to say it, but most westerners traveling the world are terrible people. They some of the rudest people I have encountered. Not to mention ridiculous. When you go to India you should expect things like rats, poor people, power outages and spicy food. If you don't like those things then fuck off and don't visit. Do not start complaining to your hosts about how you are not going to pay a couple of bucks for you room because the shower didn't work for a day. Shit.

There are a lot pictures from Varanasi, but I will have to upload them whenever Justine gets a chance to do the same. I am leaving Bangkok tomorrow because it is expensive. I will go to Khon Kaen and then make my way to Chiang Mai.