Sliding down from heaven 

PATAN, NEPAL: Intrigued by an open door and a welcome sign I crossed the threshold into a marble entrance. My curiosity had gotten the better of me, I wanted to know what was inside, and if I would be allowed to go in. Greeted by a man who spoke no English but could see my questioning expression he signaled to me to come in. Did I need to leave my shoes with him before I walked through the next door? I stopped to read the inscriptions aligned to the photographs on the wall. This is the Golden Temple.

PATAN, NEPAL:  Intrigued by an open door and a welcome sign I crossed the threshold into a marble entrance. My curiosity had gotten the better of me, I wanted to know what was inside, and if I would be allowed to go in. Greeted by a man who spoke no English but could see my questioning expression he signaled to me to come in. Did I need to leave my shoes with him before I walked through the next door? I stopped to read the inscriptions aligned to the photographs on the wall, hoping there was something in them to tell me what I needed to guide me to my next step. This is the Golden Temple.

Quick, where is the guidebook?

Golden Temple, Patan, Nepal
Golden Temple, Patan, Nepal

Continue reading “Sliding down from heaven “

When I feel stupid

GURGAON, INIDA: Did I do the right thing? Why else am I an expat if not to learn from being in a foreign land? Why should I have these expectations that a driver need to speak a language that is foreign to him and not that of his country? Why couldn’t I just learn a few words in Hindi?

GURGAON, INIDA: Okay, maybe not stupid… that is just my cheap clickbait headline. I do feel silly, and sad… and actually, yes, I feel stupid.

Why? That’s a bit of a story, a story that begins prior to my landing in India.

So when I landed I had a driver pick me up… he was funny, youthful if not a bit overly confident, and well-spoken for a driver. When I say well-spoken, I mean he spoke very good English. I was skeptical because he insisted I remember his name and “make a good reference” about his driving and customer service to his employer, the vendor hired to provide car services to our growing Gurgaon based workforce.

Continue reading “When I feel stupid”

First Impressions

GURGAON, INDIA: The pollution is no joke. Haze, dust from endless construction, smoke from crop burning, coal fire power plants, gas generators, cars… all combined with a thick humidity.

GURGAON, INDIA: The pollution is no joke. Haze, dust from endless construction, smoke from crop burning, coal fire power plants, gas generators, cars… all combined with a thick humidity. This mixture of smog permeates the sinuses leaving one with a constant dry, chalky taste in their mouth.

I arrived with no problem. My driver was prompt, helping me with my nine suitcases. He was chatting away the entire drive over about his service and experience (he used to work at the US Embassy). His name is Arun Kumar. I have to try very hard to remember people’s names as it does not come natural to me. Continue reading “First Impressions”

Water like Jell-O

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA: Sunsets are gorgeous here. I read someplace this little town was a favourite of abdicated King cum Duke Edward VIII and his American divorcée wife Wallis Simpson. The little town is indeed the pearl of the Adriatic, despite having been bombed and shelled in the 1991 Siege of Dubrovnik. Walking along the fortress walls surrounding the city you see the red clay rooftops, it is easy to see the newer, brighter coloured roofs, all replaced from the damage.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA: I cannot swim. It’s not something I ever learned to do as a child. No one took me to a pond and threw me in. I never went to swim school on the weekends, nor was it something I felt like I was missing out on. This could be because I come from a long line of non-swimmers. My mother, my grandmother, and I would bet every great grandmother on the Japanese side going back.

Funny enough, I hadn’t realised swimming was something you had to learn. Each summer our Wednesday afternoons were occupied with trips to the country club for “kids day”. It was something the school I attended managed to set up for us. This must have been my second or third grade. All my friends were there, changed into their swimsuits, as did I. Giggling and racing to get into the water I followed them through the hall and into the giant indoor swimming pool. Everyone jumped in. All my friends splashed and frolicked while I sank. It hadn’t occurred to me there was something to know, some trick to keeping your head above water.

It was all pretty quick, I was pulled out by an adult or perhaps a bigger kid, lifted onto the poolside I coughed a few times and threw up all the water I had inhaled. What happened? I was still confused by it all. To make matters worse I was not allowed back in the water, even the shallow side. I was sent back to the locker room to get dressed and would have to sit the rest of the day out next to the chaperone. When I reached the dressing room the lights were out, so I reached up to the light switch and worse than a near drowning experience I was electrocuted to the floor, reeling from the double whammy shock.  Continue reading “Water like Jell-O”