Exploits of a travel writer on the run. Subject: India

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It's a sad and beautiful world-- thankfully, no Tsunami news

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you know, I am back in Austin after miles and miles of miles and miles traveling and eating and sleeping and coughing and watching wonderful dvd after dvd. Thank you Uncle Gene for the Criterion "Down by Law" dvd. Jarmusch is king.

Have had to deal with only small health issues, mostly in my head, but got an all clear from Dr. Gupta here in Austin, have a sinis infection and maybe something intestinal happening. Who knows what else might be happening, but I'll keep you posted. Weight loss is hovering around 17 now, but no Japanese encephalitis or viral meningitis or any other brain-wasting malady other than my anti-malarial medication, sleep deprivation, and jet lag. Sleep is in order over the sleepless new year's weekend.

Have been passing out all the goodies for people, and never has a great holiday season been so cheap. I miss being there, but being back here is where I need to be. Insights about USA from my precious first days here (y'know, with the season). By no means a complete or erudite list:

  • America is blessed, and not as crooked as I thought when I left. I love America. This place really is great, and we need to contribute to make it greater and greater. Two party politics are not democratic-- India is a real democracy, with Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, Meists, Maoists, Youists, and a plethora of choices. America has been constipated for too long, but only because our generation has opted out of the process. We saw what happens when we sit on our collective ass. Start putting your money where you shit. Or sit.
  • Americans are fat, but at least they give each other room to breathe. Orderly lines were very helpful (but boring) during my travel odyssey.
  • Minneapolis Customs was a breeze, and their terminal like a mall. It chilled me to the bone, literally. No jacket from Mumbai to LA, and I didn't need it for the most part. Amsterdam had great cheese, and I bought some. Also a cappucino.
  • The on-flight slide-show info scared me in that there was info preparing us for fingerprinting and facial recognition software at customs. I'm sure I got a face zap, but didn't have to put my fingers anywhere but my pockets this time.
  • I was put on the "no-fly" list in LA to Tulsa, but they got me off in five minutes. One way ticket flagged me in the profiler. The Employee at the Southwest counter said that they had "added a bunch of names right after the election," and said that she had stopped about 50 people, none of which were detained. She didn't see the point, but that's not her job, after all.
  • I hope that Werner is alright. He had made plans to be on the southern coast for new years, I think, in Pondicherry, South of Chennai. Brother where art thou? Heard from him shortly before tsunamis, but not sure from where he posted.
  • I am fine, but like the rest of the world, flattened by news of devastation. Met people coming from Sri Lanka to Kerala, but nobody on their way down. Andaman Islands flattened too. Too close for comfort. Overpopulation is India's #1 problem, especially in these kind of crises. Would like to help? Check this out:
www.tsunamihelp.blogspot.com

God Bless google, Everyone,

Timmy Tine

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