Pokhara Nepal Asia
February 5, 2007
Hindu people as I understand sometimes have arranged marriages, not always, but sometimes. They say or are separating the types here, one is a love marriage and other is arranged.
A group of three Nepali women was having a big chat session in the hotel yesterday; I was joking and asking the man owner if they were all his wife. I sat around and joked for a while, they did the interview, are you married, what do you do for work, etc. The one proceeded to pointedly ask, do you want to get married to Nepali girl? Now, not polite to just say no, hard to answer so they understand, so I tried to say,
- Yes, if I loved here and wanted to marry her. -
This is the same answer for any country in a way, however the woman said, something that she has a sister with a 23-year-old daughter and she will return the next day with her at 5:00 PM to meet me.
I cannot believe it, she came at 4:30, early, and they can actually be on time for something here.
So tomorrow was or is now last night or yesterday.
They sat me down, interviewed me again, I unfortunately passed with flying colors. She now has asked me, both the younger girl and the older woman to think about it, do I want to marry the girl?
I met this girl with three other women, she speaks ok, rather bleak English, however she is nice, pretty, polite and so on and so forth, and likes to laugh.
Now today, I think I am supposed to give an answer yes or no. For me the answer is no, I am not going to marry anyone that was arranged for me, the arrangement for an introduction was ok, but I truly did not believe they was going to ask the same day.
It is interesting how the younger girl respects the advice of the older woman; the older woman has given me the USDA seal of approval, as has all the women hanging around in this household.
I learned that two of her cousins have married foreigners, this seems to be a trend, if you find a family where one has married a foreigner then the other girls are primed.
I have also noticed that women who color their hair from black to reddish are extra friendly.
I think I am involved in a one-side arranged marriage, I am glad my mother has not met this girl, or I would be in a pressure cooker, as the girl is nice.
I do not know why they are not keying in the two young men here, yes, I think they are irresponsible boys, but they maybe have the correct passports. I have a USA passport; this often is too good of passport for families. The woman said, she wanted an American or Canadian, or German.
Strange as it sounds this is probably a great opportunity for some man older than 30 who wishes to get married. Quick, easy, and more or less permanent as I understand Hindus women only get married one time, you would have to bring the girl back one time a year to enforce this idea. I do believe marriages work when both sides agree it should work.
They or she the girl I could marry is Brahmin Caste, I think the word should be Brahmin Ethnic group or Brahmin Tribe, the word caste is too strong. The language of the Brahmin Caste is different from the Sherpa Caste; to me this is more tribal. Tribes often many not intermarry and will be very judgmental, one being lower or higher.
I am USA upper caste in a way or could be thought of in a way of thinking.
I am wondering how I got myself into this situation, I think it was simple, I said hello to all the workers and people in the Hotel. All the other residents of the hotel more or less ignore the staff and persons working, only making request. I am thinking the world needs to take treks to meet people, and not mountains. However, to meet a mountain is safe and free from commitments. I have made a commitment to be these people friend. People in Hotels are people, I know they tend to act like animals, only wanting money, but they are people, and not authority figures.
I will think carefully and try to understand or explain why I cannot marry the woman. It is rather easy, I just tell the truth, my culture does not marry this quick, I would need to know her, and I leave in 4 days, honesty is 99 percent of the time the best answers.
If a group of men come up and ask you if a girl is pretty, I think maybe best to say yes, even if dog ugly.
Africa Naïve Dreams
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, March 11, 2007
There are naïve dreams, fantasy, expectations and belief about places.
When I read about Africa, I am amazed at the prehistoric ways the world imagines Africa. Africa can be very modern. The difference between reality and what is portrayed by the news, people, documentaries and other sources we would consider or believe to be reputable is interesting. The major problem is what is interesting is not what is common, therefore why would a person make a documentary about what is the normal life in Africa, why not show the exotic and make money selling fantasy or hard to find instances.
Well, in the reverse, converse African people have naïve dreams, fantasies and expectations about people from the USA, or Europe.
The situation is this, some girl will walk up to me and enter in intelligent conversations, well spoken, clear, then suddenly will comment or say something like,
- Do you love me, will you marry me? -
Real or unreal is not important, it the idea that it is continually, consistently asked very quickly and without remorse with you marry me.
I am wondering if this is how Brad Pitt feels, do girls just walk up and make wild propositions, and how does a movie star deal with comments that are so far out of reach, they become difficult to answer. What can you say to a person that just asked you to marry them, a person you met five minutes ago. I normally have said, I have five wives already and you can be number six, this is sort of preposterous answer to a preposterous question, and in a preposterous way it works for an answer.
However, where the line between fantasy, reality and respect for people is drawn is interesting and refreshing, there is a simple pleasure in talking to person with perspectives that are different.
Africa Naïve Dreams
Understanding the Cadeau
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I try to understand the culture of the Cadeau. This is the French word for Gift, however there are many uses and many meaning, it is similar to the word Manana in Spanish, nothing is simple.
West African people will ask for a gift or cadeau more often than not, the better they know you, then up pops the question, how about a gift.
I have now traveled about 4-5 months cumulative in the West African cultures in my lifetime, and I am still totally confused about this word Cadeau or straight out a small gift in Ghana.
The idea of a gift seem innocuous, simple, plain and how could giving a gift or asking for a gift cause harm or a problem. I am trying to think this through, the problem arises because in any or almost all relationships of any type I have had, whether male or female, old or young, the word Gift comes up, and it means so many things.
1. A worker in the hotel wants to borrow my pen, I give it to the persons, then the person says,
“Cadeau” a.k.a Gift.
2. I am ready to leave, and my friend as me for a small Cadeau in French so he can eat.
3. I start to leave for a walk around, and the girl workers in the hotel ask me to buy them some chocolate, never an offer to give me money.
4. I am hungry…
5. Where a man is on a date with a serious girl or not a serious girl he must give the girl a gift in the form of money.
I say to a good friend, if I give you 5000 CFA does this mean you will come visit me, she says,
“No, I am not a prostitute.”
I say do you want a Cadeau, she says,
“It is African Culture, you must give a gift.”
A gift almost always means money, a German man said to me last year, do not even think about anything but money, they do not want a gift, they want money.
Beggars, manipulators, flirting, serious loves, and hungry people, everyone wants a cadeau. I tried to explain that I was American in brain, and culture, anyway you do it, when you ask me for money I feel like you are begging and for the girls, I think worst.
I have burned my bridges here in Lome with one man who I paid to help me find another friend. He is now daily went from a friend, and even a paid helper to an annoyance, and somehow he believe he is entitled to ask me for a gift…daily. I did not think much when he wanted to borrow my phone to make a call. I said,
“It is in my room, I do not have it on me.”
He than says,
“I need to make a call, let’s go to you room and get it.”
I gave him about 75 cents U.S. and said to myself, he is abusing my good will, and goodbye, not a friend.
There is a cultural difference about giving orders or request here, that is normal, there is the idea that you can command a person to come. A person will say, come here, no please, thank you, or less than an expectation, come here. I am not good at jumping, really annoys them when I just look at them. I do nothing, I just look at them, they then expect me to come, I look, and think, than walk away with no comment.
Strange to me to give a person an order and expect the should come.
I have burned my bridges, I have been too kind and generous in this area, now I will leave and leave them behind, and remember, do not be kind and give a cadeau, or they will never stop. I know better when it is a beggar outside my hotel, I never give, because the person will meet me everyday at the door, and want more.
The Cadeau, the line is fine, between a friend, a bum, a beggar and a girls that works on her back. I wish I thought they were hungry.
I will go to the next city, try to keep all my money in my pocket, not be too generous and helpful, and maybe I can separate the good from the bad.
Understanding the Cadeau
Biper Flash Telephone
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Biper: I suspect I am spelling this West African French word correct, I check with a Friend and he spelled it Beeper... hehehe, it is not important to Biper or Bee Pay me it to:
Calling me on telephone and hanging up after one ring.
I pride myself in telephone management, I can capture a telephone number and track, monitor and call back people excellent. I was very good at sales of Real Estate.
I do not know why I exchange numbers here in Africa though, they never have credit on their phones, then they do not call from the number they give me.
They Bipe Me Beep Peh me.
They call me, then they hang up, this means I am suppose to call the person back, however being I cannot speak French good, I do not call back unless I can read the name and am prepared to think in this persons way of thinking.
The go to a telephone cabine and call me, I do not know the number, and they are thinking, why does he not return the beep?
I do not take a number unless I enter it in my phone, this way I can caller ID and know who, not to monitor, but more to prepared. Talking in French on the phone is ludicrous, come here, or I go, or something simple is maybe possible. I can take a taxi to the persons house after they call easier than talking on a cell phone.
There is some secret here, I am not aware of, and I do not understand the rules. I have been thinking, since about 90 percent are women, maybe I can give type a tex message in the cell phone and send back.
Room 2 in French - But this is NOT my room… hehehe
(I would do with the beeps coming from un-known numbers, maybe wrong numbers.)
I am in room 4 and probably the best in the Auberge Mandela, but then again, who knows, I do not sleep in all rooms.
- I think this is Mawuli’s room, a worker here, he is young, he needs these girls knocking on his door.
I do not think the girls want to come over, I do not think they want much, they just want to say to their friends,
- Hey, the Yeh Bow is calling me. -
- Hey the White Man is calling me. -
Hard to say or understand, I am not part of the inside secret of all these phone games, and would not have a phone, except I need to access the internet. It give people a kick to exchange numbers. A true friend just called form Lome, and he says,
- I call you every day. -
- Did you email me? -
- Today, I will -
(I also now need a cell phone to allow to call, or to call the USA advertisers that cannot empathize with the true fact, I am not in the USA. They will say, call me... duh, ok, they are not the shapest tack on the wall about the world. The on the other hand realize that traveler writers to not travel.)
I do not even carry my phone, just sometimes for fun, makes me feel younger when these girls want to call me. Plus it has a clock in it, and an alarm, I like this function, I do not have a watch and when I feel I need to know the time, I carry my cell phone.
I am going to remember to leave the phone in the room, shut off, and not ready to receive calls. No calls, no bee pehs.
Biper Flash Telephone
Hidden Treasure of Atakpame Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I was trying to teach both Michael and Mawuli in Kpalime the term,
- Babe Alert -
I have discovered though, no matter how old they are, the age is always 19, I am not sure, why 19 is chosen age to tell me, it must be the age of preference for men of Togo. They can be 15 and say they are 19; they can be 30 and say they are 19
Hmm, primal intensity.
I did not talk to these girls, I think they are the Kittle people as Michael calls them, I finally figured how he meant Cattle.
This is a Musulman Girl, her name is Mawa or something like that and she is 19, spoken by hand signals. Her and this other girl was doing the follow me around the market game. I do not know, I suppose she is Akposso or what not.
Musulman means she is an Islamic Girl, I am not positive, but she has the look with the scarf on her head and a small tattoo on her forehead. It is somewhat intriguing how when it comes to normal people, they generally do not care what religion they are, then you slap a parent or a Mullah or some Priest, and suddenly everything goes from simple to complicated. I am never too sure about religions, Christians, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, etc, the all are looking for a fight.
I had a Musulman girl in Lome; more or less tell me the rules she had to abide by, and how to go around them.
Note, the Bananas here in Atakpame have taken a two-degree better quality jump; there must be bananas in the area. I found this great location for a Chambre de Passage there for 1500 CFA. This is down the hill from the Marche or big market towards Amlame. This is where I met the girls and took their photos before jumping on a moto and going to the market. The banana girls caught up with me and started the tailing of me around the market, funny and fun.
The location of the Chambre de Passage was good, the cell phone did not work and the interior was no fan bad.
Photos of the path leading to the Chambre de Passage and where all these girls were walking from, or coming from, I am paying close attention to girls carrying water or goods from the bush. I remember the Auberge USA in Natingou, Benin and how there was a constant stream of culture passing. I suspect this Chambre de Passage would be the same, but the no-fan thing is getting to me. Atakpame is only about 300 meters above sea level, it is not that cool.
The road leading up to the city from Amlame, to Atakpame is great, then the market is great, and everything after that is downhill in Atakpame so far. I cannot find a hotel that is within walking distance worth a darn in Atakpame, I am in a great Hotel for 3000 CFA called the l’Amitie Auberge, but miles from the center of the Atakpame village. It is in a new highway stretch, I do not like to live on the newer highway stretches, I like the Centreville. I think I will head for the cooler mountains tomorrow.
Togo Girls, Meeting Girls, Togo, Togo Hotels, Culture West Africa, Culture,
Hidden Treasure of Atakpame Togo
Ping Ping Thai Style
I walked down stair, there was a staccato machine gun conversation going on between the housekeeper and the one reception girl. The housekeeper said blah blah blah PING PING blah blah.
This was like a bullet, peeng, peeeng, and I started to laugh, and mimicked the sound. Ping Ping
They all started to laugh, and the cleaning lady turns her head and says not look at her.
Bangkok, a.k.a Krung Thep, Thailand Southeast Asia
Friday, November 23, 2007
Andy of HoboTraveler.com ---
The exceptional and rare individual Em who speaks about 20 times better English than the normal Thailand reception person explained. Ping Ping is winking both your eyes, like the first time you see a pretty girl… Therefore, they are all showing me how to wink their eyes, not one eye, both eyes like a hand fan, in quick motion.
Thailand is subtle; flirting with Thailand girls is beyond my desire to learn. Nonetheless, I now will forever be watching the Thailand girls eyes, I am already too observant. This make me think of my well-used joke,
- My mind is like a bad neighborhood, you do not want to go in alone. -
I think if and when I ever understand 2 percent of what is happening in Thailand I will know too much. Thailand is like a private joke and you are involved in the joke, however they will never tell you or allow you to understand.
Ping Ping: Rapidly winking both eyes fast. Maybe the look you give and exceptionally beautiful girl the first time you see her.
See: The Thunderbolt in Italian Culture for further cross cultural reference, as in to be struck by the thunderbolt.
Ping Ping Thai Style
Philippines Not Girl Friendly
The Philippine is not the best place for female tourist; a person could say is it not Girl Friendly. A country often encourages certain types of tourism and inadvertently discourages other types.
Manila, Philippines - Ermita Southeast Asia
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Andy of HoboTraveler.com ---
Southeast Asia I believe started mass tourism with war, the Second World War, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The men defined and started the flavor or tourism for many countries in Southeast Asia.
Not Girl Friendly is not a good thing, it is a bad thing, and I really do believe all types of people should be able to live together. However, in real life, I would strongly advise a person to ignore that idealist advice and find the place where they are welcomed.
Life is good, life is fun, and it does not and should not be a continuous day in and day out social statement. This is for people who are mentally nuts. I go find my paradise and hope to avoid the places that do not want me.
I listened to a comment yesterday that was hilariously correct about the Malate Pensionne and the Friendly Guesthouse in the Malate part of Manila. I am living in the Ermita - Robinson Mall area and, and slowly feel myself moving towards some Island, as I am not wanted in the Malate area, and worried about Emita.
If you looked at the big picture of my travel, then I am moving towards Africa or even back towards South America because this is where I am more welcomed.
I for sure do not fit in on Khao San Road or Thailand; however, this is one of the best places on the planet to buy plane tickets and to live cheap and easy with the least amount of annoyances for the money.
This is funny, the Malate area is discouraging me from living in that area, more or less a subtle form of discrimination against men who like women.
I am somewhat lost, I love Island life, and I like to normal English sometimes, therefore the Philippines is a great place. I also think the extremely friendly females put a smile on my face. I heard Christmas Carols in the Robinsons Mall super market yesterday, this made me feel good, and I do not feel this in Thailand, I feel an Asian thing.
The Philippines is about, what I call what-is-leftover-logic
What is left over after you ignore a lot, and for sure, I need to ignore a lot in Manila, however for me after I ignore a lot, what is left over is
Had to ignore is…
Hotels that are 30-50 percent more expensive than Thailand.
What is left over is…
Smiling and Joking Philippine people in Robinsons Mall.
Tons of flirting girls.
Super good Internet Cafes
A lifetime of Islands to explore
English speaking Expats with some wild stories to hear.
The traffic is hard to ignore, I wish there were more female travelers so there was more balanced conversations.
I am not a tolerant person, I am person that can ignore, and not comment about things I see as wrong. I have many friends with some really strange lifestyles, if they are respectful of me, if they are not respectful of me; I leave and find new friends.
It is a funny world, I am not part of a minority group, I am more or less the all American man from the USA, it is interesting how many minority groups do not like me, all else is welcome, except for normal.
Here is complicated travel advice, if a place is asking certain groups of tourist to come and visit or they say it is friendly to this group. This could be translated to mean, the country has too many of the opposite and they want to change the ratios, or if you are not that group you are not welcome.
What they say is welcome is also saying who is not welcome. I try to notice when I become the minority, then keep my mouth shut, and find a new place for me, getting difficult for the normal man or women.
Example: An Alcoholic would fit in better here than a person who does not drink. In the new world you need a good personal problem to fit in… hehehe
Philippines Not Girl Friendly