Nuwara Eliya 2
Trip Start Feb 25, 2010
16Trip End Apr 23, 2010
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I have started reading my fourth book of the trip, and about my tenth book by the famous travel writer Paul Theroux, his latest book "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star", about a trip, mostly overland, and mostly by train, from London to Japan and back. In the chapter about Istanbul, he made the place sound so enticing that I would consider going to live there for a few years. Of particular interest to me is the fact that Turkey is surrounded by seven countries, six of which I have not visited yet and would like to visit: Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia and Georgia. (I've been to neighboring Greece already.) If Thailand continues going downhill as it appears to be doing, I just might have to change my name to Istanbulrandy.
There is also a line in the book that confirms my suspicion that keeping the masses dumb is a deliberate policy in certain countries
On my walk around town today (Sunday), I noticed masses of people streaming in one direction somewhat away from the center of town, so I decided to follow the crowd. Where were they all going? To the Sunday Market, of course! There is a market of clothes, food of all sorts and other household items every Sunday. I bought a paring knife (to somewhat replace the Swiss Army knife that I can't bring on the plane) for use in the daily cutting, peeling - and perhaps stabbing - that one has to do on a trip. The knife was so cheap (36 cents) that I'll just abandon it when I board the plane to leave the country.
For lunch I tried something different today. The people with whom I had spent the lovely afternoon yesterday recommended the take away box lunch from one of the good hotels in town (The Glendower)
The rest of the day I spent doing nothing much in particular: reading; napping; walking; buying fruit for breakfast tomorrow and a botltle of water for today. For dinner I had my usual bowl of tasty dhal at the Grand Indian restaurant. And as usual, I got into a conversation with the guest next to me, a 72-year old Californian George Carlin lookalike. He is on a trip around Asia, including stops in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. He's looking for a place to retire to and was looking at homes in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I asked if he was looking to rent or to buy and he answered with something that I had not thought about but which, upon reflection, makes a great deal of sense. He said, "At my age, I don't buy anything that I can't consume immediately." Ha.
Started the day with my usual calisthenics in the room
If the weather would be like this year round, I would consider relocating to this place. However, from my discussions with people who live here full time, this nice weather is the exception rather than the rule. They said it can be windy, rainy and cold for six depressing months in a row. So I think I'll stick with coming here during Thailand's summer. (Or Istanbul's spring? Ha.)
I visited the school where my new Canadian, American and Sri Lankan friends teach, and it somehow evolved that I agreed to teach a couple of courses next week about money management, investing and such
I also had (a vegetarian) lunch at the school and decided to offer to add to their menu by cooking my famous chicken for them tomorrow.
I'm continuing to enjoy Paul Theroux's book as he visited many places I've been and quite a few that I'd like to visit. I did find a few mistakes in the book, though. For example, he says that Gyor is the border station between Austria and Hungary, while anybody who has been there knows that the border station is Hegyeshalom and that Gyor is already halfway to Budapest. (A writer friend of mine who knows Theroux once told me that he, Theroux, sometimes makes up some of the stuff in his books without even actually visiting the places.) With the internet and a bit of imagination, I suppose it would be possible to make up an entire trip.
The book also gives the impression that he did one, long trip to Japan and back. But when you consider the seasons during which he is in each place, you realize that he must have broken up the trip with a return home to rest for a few months before flying back out to continue the trip. That is cheating a bit, but I guess it really doesn't matter too much.
In the afternoon I went out looking for the ingredients for the meal I am to cook tomorrow. I figured the hardest thing to find would be the bell peppers, so when I found some at the market, I pounced on them
My first task of the day was to buy the chicken that I am to cook. Should be easy, right? Well, I heard from my friends that the (socialist) government has placed a limit on how much chickens can be sold for. They didn't, however, place a limit on the cost of the components needed to raise chickens. The result: No chickens to be found in the market. People, for some reason, refuse to sell them for less than the production cost.
Eventually I found a rock solid frozen one at the local supermarket, but I was really concerned with whether it would be thawed in time for me to cook it for lunch
As the remaining part of the chicken wasn't thawing, we decided to use warmer water. So the cook's helper boiled some water and added it to the mix - resulting in a partially boiled chicken - again, not the way we do it back home.
I was assured that there would be cooking oil, so when I asked for it, I was handed a pack of some solid coconut "oil", another thing we don't use in Louisiana. I was starting to get a very bad feeling about how my chicken was going to turn out.
And so, to make a long story short, if it is not already too late to do so, my chicken turned out - disastrously
After lunch, on my way home, I made it a point to pass through the market - to not buy anything from the guy who overcharged me for my bell peppers yesterday. As I was ignoring him, he was calling out to me - and I turned around to face him - and just turned up my nose at him. Ha. I want him to stew in his own juices for a few days. Maybe I'll eventually give in and start buying from him. He'll probably go out of his way not to overcharge me next time.