Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vapid Chatter

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You would think that it’s merely vapid chatter, a barrage of nonsense sent and received through social media. But is it, really? In that chat room where you can never expect sanity to enter the conversation, where personal boundaries are not respected and recollections are idealized by nostalgia, you can escape from the humdrum concerns of adulthood and return to those years when life was simple and fun was free.  In those daily exchanges that seem banal and inane you know that you have friends out there—the ones you’ve made two decades ago. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Humor won't save you

Monday, January 26, 2015

Humor won’t save you; it doesn’t really do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go through most of their lives seeing the funny side, but in the end, life always breaks your heart. Doesn’t matter how brave you are, or how reserved, or how much you’ve developed a sense of humor, you still end up with your heart broken. That’s when you stop laughing. In the end there’s just the cold, the silence and the loneliness. In the end there’s only death.

~ Michel Houllebecq, The Elementary Particles, 1998

Friday, January 23, 2015

Just the Place We Wanted

Friday, January 23, 2015

Christmas in the Philippines can get overly festive, almost bordering on the maniacal. To escape from the glitter and chaos of the city and the commodified cheer of the holidays, D and I flew to the island of Phuket in Thailand the previous month.

Kata Beach, where we whiled away the days, was just the place we wanted or, better yet, needed: touristy yet laid- back and devoid of the trappings of the yuletide season yet filled with the seductions of a tropical wonderland.

Kata Noi, Phuket, Thailand
Compared with our previous trips that entailed trekking poles, heavy boots, gore-tex jackets and a huge amount of stamina, this one only required no more than a bottle of sunblock, sunglasses, and a swimsuit. Lying on a beach mat while watching the waves crash against people’s legs, I realized how relaxing vacations of that type are. We didn’t have to wake up early; we didn’t have to go anywhere but the beach; we didn’t have to do anything.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

As if something so forbiddingly colossal must somehow be friendly

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I think back to the enthralled group silent in the face of the majestic beauty of Machhapuchhre last night and I wonder if we aren’t all in danger of falling into the romantic delusion that by staring at these great massifs of rock and ice we achieve some form of communication with them, as if something so forbiddingly colossal must somehow be friendly.

The mountains are far more likely to be enemies than friends. We take them on at our peril and, despite all nature’s warnings, long to go higher. And the higher we go the more the mountains tighten their grip, squeezing the life out of most people, gently in some cases, more severely in others. The locals who see the mountains as gods to be appeased are only translating pragmatic experience. Human beings are not meant to live at these heights and they should expect trouble if they do.

~ Michael Palin, Himalaya, 2004

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Souq, sahara, babouche, kasbah

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Souq, Sahara, babouche, kasbah. Writing those words and saying them silently in my head thrills me even now—three months after our Moroccan adventure.  It feels great to look back and relive those moments by putting them into words.  But, try as I might, how can I adequately describe the ever-changing colors of the undulating Sahara dunes, that sense of stepping back in time as we walked through the maze-like streets of the medina of Fez, that feeling of mingled exhaustion and exhilaration in our every step as we hiked through the High Atlas Mountains, those towering rock walls of the Todra Gorge that reminded me that I am no bigger than a fleck of dust in the vastness of this world we live in?
 
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