Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Current Score

{India 5, Stockman 4}

Strikes against: 1. The heaviest monsoon in over a decade molds and mildews our clothes, books, sheets, and -in moments of fevered weakness- certain people's moods; 2. The occasion of an engorged, slug-sized leech that found its way up my pants, down my boot, and through my thick wool sock; 3. The resulting leech hickey left behind by its rapacious, parasitic maw; 4. A confidence-crippling inability to properly pronounce the Hindi tongue-flap rla; 5. Hairless spiders the circumference of tea saucers. In our *bedroom*.








Strikes for: 1. The revelation of the perfect sweet lassi at Tip-Top Tea Shop; 2. The discovery of a local antiquemonger and resulting purchase of an out of print book on the birds of Uttarakhand (the northeastern state in which yours truly currently resides); 3. Momentary elation at the positive identification of the marvelous, gregarious, rufus-crested hoopoe through the afternoon mist; 4. Waking up this morning and realizing that I'm living in a cloud forest in the Himalayan foothills with my husband, and that fevers and leeches* and spiders and language barriers are a pittance to pay for such a privilege.

*Not to sound fussy, but I could do without the leeches. No one likes to play host to something that leaves a viscous trail. I mean, seriously.

14 comments:

  1. Wow what an experience - I am delighted to hear more and more about it as you grow accustomed to your surroundings.

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  2. I remember those moments excited to go , excited to be there then getting used to living without certain comforts i took for granted, but then as you said the mist and clouds are curtains on what the momemt really is...
    living at the foothills of paradise of sorts with someone you love and who loves you!

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  3. i love this post because it is so honest. which one of yous is reading franzen? i am reading as well and would like to discuss! xoxo

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  4. I'll admit I was a little terrified to scroll down, lest you'd included a picture of the dinner plate spiders.

    Still jealous of your adventure, spiders, leeches and all.

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  5. i'm with you re: viscous trails. oddly i think that's the appeal of india. the extremes of pleasure vs. disjunction with everything that you think to be "normal". it heightens the pleasures and the comfort one finds in what remains familiar.

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  6. Living life sister! Insanely Awesome- I would LOVE to see pics of the spiders in case you weren't sure ;) The leech, not so much.

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  7. I've been following your travels with much enjoyment, however, the spiders and leeches are giving me pause. I did grow up with leeches in the muddy areas of our spring-fed swimming hole, and we occasionally picked one up, or rather, they chose us. Did you know about removing them with salt?

    As for the spiders, I'm extremely glad you didn't post photos. I know intellectually that spiders serve a good purpose, but hairless? The size of tea saucers? I'm shuddering. And - I'm almost afraid to ask, these spiders are non-poisonous, right?

    I will say that I clicked the link and saw the photos of the rufus-crested hoopoe. Wowie! That does make up for a lot.

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  8. Ahh, out come the brushes. I see them there, ready and waiting. Cloud forest, exotic birds and mammals waiting, challanges and changes. Makes your old desert home tame by comparison me thinks. I, personally could do without the snakes and spiders. And leeches, wow.

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  9. What good company I'm in- thanks for all the new-place/travel thoughts! So, no pictures of slugs, but perhaps there should be a future post on the great and nasty Himalayan hairless spiders?

    Leslie, thanks. The hoopoe really is the cat's pajamas, right?

    Kate- I just finished "The Corrections." Best thing I've read since "Middlesex," as far as sweeping American family drama fiction goes. We must discuss. Really want to get my hands on "Freedom," which just came out.

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  10. this must be such a life changing experience, I'm green with envy. I've been wanting to do something like this for my whole life, but the opportunity never came through. You're very lucky, it's true...hairless spiders and everything.
    Bobbi

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  11. ugh viscous trail....shudder. I am glad you enjoyed the philippines blog. I look forward to reliving some of those feelings through reading here!

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  12. Struck with wave of revulsion and sympathy regarding said leech. I actually don't mind spiders or insects, but a leech? Attached to me? I'd have been reduced to hysterics.

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  13. Hi sweetie!
    A leech!!!! ughck. Being the morbid freak that I am, I would like a photo of leeches, spiders, and other atrocities as such. But I am a freak, so no point in icking everyone else out. I just like stuff like that.
    I wonder, would you mind if I painted that blue-faced wonder from the previous post??? It is so intriguing...those eyes!
    p.s. tip top tea house??? I'm THERE!!!

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  14. did the presence of a MONKEY even add one to Lily's score? and number four on Lily's side might be worth 2 or 3 or 4 points. (then again, mildew and leeches might be worth 1.5 or 2)

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