August 30th 1:40pm - Baba G and Maya Cafe

Corpse, Oxford and I split from the other three Londoners and cruised to Kasol in Parvati Valley, a three hour ride away. Kasol was like Manali, but more hippie and cracked-out. Like Oregon is to California.
One afternoon we marched for half an hour overlooking a river and through marijuana fields to natural hot springs. We elected the isolated luxury of a guesthouse's hot spring instead of the communal hot spring that was as crowded as the gay pride parade down Market Street in San Francisco.
Aside from my deteriorating eyesight and hearing, I have some sort of chemical imbalance where I sweat steadily and am habitually hot. Hot springs are as conducive to my overheated body as running a marathon is to Homer Simpson. When I immersed my big toe in the broiling water, it felt like a fire-breathing dragon was using my appendage as target practice.
I sat on the side as Corpse materialized a joint from his backpack like Merlin and reposed in the hot spring. His head bent back and eyes closed as he exhaled a volcano of smoke.
Gliding back to our guesthouse with spiraling heads and smiles, Oxford beheld a lone sign across a derelict bridge over the river.
"Maya Cafe! It's like Jesus calling to me. He must be there. Is there a halo around the sign?" He asked, his squinting eyes glazed over doughnut-style.
The arrow beneath the sign pointed towards trees. No sign of life or civilization was visible. We had originally planned on visiting the Israeli crack-den/restaurant and the cafe with the waiter who smoked bong rips the size of a factory's exhaust. Instead, we crossed the bridge and turned left into the trees.
Fifteen minutes later we faltered onto a wooden plank and identified a house through the trees. We climbed up the stairs and entered the open seating of a cafe looking like high half-drowned hobos. Tables sparsely subsidized the area with the main seating being an L-shaped Goliath-sized flat rock covered in woven blankets. Another flat rock functioned as a table. Two Indian men sniffed lines off the table as we shambled up.
Another man sat inhaling charris from a chillam. He had verbose tangled grey hair, a beard longer than my own hair, a body swathed in squalid blue cloth and shoeless feet. He had more wrinkles than a walrus' neck. He looked like Methusalah. He was introduced to us as Baba G.
We joined the circle of seven Indian men as if they were Christ's disciples and passed around bongs and spliffs like the gospel.
"Baba G he has no money. But he come here to smoke. We give him a little food and a little weed, and then he goes back to his cave. Baba G loves the charris," one of the men told us.
At this explanation Oxford's eyes ignited with light. He looked like he had just been presented with Pamela Anderson as a submissive sex slave.
"He lives in a cave?" he asked.

I didn't learn until one month later that Indians add "ji" to the end of a name as a sign of respect. "Ghandiji," for example. They weren't saying Baba G, they referred to the pot-smoking-cave-living-ninety-year-old as Babaji, respectively.

August 27th 2:14pm - Paragliding on the Reefer

The Londoners and I sat cross-legged in a semi-circle with three Indian men. As we passed around paragliding liability releases and joints, I felt like we were at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Except that instead of powdered wigs, we had three spliffs and a lime-colored bong in the shape of a violin. Instead of the Founding Fathers presiding over the parley, we had eight grams of charris residing on the table.
After consuming chai and charris, we entered the van like the stoned Brady Bunch and surveyed the signs throughout the ascent.
"I am curvaceous. Drive slow," Oxford read amid laughter. "What does that mean?"
"Love your wife. Divorce speed," Corpse delivered with the magnificence of a Mexican soccer announcer.
"I wish they would pay me to come up with sign slogs for going slow. Instead I'm just a little bit high," Joe added, saying high in the voice of a prepubescent boy.
"I didn't say slogs. You guys are high. I said slo-gans,'" Joe replied and read, "Overspeed is a knife that cuts a life."
We giggled like toked babies as the vehicle entwined with the mountainside and the cliffs continued to climb.
Joe regarded the precipice with the speculation of a sedated sea lion.
"So, how do you do this again?" he asked, eyes bloodshot and mouth open.
"You run as fast as you can and go over edge," one of the blazed paragliders replied with a squawk of laughter.
Thirty minutes later, Corpse dashed down the descent that duplicated an elf hill and off the edge of the cliff. We watched as the wind wafted he, his tandem instructor, and the paraglide over the verdant emerald tree-covered mountains and streams running to rivulets below.
Oxford subsequently sprinted towards the edge of the cliff. Fifteen feet from the edge he frolicked headfirst into a hedge. His instructor followed him to the dirt, and his paraglide drooped towards the earth like an elderly woman's breast.
Everyone lingering howled with hilarity.
Upon his pedestrian return to where we stood waiting, Joe screeched, "You look as dejected as that night your girlfriend wouldn't give you head and you sulked downstairs to tell us."
"Fuck off!" Oxford shouted, his face creased in laughter.
The second time Oxford didn't pitch into the dirt like a gopher, and he sailed over the valley vociferating variations of a Tarzan-howl.
The instructor positioned himself behind me and yelled, "Run!"
My brain blurry with marijuana mist, I just smiled in response to the command.
"Run!" repeated again.
"Oh. Right," my brain stem processed instructions with the rapidity of a comatose goldfish.
I ran, a senseless smile decorating my face. I sprinted off the cliff and the thought of where we would land captivated my cranium as did the simultaneous desire for cheese, cookies, and cake.
Air abruptly breathed under the paraglide and my feet floated over the supple sprouting valley. My mind and body glided with the wind and the ganja, fusing to euphoria. My befuddled brain was at ease just sitting. And staring. The instructor placed a cord in my hand and I gazed at it as if it were a boa constrictor.
"Huh?" I elegantly inquired.
"To move the paraglide. Pull on it and we swing with the wind."
"Huh," I replied with a jerk of my hand. The instructor was apparently under the impression that I was paragliding sober. The paraglide stormily swung to the right, flailing like a cow skydiving without a parachute.
"Slow slow, no problem," my instructor cautioned me as I recalled that this man was the hero who had inhaled the largest bong rip ever witnessed by the five Londoners and myself.
Ten minutes later he again allowed me to play with the paraglide strings. My attempt was as successful as Watergate. My mind had ceased logical function with the fourth of seven inhalations, and I failed to comprehend that the strings were attached to the contraption we rode the wind with.
Fifteen minutes later we approached the street with the rapidity of the Scottish burr.
"Lift your legs."
I impelled my legs from the impending cement like I continually loft my cat across the room at home. My cushioned derrierre grated against the road and instructor and I landed with the paraglide sprawled behind us like I had found my intoxicated friend on the side of the street a few months ago.
I staggered to the cafe and sunk into a chair with a full-toothed smile displayed across my face.
Oxford passed me the violin bong.

August 26th 12:30pm - Zorbing

Zorbing makes as much sense as the movie Donnie Darko.
When informed zorbing comprises being strapped into a ball the size of Cinderella's pumpkin coach and propelled down a hill, I pictured hamster-in-rolling-ball.
Corpse, Oxford, three other Londoners and I were as roused by the prospect as if we were selected to disarm hippie terrorists trying to annex a marijuana shop armed only with pipes and bongs.

Hours after the consensus to spiral down a hill inside an inflatable ball, we positioned at the precipice and peered below at the mud-masked landscape. To our right Israelis rode black yaks led by a rope tied through their nostrils. A thirty-two-person Chinese tourist throng teemed to our left, cameras circulating like joints at a Dave Matthews Band concert.
Oxford and I elected to zorb first.
We contemplated the ball with the confusion I would bear towards a breast pump.
One of the attendants revealed a hole slightly larger than my head and motioned for me to go through it. This appeared as feasible as tightrope walking while retaining a rhinoceros under one arm. I catapulted my arms over my head in a narrow triangle, aimed for the hole with my outstretched fingers, and bunny-bounced into the air. Pliable plastic enclosed my forearms and my body berthed back to the earth with the gracefulness of a tranquilized hippopotamus.
Hands and fingers forayed my posterior and strong-armed me into the hole suitable in size for a leprechaun.
I crouched inside the ball in a scanty circular section with two sets of restraints facing each other. I strapped myself in as Oxford's fingertips protruded into what I mentally referred to as The Dungeon. His body launched into the cloudy plastic and curled in the fetal position for twenty seconds before harnessing himself in.
As Oxford clicked a clasp closed, shouts stabbed the air. We had leashed ourselves into an outstretched opaque plastic ball. One of the workers propelled the ball forward with his palms, and our dungeon impelled down the hill with a force rivaling an elephant fart.
"What the hell! What is this shit," Oxford exclaimed as our dungeon rotated in-air and thundered into the ground. The outer layer of plastic acquiesced to the packed earth and Oxford's head impacted with the ground.
I hyena-laughed as the ball spun and my shoulder thundered into the terrain.
Layers of thin plastic and air were as effective as the pull-out method during intercourse. They protected. Kind of.
The ball/dungeon repeatedly swiveled and then smacked into the ground. My shrieks mingled with Oxford's bull bellows as various body parts clashed into what felt like cement.
With thin arms, three men abruptly abated the momentum and the ball jolted to a movement cessation. Zorbing had endured for forty-three seconds.
We had paid for men to push us down a hill and watch as our bodies alternatively flung into the ground.
Once the Londoners and I accumulated at the bottom like nauseous monkeys, we approached a cafe for chai.
With a tongue-wiggle and a shout Corpse accused his partner of crying.
"That's because I felt like I was going to die," came the response from the Brit who looked like a body-builder.
The cafe owner and two waiters shared their spliff with us.

August 25th 4:26pm - Prince Guesthouse & Co.

I approached my bus from Rishikesh to Manali, India with the apprehension I feel towards animals who don't enjoy sex. The past four Indian public transportation trips had encompassed proposals, gifts, singing, chair wars, and a boob grab.
Three male British voices reverberated through my cranium as I grappled with my bag to the ticket line. My backpacker's backpack has gained weight like Santa Claus since arriving in India. It now feels like I'm lugging around a Red Kangaroo. My apparition of a kangaroo riding on my back was interrupted by the British boys' conversation concerning diarrhea and requisite relief behind a house. Two of them ambled away to compare their respective excrement. The third introduced himself as "Corpse."
Corpse resembled a Middle-Eastern hippie. He donned a colorful Afghani hat, too-tight too-short black pants with kaleidoscopic embroidered strips, a hemp puce loose shirt and a bird feather earring in one ear. One of the other Brits returned. He had crinkly corn-colored hair, donkey ears and ocean eyes. He went to Oxford and his right thumbnail was as long as Cruella de Vil's. When I inquired what his parents thought of his drug thumb, he said they had no idea and their pleasure at the prospect would probably parallel Paris Hilton's parents' when her sex tape with a married man surfaced in their local video store.
Corpse, Oxford, and the other were meeting two friends in Manali. After an overnight bus ride with a schizophrenic and a crying baby, we felt as fastened as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson. When they invited me to go with them to the guesthouse their friends had already procured, I accepted. From the road we rambled and waded through countless marijuana plants stalking signs to Prince Guesthouse. My face collided with a ganja leaf and the smell swirled into my nostrils like red wine wafts at communion. We wobbled onto the guesthouse landing and were greeted by Joe, a Londoner I had randomly met weeks before at Jaipur, and their other friend, fondling a violin bong like it was his girlfriend's breast. I installed my bag onto the ground with the flourish of a sewer worker hauling feces as the guesthouse's owner consummated the hash and money transfer between he and his guests.
I knew then that I was probably going to be cemented in Manali like Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky affair was in the 1998 news.

August 24th 5:49pm - Preet

I awoke feeling as if an elephant had trampled my breasts and a wasp had blitzkrieged my throat. I had the physical stamina of an incapacitated sea lion suffering from explosive diarrhea. However, instead of ensconcing myself in the guesthouse with a productivity rivaling George Bush's presidency, I determined I would attempt to locate the waterfall fellow travelers deemed a shoulder massage.
Multiple sources apprised the five kilometer journey a forty-five minute walk and told me to simply ask people along the way. I armed myself with an arsenal of bananas and commenced the cruise in my eight-year-old black Reef sandals. These sandals have been to me like God is to the religious contingent. They are my saviors.
My taut throat and buffeted body proved as much a nuisance as internet pop-ups. However, I was predisposed to be productive. After thirty-five minutes I asked a food stand man where the waterfall was.
"One kilometer," he replied with a smile and a finger point down the path.
The forested mountains entwined with the azure reeling river below and cobalt sky above, amalgamating in an aqua arena to my egregious eyesight.
As I contemplated the existence of anal beads I tripped over a Humpty-Dumpty head-sized rock, disconnecting one of my sandals. I bellowed like a wounded wallaby.
Thirty minutes later, without waterfall signs, I again inquired.
"One kilometer," was his reply.
I trudged on with the determination of the Little Engine That Could. An hour later an Indian man on a motorbike halted before me and offered a ride.
"No, that's okay. I'm sure I'm almost there. Maybe one more kilometer. Thank you though," I said.
"I'll give you a ride. Get on," Angel offered.
Within 1.23 seconds I had flung my legs over the seat, gripped the back hand-hold with one hand, and urged him to continue. Angel blinked with the astonishment frogs feel concerning their sexuality, but he accelerated. The wind volleying my face and the fact that I was not walking made me feel as liberated as a garden gnome.
"The mountains and this ride are so romantic," Angel observed.
I agreed. I would have agreed if he had told me he was my great-grandmother incarnate.
"Romance is very important. Do you like romance?" he continued.
"Yep, love romance," I replied. I would have agreed with him if he said he had seen a unicorn.
Within five minutes, still waterfall-absent, Angel told me was not a virgin and had had romance with two women.
My response was to congratulate him and then say that I had a boyfriend I loved very much in California.
The existence of my boyfriend is about as real as the existence of the word "haitress." Translation: angry waitress.
"What's his name?" Angel asked.
"Gal... ileo. Galileo."
"What does he do?"
"He trains... clowns."
"What are clowns?"
"Performers. He trains performers. We call them clowns."
This conversation was making as much sense as me saying my occupation was teaching ants to read.
"Oh. Okay. Will you make romance with me?" my savior asked as he reached his hand back to pull my arms around his waist. In India, men hold hands and heterosexual couples show no public physical affection towards each other. Thus, this was as unusual as one-eyed mice. I laughed and refused to touch him.
"You mean sex? No, I have a boyfriend. Galileo. Clown Trainer. Remember?"
"Make love with me."
Again I refused. This question and answer repeated thirty-seven times. The sun was falling, I still hadn't found the waterfall, I felt like I had Gonorrhea of the life, and my sandal was broken. Angel's name was actually Preet. When I said my friends were waiting for me back in the town of Rishikesh, he offered to procure a hotel room for the night.
His cardinal argument was that I was the first white woman he had ever talked with and his dream was to "make love" with a white woman.
"That's nice. But I have Galileo, and my dream is to not sleep with an Indian man," I replied.
He implored me to seventeen more times.
I ejected myself from the motorbike only to realize that we were miles from the town and I didn't know where I was. I got back on. We never found the waterfall.
I later learned that I had passed the waterfall signs in the first ten minutes of my walk. In retrospect, I must have passed the notices when I was amusing myself by pretending to be a robot.

August 22nd 6:23pm - Rejuvenating Indian Massage

I have a few bulbous bug bites on my body. They're flame-colored, puss-filled, and resemble the most beastly, biting pimple. One is on my ass. The location makes as much sense as Braille on drive-up ATMs. My underwear covers the bite and I haven't been scampering anywhere sans underwear. I neglected to recollect that sitting provoked buttocks pain paralleling a leprechaun catapulting a needle into my ass. When I rambled by a series of stores and observed a sign for "Rejuvenating Massage," I was as inspired as if it was a sign signaling Sonoma County wine tasting in Rishikesh, India. I've been thirsting for wine tasting like a sexually deprived priest's proclivity for altar boys.
My head inserted through the door of the wood-walled shop with the "Rejuvenating Massage" sign in front.
"Hello? Namaste?"
A seventeen-year-old boy listening to headphones on the steps of the adjacent methodical music shop stalked me in.
"Massage?" he asked.
I rotated and responded, "Yes, massage. How much?"
"Five hundred rupees for one and a half hour."
As this equated $10US, or one shot of Jager in a California bar, I resolved to reward myself for the twenty-second walk I had just accomplished and replied in the affirmative.
"Okay. You want massage now or...?" the teenager asked as he pitched open an appointment book the size of Rhode Island. The pages were half the size of his body. He studied the entries as if they were from Playboy magazine and then shut the book without writing in it.
"Um, now would be fine. I could do now," I said, aware that the only actual aim of the day was to return to my guesthouse with bananas. The day before a monkey on a bridge had abducted my bananas from the bag I hefted in my hands. Afterwards, a mentally disabled boy had trailed me, lunatic-laughing and pointing.
"Okay, you keep your underclothes on, but no bra, and lie there," he said, opening a semi-transparent sliding door and pointing to a blanket on the floor.
"Okay. That's fine. No table?" I asked.
"Never mind, this is fine."
I removed my Aladdin pants, sports bra and tank top, and positioned myself on the blanket. I was gratified to find that the blanket yielded the comfort of my pillow-top mattress and the plumpness of Pamela Anderson's breasts. The seventeen-year-old stretched into the partitioned massage section. He apparently functioned as floater on music store steps, massage receptionist, and masseuse. I was confident he worked in the methodical music store as well.
When I lay on my stomach The Rack pinched my back like he was extracting fleas from under my skin. He scraped my skin with his hand so hard in identical motions that I wondered if it looked like the raw skin of a burn victim. The Rack repeatedly grabbed my ass as if he was falling off a cliff with fourteen promised virgins at the top. My ass was the cliff. Every time he clutched it, my rear felt like a leprechaun propelled a foot-long hypodermic needle further and further into my posterior. The sixth time he grabbed my ass, I realized I really would not do well as a homosexual male.
When I lay on my back he pinched my belly fat together and then two-finger rubbed my abdomen. I felt like I was getting a pregnancy massage. I hoped he didn't mistake me for pregnant and momentarily meditated that maybe I should limit myself to two German bakery visitations a day.
I lay with eyes closed as The Rack crossed with crackhead rapidity from a Buddha belly rub to dropping gel globs on my face. Droplets beaded into my eyelashes. He poked his finger into the gel and slowly spread it into my face.
"Sit up. Head massage."
"Oh, head massage? I love head massages!" I exclaimed, as ecstatic as if he had presented me with a new BMW, company phone and part-time job for $80k a year.
The Rack seeped a mint-smelling substance on top of my head. It smarted like a cloud of yellow jackets had mated directly above my brain.
I closed my eyes and inhaled, envisioning the impending head massage with my temples lovingly... The Rack began his head massage by shaking my head violently like a two-year-old with a Magic 8-ball in anger management therapy.
The gel left my hair greasier than bacon grease.
The only thing remotely rejuvenated was my deprived sexual desire.

August 20th 4:21pm - Bad Day Continued - Chair War

I have violent tendencies about as often as I unearth the toilet bowl cleaner to fumigate the bathroom and, haphazardly, half of my body.
But, as my day had encompassed an expensive shower, a motorcycle cuff, an abduction accusation, a mud-filled bottle blow to the head, a death-grip from a five-year-old, and a Stalin push-cart driver, I felt as affable as Omar al-Bashir.
I swamped into my bus seat and summarily submerged into sleep. I was in a sparkling sleep and a pleasing mood paralleling if God declared I wouldn't grow armpit hair for the rest of my life.
An hour later I awoke, tired as a sloshed toad and as stupefied as if I had blacked-out, passed-out, and woken in a neighbor's front yard arrayed over branches. I soon apprehended I had awoken because the man behind me was leaning forward, balancing his arms on my headrest as well as on my head. I inclined forward and fluttered my head to signify that I was wakeful and as vigilant as Batman. The man as touchy as a male hooker named Lenda Hand abolished his arms. I fell asleep again to awake to Lenda Hand's arms on my head. Again. I crawled my chair forward. His arms absconded.
A tricep-tickle roused me. Lenda Hand's toenails titillated my arm. I jabbed the armrest and his foot flowed back to his own seat. I assembled with my arms crossed like a two-year-old in timeout. Lenda Hand's leg reappeared, running forward until fully extended. I partially lifted the armrest. His leg dethroned, he drilled his knees into the back of my seat. I mentally materialized a metal fist in my seat's rear. I reclined the seat, resolving that if he persisted in boring into my back, I would consider it a back massage. Lenda Hand returned his leg. I two-hand-hurled the armrest utterly up like I was competing in a shotput contest. I seat-rotated, snarled, "Please respect my space. Do not touch me," and pointed at him for special effect. Lenda Hand looked as confused as if I had just shot cow excrement into his eye.
I'm about as well-equipped in the breast region as a five-year-old boy. When I awoke later to his hand cupping my left breast, I presumed he must be pursuing for jewels or passionate for a pillow.
I imagined airlifting him over my head, flinging his fully-levitated body into the ground, and grabbing and twisting his balls, tittie-twist style.

I hummingbird-speed seat shifted, and said, eyes narrowed, "I will head-butt you."
The next morning the bus broke for breakfast. Lenda Hand shuffled from his seat and down the bus aisle. One of his legs didn't bend. He was physically handicapped. I had threatened a physically handicapped man. Twice. Once with a head-butt.

August 19th 9:35am - A Bad Day

In India, small children cluster around tourists like American kids congregate to the ice cream man. Normally I embrace children as if they ripened for nine months inside my body before bulldozing through my vagina.
Indian juveniles generally approach you to catechize your country and name, followed by the food-in-hand-in-mouth motion or say, "Money money money," or, "Five rupees five rupees five rupees." This is analogous to American baseball stadium vendors who bellow, "Hot dogs hot dogs hot dogs," or "Popcorn popcorn popcorn." If I happen to be inhaling feed like a famished flamingo or am fondling food in my hand - which is often - I will offer them some. If the urchins are abnormally adorable, I will reward them with money. It's beauty discrimination.
I answer kid questions too often. I know what they want. It's not my conversation. I know they're as interested in me as they are in collecting cow excrement to sell as fertilizer. They prey on my maternal instincts.
When the thirty-seventh child of the afternoon approached me asking, "What's your name?" I replied, "Shiva." Shiva is a Hindu god.
"Shiva? Oooh. Where are you from?"
Whenever I wield semi-unfriendly feelings toward someone, I designate Canada as my country. This makes as much sense as banks charging customers for insufficient funds. My bank knows I have no money for them to take. And I like Canada.
After my Canada answer Chocolate-Eyes offered his hand in a handshake. His eyes enticed me. I took it. He held on as he said, "Money?"
"I really don't have any. Sorry."
He tightened his grip as he said, "Come on, I'm hungry."
"I'm hungry too!" I pronounced.
His hand converted into a clamp as he said, "Just one chapati?"
"No, not one chapati, I have no money. I'm really sorry. I already gave all my small bills away."
When his handshake diversified into a Darth Vader death-grip, I desired to bitch-slap him as much as I wish for a baby white tiger as a pet.
My volatile violent yearning could have been because after my stimulating shower that morning, the hostel owner ordered me to pay him thirty rupees for water usage. I concluded my shower five minutes after check-out. Or my bitch-slap ambition could have arisen when I realized the town I was in had no meat (no eggs), no alcohol, no inappropriate clothing (everything I own), no cameras on the ghats (the only camera-worthy area), and a curfew. Rule posters pepper the city. It could have been conceived when a motorcycle collided with my knee. Or when a jewelry owner accused me of stealing a ring. Or my cuff-impulse could have instigated when two children tossed a plastic mud-filled bottle between them. It hit me in the head.
Whatever the motivation, I tore my hand from Hugo Chavez and almost ascended my arm in Terminator-strike-mode. I then comprehended he was a chocolate-eyed baby. I bought him a banana.
Later that afternoon, laden with my luggage, I trudged fifteen minutes to the wrong bus station. I was supposed to report to the bus at 5:30pm. Upon realization that I was at the wrong one, the time read 5:43pm. Indian buses and trains typically run late, but adrenaline crawled through my constitution. When a push-cart owner signaled me and said the other bus station was 2km away, my blood blitzed through my body. The push-cart driver ordered me to get on, so I got on. I alighted after four minutes, discerning I could walk faster. He ignored me and continued to charge forward. I asked him to stop so I could secure my bags. Energizer Bunny advanced. I tossed my body over the moving cart target. I couldn't reach my bags and deflected. I heavy-hammered both hands into the wood like I was banging bongos.
"Stop! I am getting my bags!" I witch-wailed.
Energizer Bunny persisted three more blocks, me appearing an escaped mental patient and he a calm consistent mute. When Bunny spoke, he demanded 100 rupees. I howled, "Hell no!" and handed him fifty. Which was forty rupees too much.
I entered the bus as content as a polar bear in the Mojave Desert.

August 18th 4:51pm - Indian Toilet

I arrive belated for buses, trains, and transportation as often as little children say to librarians, "I'm looking for a book."
I blitzed onto a bus from Agra to Jaipur with the yearning to urinate more than my steady solicitude to attend ugly sweater parties. I eloquently begged the bus driver to delay the bus: "I'm sorry, but I am on this bus, here is my ticket, and unless you wait for me for two minutes to pee in a toilet outside, I will pee inside. And that will be bad."
I sprung from the steps like I was on speed and sprint-shuffled in the direction of the shack Savior had pointed to. I scurried inside with a solace-sigh and shoved the door shut. I scarcely noticed the door ricochet from the frame as I stood in the room and hawked for the hole. Bathrooms consistently have a hole in the floor. They frequently have foot imprints. This bathroom had a concrete floor. No hole, no drain, no footprints. Just a floor. Stationary, my pointer finger drummed against my bottom lip as I puzzled how I would relieve myself without plunging my feet in pee.
Language groans and grunts intoned from behind me like a moose craving attention. I turned to observe an elder Indian woman in a saree. She prodded me aside, pulled her skirt up, squatted, and motioned for me to do the same. Grandma continued to counsel me not in Hindi or Bengali, but in Neanderthal-murmur. She conceivably thought I could comprehend her better in burbles and babbles.
The bus' horn honked, I shrugged, stripped my pants and underwear from my waist, and squatted.
Urine boomeranged from the floor to my feet. My toes slipped in my sandals as liquid loped across my skin and I rushed outside to my bus.
When women receive their Indian visas they should be obligated to observe a video on peeing techniques. I've been in India over a month and even with a hole and footprints, still splatter pee in undesirable places. Maybe there's a pee-funnel in existence.

August 14th 3:08pm - Marriage Proposals

After the Sezzie circumstance, my lingering inability to shower, and feeling firmly like an anchovy milkshake, I launched on a twenty-hour train to Agra.
I toppled into the seat padded with perspiration. I prostrated my bags on the floor like they were full of excess camel fat. I praised the peace that arrives with the absence of young Indian men and opened the only book I presently own in India: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This book is about as entertaining as a slide show on washing dishes. However, when unwanted attention is inescapable, the one thousand two hundred and fifty-two page monstrosity metamorphoses into a textbook I have to complete for a class on that particular bus/train ride. I studied three sentences on Constantine before a twenty-something Indian man thrust aside Methuselah to install himself next to me. The customary inquiry invasion executed, comprising country, name, age, family, job, and travel length in India, I again elevated the Roman reader to my face. I imitated interest in the pages as if they contained instructions on how to construct Puerto Rican Rum solely from water and want. I had procured a lower-tier train seat in non-AC class. Romeo requested I relocate with him to AC-class.
"Your seat isn't even in this section? What are you doing here?" I asked.
"I saw you get on the train, so I came to find you."
"Oh Jesus Christ."
"You're Christian?"
"Umm... sorry, I have to finish this entire book for a class by the time the train stops."
"Drink chai with me," Romeo requisitioned."Actually, it's really hot outside, I just got on with all my luggage, and chai is hot. So no thank you, it's too hot," I said as I repositioned the book to my face. I should produce books that service as sound barriers and shields and market them to Western women traveling through India. My chai reply riled Romeo.
"Friends don't say, 'No thank you.' Friends accept. You accept. We are drinking chai," he said as frustrated as if I had just informed him it was urgent he unearth a magenta unicorn from the train bathroom.
"Honestly, I have to finish this book. So no thank you. Maybe later."
Romeo strode from the seat as if I had told him to "Leave and let live."
Two hours later he rejoined me with two cups of chai. I acquiesced and acknowledged appreciation. Fifteen minutes after, he asked me to visit his home with him. Twelve minutes later, following my adamant refusal, he asked me to marry him.
"What?" I solicited with a sigh, bending the book from my thigh to the seat.
Romeo knocked to one knee. On the train.
"Will you marry me?" "Hell no!"
Romeo demanded reasons.
"Well. Because I barely know you. We live in different countries. I have a boyfriend in my country that I'm going to marry. And I'm pregnant. Yes. That makes sense. Pregnant. With a boyfriend. Or fiance. Something like that."
"You're pregnant?"
"Yes. Very pregnant."
"But you don't have a belly."
"In America we don't gain much weight. And I'm only four months pregnant. That's why you can't tell."
I know as much about pregnancy particulars as I know about cooking hippopotamus.
Romeo reached for my stomach.
"No no no. You'll scare him," I whispered, wondering why I was whispering and if I should name my fictitious male baby. Maybe Vulture. Or possibly something with an Asian influence. Pot Bhang.
Romeo rose from his knee and arranged himself next to me again. He lunged for my hand and latched onto it like it was Pamela Anderson porn.
"Marry me," Romeo repeated.
"God no!"
"Honestly, no, and I'm so tired... because I'm pregnant. I have to sleep."
"It's only seven o'clock though."
"So early? Well... the baby needs me to sleep," I stated and swindled a yawn.
The next morning Romeo reappeared. He wanted to eat breakfast with me. When I told him I ate already, the cunning coyote questioned the couple sitting across from me.
"They say you haven't had anything yet."
"When I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth earlier I bought food."
"They don't sell food in the bathroom."
"I bought food outside the bathroom as they were passing to the other compartment. And then ate it standing there. Why does it matter?"
"I want to eat with you."
"Sorry, I already ate. And I really have to finish this book. Sorry."
Romeo endeavored eating efforts one more time, and again questioned the couple when I declined. This time I had prepared by eating in the half-hour interim he was sitting in his own section.
When I departed the train I did so feeling like a fugitive. My escape was ineffectual though, as Romeo intercepted me in the train station. He stroked my stomach as I traipsed away.

August 13th 4:35pm - Sezzie

Indian men would woo an albino gorilla because of their white appearance.
On a bus from Mirik to Siliguri, India, I felt as attractive as cottage cheese thighs. I had hiked the previous day through mud as well as cow and horse feces, perspiring in the sultry sun. I returned to my hostel dirt-drowned and as debilitated-drowsy as a hamster that had been administered an elephant tranquilizer. I slumbered without showering and regained brain waves the subsequent morning twenty minutes before my bus departure. I assembled my accoutrements with as much attention as President Bush gave his public speeches.
I bulged into the bus and submerged into the seat mollified that I had made it. As soon as my bags and I were settled, a newspaper manifested in front of my face, floating, as unexpected as one of my friends saying to a bar hook-up after seeing him naked, "This explains your car." I seat rotated."I love Bob Marley," a male with Steven Tyler's smile said. He altered the paper from my face to the top of the seat.
"Okay?" I replied, pondering if Motel 6 would reject the mission statement, Because you deserve better than a car's backseat.
"You want to read the newspaper?"
"Oh, no thank you. I just want to sit. And relax. Quietly."
"There's an article in this newspaper that talks about Bob Marley's relatives. They didn't even know about him! Read it."
"Oh, no thank you," I responded. I'm happy just sitting."
"But it's about Bob Marley! Read it.""Oh. Okay. Fine," and I plucked the paper from the seat. As I read about how Bob Marley's few living relations reside in England, had never heard of him until a week ago, and, when listened to his music, weren't impressed, Steven Tyler sentence-strayed about Bob Marley, Nickelback, Bob Marley, ACDC, Bob Marley, and Kurt Colbain and his Seattle origination. I recalled the name Kurt Colbain but not what band he was in. I knew as much about his hometown location as I knew about slurping laws in New Jersey. Apparently Kurt Colbain is from Seattle, and it's illegal to slurp soup in New Jersey.
"Am I boring you?" Steven Tyler queried.
"No. But I'm reading this Marley article. So I'm not going to respond as often to what you're saying."
"I think I'm boring you. Am I boring you?" he repeated.
"I'm reading the article you're making me read, and no, you're not boring me. But I'm reading."After being asked three more times in thirty seconds about my interest elevation, I returned the paper.
"My name is Sezzie. Like Bob Marley. See? Sezzie. Like Bob Marley!" Barmy beamed. He secured his shirt sleeves above his elbows and exposed a tattoo exhibition on his arms. They were enveloped in musical artists. The names and logos of ACDC and Nickelback, marijuana leaves and a Jamaican flag leafed his arms. Bob Marley's head hugged his left forearm. Sezzie beseeched me to stay at his uncle's house with him and greet his grandma. I replied that I couldn't, but thank you. He asked if we could be good friends. Sure. Sezzie bequeathed two black bracelets on me. My Godzilla hands didn't fit into the pygmy bracelets that had adorned his wrists. He goat-grunted as he extended the bracelets to fit. Once he forced them on with the effort it takes to lift a two-hundred-pound plumber, my wrists felt like they were nipples in nipple clamps.
I placed Bob Marley on my iPod and issued it to Sezzie. He sang No Woman No Cry, Buffalo Soldier, and seven more songs in a voice remarkably reminiscent of Janice's singing on the television show Friends. The passengers surrounding us stared at me like I had injected Swine Flu into their corneas.
After another hour of Indian driving, Sezzie singing to ACDC and Nickelback and me simulating sleep or watching out the window, Sezzie exited. I reclined my head into my seat, closed my eyes and contemplated how I could acquire a tank. As I sold my Jetta before my South America excursion, I am car-less. And I prefer driving defensively. A tank would be ideal.
Hand hooks abruptly appeared on either side of my face. My head hammered forward and the side of my mouth collided with Sezzie's lips. As he ran away I recalled reading a road accident report saying, "The other car collided with mine without giving any warning."

August 11th 8:52am - Laundry Calamity

I have been traveling through India for almost a month, and my clothes attract abominable odors to them. I smell like my flesh is decaying in sewage.
I have habitually paid to have my entire clothes collection cleansed. By the kilo. However, when I inquired, every laundry locality charged by individual item. I resolved to purchase detergent and rinse them myself. I located Tide and was as satisfied with myself as if I had a pet pig named Moo who was as loyal as Mickey Mouse's Pluto. The Tide yielded ten loads and cost as much as three shirts.
After brimming buckets in the bathroom with water and detergent, soaking clothes, rinsing, ringing, and hanging, my hands were as coarse as Cinderella's. But I was pleased with my frugal feats. There were no clotheslines outside, so I suspended shirts, pants, underwear, and socks from light fixtures, faucets, and nails. There was one towel rack. I can't boast bras. My breasts are so stunted they only necessitate nipple tape. Duct and Scotch tape are sufficient. My bathroom resembled a clothes slaughterhouse. Or an obstacle course simulating my great uncle's house. He referred to himself as an inventor. One time I unfastened the door to enter his yard and a flower pot hammered into my head. That was his burglary prevention invention. It is one of my earliest memories.
Every time I added another garment to a bathroom faucet or fixture, a shirt or a pair of underwear would fall and stream into the soused floor. It occurred to me that I should swing shirts in circles to shed water. Like I bend over and brandish my head about when my hair is waterlogged. This was as profitable as investing my savings in the stock market two months before the economy plunged. The apparel I attempted to rattle dry dislodged already dangling attire onto the flooded floor. I gathered the garments and again wrested water from them. My hands felt as smooth as Sacha Baron Cohen's ass. The ensemble eventually replete, I exhaled a Bigfoot blow and slid a foot forward to step from the bathroom. My foot rocket-launched from the detergent, water, and soap infesting the floor. I thrashed my arms to the sides as my body levitated. I clenched everything I could and emitted a screech like a pig being butchered. Toilet paper, clothes, and toiletries showered my descent to the floor.
When I departed Darjeeling, my clothes were as clammy as thirty-eight hours before. Packing saturated clothes resulted in my bags and all belongings smelling like mold.
I blame the wet, cold Himalayan climate. In talking with my mom days later she said a friend had suggested I try out for Survivor. I can't even wash and dry clothes.

August 10th 9:13am - Dogs and a Drunkard

Indian bars are as sparse as nipple hair on Playboy Playmates. Thus, when some British bucks and I exited the Darjeeling movie theater after watching Harry Potter, and one of them perceived Joey's Pub, we were as animated as if there were alcohol signs out front. One reading, "Save the Planet! It's the only one with beer," and the other: "Warning: The consumption of alcohol may actually cause pregnancy."
Hours and a few beers later, we were somewhat sober. An Indian man paralleling the Simpsons' Apu was not. He careened into the bar, the bartender, the owner, other men at the bar, and me. When the owner and bartender refused him alcohol, Apu hurled his hands over the bar to procure more beer. Four men hefted him out, ejecting him into the street. Apu rhinoceros-roared outside as they locked the door. Fifteen minutes later he drop kicked the door and reeled inside, scuttling behind the bar for another drink. Five men hoisted him out and threatened to call the cops. This was as effective as Lindsay Lohan's singing career. Apu slung one of his shoes, shattering a window. Seven men streamed through the door. The owner snatched a stick as he followed.
Forty minutes later, the British lads and I deemed it safe enough to saunter back to our hostels. As we lodged in different locations in Darjeeling, I parted ways with them after five minutes. I wandered back wondering why men have nipples.

Without warning, nine male dogs converged on me as if I had promised and failed to deliver them each a female dog in heat as hot as Megan Fox. Some attack-stance-crouched with slit eyes, some snarled, all growled. Adrenaline orbited through me, darting into my limbs and making my voice Goliath-like. I stalked ahead until three dogs barred my path like they were protecting their annual sampling of Kibbles 'n Bits. I recalled childhood bear instructions to speak calmly, back away slowly, and wave arms to identify as a human. As these were dogs, I did what I reckoned reasonable: I growled, roared, "Hey... Hey!" and pointed at them as if my finger were a magic wand and I could castrate them with a wrist flick. They roadblocked the street as sufficiently as a passed-out blue whale. I stood stationary, eye-dominating them.
"I am the alpha female!" I howled and paced forward, angling to the left to avoid them as much as possible. They followed, snarling like I was canine-Satan. I contemplated running before rejecting this idea as my belly was weighted down with beer and samosas. After twenty paces I would probably self-sacrifice and lay in the fetal position welcoming the biting pity. I stalked away with feigned assurance.
The next day a dog in the same site licked my hand. I accepted his assent as acknowledgement of my supreme superiority. And recollected watching my friend's mom demonstrate her dog-domination by showing her Labrador flash cards. If the card read, "Sit," he'd sit. "Shake," and he'd shake. She should consider a dog career. Maybe she could open a school and teach dogs how to read. Chimpanzees can read. Dogs should too. Then in future, if I lost my dog I could carry a sign reading, "Lost Dog. Blind in one eye, broken tail, three legged, missing right ear. Answers to 'Lucky,'" and dogs could possibly help.

August 9th 6:23pm - Monkey Attack

I'm obsessed with monkeys like I'm consumed with small children. It's conceivable that this is because of their likenesses. Their minuscule midget fingers and ears, their infinitesimal eyes... I just want to nuzzle them and mother-move them around. Nestling them under my arm. Like I imagine I would a baby giraffe if I were a giantess.
When hiking through a Himalayan hill town called Darjeeling, I discerned a monkey reclining in the midst of the street. I was as enthralled as if I had just been supplied with a medium-rare steak in this steak-forsaken country of India. When the monkey treaded towards the trees and I beheld a monkey baby, suddenly the medium-rare steak shifted to include garlic mashed potatoes. I was captivated.
I accomplished the only action I could conceive: I camera-chased them as if I were a paparazzi and they were Angelina Jolie and her daughter Shiloh. I shadowed Monkey-Mother and Baby as they scaled benches, palpitated through branches, and Baby blitzkrieged Mama by bounding on her back.
Unfortunately my camera has a range equidistant to my 20/400 eyesight. I crouched, monkey-camera-ready, as Darjeeling locals lumbered by. When the monkey's motion caused the camera to produce fuzzy photos, I collapsed to my knees and elbows to pocket a preferable picture. The locals, amused by my monkey-attraction, pointed and promptly spoke to each other. As the Indians were insensibly oblivious to the monkeys, I functioned as their animal attraction. I observed monkeys. They scrutinized me. I muttered to myself every time my camera delayed and chiefly crawled down the street, anticipating the perfect photo. I looked like a mentally handicapped lion stalking prey.
Except that instead of eating monkeys, I craved to cuddle them. And nourish them. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward. This was my thought as abruptly Baby bound from Monkey Mother into the trees. Mother Monkey followed. I frisked to my feet with immaculate dexterity but couldn't eye-trace them. They had departed like my dignity. I leisurely erected myself, discharging dirt from my knees, bottom, hands, face and hair. I located and expelled some from my eyelashes as the locals examined me like I would a tyrannosaurus rex. From a distance.
I was as demoralized as if I had received a scratch lottery ticket from a friend, won $75,000, celebrated like I had conquered a $78 million victory, and then determined that it was a deception. Which has happened.
I schlepped, head sagging, camera cascading from my clutch, and advanced towards my hostel. The locals dispersed as if a circus act had been annihilated.
As I passed teeming tender trees I perceived mobility. I haltingly hoisted my head to behold branches of monkeys. Ancients, adults, teenagers, babies... an ambrosial assemblage of beings. I was as sublimated as if I had consumed shrooms. I skated towards them, arms outstretched, smile smothering my face.
I sensed some resistance from my leg but continued to my monkey kingdom. I gazed upon the monkey-populated luxurious emerald foliage ignoring leg pulsations. With the effort I would extend competing in a Spam-eating contest I extracted my focus from the felicity to detect an archaic male monkey clutching my pant leg like it was a rum-infused banana. My pants extended like a Stretch Armstrong toy. I moved my leg. Monkey contracted his clamp.
"Oh, come on!" I said, roundhouse-kicking my leg forward karate-style. Instead of a handful of pant material, Hannibal now had a leg-hold like my leg was a baseball bat. Which he was slowly strangling.
He screeched. I screamed, "Stop it!" simultaneously wondering if monkey competitors could have human managers in Dwarf Cage Fighting. Whatever he squawked must have communicated to the other monkeys that I was considering monkey-napping him for Dwarf Cage Fighting.
My awareness on Hannibal, I asked him to please let me go, as I loved he and his family. Four more monkeys either launched from the sky or the nearest monkey planet. Regardless, they surrounded me, barking like dogs.
"Oh, no no no," I said, backing up as if they were rabid. However, I spoke to them as if they were equals, humans, thinking they'd appreciate the sentiment.
"I really just wanted pictures. See? Camera. I just wanted to remember you. The Indian children like when I take pictures of them. Apparently you don't like when I take pictures of you. That's okay though, I'll just go," I reasoned. I stepped once down the path, eye-raping every passing Indian, pleading for assistance. Nobody acknowledged me. The monkeys must have a monopoly in this area. Hannibal still secure around my shin, the other monkeys roared, growling like lemurs.
They were two feet tall at full height. At 5'7" I felt like I should be the dominant beast in this situation. I stalked away, eyes forward. Maybe if I ignored them they would leave. Atilla didn't appreciate this and rocketed from the concrete to the trees. He hooked his little monkey-hand in my hair and heaved hair from my head as if my strands were plants he was uprooting to fashion a marijuana field.
"What the fuck?" I screamed as my head followed the wrenches from those tiny monkey-dictator hands.
Pol Pot, another monkey, sprung from the ground to a fence post and then hurdled onto my arm. These monkeys were acrobatic. As I wondered if, with time, they would behave enough to perform a monkey-act, Hannibal spread his scope north and trucked my pants from my waist.
In a hunchback-stance from Atilla's hair tyranny, with Pol Pot weighing down one arm, and my pants hugging my thighs - courtesy of Hannibal - the atmosphere mingled with human and monkey sounds, gorging with grunts, shrieks, and barks.
I labored to lift my legs and shut my eyes with the strain. This should be reality television and I should be receiving money. I hoped someone walking by was either a monkey whisperer or a reality TV producer. Then torturous yelps and tragic wails rent the air as I felt midget monkey fingers ripped from my skin and clothing. I opened my eyes to behold a hero. A furrowed face gazed at me eye-level. This was bewildering, as elderly Indians are as tall as my pockets. I then realized I was still hunched over. I straightened myself and rose above my savior like a monkey-attacked Shaq. I felt as authoritative as a disabled panda with a mouthful of peanut butter.
He said one word to me.

August 7th 9:44am - Getting to Kolkata

The Indian rail system is as much a conundrum as Kirstie Allie's weight.
Trains run as often as Yorkshire Terriers bark, and they go everywhere. However, once on the train, there are no signs, no announcements, and no maps concerning stops. For one journey, I inquired how many hours the ride was when purchasing the ticket. I was told eleven hours. Twenty-two hours after initial embarkation it arrived at my stop.
Reliable procedure involves irritating ticket monitors, food vendors, rail attendants, and peer passengers with a constant mouth-current communicating the desired destination. Ticket monitors are the most trustworthy, as they possess the sacred writ of arrival times in a packet as broad as a horse penis. One can expect arrival within three hours. Passengers are also reputable. As multiple sources have notified me, over twenty million people travel via train every day in India. If the ticket supervisor says 3:30pm and the passenger pronounces between 2:30pm and 3:30pm, expect arrival between 4:00 and 5:00pm.
Boozer's inebriation, money-seeking transvestites, and my late-departure overnight train to connect with Pakistan in Kolkata deferred my arrival time interrogation until the next day.
Every train invariably awakens at six in the morning with peddlers howling like missile launches, "Chai coffee chai, chai coffee chai." The roars reverberated in my head like a sloshed sobbing howler monkey. If you are an exceptional bawler as an Indian baby, if all else fails, you have a crowning career option.
"Kolkata?" I asked the five people sitting next to me, accompanied with a pointed finger in the direction we were traveling.
"Kolkata? No," came the counter.
"Kolkata no?" I asked, questioning my pronunciation like hermaphrodites question their natural sex.
"No. Last stop Howrah. No Kolkata," one man said, then asked to see my ticket.
After bulldozing into my backpack with my movements motivated by the kind of terror I tremble with every time my period is late, I produced my ticket with professional ice skater spirals.
"Howrah is your destination. Look, see? Not Kolkata," the man with Nicholas Cage's monotone informed me.
"Well, where is Kolkata? How do I get there?"
"You have to take a train an hour," Mr. Cage clued me, and then spoke hurried Hindi with the other four. I expertly interpreted the words "Howrah," and "Kolkata," as they all shook their heads, scrutinizing me. One man clicked his tongue at me like I was a nine-month-old who had just regurgitated food on myself while managing to miss my bib.
I said, "Thank you," as if they had just told me I won first place in a banana slug-impersonation contest, and asked a train attendant.
"No. Last stop Howrah," Stalin said.
I returned to my seat as dejected as when my eight-year-old self called my house the morning after my parent's annual Rock-&-Roll party. My dad answered. I said hi and asked how the party went.
"Who is this?" my father demanded.
"Your daughter. Kara."
"Hey, we have a daughter?" I overheard him ask my mom.

When the train trailed to a stop, I ejected myself with my luggage and approached an information desk.
"I need to get to Kolkata," I explained. "I bought a train ticket for Kolkata, and this is where I ended up. I need to meet my friend."
If I had been spewing biblical Hebrew they might have understood me. They pointed upstairs. I asked a security officer how to get to Kolkata. He shrugged and pointed to the second story's booking office.
To get to the staircase I exited the station and was about to scale the stairs when I noticed a sign: "Welcome to Kolkata. Howrah."
This made as much sense as Santa Cruz, Bolivia's law that forbids a man to have sex with a woman and her daughter simultaneously. However, I don't question.
I was so elated that I provided my friend Pakistan's street and hotel name to the yellow taxi driver who spoke the best English of the multitudes that swarmed me. I even agreed to the exorbitant expense of two hundred rupees, a night's stay at most hostels or hotels.
"Do you know where Sunflower Guest House is? It's on Royd Street?"
"Yes, yes, I know Sunflower Guest House," he assured me with a smile.
"Are you sure? You know Royd Street?"
"Yes. Royd Street. Sunflower."
Within four minutes his inquiries to other taxi drivers, pedestrians, bus drivers, and policemen evidenced his knowledge of Royd Street and Sunflower Guest House.
One pedestrian pointed to the left, a driving citizen motioned to the right.
Taxi Driver recharged his cell phone so we could call Pakistan for directions. Taxi Driver spoke with a hotel worker. He then ran the range by inquiring directions from a sixty-something homeless man and a six-year-old uniformed schoolboy.
Fifty-seven minutes into what should have been a fifteen minute drive, Driver located Royd Street. I spotted Sunflower Hotel.
When I handed him two hundred rupees, he commanded five hundred because of the drive time and the phone call.
"Phone call was five rupees a minute. That's twenty-five rupees."
"I am not paying you five hundred rupees for wasting an hour of my life! Here's two hundred and twenty. Sorry for your trouble. But you lied to me when you said you knew where it was, it was your own fault you couldn't find it, and you never even apologized to me for the waste of time."
"Five hundred rupees!" he shrieked, his face paralleling a two-year-old's desirous of a new toy. His hand outstretched like a baby bird's neck.
People passing paused and oggled.
"I think two hundred and twenty is fair. In the future, you should apologize to your customers if you drive them around unnecessarily for an hour. Not demand more money!" I tossed out my hand in dismissal to emphasize my feigned frustration.
I had just toured the city.

August 6th 2:55pm - Lower Class Train Ride

My friend Pakistan and I briefly parted ways when he progressed to Kolkata for a man-meeting pertaining to purse production. I was to meet him the following day in India's British capitol.
Previous train rides we had tackled comprised Class One Tier One Sleeper Class with Air Conditioning. And fans. Train personnel provided a face towel, sheets, a blanket, and a pillow as plush as my breasts. So as flat as an orangutan's forehead. But a pillow nonetheless. Passengers subsumed middle-to-upper-class, some families, a lot of businessmen. No alcohol. I might as well have been in a mosque. On one ride, an Indian gentleman proclaimed to Pakistan that I was inappropriately clothed in soccer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. It was over one hundred degrees. I am not a camel.
For my first solo train trip, I selected Sleeper Class, no AC, no tier. Reserved seating confirmation comforted my curiosity and I entered the train as inquisitive as Dora the Explorer. The train ride was reminiscent of Class One Tier One with Air Conditioning. The seats were synonymous. The people in both classes appeared parallel. Until the subsequent stop. A man muddled onto the train mumbling in Hindi. Or Bengali. Or Sanskrit. Or snail-speak. My language learning has been as successful as Paris Hilton's singing career.
After the entering/exiting envoys and the voyaging vendors peddling anything from mango juice to batteries ceased, the train embarked to its ensuing destination. And then I saw a muttering head. A man-head, squinting around a divider into our section. Eight fingers hooked around the wall, one hand above, one hand below the head. The fingers mirrored thin sausages summoning me. Resulting from the beef and pork scarcity through Buddhist and Hindu India, I have been daily envisioning meat products. Rocks reform as hamburgers, leaves transform into pepperoni, and fingers shift to sausages. Indian food equals being bitch-slapped coupled with childbirth. Hindus don't consume beef, Buddhists don't eat pork. My meat-deprived stomach has been suffering like Victoria Beckham's emaciated body.
The man's wall embrace simultaneous to his squinted eyes spoke one word to me: drunk. I sympathized with the signs. Boozer stammered one unsteady step before pitching into the train floor like a paralyzed penguin. This was only temporary though, as his body basketball-bounced and he ended with his legs and arms apart, balancing. My first thought was to wonder if he ricocheted from the floor because he was cognizant that it was coated with food crumbs, ants and insects, dirt, and trash. My second was a contemplation of whether he had ever surfed. His intoxicated surf-stance balance was as impressive as my friend fist-fighting with seven bouncers and then getting arrested only on drunk in public charges.
Boozer karate-kicked his sandals into the air, one foot after the other, and then collapsed onto a bench/bed like he had just encountered an elephant tranquilizer. The other passengers ignored him like they would a belligerent boozy great-grandmother at a family function. I gawked at him, willing him to regain consciousness to entertain me. He never did. Neither my internal encouragement nor the external efforts of multiple transvestite's lap dances breathed life into his brain.
The next morning he awoke from his cocktail-coma seeming as confused as the morning I woke up on our living room couch during college. I had fallen asleep in my own bed down the hallway. I detached the blanket from my body to find a fully-clothed female friend encircling my legs like she was four and my appendages were her favorite stuffed animal.
Boozer's ultimate dilemma: one of his kicked-off sandals went unaccounted for. Two hours later, at Howrah, the last train stop, he was still shuffling with one sandal.

August 3rd 4:21pm - Motorcycle Madness

As mentioned, my motorcycle skill and knowledge parallel that of a monk's ultimate fighting expertise. However, after the hour-long ride to the Sun Temple, I inferred the return would run as smooth as Michael Phelp's arms.
I pursued my friend Pakistan with the ease of a Down Syndrome seven-year-old on a motorcycle, but with Jesse Jame's confidence. My bankrupt brain hadn't internalized the instruction to grasp the clutch when ceasing bike movement, as in traffic. My motorcycle expired like my childhood ballerina dreams when my eight-year-old stomach swelled so much I couldn't scrutinize my feet.
Every time the motor stalled I struggled with the manual start like Michael Jackson struggled with his sexuality.
Regardless, on an open stretch of road rushing by the ocean, the seat evolved into an extension of myself. The wind whisked through my hair as if blessing me and the sensation scrambled from the fibers of my being into the motor and back into me, a cyclical ecstasy of inspiration.
The motorcycle and I liquefied into lyric locomotion. I accelerated over lopsided landscape and swerved through the roads like I swing from purchasing alcohol to liquor in an alcohol aisle.
When Pakistan and I approached a narrow bridge, a bus crawling ahead of us dominated the road like food monopolizes The Goonies' Chunk. Practiced Pakistan rounded to the right of the bus and propelled forward, passing and advancing ahead. I continued behind the monstrosity feeling like I was viewing a lagging giant's bottom. I was as conflicted as a transvestite. I knew that attempting a bus overtake on a bridge on my first motorcycle day was as illogical as living in Antarctica. Nevertheless, I was following Pakistan and wanted to attempt what was inevitably a disastrous idea.
I wrenched to the right and rolled by the bus. Adrenaline coursed through my capillaries and a smile decorated my face as wind wafted into my eyes, face, skin and I approached the front of the bus and the bridge's conclusion.
My 20/400 vision detected the oncoming motorcycle with three passengers too late. The motorcycle barred my byway. The bus obstructed the road. Men yelled like possessed banshees as I concluded I would just fall instead of colliding with a bus or a three-person motorcycle. After this deduction and after I had swung my body into a dirt-blast did it occur to me that the motorcycle was equipped with brakes as operable as a bicycle's.
The concept of brakes continued in my mind like Oprah Winfrey's generosity as I lay on the roadside in the dirt surrounded by Indian men, the motorcycle on me, it's motor still running. The motor persisted after clattering into the ground but not when I slowed going through cities. Brakes. My next thought was what I would tell people. I vacillated between elephant trampling and a fight with a rogue helicopter.

August 2nd 12:36pm - Sun Temple Guide = Sex Informant

My high school friend Pakistan owns a motorcycle. I am as familiar with automatic-start motorcycles as I am with Fermat's Last Theorem. I have as much experience with manual-start motorcycles as Rapunzel has with alcohol. When Pakistan proposed we rent motorcycles and instead of a one-hour bus trip, ride motorcycles from Puri's beach town to Konark's Sun Temple and back, I summarily agreed as if he had suggested we locate Indian Rum and drink on the beach all day.
Our Lonely Planet guidebook described the Sun Temple as constructed in the mid-13th century and conceived as the "cosmic chariot" of Surya the Sun God.
Seven prancing horses (representing the seven days of the week) strain to move the twenty-four stone cartwheels around the temple's base. The guide continued to inform readers that, "The base and walls present a chronicle in stone of Kalinga life, a storyboard of life and love in a continuous procession of carvings. Many are in the erotic style for which Konark is famous and include entwined couples as well as solitary exhibitionists. Sometimes they're minute images on the spoke of a temple wheel; at other times they're larger-than-life-sized figures higher up the walls."
The Sun Temple section concluded with the sentences, "If there's anywhere worth hiring a guide, it's here. The temple's history is a complicated amalgam of fact and legend, and the guides' explanations are thought provoking."
Pakistan and I procured a guide.

Our guide explained the bottom five-inch row of stone-carved images on the temple's walls as intended for children, thus depictions of elephants, monkeys, and an affluence of other animals. All the carvings above were "for adults."
Professional Guide/Sex-Man identified the woman's wheel: "Each spoke is for different times of day. See, she gets up and bathes. Then she does make-up, then lounges, then night comes and she goes sex, sex, sex, sex. See, she doesn't sleep because there's so much sex. Look at the different sexual positions. She's sucking man, man sucking her, she's on one leg having sex. Very acrobatic. Lots of karma sutra."
Pakistan and I laughed, feeling as awkward as during a parent/child sex talk.
Sex-man cited countless carvings, consistently with animated detail.
"See, that one man, he has three women. One is penis-sucking, one touching his arm, and one concerned with his rear."

"This woman is masturbating. See? She's standing with her legs apart and her fingers are in her vagina. See? Woman feeling herself!"
"This is three men. See, they are in each other from behind? That man is sucking on that man's penis, and he also has a penis in him? See?"
"This man has venereal disease. Always just use smoke from fire. Smoke cures everything."
I was slightly skeptical as to using fire smoke as anything more than for warmth and bbq-ing, but as Sex-man seemed well-informed, I didn't question his authority just like I don't question warning labels on alcohol bottles. They're there so you know intoxication happens.
Sex-man ceaselessly continued: "See, that's sixty-nine? See, they're sucking each other. Look at his penis in her mouth. Big penis!"

"Look, lesbians! You can tell because they both have the breasts. And they're pleasuring each other. See, her fingers inside the other's vagina?"
"Look at this! He's giving it to her doggy-style. After six months with a baby inside, always do doggy-style so the baby's okay and the woman gets more pleasure. See, doggy-style? Sex like dogs? 13th-century men had very very big penises. Very pleasurable for the women. Women like big penises. And these men had huge penises. Good penetration doggy-style."
Sex-man continued with unabated breath while Pakistan and I pursued him like sheep.
After an hour, the tour terminated and Sex-man said we could give him however much we thought appropriate.
"A few years ago, one man from California, he said it was the best tour he ever had and gave me 1000 rupees!" Sex-man informed us.
We presented him with 150 rupees, which equates $3US, a good meal or a decent hotel room.
As of now, that is the first and last tour guide I've obtained in India.