A Certain Kind of Courage

It takes a certain kind of courage to travel the world alone with one’s guitar. I’m not one of those people but I like it when I see it. When traveling alone, one gets to talk to new people and study one’s surroundings. When traveling with others, there’s a shared experience. Both are interesting.

On the Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.
On the Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.

Mostly, just get out there if you can. Be brave. Take water.

Night Hunting In Bhutan

I was cleaning up in my blog drafts and found this one from my trip to Bhutan. Before I went, another traveler told me to ask about “night hunting.” So I did. This is what I was told.

In the past, if a man was interested in a woman, he would climb into her bedroom window. Out in the countryside, and most of Bhutan is countryside, there were no lights so it was pitch dark. (I wondered how they found their way in the dark, but then again, I’m a city person.) If the woman got pregnant… the couple’s families would negotiate a marriage.

My guide’s opinion was that “night hunting was more because of lazy business men who wanted to take advantage of innocent country girls and not bother with sweet talk at a bar.”

Fancy windows in Bhutan.
Fancy windows in Bhutan.

According to my guide, night hunting is now illegal and considered rape. In modern Bhutan, premarital sex is not frowned on, unwed mothers are cared for by the government, and there are campaigns for safe sex. He told me, “people are more educated so they want fewer children and they want them when they are older.” The previous age for marriage was 16-18 and now many women wait until they are 25.

I can’t remember all the other stuff that he told me but I wish that I had recorded him. Next time, perhaps.

Middle Eastern Food in Bogota

The menu is certainly sexy.
The menu is certainly sexy.

Despite the expectation that due to Shakira’s existence, middle eastern food should be common here in Bogota — it’s not. These are the restaurants that I’ve tried and my review of them.

Al Khalifa, various locations, (5/13): I actually was quite awash in memories of Jordan, Bangladesh, and other Muslim and middle eastern countries when I ate here. Instead of Jesus Christ of Superstar, there was a Muslim version on the TV. The food wasn’t great but my memories are.

Beirut, Calle 117 #6-30, Usaquen, (12/13): It’s the upscale version of middle eastern food. Large and lofty.

Panaderia La 85 (Lebanese Bakery), Calle 85 near Carrera 12, (10/13): It’s not fancy. They sell Lebanese pita bread and products. They make kibbeh, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves, but I’m never sure if they have all the products all the time. I went with a friend of the owner.

Chicken on a stick, tabouleh salad, and falafel at Beirut.
Chicken on a stick, tabouleh salad, and falafel at Beirut.

Zatar, Carrera 5 #69-15, Zona G, (12/13): It was described as a hole-in-the-wall to me but it’s not. It’s hard to find only because they are in plain sight. Their awning is black with no signage. Just walk down the street from the Starbucks (oh, right, that doesn’t help). The food is good although a bit on the wet (saucy) and sweet side. The people who work there seem rather nice. At least that’s the vibe I got.

One final gripe… even I can make flat bread hot off the fire/oven… so I can’t understand why all these places serve me cold pre-made bread.

The bread spread at Beirut. The chile sauce is perhaps their version of harissa? It was HOT!
The bread spread at Beirut. The chile sauce is perhaps their version of harissa? It was HOT!

In the Company of Jungle Men

So I went on a vacation in the Amazon. It was a “camp” with about 20 cabins, a pool, air conditioning, WIFI, etc.

At first, I didn’t notice it. Then I did. It was almost comical how there were only men working at our Eco-camp in the jungle. When my friend and I first got there, we and all the other customers, were women…

Me, being me, had to ask. I was expecting the standard tourist sanitized answer. Instead, our guide/handler said, “Well, Mr. Big Cheese (I can’t recall his name but he was from Scandinavian stock in Wisconsin or Minnesota), said when he opened this camp (40 years ago) that it was better to hire only men because local women have a baby every other year so they would only be in the work force for half the time.”

Manual labor.
Manual labor.

Well, that was not the answer I was expecting (oops, sorry, not). We were certainly not in modern day Scandinavia.