March 28, 2009

TO DO's and Run Ons

Preparing for a trip to Asia is a TO DO list of Rapunzelian length:

-Cypro and diamox from the pharmacy  
-BestBuy for memory cards, AA's and AAA's
-Buy duct tape and sand paper, apply to electronics case (cheap but effective premium for my equipment insurance policy) 
-Safeway for ziplock bags (Clause two of equipment insurance policy to protect against the elements)....

...If I forget anything, I'll end up with grainy mics that get heisted while I'm too sick with unmedicated AMS or Asia Flu to react.  But ke garne, I won't have any batteries left for recording anyway -- remember, I didn't have time to run to BestBuy.  So even if I don't get through the list, I'll still have faith in equilibrium.

And then there's the planning.  My Timeline for this trip was spellchecked with bolded, underlined headers and page numbers in the bottom right hand corner.  But when I looked away from my monitor, I felt Reality's imposing shadow.  Flooded by details, howevers and ifs, the formatting came atumblin down as I tried to to communicate with Tashi Tsering, the official singer of the Royal Court of Lo Monthang.

Lo Monthang is an ancient Tibetan walled city in Northern Nepal where I'm headed to record Tashi Tsering's music for the next couple of months.  It's walls, dating back to the 15th Century, are still standing.  And while Lo Monthang may seem isolated, it sits in a prominent glaciated pass at the base of the Himalayan Plateau -- a trough so large it'd challenge Moses, and one that provided an obvious trade route between Tibet and Nepal.  

But compare it to Jackson, and Lo Monthang is isolated: the town has one computer, little to no electricity, and even from this distance, I've begun to feel the polyrhythms of cultural time zones.  As I emailed Tsewang in Kathmandu, who responded to say that he'd gotten in touch with Sonam in Jomsom who'll call Indra in Lo Monthang, who'll walk to Tashi Tsering's house, discuss, walk back home, call Sonam, who'll email Tsewang, and that he'll keep me posted until I arrive in Kathmandu on Thursday, I realized that my Timeline is the Humpty Dumpty of Himalayan adobe.

I imagine that while trekking to Lo next week, I'll keep a look-out for Humpty's missing pieces amidst the sandy crimson cliffs.  And I'll listen for the murmurs of the Wind Horse, trying to catch snippets on my new recording equipment -- the equipment that's now fully insured, because I did have time to pop into Safeway for ziplock bags this afternoon!


  1. Tashi Delek Katie!!!!
    This is Maureen! I cannot believe how FAST you got this trip underway--what a WOMAN. You have to tell me about the relevance of the sandpaper as I'm curious and haven't a clue....I wish you all great luck-and may all the gods be with you!!! I am "homesick" for Lo just redaing your blog--and have a beer-or chang -for me at Chimi's Coffee house!
    And tell Tashi Tsering that Andrea, Sienna and I said HI! Also-all warmest greetings to Dawa, Gyaltso and Tenzin (when he returns), Indra (all Bistas) and of course-the Raja and Rani!
    And also-my very warmest thoughts to Raju and Thari Bista in Ghami!!!!! (and Thari's sister in Kagbeni....geez, the list keeps growing....

  2. Hi Katey!

    It's Catrina, just checking up on you. I hope you find a computer soon, because I want to hear more about your trip. I was thinking of going to Dartmouth this weekend to see Carolyn Bramante, but scheduling is rapidly getting fucked up (she's only going to be there on Sunday, and I have to leave Sunday), so I think I'm going to bag it. I really want to go camping with Kyle, anyway. I miss you! Write again soon. Catrina