Hey all. So last night, I had plans to go to a movie, but it was starting late so I went to a nice little cafe for masala chai and banana bread. It was cool, I had this long conversation with a couple of Tibetan kids, children of the owners of the restaurant. The older boy, I think his name was Denzin Lagba, was quite bright, and asked me many questions about Korea; we had a fairly interesting discussion of cultural differences. I actually found it very interesting, and that’s saying something when it’s about a conversation with an eleven-year-old kid. He had a lot to say about different kinds of tourists here, and I told him what I’d seen in Korea, in Thailand, in Canada. It was cool. I’m actually considering giving him my address if he wants to be pen pals. Maybe that’s weird, but this kid, he really struck me as unusual, in a good way.
I ended up watching the Lord of the Rings III in a tiny theater in McLeod Ganj. It was supposed to start at 8:45 but the previous movie’s DVD was cacked up, so I had to watch a pack of vampires and werewolves duke it out (in the last ten minutes of Underworld) about five times before the one guy watching the movie surrendered and left.
Luckily, The Return of the King was a good DVD print and enjoyable… a little too funny, though, because the English subtitles (with English audio) were so incredibly screwed up, I could barely believe my eyes. Things like, “We do what we can,” being turned into “We do it a scan!”
I remember some people discussing the ostensible racism of LOTR on my site, via comments, and I just have to say, uh, don’t the hemls of the warriors of Minas Tirith look a little Babylonian or Sumerian to you? They sure do to me. If the filmmaker was such an antisemite, why would he throw that in? Sure, the guys on oliphants look Arab, they’re in turbans and have veiled faces; and I do sense a vague touch of wistful longing for empire, but I don’t think it’s quite racist. And on top of that… when the king of Minas Tirith declares, “We shall burn like heathen kings of old,” I don’t think he’s suggesting it’s a negative thing, you know?
Anyway, I like being able to say I saw the first installment of the movie in Korea, the second in Bangkok, and the third at the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. That’s freaking cool.
But it meant waking up a poor cabbie to get a ride home, and then sleeping only four hours, because after that I had to get up and meet the cab I’d booked for my ride into town.
Which didn’t show up.
I discovered this mornig that if I push myself, I can walk into town in 20 minutes. After that I got to the Dalai Lama’s temple and got into an amazingly long queue and after a bunch of time waiting, arguing American foreign policy with a Michiganian Peace Corps guy on holiday from Kazakhstan, I finally found myself in front of the Dalai Lama, smiling and shaking his hand with both of my hands, saying, “Hello.” He smiled and nodded, and then I was shuffled off, handed a little red thread with a special knot in the middlea keeosake of sorts I supposeand then I was back out in the temple courtyard, among a ton of people, beside the American and his Polish friend, back to discussing politics. We waited a couple of hours among a huge crowd, waiting to see if he would address the assembled people, but then when he finally walked out, he just shook hands with one person, got into a car, and was driven forty feet into his residence.
It was a little anticlimactic, I have no great insights or revelations to report. Maybe I was distracted, I was in midsentence about what is wrong with what the US is doing in Iraq when suddenly, I was tapped, asked to step forward in line, and there was the Lama himself.
Ah well. Dave (the American) and Victor (the Pole) and I shall meet for apple wine tonight at McLlo Bar, and then I think I’ll retreat home, nap, write some, and sleep.
Until then I think I’ll try get a massage, as my back hurts a little (and has been for a few days…). It’ll be nice. So I should go off to it!