Status Update

Howdy folks.

Just wanted to give an update on my current projects.

First off, I’ve started writing a new book called Peculiar Encounters: More Travels in the Khasi Hills. This is going to be sort of a companion piece to The Green Unknown, but will focus on the more unexpected aspects of traveling in Meghalaya…like dealing with corrupt Bangladeshi border guards, finding foot-wide giant spiders in caves, conversing with village madmen, what to do when you’r guide is drunk and is leading you to your doom, etc.

Also, I just wanted to write a book that focuses a bit more on the individuals I’ve met, rather than the culture as a whole. In short, a more granular account of my time in the hills.

Now, this isn’t the book I’ve been planning for a while, Through the Valleys of Living Bridges. I’ve been working for a while now to get that off the ground, and I’m still struggling to scrape together the funds. I’m hoping for that to have a rather different feel than The Green Unknown, and Peculiar Encounters, in that it’s going to have a linear structure, and be rather more like a novel.

In other news, I’ll be putting up a bunch of updates on The Living Root Bridge Project soon. That’s why I haven’t been putting up picks of the day of late…I’ve been spending a bunch of time sifting through photos to add to new entries, so be looking out for that!

Konyak Nagas

Just something interesting I stumbled into. I met most of the folks in this video back in 2012.

Aloh, the chief of the village (1:15), complained that I ate too many sweets and would ruin my teeth. Then he tried to get me and my photographer/Walloon friend to smoke opium.

We didn’t.

Back then, the villagers had all their skulls taken in battle all stored up in a pile in a shack, but it looks like they since moved them somewhere more dignified.



Random Photo of the Day, November 6: Padim Peak, Sikkim


Something un-US Midterm related.

This is looking up a Padim Mountain, a topographically prominent, though not especially high (22,000 foot), mountain in the Sikkim Himalayas. It’s at the end of a chain of mountains, the high point of which is Mt. Kanchendzonga, the world’s third highest peak. When you see the range from a distance, the peaks are often said to resemble the Buddha, sleeping on his back, with Padim being his feet sticking up.

I was there one year in late March. Those innocuous looking clouds building up on the side of the peak would grow every day into rain and snow storms, usually by around 11 am. Not the best time to visit as far as trekking was concerned, though my group (a Tibetan, two Nepalis, and a bunch of yaks) had the mountains more or less to ourselves.