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5a
Road Hog!…Or..Camel?

The Wandering Hippy is a collection of what I like to call suitcase and saddlebag wisdom. But really, just between you and me,  it’s my musings and observations (and the occasional rant) relating to a gaggle of  misadventures I’ve had while tripping about Asia.It’s an ongoing commentary of my struggle to readjust to life. Life after dropping out of the North American rat race and landing in India. Nothing sinister to be had here I’m afraid, no secret agenda or hidden plots, just a tangle of amusing and misguided experiences.  I sincerely hope they make you laugh out loud, ponder life in small doses (mine and yours), and if I’m very lucky, make you piddle in your pants…no, no, no… somehow make you feel better about your day, that’s what I meant.  So, get a coffee, and have a little wander about, and hopefully, you’ll become a regular.

Two Nights On Witch Mountain

When was the last time you were scared? Not startled, like rounding a corner and someone is standing there. Or being cuddled up to your significant other while a Hollywood movie monster wreaks havoc on your TV screen. But  scared? Let me rephrase, when was the last time you were terrified? I’m not sure we feel that level of intense fear too often in our lifetime, but when we do, it’s memorable and it can be an exhilarating experience. May 19, 2017 for me, coincidentally my mother’s birthday,  fitting as I was thinking about her quite a bit that night. That night, I was huddled in a cheaply made  tent on the side of a mountain. High in the Chanshal Pass to be exact, hovering above the Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, India. At 14,830 ft above sea level, I was buried deep inside my sleeping bag and covered with a thick woolen blanket,  beautifully woven in the style of the Himalayan Sherpas, and I was positive I was going to die.

Read on Macduff…

Bear Island

Burial On Bear Island – Fiction

Mac took off his spectacles and the world around him became an impressionist painting, blurry yet somewhat recognizable. He tilted his head back. It was raining and he let the cold drizzle pelt his weathered face. It stung him a little, but  felt good. Mac squeezed his eyes shut, knitting his thick gray eyebrows together and stood motionless letting the water purify him.  Breathing in and out he allowed the salt air of Kingfisher Bay to fill his lungs. The distant cry of two gulls cut through the patter of the droplets on the pier as they argued over the ownership of a scrap of discarded fish bait. He returned his specs to the tip of his nose and flexed his arthritic hands. A sharp pain shot up his arm to his shoulder. Like an electric shock it cleared his mind and signaled him now was the  time for action.  The old man looked at the large burlap bag on the dock, his black Wellington boots straddling the object. Rainwater was soaking into the absorbent material, it was collecting and pooling in the crevices. The sack would be heavy. He stared, willing it to move itself. Mac swallowed hard as tears welled up in the corner of his eyes. If he permitted, they would roll down his cheeks and mix in his beard with the rain. A quick shake of his head cured that. He could not spare the moment to indulge in emotion. There was a job that needed doing.

Read on Macduff…

Rajasthan – Riding The Sands of Time

Beginning in 1500 BC, Alwar’s history has been woven into a colorful Rajasthani tapestry. It glitters as the princely state of Rajput, adorned with Delhi Sultans and garnished the Rulers of Jaipur. Throughout its history, Alwar has always sparkled like a deep blue sapphire in the red Rajasthan desert and today, the city of is full of hustle and bustle and features some fascinating destination locations. But for me it’s a portal back in time and therefore, a perfect place for riding and wandering.

Read on Macduff…

There Ain’t No Code, Only Open Road

First published in,

The Collective Voice Magazine

There is nowhere to hide on the open road. It’s just you, your bike and all your dirty little secrets. Long rides leave you completely exposed. They strip away all the superficial nonsense, all your polite societal veneer. If you ride long enough, every last one of your character flaws will get poured onto the pavement for inspection. Eventually, you will have to examine who you really are, like it or not. If you’re riding in a group, they’ll get to see who you really are too. Truthfully, it’s as simple as that. That does sound a little harsh, perhaps you don’t believe it? Do you find my ideas  a  bit too bombastic for biker talk, or are you chuckling at the ramblings of some antiquated folklore or worn out biker code? Then maybe, just maybe you’re not a biker after all…because the truth is, there ain’t no code, only open road.

Read on Macduff…

Nine Miles – It’s Gonna Be Alright

Originally published in Collective Voice Magazine

Collective Voice Magazine

As the launch date for The Collective Voice Lifestyle Magazine drew closer, the jabber and din within the writers’ camp grew to a defining roar. The excited discussions about inaugural posts and first articles were fervent. So many angles, so many viewpoints, and here I was, dear readers, your hero, with NO clear direction to in which to head. Everyone else was piously pitching ideas, bandying concepts; encouragement and suggestions abound. Such a diverse collective we are, the writers at The Collective Voice are from all around the world…all of us unique individuals…miles apart, yet drawn together…and thinking about that, the wheels began to turn.

Read on Macduff…

Take A Cripple To Dehradun – First Limp

“We will have to amputate above the knee I’m afraid; now go lay down on that table over there like a brave solider.”  The young doctor was sitting beside me and delivered the news with a mixture of pity and bemusement. The sheer joy of it was painted all over his sadistic face. The older doctor behind the desk glanced up from my shattered ankle x-ray. His glasses were perched on the end of his nose and he gave a nod as he fixed me with an icy stare over the top of them.  What the young doc had actually said was, ‘No riding for at least two more weeks; and if you have to go to Chail, ride pillion. Let’s not take any chances with you!’ But to me it sounded like, ‘Hack off all his limbs and feed them to the flying monkeys, no anaesthetic needed. Nurse Ratched, make haste!’. Due to this injury I had already missed a ride with my motorcycle club into the Himalayas the week before. This was agonizing news, as today, the cast had come off my leg and I was hoping to join friends on a ride to Chail this weekend. Yet, after a thorough examination with hot pokers and long sharp scraping clampy things which had been administered lovingly by the younger doctor, a negative ride request reply had been given. To be honest, I couldn’t be sure it was the young doctor doing the prodding; the examiner was clad entirely in black leather with a cape and hood. But I am certain I recognized the cologne.

Read on Macduff…

Canadian

A Canadian, An Englishman And An Indian Walk Into A Bar

Featured Article in Blogadda March 25th’s

 

Can you imagine? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. What would they drink for pity sake? The Englishmen would undoubtedly opt for a scotch, Chivas Regal if you please, as the Canadian scoffs and orders a Canadian Club rye whiskey and the Indian will nurse his Royal Stag. What happens when the cheque arrives? The Englishmen will feign a move to pick it up, thus causing the Canadian to grab for it first. The Indian sits with a fabricated blank look on his face, pretending he has no idea what is happening. This, in a nutshell, is my life! These are the conflicts that dwell within me . The endless struggles that tear me in three very distinct directions on a daily basis. With almost every decision, I am forced to choose between my blood, my heritage and my adopted culture. What have I done? What have I become? Good God man, I’m Canbritdian!!

Read on Macduff…

Elephants, The Cadillac Of Pachyderms

“ Do you ever get trapped inside your car at Walmart because there is a tiger wandering around the parking lot?” I asked.

“Really?” she replied.

“Yea, yea! Or do you ever walk out of your back yard and step in one of those rope traps that spring and grab you by your foot and hang you upside down in a tree?” I pressed. I had never been to India, I needed the info.

“You’re an idiot.” she laughed. “You are aware that tigers don’t roam around freely in cities, right? And these traps you’re talking about, I think they were in African jungles in the 1400’s or something and there are no Walmarts here.” She concluded.

“What?!?!” I was aghast, “No Walmart!!”  India sounded like a strange and exotic destination for sure…no Walmart…imagine!

“Sometimes, do you have to pull over on the side of the road  because of stampeding elephants?” I wanted all the basic information before I travelled to this alluring jewel of a country.

“Elephants are a nuisance actually” my then girlfriend Mrs. R. said quite casually.

“What?” I sputtered, all joking aside now, she seriously had my attention.“What do you mean a nuisance?”

“They knock over fences, trample your garden, in the city they hold up traffic…like that” Oh, there was so much I had to learn about India and I couldn’t wait to get there. This was going to be the trip of a life time. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any elephants on that trip. Lots of monkeys and a camel or two, but no  Elephas Maximus Indicus. Nor on the next trip. It wasn’t until I moved to India permanently, I experienced the joy of seeing wild elephants and suffered the anguish of being in an elephant caused traffic jam.

Read on Macduff…