A Californian woman named Bernann McKinney paid a South Korean scientist nearly $50,000 to clone her deceased pit bull, Booger. How much would I pay to clone my very own Booger? That’s right, $51,000. Though I’d make her miniature and stuff her in my suitcase and carry her around with me so she could make me laugh all the time just like her emails always do.
We actually have one of the greatest email threads Of All Time going on right now. Does that ever happen to you? Where you read back over the whole thread and you’re like, damn it we’re hilarious. In fact, I’ve recently received several queries from loyal readers as to the fashion statusness, geographic location, mental stability and general well-being of my dear little sister, The Boogs. So here’s your update, my dear Internet: she is living in a pink victorian house in San Francisco while working at a hipster coffee house and taking classes with titles like ‘cosmic evolution’ (I shit you not) at a nearby community college. Latest update: she watched Jaws in 3D in Dolores Park (!) and this weekend is seeing the following bands in concert: devendra banhart, broken social scene, regina spektor, radiohead, manu chao, stars, black keys, beck, m.ward, bon iver, andrew bird, wilco. How does she feel about this? In her own words, or that is, word, “EPIC”. Does she wear purple tights and play dodge ball? I am afraid, as I know you are, that all the evidence points to an unwavering ‘affirmative’.
What is the greatest part of being involved in a community like Global Voices? Oh, loved ones, there are so many perks. But the best perk of all is seeing a friendly face – that is, a face belonging to a friend – at just about every airport in the world. So after the lazy one-toed sloths at SpiceJet finally deposited my sweaty freckledness into the baggage claim of Calcutta’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, there were the smiling faces and waving hands of my dear friends Aparna and Ramesh. Aparna has been my virtual homegirl for years now. Which means, of course, nothing much. We first met In Real Life back in December 2006 in Delhi, but that too was limited to a couple nods and waves of recognition.
At this year’s GV Summit in Budapest we had much more time to talk and … (is there a phrase somewhere in between “catching up” and “getting to know one another”?). Then, one morning, in fact, the morning after the summit, hella early, when all the rest of Budapest was still happily asleep, I run into this Indian dude with an air of royalty and a perfect moustache. How is this? Why do I know a tall Indian in Budapest? Then it clicked, this was Aparna’s debonair husband, Ramesh. The man’s voice? Succulent. And though future hospitality might be revoked for committing this to google’s forgetless cache, here is an anecdote: he once called up a hotel to make a reservation and the woman taking the reservation actually called him back … just to say what a lovely voice he has. Now that is pimp.
Did I mention that Aparna is hilarious?
Fast forward 10 days, after some bizarre treatment from my frenemies at the Bangadeshi consulate in Calcutta, and one very noisy airplane belonging to GMG Airlines (their fish curry is about as good as their website) dropped me off onto the tarmac of Zia Antorjatik Bimanbôndor International Airport. Waiting for me right outside: the tranquil and kind face of Mr. Ripon. Here is a picture of Mr. Ripon with his ever faithful rear-view-mirror-hanging, safe-sex-smart bunny named, appropriately enough, Mr. Bunny.
For those of you who, like me, are too lazy to click on links, let me tell you that Mr. Ripon stopped going to school in grade five to help support his mother and now speaks some of the dopest English in all of Bangladesh. For some reason, I especially like how he says “sure”. Come by and meet him and you’ll know what I mean.
Thursday was a day like any other. Me writing a gazillion emails. Me reading a gazillion emails. Me pulling my hair out about said gazillion emails. Then there was a conference call with grant auditors (fun!) and miscellaneous logistics about this and that. Finally it was time to close the laptop and open the book and get some shuteye. Then the phone rings.
But what a lovely surprise. It turned out to be Kira, a wonderful Venezuelan blogger with a heart the size of Jupiter (1.43128×1015 km³). She’s been visiting the Nari Jibon project every Friday for the last few months and helping the young women there open their own individual blogs and start using Flickr more.
She has also been living in Bangladesh For Five Years. And before that? Uganda … For Five Years. So imagine all the emotions she must be feeling right now as, in just one day, she heads back to Venezuela. Better yet, read her post about it. Also highly recommended: her bi-lingual post about Nari Jibon.
Some people are so easy to fall into conversation with from the very first second. Kira explained how the young women at Nari Jibon made her last few months here bearable, how she cried when she had to say goodbye to Taslima, and how they will all stay in her heart forever. She laughed when she told me that the mother of Zannat and Jesmin said that Kira was already like her third daughter. (“And I’m older than their mother!” she exclaimed.)
The grave grave error? After getting off the phone with Kira I ordered room service. Just a snack. When a chicken sandwich goes for about a dollar, how can you resist?
Four hours later and, clutching my stomach, I stumbled toward the toilet and threw my head in like a cheap date. And that is more or less how the following 30 hours would ensue. Usually when people say ‘food poisoning’ they’re being a tad dramatic about the poison part. Not this time. I collectively vomited and sweated out over 8 liters of water.
The hotel staff tried their best to be helpful. Which is to say that they called my room Every Single Hour to ask how I was feeling. My response? “I think if I could just sleep a while, I’d feel better.” And then I’d go to the toilet to vomit.
Finally, in the afternoon, a good twenty hours without consuming anything but water, I tried to be brave. Anything not spicy. There it was: spaghetti. Imagine my heartbreak when I made the herculean effort to get to the door, only to receive … my masala chow mein. Or, as the smiling hotel employee referred to it, “your spaghetti, sir.”
And then I went to the toilet to vomit.