Submitted by Ben Ayers on Fri, 2008-11-21 14:13.
October 8th, 2008
I think my motorcycle is a vegetarian. I’ve tried to explain this to my Nepali family, but it falls upon deaf ears. This year, yet again, I found myself compelled to rattle and shake my way across the bad roads to the ancient city of Bhaktapur and whittle away an afternoon with my family drinking the local rakshi (moonshine), watching Hindi movies, and then sacrificing a helpless duck and spreading the blood across my bike – all to appease the vengeful goddess, Durga.
It isn’t all tragedy, however. The rakshi is delicious and pure. A drop on your finger will light on fire and burn with a clear blue flame. My motorcycle gets adorned in flower garlands, fruit, and flowers. The duck curry, it must be said, is delightful.
Last year, after the curry and beaten rice was gone, after the dishes were washed and the third nightcap downed, after the television stopped showing the good Hindi movies and only played reruns from the eighties, I staggered out to my bloody motorcycle only to find the battery completely dead. Which, given the circumstances, was a blessing. This year, I left in much better condition, but only days afterwards my motorcycle frame broke completely in half.
I found myself, then, standing in Kathmandu traffic with a completely broken motorcycle, thinking about home. The same boiling frustration when my logging equipment constantly breaks down. When once one part of the tractor is fixed and I scrub the grease and diesel fuel off of my arms, my hair, my eyelids, something else immediately breaks down. It left me wondering if old machines just come to me to die. Or maybe it’s just my karma. Most likely it’s that I’m too cheap to buy decent equipment in the first place.
The guys at the workshop think they can weld the bike back together. I’ll be back in action soon.