By Ilan Adler
This post is just a cool little 90’s playlist that I drew up one day. The reasoning behind it is not songs that were hard to find, or B-sides, but just the nineties music that I grew up on listening to on the radio. Remember this was long before the iPod, and when a discman with a 3 second anti-skip was still considered somewhat of a status symbol. This isn’t the place to look after those long lost Pearl Jam or Nirvana bootlegs, but rather just a sort of best of of some of the great music. Most of it was played in the golden age of alt. rock and grunge, in the early to mid-nineties.
Please feel free to add more suggestions for relevant songs in the comments. Remember this is still a preliminary list, which keeps growing with good suggestions.
By Ilan Adler
Editors Note: I’ve decided to look through my email archives and post some of the more interesting travel related emails that I wrote. This one is from an short little 12 hour bus ride in Nepal.
Now let me explain what exactly does a whistler do. Since the driver doesn’t slow down on these blind turns, we off course came within a foot of colliding with another bus on two separate occasions. Since this patch of dirt vaguely resembling a road is not wide enough for two vehicles to drive by each other, one has to back up to a place where the other can drive past him. Here is where the whistler comes in handy, He whistles and the bus driver knows that he still has room to back up, if the bus driver keeps backing up when he’s not whistling, well then I wouldn’t be here to tell you about this… Another secondary purpose of the whistle is to inform the driver when someone on the roof needs to get off. Thus this position is very critical to the success of the bus journey in Nepal.
So anyways after 4 hours of trying to sleep in vain but only getting knocked on the head by people’s belongings and stuff like that, I decided that I have had enough and moved on to the roof to sit with the young and adventurous. As is common (for me so far) in Nepal, after speaking with the only person there who knew a few words of English, He had already invited me to his home on my way back for dinner… Anyways Sitting on the roof is great, you have a panoramic 360 view, natural air conditioning, and I fashioned myself a comfortable beanbag style chair out of a few sacks of clothing that were actually there as luggage. So I was sitting back enjoying the view, which was fabulous, and generally having a great time. I even managed to drift off into a peaceful sleep, when suddenly I was jolted awake by the kid next to me, and the only thing I could understand was that everyone was getting off the roof and cramming inside the bus like sardines. After 50m we came to a stop at a police check post so I now understood why we got off… A policeman came aboard and looked for god knows what, and we drove for another 200m when the bus stopped and we all promptly climbed back to our spacious seats on the roof.
We continued driving and then it started pouring rain. This was a scene to witness, around 15 of us (me the only foreigner of course) bundled up first under a few umbrellas, then under sheets of plastic, and finally under a large tarp that they managed to dig up from somewhere, but kept us surprisingly dry. All this time we were driving on harrowing roads that I have no idea how we managed to drive thru them in the rain and mud. We make it in to Dhunce, led in by a sort of coordinated cheer/chant between our rooftop section and the one of a adjacent bus. We were only 15 km away from Syabrubensi, my final destination and where I started the trek from. By all means that is considered a short distance right? Wrong! We had to suffer the obligatory mechanical problem that goes hand in hand with any bus journey here. I don’t know exactly what the problem was, but I think it had to do something with the brakes. which I would deem pretty important for driving on the side of a mountain in the rain and mud….
I don’t really know how they eventually fixed the problem, as I kept dozing off, But I figure it had to do something with the dozens of onlookers and the constant noise of the hammer banging that I kept hearing. We set off along the way slowly and surely. The whistler now had another new element to his vocation, He would get off and throw people off the bus and make them walk ahead so that the bus would not be so overloaded at critical junctions where it might get stuck. This worked pretty well except for one time where he had to clear half the bus off so that the driver could pull himself out of the mud jam he got himself stuck in. At 6:30 p.m, exactly 12 hours to the minute we had left Kathmandu, We slogged into Sybrubensi, tired, worn out, but glad to finally be able to get a bed and something to eat.
Indeed what a long, strange journey it had been!