844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Bobby Jindal & Charles Sobhraj (Kathmandu Central Jail, Nepal)

Nov 22nd, 2009 - Yesterday was different. Not exactly a typical day (whatever the hell that is). I was on the verge of leaving on another trek, this time to the Helambu/Lantang region of Nepal but I’ve been sidetracked. I ran into some folks I went rafting with a month ago and we decided to have a sort of mini-adventure. Yesterday we went to prison, well, jail to be exact. I met an English couple in Sumatra that told me of their visit to the Kathmandu Central Jail. While there they spoke with a French prisoner that had been incarcerated for drug distribution. The idea that anyone was allowed to visit foreign convicts in a Nepali jail appeals to me in that diffident ‘I probably shouldn't be doing this’ sort of way. I mentioned it to the fellas and the four of us hopped in a taxi.

As we did not want to arrive empty-handed we decided to purchase cigarettes (Marlboro Reds). At the initial check-in you are required to surrender cameras, cell phones, and just about everything else in your pockets. Then it is a quick pat down body search followed by a short stroll to a room containing a list of foreign inmates. Malaysia, China, Holland, France, Germany, Poland, and even America were represented. The various crimes included fraud, murder, rape, immigration violations (passport, visa, etc.), and drugs.

Now if you are thinking, ‘How bizarre!’, I assure you I was thinking the same. I suppose there is something a bit surreal, if not demented, about visiting a prison with a ‘tourist attraction’ mentality. I was ambivalent to say the least but the Brits I met in Indonesia said the gentleman they spoke with was more than happy to have the company for a short bit and was not at all put off by ‘human zoo’ nature of the interaction. And when I saw that an American woman had got herself into trouble as result of a ‘passport’ issue (no details provided) I thought it might be a good idea to check on her status and see if she was ok.

So I separated from my co-conspirators and off to the woman’s prison I went, located around the corner and down a short side road. I waited outside the modest, if not dilapidated brick wall that served as the gateway to the inside of the prison. The doorless brick entrance led into the foyer containing the meeting area for civilians and convicts. At the rear of this was a door leading to the incarceration area. After a short wait I was led to the meeting area and ushered to sit down. This ‘room’ was nothing more than bench style seats constructed out of bricks facing each other. In the middle was a brick partition about three feet high with a green iron fence filling in the rest of the space to the ceiling. The fence was extremely porous as the size of the space between links was more than big enough to reach through. So I sat down and waited.

The bench contained about ten people all scrunched together. On my right was a Nepali woman and on my left two young children, female, presumably waiting to speak with their mother (the woman who appeared minutes later). As I sat there and watched the inmates interact with the visitors (all Nepali at this point) I was struck by the thought that if I did not know better it would be exceedingly difficult to distinguish the cons from the civilians merely by focusing on either side of the fence (no prison uniforms). Although the female inmates were of varying ages (teens to upper fifties I believe) there was no sense of desperation or despair in their faces. All of the conversations could just as easily been carried out over a cup of tea at a coffee shop, judging by the nonchalance present in the atmosphere.

In fact many of the inmates were drinking tea that their family members had purchased for them from the woman serving tea at the prison. It was extraordinary. I have absolutely no idea how long these women had been there, would be there, or what crime they had committed, but there was a distinct lack of the sort of apprehension one might expect to find in such circumstances. So I waited for my inmate who, according to the list, was an American woman from Texas by the name of Geraine Bush. A woman from Texas with the last name Bush? Hmmmmmm.

When she made her appearance in the doorway she was not at all what I expected. For some reason I had a vision of some young star-crossed Texan that was either in the wrong place at the wrong time or a victim of unfortunate circumstances. The latter was probably true…..probably.

The woman who sat before me appeared to be in her late twenties, earlier thirties, of Asian (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc.) ethnic background, short hair, and owned an accent I could not place. She began to speak and thus began my trip down the rabbit hole….way down.

I hardly know where to start. She claimed to be the daughter of a German woman and American man. She, as her mother before her, was a member of the US Army. Buckle up. Her orders brought her to India where as a member of the US military she was involved in the selling of nuclear material to the Indian government. This did not sit well with her so, in accordance with United Nations edicts, she refused to pass over the material. Then it gets a bit hazy. There was something about being detained and drugged by the Indian military and having all of her documents stolen, but with the help of MI5 (British Intelligence) was able to acquire replacement documents and somehow make it to Nepal without a visa.

It was there, finding herself document-less once again (it was not made clear how), she was detained for illegal immigration (I never did get the circumstances of her arrest). Her pleas for help from the American Embassy went unheeded. Before she was incarcerated she did make a stop there in order to consult with State Department employees but they refused to help her unless she made some apologies and withdrew complaints to the United Nations and the Atomic Energy Commission. Apologies to whom you ask? Well, the Indian government for starters. And also to Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. Yep. Not only did she file formal complaints against the Indian government for the illegal purchase of nuclear material from the US, sexual harassment, and ill treatment from its military, she also made accusations against Jindal for his complicity in the 911 attacks and his assistance to Al Qaeda. She assured me she has proof.

Although the US government may not have been picking up what she was dropping, British Intelligence was on board which explains their willingness to assist. According to my new friend, Britain is sick and tired of international terrorism, especially as it pertains to their aviation industry. Apparently, they’ve had two planes a month hijacked by terrorists and flown to Ireland. The Brits have managed to keep a lid on it which explains the conspicuous absence of media coverage. I asked about help from friends and family but she told me this was a dead end. All of the numbers she possessed are disconnected and she clearly suspects foul play, particularly in the case of her mother. And her father, well, he refuses to help….I think.

She claims that in order to get out she is required to pay 40, 000 RS (approx $500), a sum she is unable to raise. She does own a laptop that the Nepali gov’t instructed her to sell in order to free herself but she refused. After all, that is her personal property and how would she sell it on the open market anyway? Not only that, although it looks like a laptop it is in fact is so much more. It contains top secret information and constitutes a US state secret (it can be used to launch missiles), the selling of which would subject her to the full fury of military justice (treason perhaps?).

And if she were released, where would she go without a visa? Nowhere fast. So I guess without the help of Uncle Sam she is up shit creek without a paddle. I was more than a little stupefied by what I had just been told. It was fairly clear to me that this woman was either clinically insane, a pathological liar, or both. I am not even sure she is actually American. Listing ‘Bush’ as her last name is a bit suspect. Not that my heart does not go out to her as she is still in a world of poop. Kathmandu Central Jail is not Club Med and I am positive that the conditions are deplorable. If she is mentally divergent she clearly belongs somewhere else but in the end there was little I could do, a state of affairs that made me dread departure as I was sure she was going to implore me to help. It did not happen. I mentioned that I had to go, passed her the Marlboro Reds, and started to rise (right about that time she was told her time was up anyway). She behaved as if we’d just had a pleasant conversation on her front porch and understood that I had to be on my way. She thanked me for coming but asked me for absolutely nothing in the way of assistance. I hardly know what to make of it. The whole experience left me feeling like I just stepped through another dimension for twenty minutes. Wow.

As I walked away trying to muster the words for what I’d just experienced my mind was a confused blob of conspiracy theories and spy novel scenarios. Wow. And who did the others visit? A murderer, a rapist, and another individual guilty of immigration violations. I believe the inmates were French, Dutch, and French respectively.

You may wonder why anyone would choose to visit violent offenders. Good question. Well, criminal guilt in the developing world is anything but certain (and in 1st world for that matter) so we figured there was always a chance these guys were wrongly imprisoned. The Dutch rapist (Hendrik Otto Molhuysen) refused to speak with my friend. His attitude was 'Why would I want to speak to you?' Fair enough. He returned to his cell without entering the waiting area. I would have thought that any chance to get away from his cell would have been welcomed enthusiastically but I was mistaken. As it turns out (we discovered this later) he is accused of (and found guilty of) being a 61 year pedophile that ran a center for homeless children. Fuck'um.

The French murderer (Charles Sobhraj) was only present for a few minutes before a call from family pulled him away. We knew he was accused of murder but had no details. He claimed that he was detained, found guilty, and sentenced without the benefit of a trial. There are organizations that have taken up his cause, which apparently has merit. In fact, I’ve read that he will be freed in February (Author's Note: Nuh-uh. It didn't happen). Have a warm and fuzzy feeling? Don’t. This guy is suspected of being a serial killer and is notorious. He is the subject of several books and a movie. He is alleged to have killed two backpackers from Canada and the US in 1975, the crime for which he is incarcerated. This man, nicknamed the ‘bikini killer’ and ‘the serpent’, is suspected of killing 12-24 people between 1972 and 1976. Super. This guy is the stuff of crime novels (makes sense as a few have been written).

The last guy, a Frenchman, has been living in Nepal illegally for years which appears to be his sole offense. He has a wife and two children but without cash to grease the wheels he may be in there for some time. He appeared to be the most unfortunate of the four we visited.

After our prison extravaganza we went to a Tibetan Buddhism mediation center for a viewing of a DVD on the Tibetan Book of the Dead followed by the film “Kundun” by Martin Scorsese. After that it was to Everest Steak House for a delicious, if not obnoxious, pile of meat, which brings me to my next adventure.

There is a festival that occurs in the Bara District of southern Nepal once every five years known as Gadhimai. The name of the festival refers to the Hindu goddess of power. In order to appease the goddess and insure prosperity and good luck animal sacrifices are required. On the 24th and 25th of November there are an estimated 15, 000 buffaloes and 300, 000 birds, goats, and sheep slated to be put down. It is supposedly the largest mass sacrifice on the planet. Controversy abounds and as you might imagine animal’s rights groups are none too pleased. There are expected to be protesters on hand along with a contingent of armed police officers. The temptation to check this ceremony out and all of its religious underpinnings is just too much to bear. My friends and I shall be headed south to get to the bottom of it. It could be rather disturbing and I am bit hesitant to attend. However, curiosity has gotten the better of us.

1 comment:


    My friend from Basel Daniel Weber, he born I guess 1963 in Switzerland. but since few year he life in India Goa Anjuna (Zoorim). I wisit him every year in Goa.He came in Kathmandu for make his India Visa. But the Police found a lot Charras, Hash.... He stay in Jail... Could you help me where he can be, please? I´d like to Phone Letters ect. and also a old god Friend Marcello from Basel Switzerland, we want to send him a Parcel.... Please, help us to find our Friend Daniel Weber in Jail.

    Many Regards Geraldine Schmid geraldineschmid@yahoo.de Sorry i write Anonym I do not know wich one shall I choose Select profile..........


'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim