India video days
Posted by mexist at
09:37 PM (June 09, 2006) |
Comprehensive photo batch
Hello peeps. I have uploaded the rest of my photos and you can browse them here:
As for the audio recordings, you can listen to them here:
mexist sound clips
Or for fun, go to this link, zoom in on India, and explore my recordings that way, all the clips in India are mine for now, until more people start posting:
Geotagged sound map
Note: It takes a moment to load the clips, and it probably won't work that well in Internet Explorer. You should be using Firefox folks.
Now be sure to stay tuned for an online mix of all the videos I shot in India. Paz!
Posted by mexist at
01:20 PM (May 09, 2006) |
Belly full o' Delhi
Ahhhh... somehow, Delhi got me. Even this dust filled, polluted, chaotic city, with relentless heat and an army of scam artists managed to charm me. It really is what you make of it. Partly, I think I'm starting to lose my mind from the sun beating on my head and having to weave through traffic endlessly... what's that saying, as you keep moving forward, your soul needs time to catch up...
I went looking for some block printed fabrics in the southern market but found it was all geared for tourists... just junk stuff... nothing really authentic... and when I tried to get a moment of rest on a cement wall people kept coming up to me, with the same old routine... "Hello. Hello. Where are you from." ...followed by hard sell for some dinky postcards or Ray-Ban sunglasses, sheesh... then the seedier types whisper "you want some hash, you want some etc..." Yes, sometimes I like to mess with people's heads if they deserve it. One guy kept asking me, what do you think these glasses are worth! So I began counting down from 1,000... 999rupees? 998 rupees... and his face went from a furrowed brow to one of a nervous fellow... some teenagers came over and were being all discreet, "you want some hashish" and I exclaimed "DRUGS!?" and everyone looked over at us... "I don't want drugs but thank you!" and as they were walking backwards away from me all nervous I only got louder "NO DRUGS FOR ME!" until they were sprinting away down the street... See you can have fun instead of letting them bring you down...
So anyways, I went into Old Delhi, and I wish I had done this in the first place... Old Delhi is where the heart of the city really is... the narrowest streets, barely any sunlight breaking through, and endless corridors... a maze of shops, based on themese... there's the sari fabric district.... an area that specializes in bangles and embroidery material... all sorts of traditional shops, and there's no way to get your bearings...
I took a bike rickshaw to the giant Jama Masjid Mosque...climbed the tower and got a nice view of the city... it just expands out in all directions... looks a bit like Mexico City... not too many skyscrapers, but the city goes on forever... The mosque was built when there was a big islamic invasion and they conquered much of the area... It shoots up into the sky, and looking at the towers, it looks like arabic script... with the punctuated forms... This conquering spirit made itself apparent in the design, a massive courtyard, fort walls. and three giant entrances with steps leading up to the main building...
The total flipside, and one that I identified much more with, was when I stumbled across a Hindu Temple near the beginning of the Bazars... There were street children playing near the front and they kept jumping in front of the camera so I snapped them and showed them their picture, and they went bananas! Inside the Hindu Temple, there was drums and chanting, incense burning, and the dieties were lit with ultraviolet light and surrounded by the craziest mirrored walls ever... it would put most dance clubs to shame... People came in, would ring the bells in the doorways, and it was much more organic than the Mosque experience. Almost like, these are gods to be friends with, not to fear. There were many points on Hinduism I have come to understand now that make a lot of sense. And if I were one to fall into mythology, this would be a great choice. It's much more colorful and expansive than most religions...
Anyways, on my walk over the New Delhi railyards, I heard someone jamming a tiny little radio below, and it was that NIMBODA song... you know that one? Nimboda nomboda nimboda! I gotta find that cd tomorrow... it'll be strange to have to sing it to the guys so they know what I'm talking about but oh well...
Don't be scared of streetside food. As long as you see a busy cart, it should be ok. Why ever bother with fancy high priced gourmet fusion when the street food here is just as tasty...
When I was waiting for my train to leave Mumbai, I came across a friendly dog, and after I scratched his head a little he followed me everywhere... then, with my new companion, I came across a group of people near the entrance of the rail station passing out leaflets... I looked at one and it was all about promoting a vegetarian diet, and the perks that go with it... They were from Tawian, dunno why they were in the middle of India handing these out, but in my broken chinese, and their broken english, we agreed to split the leaflets and so I became the english spokesperson for their group until my train was getting ready for departure... How in the world do I end up in situations like this?
Anyways, here's some pics, starting from the caves near Jalgaon, to Delhi... Peace out peeps! See y'all back in Texas. I feel now like I have a better ending to the trip. And there is still most of tomorrow... maybe I'll make it out to that Toilet museum finally...
Posted by mexist at
10:01 AM (April 25, 2006) |
Briefly surfacing for air
ohhhhhhh... this PC isn't detecting my camera, so no pictures this post, sorry kids... and im not sure i'll post before i depart tomorrrow... for the north texas peeps... i can arrange to give a show and tell on any television... in the meantime, you can stare at this for 30 seconds before moving on...
*cough!* back in Delhi... i checked out the buddhist caves near Jalgaon... power was out for most of the early evening... which is a daily occurence. i did manage to have a seat assigned to me once i jumped on the train leaving for Delhi... it sure beats that limbo area between train cars...
this is a bummer... i've run out of time... i wanted to take a day trip to Chandigarh (the experimental architecture city) but it's too close to my departure. seriously, i fly out tomorrow evening. oh well. next time right? i am def. coming back, but instead, i'll give myself at least 3 months...
i'm staying in the dusty main bazar area near the new delhi train station and i guess i'm seasoned enough now to where all the touts and scammers don't phase me anymore... i see other people darting around frantically with a swarm of touts buzzing around them... with me, i just completely ignore them and let them waste their energy, or repeat every exact thing they are saying in my ear... if they ask you what you are looking for just say "Kittens!" one guy immediately said "Yes, Kittens this way!" pointing down an alley, and then he paused and asked "kittens?" I guess a 30 hour train ride will do that to ya... so everything has been pretty much ok, i never felt like i was in real danger... not even when the guy on the bus tried to pickpocket me. i knew that was his intention, and waited for it... but guess who sewed velcro into his pocket linings son!!! i almost laughed as i watched his fingers try to find the loot... all the while making a fake conversation with some stranger in front of me... good try.
i haven't really gone shopping that much, most stuff is just bric a brac... i know some of y'all LOOOOVE bric a brac though... i'll see what i can dig up...
as for this anticlimatic post, maybe i can find another place with a PC that isn't completely covered in dust with the cover falling off... then I can post some images... mexist will soon be departing for home, boarding platform three... beeeeep
Posted by mexist at
01:00 AM (April 25, 2006) |
Full Belly, Hot Sun, too hectic, too hectic...
Bombay contains the widest spectrum of the human condition I've ever seen... to someone with new eyes, it slams you in the face and you're confronted with it everywhere. But to those that live here, it's the norm, to the point of not being noticed anymore. Last night I visited Ashish, a good friend of Juan Carlos, in northern Mumbai. I was an unexpected guest at a celebration party they were throwing for a friend's upcoming marriage. Thanks Ashish for being so welcoming!
The balcony view from his penthouse suite gives a different perspective of life in this city. One that gives you a better view of the gulf between the poor and the rich. This is a society that has been around so much longer that to most educated Indians, the USA must look like a stumbling child. I met someone who Ashish nicknamed the cotton king of India, and I wish I had more time to discuss the issues of the Narmada Valley, and the displacement of villagers. His was a viewpoint that was coming from the industrial sector of the economy; one that sees how vital it is for India to compete more aggressively now that US import/export laws are beginning to lose hold. He was surprised to learn that back in Texas, some people use cottonseed oil as a fuel for diesel engines. If you are reading this Mr. Cotton King, remember to research research research! You'll begin to see the positive impact this can have on India's growing need for power. And remember the points on greenhouse emissions and economy!
Oh come on y'all, you know I preach the biodiesel sermon everywhere I go...
This is my last post before I hit Delhi again. It will be several days. Night train tonite to Jalgaon, then tomorrow I go see the giant Buddhist cave sculptures. Then its an early morning train on the 24th to Delhi, which I imagine will take around 25-30 hours. I have a wait-listed ticket, instead of a reservation (train was booked) so wish me luck on getting on that train! I'll stowaway if I have to.
Bombay as seen from Ashish's home
Ashish (right) and the cotton king of India... sorry, I told you I was horrible at remembering names
The crew at the Karuna Society Animal Clinic
Siesta at the Clinic
Riding to the Sanctuary near Enumullupalli
Posted by mexist at
02:44 AM (April 22, 2006) |
A toilet on the 2AC overnight train to Mumbai. This is actually a rather nice one. They can be much worse. I'm taking a sleeper class tomorrow night. That's the one you may have seen with people hanging out of the doors hehe...
This Mosque becomes an Island in the Arabian sea at night, you can only walk out to it when the tide is low.
Dusk on Chowpatty beach... this is where I've been spending every sunset in Mumbai so far... there are food stands near the beach with great cheap food...
Near the northern bazars in the Muslim districts... there were goats on every street...
We were waiting for the Bollywood film to start and everyone started standing up... turns out that every film starts with the national anthem...
Boomin' system... damn, put some spinners on that ride and you'll be ridin' in style boy!
Posted by mexist at
10:23 AM (April 21, 2006) |
City too hot
***disclaimer: no photos in the post, this PC has no USB!***
i wasn't planning on posting right now but i just had3 glasses of various fresh fruit juices, palak paneer, and naan, and i must sit down for a few minutes...
my question is, what are dabbawallas anji?
yesterday i spend all morning and afternoon wandering around the bazzars up north... most of them were in the muslim quarters... the women has the same full body gowns, covering everything but the eyes, but in this area, they were colorful and had patterns... first time i've seen that. i finally found this little shop that has vintage bollywood posters and go some goodies there... it was a beating trying to find this place in the maze of the bazzar... then i went to the Haji Ali Mosque in the northwest, it's on a man made island and you have to walk out to it on this cement ledge. there i saw a group playing some lively devotional music for Allah. took a train back down to chowpatty beach for some food and met a fellow traveler, we ate kulfi ice cream and saw a bollywood film at this huge theatre. it was 3 hours long and had an intermission!!! but the dance segments were worth it... today im taking a boat out to elephant island to see some old sculptures. i'll probably go back to chowpatty in the evening, it's just a great way to spend the early evening.
An objective attempt to describe what I saw two nights ago:
Around 21:30 I was wandering around and was on the corner of a very busy intersection, waiting for a lull so I could run across. There was a young woman sweeping the sidewalk. She had a maroon sari. Quite pretty. A young man comes around the corner with a large bundle on his head. He puts the bundle down and takes the broom from the woman and continues sweeping. He has slacks and a button up shirt. The woman opens the bundle and take out a nightgown and puts it over her sari. The man unwraps the rest of the bundle and takes out a large plastic sheet, lays it down, and then lays some fabric over it. Meanwhile, the woman is brushing her hair, using a metal pot as a mirror. They take out a smaller bundle and it contains a small meal. They are eating dinner. Street is still heavy with traffic, and here the car horns pretty much never stop. An elderly man comes down the sidewalk and he's holding the hand of a girl of about 6, her other hand is rubbing her eyes, she looks sleepy. They lay down on a burlap bag he unrolled. A teenager walks by these people talking on a cellular phone, not taking any notice, he has denim, and a shirt with a bright asymetrical print on it. The young couple has finished dinner, wash their pots, and sort them in the bundle. They lay down and put a sheet over themselves. I can hear them chatting, and they sound like they are in good spirits, even a little laughter. The traffic hasn't stopped a bit, car horns are always going. Good night.
some tech travel tips for y'all:
- instead of photocopying your passport, checks, and plane tickets, take hi rez digital photos of them and mail them to yourself or store them on a secure server. that way, you don't need to worry as much about the hassle you would face if something was stolen. a piece of paper in your bag is not exactly a secure thing.
- make nice scans of the maps of the cities in your guidebook your will be going to and print them in a size that will fit in your journal book. this way you don't carry around that giant guidebook, and you dont need to rip out pages and carry a sloppy bundle of sheets...
- digital cameras, i'm sold! i was reluctant to go digital, but i decided to try it this time and it's soooo much better. you save money on buying film, processing, and you can share things on the fly. besides, printing photos usually means you're using gelatin kids... with this canon elph, i've taken TONS of photos, recorded sound clips, and many videos as well... a one-gigabyte card goes a long way
- for the information age, your account numbers and card numbers are sacred... when you write them down as backup, make them look like international phone numbers and give them mnemonic names...
How to cross a street in India (2 player):
Find someone else who is crossing the same intersection. Stand next to that person and match their every move. If they start to walk across even though there is an onslaught of traffic, stick with this person, shoulder to shoulder. You will feel the trucks and taxis pass just centimeters from your ass, but stay focused. Don't blink, don't fail to match tis person's pace. Keep your eyes open and grit your teeth as the giant TATA truck honks right behnd you. Remember that the smaller motor rickshaws will swerve around your but the big trucks will NOT swerve anywhere, so if you see your partner all of a sudden sprint, YOU SPRINT! NOW! If you are religous, now would be a good time to come to terms. You are halfway across. Do not for a moment lose your partner from your peripheral vision and commence to walk the second half of the street. Ignore the car side-mirror that just brushed your shirt. When you have made it, thank whatever god you worship or if you are athiest, thank the laws of probability that you weren't flattened.
How to cross a street in India (one player):
In the states, you look left, right, left. Because you know that's where the traffic comes from first. For the larger streets here, you look right, left, right. On the more anarchist streets, you look right, left, right, RIGHT! left, right, LEFT! Holy sh!t right! Left right left right left left right... AKA: YOU=FROGGER
*random memory: do you remember in madrid when we went into the oldest restaurant in the world, with bellies already full, and got escorted out with coats in hand, when we tried to order just a chocolate desert?
To read: Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Mehta
Posted by mexist at
02:54 AM (April 21, 2006) |
Bombing the bay
A short post to let peeps know I have arrived safely into Mumbai. I took an air conditioned train which took about 20 hours. This city is insanely crowded and I've only seen a fraction of it today. I walked all the way from the south docks to the Chowpatty Beach. The little beach is really nice at night, everyone comes out and there are great cheap food stalls...
crap i have five minutes...
i will save the longer storied for later... including meeting the famous fart man of india, fixing a police station's computer, and more to come...
im ok, this place has the entire spectrum of india compressed into a high density circus of human life... i took a long walk today, and when the sun sets, and the city turns into a night life, with lights, fireworks, and even more traffic, i took some side streets... its there where i saw the people of the city with no homes... i saw a mother feeding her little baby under a bridge, there were kids watching cartoons through a store window, an old couple was making their bed behind an electrical box on the sidewalk... it hits you pretty hard to see this, something to jkeep you awake, but there are organizations that you can donate to to help out the situation, just research before you do... ill give links in the next post...
in other news, on the front page, there was an article on the newspaper about workers for the giant dam project threatening to halt work if the gov. doesnt do something about all the people who will be displaced by the rising waters... that book by arundati roy deals with this specifically... anyways, she was in the article as well, and shes doing a great job communicating the severity of the situation... time is up, this place is closing,,, see yall later!
p.s. i go to jalgaon to some buddhist caves on the 23rd then to delhi, hopefully with enough time to see chandigargh... peace out!
Posted by mexist at
10:07 AM (April 19, 2006) |
Gimmie a ticket to a night train...
... I ain't got time to take a fast plane.
No seriously. I'm taking a night train from Puttaparthi to Mumbai, 11:oo pm tonite. It's a good way to save spending money on a hotel, you just sleep on the train, and arrive in the afternoon in the city. If I took a plan, it would mean I have to wait around, and I wouldn't get to see the countryside. This will be my first train ride, an experience which defines part of India. I have taken my final walk in the village and I'm already missing it. Sorry I haven't posted, I haven't had access to a decent connection in a lkong time. A ton has happened and rather than write about everything, maybe a summary of recent events will do.
First, for those of you who are wondering, i've been staying in Enumulupalli village... not really a one horse town, there are a few horses and cows and dogs and cobras... Water is complicated here, it was an eye opening view on the water situation in India. First, you have to fill the tank in the groun, but only at 2 certain times of the day. Then you have to switch on the pump to send the water to the rooftop barrel, so you have pressure. If you mess up either and run out, you are out of luck. You could do like the rest and take a big jar to the nearest water source and walk it back. I love the village, everyone is really friendly and curious.
We had a big rooftop party for the clinic workers and it was great. It was the Enumulluparty... we ate a ton, and then everyone danced to some tiny speakers. I wish we had some south India pop but all they have in the nearest town is devotional music for Sai Baba...
A cow today that was brought to the clinic possibly has anthrax, so everyone has to be really careful handling it. If it dies, they will have to bury it really deep in the ground. I've witnessed some stuff here that I have never seen. Operations, post mortem work, and one poor dog died of rabies in Deborah's hands one evening as I was leaving. But all the effort these people put towards providing a safe place to heal, and a peaceful place to die if neccessary, is really important. And that's just the clinic, where the most random events occur. The sanctuary I visited is outside of town, and it's a place for old cattle and and working creatures to retire. It's there where the bear compound is, and that sloth bear is amazing! He was being abused for entertainment with a big metal ring in his nose when they rescued him. Now he comes over for some good belly patting and horsing around.
We were invited to an engagement ceremony for a friend at the clinic. Basically, he was looking for a wife, and they asked around the town if there are any single girls left in the village. Someone at a gas station heard of a couple sisters in a village some 50km away, and they went to check it out. Then the families meet and discuss the possibility of marriage. If both sides agree, then the boy neets the girl in a huge ceremony. People from many surrounding villages came out to be there, and there were rituals galore. I don't understand how people cane choose someone to have a family with in this manner, but it's a different world. I just wish there was some real equality for the girl. It seemed like the decision was made, and like that *snap* she is going to move into the home of a new family and leave behind the family she grew up with.
Deborah's sister underwent brain surgery back in Holland, and she pulled through, so she's ok now. This was occuring while she was going to work every day in the clinic, operating and having to stay focused on all the cases coming in.
I have made a new logo for Karuna Society and a basic identity system. When I get back, I'll post some samples. It's really nice because Clementien truly appreciates it. They will need more work in the future. If anyone out there is looking for an amazing experience helping out a genuine good cause, this is the perfect place. They do a ton of real world work, and don't really do much in terms of publicity, media, and never ask for donations. It's all about doing right for these animals who would otherwise be stepped on by the rest of the world.
Please go here http://www.flickr.com/photos/mexist/ for a small selection of photos. I have a TON but no time to post everything. Here's a sample:
I'm running out of time here, I need to ghet back to the flat and finish packing and get to the train station. I have an 11pm train to Mumbai, it a full night ride so I'll get some sleep hopefully on the train. I'm going from a little village, to one of the most overpopulated cities in the world. I welcome the change of pace, but I'm going to miss Enumulupalli.
I'm sure I will be posting more often now that I'm in a city. It's kind of hard to stay wired when some places don't even have running water or electricity. But the best best best thing ever is to sleep on the rooftop of your building. It's stuffy inside, and outside, you hear all the life in the village. Plus you wake up early, which is a new experience for me. Jejeje...
See ya'll in Mumbai! (aka: Bombay)
Posted by mexist at
08:10 AM (April 17, 2006) |
Sooner or later, I knew it would happen. I would get Shiva's revenge, like Montezuma's revenge... Basically, I think a fruit drink I had 2 days ago had a tiny bit of regular water, and that's all it takes folks! Even brushing your teeth with tap water will do it. Either way, I'm 100 times better today. Yesterday morning was rough, add to thata nice bout of heat exhaustion. Luckily the house im staying in is in the village, right next to the animal clinic, so I only have to go into the town if I need something specific. Bottom line: I'm back in running condition. Note: Rehydration powder and an antibiotic pill does a nice job off bringing you back to running condition.
Anyways, as people are figuring out that I'm not a Sai Baba devotee, they have become super friendly. People will go out of their way to help you out, just knowing that you're here to help the Karuna Society. It's funny though when someone tells you "Sir, I remember you. You ride bike to village..."
So yesterday I pretty much layed in bed all day with a wet towel. The gentleman installing a cieling fan in Deborah's room told me I needed fresh coconut milk. He asked me to go with him. I thought maybe we would be going to the market where I would get a can or something... instead we drove out of town on his motorbike, into the countryside, and arrived at the Karuna Sanctuary. It's here where you see the full vision of the organization. There were dogs running around everywhere playing, cows relaxing, bulls, donkeys, deer, birds... and even a giant bear! The bear was amazing, he kept sniffing me and wanted to pull me closer but I was too chicken to let him... He seemed to be totally friendly though. Basically it was like a free range zoo, only they had all the space in the world, and were all rescued. A fellow climbed a coconut tree and brought down about 6. We used the stem of a plant as a straw, and that made my stomache feel tons better...
Hanna left for Delhi last night on an overnight train. From there she goes back to Sweden. Deborah is super busy treating animals all day. I don't know how she stays focused in this heat. Sometimes a villager or someone from a town nearby will show up with an injured animal, very unpredictable. I would like to find a way to get some more of these rolling chairs for the pooches. Many of the dogs here have been hit by cars or bitten by other animals when they were puppies. They have to drag themselves around, but otherwise they act like normal dogs, always playing and taking naps. That's one of the big differences this organization has, is that they believe that animals have a right to be ill. In other words, as much right to be taken care of and heal as humans. We wouldn't euthanize a child because of a debilitating injury.
Anyways, here's some photos, not much this time as I was out of commision for a bit. There will be more soon though! As always, you can see all the photos by going here: http://flickr.com/photos/mexist/
Posted by mexist at
11:47 PM (April 06, 2006) |
where do i start? its been what, 2 days? first i have to get this song out of my head:
ANOTHER INFECTION ANOTHER INFECTION
ANOTHER INFECTION ANOTHER INFECTION...
i guess trying to decide on taking chemical medicines will do that to ya... i haven't taken one antibiotic pill, or one malaria pill... and im not really sure if i will... maybe... we'll see... i hear ya anji, i dont want dengue! hehe... but i'm being careful... oh Elayne had a question about the left hand... well... to tip toe around the explanation... the left hand is considered filthy, and the reason is because traditionally, ppl here don't clog up their sewage systems with toilet paper, and next to the squat toilets there are these little faucets that ehhhh... you use in conjunction with your hand... need i go on? yes? ok, you wipe your exit with your left, and you scoop your food with the right. to be honest, i think the squat toilets are much more sanitary, and good for the thigh muscles... oh people come on stop cringing... don't knock it till you've tried it. as for the left hand thing, ehhh you be the judge... but as for the squats, hey at least your booty isn't touching a surface where thousands of other strange and unfamiliar booties have sat on... right? are you with me here?
ok next topic: i woke up at 5am in bangalore because there was islamic chanting all over the place... it was great... what a humble way to wake up... remember the chanting in morocco anji? look for the photo below... i ran outside to take a picture of the silent street... its the only time that street wasn't completely full of people...
so i arrived here in puttaparthi on bus, and what i walked into, i was totally not prepared for. apparently this little town is the epicenter of a HUUUGE religous following, this guy named sai baba, who is believed to be an incarnation of a great god, aka: not the pope, but more like a jesus figure... so pretty big deal. i entered the compound and it was like a giant city jsut for devotees... i even signed up for a dorm bed but ended up not sleeping there... at one oint ppl were yelling, baba! baba!!! and none other than the Baba was being driven by, with about 80 devotees chasing the car with hands folded... it kind of freaked me out, but hey, to each his own...
So I met with the fine folk at the Karuna Society and took a tour of the clinic and this is the real deal. They had all these rescued animals and some of them were missing limbs but were bandaged up. I met with Clementien, the founder and she introduced me to Hana (sweden) and I have also met Deborah (holland) and Krishna (india). Basically, they run an entire clinic/hospital for rescued critters ranging from dogs, cats, monkeys, birds, cows, ox, donkeys... some have been seriously injured either by autos or humans, others were right out abused and confiscated and taken here. this is in the Enumunapalli village, outside of Puttaparthi... I have a little apartment on the far end of Puttaparthi, and a bike to ride down to the village and work. i knew this would be a place to let my soul catch up with my body, but it's turning out to be way more fullfilling than i expected... today we went on motorbikes out to the countryside and visited a sanctuary they built of abused cattle (abused as in tranported in completely inhumane ways, there are photos and descriptions on the website if anyone is curious) she has also built watering spots for migrating herds because the river has dried up. (note: there have been many accusations by locals around india claiming that coca cola has been depleting a vast amouint of the natural ground water)
anyways, im going to be busy for a couple weeks... im going to be creating all sorts of material for print and web for the group. the office in the clinic that i will be going to everyday is outside of town in the village, and the people here are super nice. we went out to the cattle sanctuary and rode all through the village on bikes... anyways enough talk, time for pictures
p.s. senora julie webb, i looked up chandigarh and it sounds awesome!!! check this out... in the 50's a modernist architect was given the ability to plan an entire city, so all the buildings look like some weird utpoia from his viewpoint... all the planning of parks, city blocks, all have a method to them.. and theres some giant sculpture park where this guy made structures out of plastic waste... it sounds bizzarre.. i have to see it when i head back north...
p.p.s. there are tons of ppl from all over the world who make the pilgrimage to come here and see their diety the Sai Baba... that's noble and everything, but i get the feeling that many of these people are just a result of yet more religous brainwashing, for people looking for a way to have a purpose in life... there are european women with expensive looking saris and fancy leather sandles, but walking down the street like they are meager... please... i don't see them pausing one bit when they walk by a honeless woman and her child in the street... i don't see them giving them food... but that's the nature of it eh? if they need a ritual and a system to subscribe to in order to feel a morality or purpose in life, then i want to see some action, not just buying a uniform and praying... ok, im going to try to hold off my cynicism for a couple days... ill attend one of the baba's appearances... then we'll see... next time you hear from me i'll be walking barefoot down a dirt path mumbling... baba bless you
thigns i do like about the baba:
huge veggie dining hall and super cheap!
he looks like the drummer fro mthe roots, no seriously, look him up online...
his name is baba!
i gotta go!!!
view from rooftop in bangalore when the islamic chanting started...
view from the apartment im staying in... ill be moving to a house in the village tomorrow though...
Posted by mexist at
09:46 AM (April 04, 2006) |
Hot hot heat...
Finally the jet lag has worn off. I slept all afternoon yesterday after I came back from the city center... I arrived in Bangalore today and went straight to the City Market, which is the implosion of the whole spectrum of Indian society... Shrouded muslims, leather faced Hindus with painted forheads, the youth on scooters zipping around, beggars, cows, dogs everywhere, lumbering cargo trucks with little motor rickshaws flowing all around them. In Delhi the traffic was crazy, but nothing prepared me for this. I was seriously baffled that there weren't collisions all around... there must be some pyschic driving mojo going on. I saw an old man running between our rickshaw and a giant bus, he sprinted and barely caught the handle of the bus. I guess this is just how you do it here... I'm going to be sleeping right in the middle of all this, the epicenter of the market. Thank goodness for earplugs...
Ok, Texas is hot, but Bangalore is hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhot!!! A mile on foot in Denton is a breeze, you have a constant pace and hardly any obstructions. A mile around here takes a lifetime! It just stretches on and on...
Things to remember:
Stop using your left hand when eating, you have to keep catching yourself...
Walk on the left side of the sidewalk unless you want to cause a traffic jam...
Burn a mosquito coil while sleeping or you'll wake up covered in bites...
Never ever ever! accept any slightly damaged bills or you'll never get rid of them...
OK... it's photo time then I have to go... tomorrow I take a bus to Puttaparthi and meet the folk at the Karuna Society...
P.S. You can see the rest of the photos at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mexist ...i think
P.P.S. It turns out you get 20 mb a month throughput on flickr... anyone know workarounds?
P.P.P.S. Isabel... Every moto-rickshaw driver is Papi! Jajaja...
Posted by mexist at
07:43 AM (April 02, 2006) |
i'm here! this is going to be touch and go, mainly an "i'm alive broadcast"
My plane arrived in Delhi on time, at 11pm... and getting through customs took about 1.5 seconds... they just kept waving me through... a couple signs that things will hopefully go smooth for me are (a) flight attendent asked me what part of india am i from (b) they put me through the indian resident's queue in customs
the ride from the airport to my room took an hour, weaving through the traffic which consists of super-ornate cargo trucks, tiny taxis, 3 wheeled motor rickshaws, the occasional bicycle rickshaw, packs of dogs, and even cows once in a while. love it.
all the madness i heard and read about for ppl arriving into delhi didn't really affect me. i just darted through all the crowds and booked it... i am about to go to the center now and i know that will be just the most dense collection of humans i'll ever see...
in contrast, the hotel i am staying at turns out to be in a tibetan neighborhood north of town, right next to the river... i woke up to roosters and chanting... and the ghost town i saw in the middle of the night is now a bustling little hood with buddhist monks everywhere... in fact the hotel is also run by tibetans, and they have all sorts of tibet food on the menu. i cant post pictures right now because this computer is about to fall apart. but soon i hope.
agenda for today:
-get money because all the atm's were busted in the airport, a common theme i'm finding out
-wander around the center
-visit the international toilet museum in western delhi, that's right!
i have a 7:30am flight to bangalore tomorrow. luckily i met a trio of monks that are also going to the airport on the bright... they said we should leave no later than 4... 4AM! that's normal for monks to be up and about but come on... you people know how i roll... ehhh it'll be nice to see the city during dawn...
the air is dense and hot
there were people sleeping along the streets on the way in
white cows look ghostly in headlights on dark roads
my bathroom has a total of 10 faucet handles! not including the sink...
to familia (pardon my grammar): creo que tenemos un poco sangre de aca... cada rato, se me parace un primo o una tia, jaja! sabes que? vi a Isabel reportando noticias en la tele, y papi estaba revisando documentos en el aeropuerto.
ok hasta huevos!
p.s. i HAD to install firefox on this pc, IE was freaking me out maaaaaan...
Posted by mexist at
11:09 PM (March 31, 2006) |
Terminals and holding patterns
Greetings world. In case you don't know how you got here, here's what this is about:
I'm going to travel through India for most of April. While in the south, I'll be volunteering at a hospital/sanctuary for rescued animals. After that, I'll wander my way around the south for a bit before making my way back north to Delhi. I don't have a fixed itinerary but here is a rough estimate of where I plan on being:
Puttaparthi ( Karuna Society for Animals )
Mumbai (aka: Bombay)
From Anji: Arundhati Roy: Power Politics
I've just started this book but so far it's an excellent overview the consequences of U.S. globalization and India's growing reliance on privatized energy companies. This is really good reading for everyone to begin to understand the energy situation from outside the foggy bubble of the U.S.
Octavio Paz: In Light of India
This is a great essay by a great author. A Mexicano's experience of living in India for several years. Octavio finds the parrallels of being Indian and being Mexican, and goes over their history, society structure, art, writing, and of course food. To quote a line from the book "I can partly understand what it is to be Indian, because I am Mexican." I highly recommend this.
For more than a day, I'll be jetting between terminals. See y'all on the flipside.
Posted by mexist at
03:08 PM (March 28, 2006) |