Monday, November 30, 2009

Some Words From Mahatma Gandhi



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“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

"In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all."


"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."


- Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monkey See... Monkey Do



Here's the Monkey See:



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Here's the Monkey Do (it):

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Few More



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Tweets from India

- The antibiotic I'm taking to keep from getting sick to my stomach (and malaria among other things) is making me sick to my stomach. It's also making me sunburn easily.

- Most doors open backwards. I find myself pulling instead of pushing and pushing instead of pulling. I wonder if those in observance have picked up on us Americanites and our propensity to open doors the same.

- It's humid here. The clothes don't dry and I sweat like a banshee. I'm afraid the treadmill will short and electrify my sorry toosh.

- I've been running on a treadmill at the hotel five times now. The power has gone out every time.

- My sweat is starting to smell like coriander.

- Boya is the trainer at the hotel gym. He kind of hovers over you just in case you "need a spot." Kinda makes me uncomfortable. Very nice, however. He brings me many freshly laundered towels that smell of the most delightful of fabric softeners. After two days of bringing me "many" small towels, he's graduated to big towels. A hint, perhaps?

- It's very difficult to wash your face and shower without getting water in the mouth. It's a good thing that Gak taught me that shower-with-mouthwash-in-the-mouth trick. Even shared that trick with our doc who had a trip to El Salvador planned.

- I've gone through two toothbrushes on this trip. Why? Because I keep rising them with the water from the bathroom sink. The teeth must be brushed with bottled water to avoid contaminating the blood stream.

- I'm enjoying the "down" time.

- The locals here have developed an immunity to the water. They can drink water from the taps. I'm thinking the human body can fix itself in many ways - we just need to let it.

- Many trees along the road are painted with a white and redish-orangish stripe. This is done by the government. It means you cannot cut that tree down. (That was fer you, Tom.)

- Restaurants bring warm water and lemon in a bowl after you're finished with your meal. Some restaurants bring it before the meal. It's used to wash the hands.

- Spouse is watching TV in German right now. I've decided he has a language thing. He picks up "bit and pieces" from every language we've heard on this trip. We've heard a bunch of languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hindi, Marathi, and German.

- With all those language bits and pieces, Spouse seems to have trouble with English when I'm speaking it. Sometimes he doesn't understand much. Selective, perhaps?

- I've seen three people welding without eye protection.

- All the outlets here are 220v. In the U.S. most are 110. This means you'll fry your flat iron if you plug it in. For this reason, we purchased a converter thingee to bring the voltage down. Doesn't work and I'm ticked I wasted suitcase space.

- Speaking of suitcase, I think the parents' suitcase will need replacing. The Mumbai airport is rough with the luggage (among other things.)

- People dress modestly. Spouse and I are the only ones in shorts. It is their winter, however. Their winter is 80 degrees (F). I think the Mormons might actually look kinda slutty in comparison.

- The other day I was here at the laptop when I started to smell something similar to that of burnt urine. (Don't tell me you've never peed on a fire.) I finally figured out that it was the laptop's voltage regulator. (You know, the rectangular thing that the chord is attached to.) The regulator reduces the voltage from 220 to 110. After an hour or so, the poor thing started to fry and needed a break. That's where that burnt urine smell was coming from.

- The Muslim prayer chant is played over the city at 6:00am and 6:00pm. Being as the Muslims pray five times a day, I'm sure the Prayer Song is played three more times. I just haven't noticed.

- The piano in the lobby is intensely out of tune. Painfully, intensely, atrociously out of tune.

- Does opening multiple browsers and applications use more of the battery in a laptop? Is it like car and air conditioning? If you run a car without air conditioning the gas will last longer. Maybe the battery will last longer if I don't sort photos, blog and run e-mail all at the same time.

- They say Kindly instead of Please here. As in, "Kindly sign here, sir." Or, "Kindly remove your shoes."

- How exactly does India count the population? Think about it. They say there are 1.2 billion people in India. How the hell do you count to 1.2 billion? That would take forever.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Photos

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Sushi

I like sushi 'n all, but something tells me that this isn't such a great idea...

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Driving Miss Rabid

How about some bideo?

We have a Happy Snap camera. It's a small camera, one that can fit into a purse, a pocket or can be attached to a belt. It is easy to use and can be transferred to others easily. When conditions allow, the Happy Snap takes some pretty good pictures. The flash is adequate.

Our Happy Snap camera is a Canon Powershot SD 600. You should get one. (But if you do you'll get a better one because the Happy Snap is over a year old and out-dated.)

I prolly take more photos with the Happy Snap than the Bossette camera. By the time you see your kids doing something cute you don't have a lot of time. You don't have time to pull out the Bossette camera, notice the wrong lens is on it, switch lenses, attach the flash if it's a wide-angle lens, double check the ISO because you don't remember what it was set at, check the aperture and adjust the shutter speed.

Nope. No time for that. The kids are done being cute. In fact they've bathed themselves, done their 10 minutes of reading and are kneeling for bedtime.

I've made fun of crappy pictures in the past (but mostly phone cameras cause really if you're going to take a lot of pictures, go get yourself a Happy Snap and use the phone camera for espionage. Oh and for heaven sakes remove that plastic protective sheet that covers your picture taker.) There really is no such thing as a bad photo. Any photo capturing something noteworthy, is a great photo.

Our Happy Snap camera has easy video. By easy, I mean it saves it in AVI format so as it can be viewed and uploaded without any hocus pocus. This is why, friends and followers ('cause there are over 20 of you now), you get footage of Driving Miss Rabid.

Video #1: Notice the two lane road with five cars across. That's how it is around here, the lines on the road, you know the ones that tell you where you should drive? Aren't used much. Also notice the intersection has no traffic signal.

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Video #2. I want to bring Mr. Driver home with us. He's awesome and skilled!

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Video #3. Two-wheelers are the preferred mode of transportation. Two-wheelers are scooters and motorcycles. It's scary business. They pull out in front of on-coming traffic expecting the oncomers to stop. Most of the time they do.

There is much honking. It's not a get-the-heck-out-of-my-way kind of honk. It's more of a here-I-am-I'm-coming-in kind of honk. Don't see the difference? Well then back up and read that paragraph again.


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Video #4: There is no such thing as "yield to oncoming traffic." If you want to get anywhere, you pull out in front of the oncoming traffic and expect the oncomers to stop. Surprisingly they do. I've learned it's best not to watch. Incidentally, no one gets angry over this cutting-each-other-off business because it ain't personal! At home, driving is personal. Perhaps the Utahns and Californians and whoever else has road rage issues should come here for a few.


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Video #5: Temple. With "all gold."

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Video #6: Good brakes are paramount. There's that word again, paramount. I love that paramount word. Tailgating is another common practice here which requires good working brakes and expeditious reactions. I really wonder about the brakes on those old buses.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chokhi Dhani

It's Happy Snap time!

Our Thanksgiving Day was a memorable one. I'm way over here on the other side of the world. (Are you tired of me reminding you of that yet? I'm beginning to wonder what I'll write about once I'm home.) Since we are way over on the other side of the world in this wonderful place called India, we get to be 12.5 hours ahead of you people at home. In The States. While you are busy moaning and groaning over the incessant gluttony of your Turkey Day, we're so over it. We've graduated to Black Friday.

This is my happiest Black Friday ever. They don't imprison themselves with that hateful tradition way over here on the other side of the world. Thank the Lord, Ala and Buddha! All of 'em.

Before we left, I was bragging to my home-cheese running buddies that on Thanksgiving, I'll be having Curry Something-or-Other way over on the other side of the world. Yes, bragging. You can image my disappointment, however, when the hotel produced this sign:

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We just can't get away from Thanksgiving. Even way over here on the other side of the world. The hotel staff was pressuring us to make a reservation. They wanted us at their Thanksgiving buffet. They didn't realize, however, that we purposely booked this trip way over on the other side of the world so as to avoid Thanksgiving.

For Thanksgiving, the boys on Spouse's team took us to a place called Chokhi Dhani. It was honestly the most fun I've had in decades. That fun.

This Chokhi Dhani place is an ethnic village with activities that specialize in the Rajasthani tradition. Its origins are Hindu. Kind of like a Hindi Carni way over here on the other side of the world.

First, you stop at the Hindi Krishna Temple to pay respects.
Krishna is one of many Gods in the Hindu religion.

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Then you have the third eye attached.
The third eye is the area between your brows and is also called the Eye of Wisdom. The idea is to keep this third eye closed, or cool. The Hindus believe that the third eye can be opened by anger and the opening of that third eye will lead to destruction. The red dot placed between the brows is a constant reminder to stay cool. Even way over here on the other side of the world.


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Then you bang the gong with an extremely heavy mallet thing.
The villages used to have a designated gong banger who would mark the hour with the number of gongs.

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Then you have a peacock painted on your hand.


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Then you ride a camel. They have camels way over here on the other side of the world. Did you know that?

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Then you watch the traditional fire-pot-on-the-head dance. And they invite you to join.

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One of the dancers drinks kerosene and spits fire.

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Then you sit on steps and have a group photo.

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Then you watch a puppet show complete with cobra puppet.

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Then you juggle.

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Then you shoot pellet guns at balloons.

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Then you have your palms read by guru who knows many things about pasts and futures. (With an interpreter of course who already knows a truck load of info about you. Interpreter, however, claims it was all legit.)

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Then you have dinner! You take off your shoes, enter the building and sit on a rug behind a short square table. They bring a round plate with many spices and butters. They also bring small bowls. Then happy servers bring the food around to you. This food was so good! And vegetarian! And so fun! This was my favorite activity of the trip (thus far.) P.S. If you're a vegetarian or "vedge" as the locals call it, India is the spot for you.

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This place, way over here on the other side of the world, is a very happy place!