Tagged with first impressions

GalleryDharavi

The bakers.

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EssayDharavi

Visiting one of Mumbai's slums was top on our list of things to do. We'd heard stories of hope and perseverance; of people building life from a few pieces of cardboard, corrugated steel and plastics. In fact, on our boat trip down the Amazon we met a Spaniard who had lived in a Mumbai slum and made a film about the fight over land. Over the course of his experience with the slum's inhabitants he ... View Essay »

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GalleryHimachal Pradesh - a mountainous journey commences

Our view of the Kinnaur Kailash range

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EssayHimachal Pradesh - a mountainous journey commences

Mountains are elusive features of nature - breathtakingly beautiful yet unknowable, massive and brutal. So it'll come as no surprise that describing a drive on a tiny strip of road meandering and switchbacking through parts of the largest mountain range in the world - the Himalaya Range - is hard to put into words. From every vantage these megaliths change their appearance; with every passing ... View Essay »

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GalleryA bout of lag

Mohana making <em>adai</em>

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EssayA bout of lag

Matt working on the TM redesign

When we arrive at our destination and meet with people, the question is always asked "What do you want to do?" Immediately, my type A kicks in and I ramble off all the categories of things we want to accomplish, beginning with language, culture, humanitarian efforts, etc. But after a moment I feel sheepish, as though I am justifying my endeavor with a busy-bee list of things. How do you explain ... View Essay »

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Home Again

It's funny how small the world really is. For some reason air travel still feels very strange to us. There's something not quite right about being able to wake up in a hotel room in Thailand and 31 hours later climb into a bed in Connecticut on the other side of Earth. At least it seems odd that you can do it without getting scurvy, losing half the crew and sinking a ship. In any case, Anjuli and I left the warm humid storms of the Gulf of Thailand this morning and 9,500 miles later we stepped outside at JFK into the chilly NYC rain.

We weren't planning to come back to the US so soon, but sometimes it just makes sense to be home. I need to recuperate and get my strength back, we wanted to get out of the tropics before one of us picked up another disease, and we have to finish planning ... View Post »

StoryGimme Shelter

There is a pretty amusing pattern we've fallen into when selecting and checking into a new hotel, cabin, bungalow, etc. On the island, it's a particularly comical process.

Most of the bungalows are made of cement with wood or bamboo "accents" (and sometimes even wood accents made of painted cement!). They are in varying states of construction, repair and disrepair (and sometimes all three).

When finding a new place to stay or observing a new road we haven't visited we always check the beachside resorts. Our little hunt goes as follows.

We drive down a paved main road on the island, then down a paved side road. As we head farther east from west or north/south from midland west coast, the pavement becomes ever narrower and cracked. As we angle downhill, maybe take a fork off ... View Story »

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It may just look like yellow specks to you, but what you're seeing is a lantern set aloft (like a little hot air balloon). This photo is shot from my reclined pillow position at our diving school after we finished our homework. Britney is playing. Yes, it's true. Some other highlights included Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Lady Gaga, Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Eminem and some terrible thumping bass things I didn't recognize. At the base of the photo are all the lighted fishing boats on the horizon, presumably catching tomorrow's dinner.

Concerns at this stage: pass out on my pillow and get eaten alive by mosquitos under candle light or go to bed and listen to Britney from the privacy of my bungalow. Ahhhh, island life in the tourist zone.

P.S. Our first sighting of these floating lanterns ... View Post »

StorySometimes you find yourself holed up

Yesterday we had a wonderful bike ride, whirring around the city with a local Thai named Tap. We found him through a local bike tour company called Follow Me.

It was all very exhilarating - cycling down backalleys and over uneven, craggy cement and by little food stalls and street vendors that only the locals know about (see, you can only find them outside people's backdoors.)

It reminded me of the one time I visited the Amalfi coast in Italy and tried to walk my way from the tippy top of Ravelo all the way back to the town of Amalfi. Just as it was nearing dinner time my then-boyfriend and I found ourselves snaking down these tiny, tiny little backstreets stuffed with houses barely higher than ourselves. We noticed we were looking in on everyone's backdoor, which happened to ... View Story »