August 20, 2008
I couldn't let myself leave India without hitting up that big white onion, the Taj Mahal, if only because it's maybe the most famous building in Asia and it's relatively close to where I'm living (seven hours by train, that is). When my friends and I got to the entrance gate, though, we were saddened to discover that the visitor's for foreigners was roughly $18, while Indians got in for just fifty cents. The Indian-American guy with us waltzed in with the lower price despite his SoCal accent. Us whities who paid the full fare made it our goal make the most of it, which included taking as many pictures as possible. These are some of my favorites...
Also the kickboxing version...
And the happy frolicking...
I sweat so much in India (even when I'm not leaping in front of the Taj) that one of my favorite pastimes has become blowing beads of sweat off my nose and seeing how far they can go. The next weekend after seeing the Taj, I decided that I had had enough with India's summer heatwave and I needed to escape to the Himalayas up north. So my friends and I journeyed to Shimla, which, it turns out, is where all the British used to flee to escape Delhi's summer heat. Sometimes us white folk can be so predictable. The British actually relocated the entire colonial government during the summer months from Delhi up to Shimla, which is a tiny resort town that sits on the top of a ridge and could only be reached by winding mountain roads. These imperialists really couldn't take the heat.
The spires of the Anglican cathedral stick up on the bottom right.
Traces of the Brits are everywhere in Shimla - it actually feels like a charming European village, and the only things reminding you that you're in India are the packs of monkeys trying to jump into your hotel room window and swipe your camera.
Nature decided to rain the entire time we were there and envelop us in a very British fog, except for the few minutes that it let up and I was able to snap some photos. Not to be deterred, my friends and I still went on a horse ride up to the top of Shimla ridge in the downpour. Fun fact: my horse was named Moti, which you may recall was also the name of my camel. Coincidence? I think giving me creatures named "Fatty" is India's way of saying I'm gaining serious weight thanks to all the naan and chai. When we reached the end of our harrowing uphill journey into the Himalayan wilderness, we found...an amusement park, featuring go-karts and a ferris wheel. Now that's connecting with nature. We definitely would have taken a go-kart spin, but our legs were completely drenched from wet horse torso. We retreated back to our hotel room for the rest of the day, where we took tea and complained about the dour weather in as British a manner as possible.
August 12, 2008
I’m an Olympics junkie. I get all misty-eyed when countries like
Yet despite the country’s low profile, the Indian media is Olympics-crazy. TV channels have repeated
So when on Tuesday an Indian rifleman shot his way to a gold medal, the entire country exploded. This is
Abhinav Bindra, overnight hero
Sure, there’s something a little laughable about all this. I mean, before now, who cared about the sport of shooting? Now newspapers are filling space by analyzing Abhinav Bindra’s technique or detailing his career history. Whether one dude’s ace shooting can really symbolize a whole country’s athleticism is definitely debatable. But for me, partying with the rest of
That's me, next to the groom
Pops and Schmudd looking "smart" (that's a bit of Indian English for you)