Saturday, November 13, 2010

Photos of the Mumbai Metro One Project

I've been asked for photos of the Project that I'm working on.  This isn't the appropriate place for an editorial regarding theProject , but there's no harm in posting a few photos that were taken on November 12, 2010.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trip to Lonavala

Back on the 24th, Lisa, Grace, Madelyn and I (Deb wasn't feeling well), traveled to the Hill Station of Lonavala.  A Hill Station is a location where the well-to-do have their country homes.  I've mentioned in previous posts how beautiful the countryside is.

The highlight of the trip for the girl's was riding a camel.

This was not at all like in the states where they bring the camel into a Safeway parking lot.  This was in the middle of nowhere, alongside the road where a a bunch of people were stopped to enjoy the view.  The most memorable part for me, was not the joy on the girl's faces, but the joy on the faces of the people watching two little blonde girls riding a camel.  It was clearly something they had never expected to witness.

The other highlight of the trip was feeding the wild  monkeys along the side of the road. The monkeys would be sitting on the guard rail,you'd toss an orange slice, and they'd catch it.

Deb says: Regarding the monkey on the right,  I was wondering where I had seen that expression before,and it didn't take long to realize where I had seen it many times.....George W. Bush!  You see it, right?

Michelle Obama

The Obama's have been visiting India this week.  The Indian press has mixed reviews for the President, but they love the first lady.  One of today's front page headlines was about the Obama's visit to a grade school and Michelle's participating in traditional Indian dances with the students read: "Dancing Queen Rocks India".

Another headline read: "First Lady's Grace, Humility Win Hearts".  In the article the following encounter was reported:  A young girl upon meeting the first lady said: "is a dream come true for me", the first lady quickly responded, "No, you are a dream come true for me."

Is it to early to start a Michelle 2016 campaign?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bit more on India and on safety

I feel like my last Post on 'safety' may have been a bit too negative about India.  Everyone asks me what's India like.  Before leaving Portland I read a quote and it has proven to be very true for me.  The quote was: "India is the WORST place in the world, and India is the BEST place in the world, and both statements are true."

Everyday you're assaulted with the most overwhelming poverty and the same day by the grace of the people in accepting and enjoying their lot in life.  Apparently, its the Hindu way - you're born into your current place in life because of your karma from the previous life, and if you live a virtuous life you'll be rewarded with a better life next time around.  I have no doubt that such widespread poverty in the US would result in the complete breakdown of society and revolution, but here many people (not all or most - but many) seem to find an inner peace.

There are many other positives, but generally most everything remains a significant challenge.

I'd like to end this as positive as possible, but I have a couple of photos that I want to share (they unfortunately get back to the topic of respect for human life that was the topic of my previous blog).  The 8 story condo bldg. across the street from us is being painted.  The following photo is of the bamboo scaffolding that is typical in India.

I find it amazing, unfortunately, there's no way to tell just how strong it is, and I for one do not have that much faith in my knot tying ability.  The following photo is of the guys using it - 100+ feet above the ground.

Perhaps you can't tell from the photo, but there is no attempt to tie-off to anything.  I wish I could say that they're so skilled that it works out just fine, but I've heard its one of the most common causes of fatalities, and to some just an opportunity to move on to that next life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween in Mumbai

We found a Halloween party for the girls at the Hard Rock cafe and it was really fun!  They had games, a parade, crafts, a costume runway opportunity, and tons of good food and drink.  When we got home the girls and I took a rickshaw to a donut shop and bought donuts while Lisa hid candy for a scavenger hunt.  Later we hung donuts and ate them from the string without touching them, where I showed my true skills for eating chocolate donuts...winning the game!

Madelyn had earlier made a piƱata from construction paper which proved to be very tough.  They had fun filling it and then hitting it open and running and squealing for candy.  But, by far their favorite thing was the scavenger hunt.  Lisa did an awesome job creating 10 rhyming clues for them to follow....they loved it and have saved the clues and enjoy reliving the experience.

I never saw myself celebrating Halloween in India, but it was fun.  Finding decorations proved challenging and very expensive....$4 for a small bag of cobweb stuff, etc., but it was a worthwhile challenge.  It was kind of fun to see the look on peoples faces when the girls were out and about in their costumes....most have never heard of Halloween, which really is a pretty bizarre celebration when you think about it!

trip to Goa

Lisa, Madelyn, Grace and I got back from Goa on Friday afternoon, after spending 3 nights at a beach resort there.  It was so nice to see clean beaches where you could go in the water.  Goa is a short flight away from's weird, they schedule it as an hour flight but it really is only about 20 barely get up in the air and you are coming down for a kind of flight!  The hour is actually for the delays in getting started and circling around before landing.

As you leave the resort to go down to the beach there is a very disturbing sight to see...two men, bigger than life statues, as you can see!  It kind of leaves me speechless!

Another photo is of the Indian wiring we sat next to at the open aired restaurant we were in.  It also leaves me with a loss of words!

You will also see a photo of a ship very close to shore...apparently it ran aground 10 YEARS AGO!  Have I said it before how things are slow here????

Finally, a photo of the girls at the beach...which really is a very nice beach, except for the vendors who are relentless.  Lisa and one young girl started really getting into a quarrel...the girl accused Lisa of telling her to come talk to her later and that Lisa was supposed to buy something from her then.   The girl didn't know who she was dealing with!

I definitely want to go back to Goa again and explore it further!