Thursday, 23 February 2012

FEB 23, 12 .. CLEMENT .. MY FRENCH CONNECTION ..

In August of 2008 .. in the far North of India .. in Ladakh .. on my way South from Kargil to Padam in the Zanskar Valley .. I met THE INCREDIBLE Olinger Family from France ! .. after meeting them in a Guest House en route .. the next day .. as I was hitch hiking .. Clément picked me up on his Royal Enfield MOTORCYCLE and .. with Patricia and their son Merlin on a second Royal Enfield .. off we went down the road !


I have 'met up' with the three of them here in Hong Kong .. after a photo shoot .. we came to their hotel on Lamma Island ..


As I post the below photos .. I AM WITH CLEMENT and PATRICIA and MERLIN on LAMMA ISLAND .. which is a ride of  twenty minutes by ferry from HONG KONG CENTRAL .. 


Do you all realize that a FRENCH KEYBOARD IS DIFFERENT FROM OURS ! .. I did NOT know this !


So I am posting photos of us on his 'tablet' .. since I am NOT able to do so (post my photos) yet in Hong Kong ..


So here we go .. below we are in front of the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon .. as we are in all of the below photos ..


A close up of we two ..
And below are Clément and Patricia and Merlin (Mer luuh) .. 


And a nice close up .. 
Then I 'hailed down' a lady .. from Spain .. she had to be a Castilian ! .. and she was so good in shooting the below photos of us !
Our Spanish Castilian was so good !  .. Nice close up below ..
And just one more 'candid photo' I snapped of Clément on Lamma Island !
That will be it for now .. what a joy to have done this post WITH Clément .. Patricia and Merlin kept us company as we did this post .. OH YES ! .. I have more photos of Lamma Island for you when I can post photos ...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

FWIW (DELHI).. 176.. February 22, 2012

In six (6) SHORT hours I will leave for the airport to fly to Hong Kong !  So what on earth am I doing putting up another post .. go figure .. the photos just keep 'happening' ! .. In-between-the-lines read this .. I AM basically ready-to-go NOW .. so I have time for this post and a nap .. and then-more ..


Below are two photos .. NOT of a barber-on-the-street BUT photos of the owner of an Auto-ricksha doing some major work in the rear end ! .. All beside the street ..


Well what-do-you-know !  .. As I walked away to snap the below photo showing he is really alongside-the-steet .. up came two young men .. "Take OUR photo 'Baba' .. please take our photo will you ! " .. So I positioned the two of them beside the Auto-ricksha man and PRESTO .. we were all so happy .. after I snapped the below photo .. the two of them came 'dashing' over to me to see their photo on the back of my Nikon Coolpix S4100 Digital Camera .. the two young men were SO PLEASED WITH THEIR PHOTO .. of course they will never see them again .. and they are terribly DARK .. but they were thrilled ..

"Cap .. will you please tell us what you LOVE so much about India !"


THE FOOD IS CERTAINLY ANOTHER  THING I KINDDA-SORTTA-LOVE ABOUT INDIA..


In the five photos below you will see .. not one .. but two (2) meals .. each of Tandoori Chicken .. one meal (the first three photos below) was photographed in the YMCA Dining Room .. I had a HALF Tandoori Chicken at the YMCA .. it cost me 'about' six U.S. Dollars (300 Indian Rupees) .. a generous 'tip' was included because I have known my waiter for all of my 21 years of coming to India ..

Above the Tandoori Chicken in the above and below photos are two Papadam crispy breads .. I LOVE the Papads !
I KNOW .. I KNOW .. so STOP ALREADY my committee !  .. I wanted to show yet one more photo just of the YMCA Tandoori Chicken plate ..

 The below two photos were taken in a restaurant I frequent near my hotel here in Pahar Ganj across from the New Delhi Main Railway Station .. they are of a WHOLE Tandoori Chicken .. so the meal is much larger than the above meal in the YMCA .. this WHOLE Tandoori Chicken dinner came upon a cast-iron-sizzling-smoking-HOT plate .. housed in a wooden case .. you can plainly see each in the below photos ..


I MEAN ! .. Will all of you JUST look at this magnificent meal ! .. it too came with a batch of red juicy tomatoes but I wanted to focus only upon the WHOLE Tandoori Chicken meal !


The cost of the WHOLE Tandoori Chicken dinner at the local restaurant .. with a 'standard' India tip .. was exactly the same as at the YMCA .. about six U.S. Dollars .. a 'standard' India tip is to leave the balance of the cost of the meal to the waiter .. leave the waiter 'decent change' .. do not give him exactly the cost of the meal .. in this case .. this second WHOLE Tandoori Chicken dinner cost 281 Indian Rupees .. so I gave the waiter three .. 100 Rupee Bills .. and left him the 19 Rupee difference ..

Monday, 20 February 2012

FWIW (DELHI).. 175.. February 21, 2012

"Now a promise made is a debt unpaid" .. The Cremation of Sam McGee .. Robert W. Service ..

When  a special friend  ..  TAKES THE  TIME ..  AND GOES TO THE TROUBLE  .. TO MAIL TO ME A  GIFT IN INDIA .. I promised him a photo of me wearing his gift ..

So  Tom-Tiger  48067 .. here we have  it .. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH .. 


And a tad  'closer up' .. 


WITH ME IN THE PHOTO IS A VERY SPECIAL FRIEND AND ASSOCIATE THAT I MET HERE IN NEW DELHI IN JULY OF 2008 .. I could write one entire post about Mr. Raj Kumar ..

SO TOM TIGER  AND RAJ .. the above photos are for you two ..

FWIW (DELHI).. 174.. February 20, 2012

I just did NOT want you to think that ONLY in AGRA CANTT do our barbers here in India work from their small 'shops' right on the street .. 

Step right up son .. shave and a hair cut .. we can do that my boy !
 Here we go yet again .. "Tell us Cap.. again .. what exactly is it that you LOVE so very much about India ? " ..
 For the Agra Cantt 'local barber shop' .. please glance back at FWIW (AGRA)..  169..  February 17, 2012 ..

Sunday, 19 February 2012

FWIW (AGRA).. 172.. February 19, 2012

Well last night .. when I finished posting FWIW..  171.. about 'Mister India Bag' .. I went and had dinner and when I came out of my restaurant .. HERE CAME A MARRIAGE PARADE ! .. let me tell you ! .. you will SEE for yourselves below  .. these are SOME SPECIAL EVENTS .. so here we go ..

Here they come .. in the DARK OF NIGHT ! .. note the illuminated 'cart' at the front .. I will show it to you following the below photo ..
 This is the band's support vehicle .. for one thing .. it houses a generator that powers all of the illumination ..
Here are a few members of the band taking a short break .. BUT others kept playing .. there was NO interruption in the music let me assure you of that ..
 AND HERE BELOW .. in the following two photos .. IS THE GROOM ! .. on his magnificent horse and riding tall !
ALL OF THE LADIES .. INCLUDING THE BRIDE .. WERE WAITING IN A HALL DOWN THE ROAD .. the wedding parade is strictly for the groom's side of the marriage ! .. isn't that horse special with his 'dress' blanket so nicely decorated ..
And here below is another shot of the band members and some of the lighting ..
Here is a closeup photo of one of the lighting carts .. there had to be twenty of them .. each has to be powered and pulled along by a band member assigned that task ..
Below you can see THAT I got OUT AMONGST THEM ! .. I mean I became a 'member' of the band and I also became a 'member' of the groom's family members .. this photo gives you some idea of the fact that this was a 'long' parade !
 I visited with several of the family members and some had come from as-far-away as Vancouver in Canada ! .. and the family members were .. 'dressed to the NINES !' let me tell you !

And then the parade 'passed we onlookers by' and went up the street .. 

In actuality .. I went from the front of the parade to the back of the parade and back-and-forth at least several times ! .. Luckily I had Patti on my cell phone for several five minutes interludes .. so Patti could be-a-part of the festivities ! .. and Patti said later that the SOUND WAS SO LOUD that in Alaska .. on her phone .. she had to hold the phone AWAY from her ears from time to time !

OH YES ! .. "Cap .. what exactly is it that you LOVE so very much about India ?" 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

FWIW (TID-BITS).. 171.. February 18, 2012

On the eve of the day I leave Agra Cantt for New Delhi and Hong Kong and San Francisco .. I want to post some photos of just some of the Bobbseys .. the Bobbseys are basically everything I have with me .. from my toothpaste to by beloved 'Mister India Bag' who carries many of the Bobbseys when we are on-the-road .. from my head wear to my shoes ..

Of course 'Mister India Bag' himself is one of the principal Bobbseys .. 

I WILL FOREVER BE OH-SO-GRATEFUL TO 'DANNY 48073' WHO SAVED THE TRIP WHEN HE AIR MAILED 'MISTER INDIA BAG' TO ME BACK ON AUGUST THE 27th AFTER I HAD TOLD 'MISTER INDIA BAG' .. " YOU WILL NOT BE MAKING THE TRIP " .. HAD DANNY NOT BAILED ME OUT ON THIS DREADFUL DECISION .. I WOULD HAVE GRIEVED AND MOURNED THE ENTIRE TRIP KNOWING THAT 'MISTER INDIA BAG' WAS  LAYING-ON-THE-FLOOR  LISTLESSLY  AT HOME ! ! 


 'Mister India Bag' is a 'duffel bag' in the world of luggage .. as such .. he presents certain issues as to packing him .. the way I have solved the big issue .. finding things inside of him .. is to have a number of individual small nylon bags that carry inside-of-them many of the small Bobbseys .. below is a photo of many of these individual nylon bags .. NOT all of them .. but most of them .. some have numbers on them that I know by heart .. the four 'flat' red bags are toilet articles .. the three green bags are stationery items (pens and everything I need to support my writing post cards and correspondence) .. directly above the four 'flat' red bags is a large blue (shaving kit) that holds an enormous number of my 'hardware Bobbseys' .. you will see some of the 'hardware Bobbseys' following the below photo .. the orange bag also holds stationery writing items .. the three (two black and one blue) bags on the bottom right are my sewing kit .. my electrical items (batteries and plugs etc) .. and (the blue one at the bottom) another major hardware Bobbsey bag ..
The below Bobbseys I use to hang things .. from clothes-to-dry to you-name-it .. I especially hang all of the above individual colored bags from the chains (shown a few photos below) when I am staying for an extended period of time in one location such as Calcutta and Arambol Beach in Goa and Pondicherry .. I have drills and drill-bit-holders (pin vises) to drill holes for the cup hooks .. almost all of the below 'hooks' I hand made from metal coat hangers to suit specific needs ..
Laundry is a BIG issue .. I have to wash and wash and wash some more because of the heat and the dust and the dirt I encounter here traveling .. below are many of my Laundry Bobbseys .. from rubber gloves to save the skin on my hands from the laundry detergent (each glove lives in its very own Bobbsey .. the socks immediately above each is where they stay when not-in-use !) .. small packages of Tide Detergent .. clothes pins and hangars .. different colors each .. clothes line and brushes and one special clothes pin that holds the mini-Tide packages shut when they are only partially used ..
 Then below are three more 'flat' green stationery bags .. AND the bowls .. I use bottled water to bathe from the-neck-up to protect my eyes from local water .. I did NOT do this at the beginning of my first trip to India (October 1990) and have chronic eye infections in the outside corners of each of my eyes ! .. so the two larger bowls are 'wash basins' that hold bottled water for me into which I dip my wash cloths .. the smaller bowls I use for an absolute myriad of things .. from Olive Oil to washing my dental (the mini-bowl at the very bottom !) night guards .. OH YES  .. the locks and the chains that I  use to secure my things on the trains and buses .. I also use the longer chains to hang the flat colored nylon bags (see above) in my rooms (as you have seen in photos of my rooms in Calcutta and Arambol Beach) .. the black and beige bags in the upper left hold the chains and the locks ..
 The below photo shows my two back-packs .. my major one for travel and my smaller one for day-trips .. AND SEE HOW THE ABOVE BOWLS ALL NEST INTO ONE ! ..
 And of course my drinking  ..'Vintage Tupperware' Tumbler and mini-water bottle .. that I carry on day trips .. they are 'sitting upon' a small wash cloth that I also use extensively ..
 And here in the below photo is my Head wear .. Mister India Hat on the right  .. and on the left my 'Sombrero' for the hot blindingly bright sun .. my black 'watch cap' for the cool nights .. and at the top ,, Tom-Tiger's Detroit Tigers base ball cap that Tom 48067 sent to me in the mail here in India .. THANK YOU TOM ! .. I could NOT do without the raw-hide gloves at the bottom .. I use them to handle my luggage and to protect my hands from mosquitoes at nights when necessary .. lastly .. at the top is the light-blue stuff-sack that holds my down jacket and my sleeping shawl and DOUBLES as a pillow between my knees in bed at night and under my arms on trains and buses to relax with ..

Well that-is-that says 'Bobba Caps' .. a short introduction to but-a-few of my Bobbseys ..

OK .. after days-and-days .. and hours-and-hours-and-hours of thought and pondering .. I have made a decision .. at this point in my life .. 'letting go' of things has become necessary .. NO .. VITAL .. 

'Mister India Bag' IS AN INDIAN .. he was born here in Agra Cantt by Jeevan Lal who created him and then Jeevan made him ..

Back 'home' in the United States .. 'Mister India Bag' sort of languishes between his trips to India .. because he is not 100% suitable for travel in the United States when I am running in my Suburbans .. I have an entirely different and unique method of carrying my belongings in the States when I am on-the-road .. so he very seldom travels with me in the States ..


SO 'MISTER INDIA BAG' WILL REMAIN HERE IN AGRA CANTT WITH HIS CREATOR .. Jeevan Lal .. 

He will be staying in the shop where Jeevan created and made 'Mister India Bag' .. he IS HOME here .. this is HIS birthing place .. Jeevan himself LOVES him .. Jeevan NAMED him and he IS one of Jeevan's 'children' ..I can remember like yesterday when Jeevan proudly proclaimed .. "And his name is India Bag !" ..


BUT .. 'MISTER INDIA BAG' will NOT be alone here .. at a very minimum .. 70% of the 'A' - Team Bobbseys ARE STAYING WITH .. AND INSIDE OF .. 'MISTER INDIA BAG' ..


And I mean the 'A' - Team ! .. Mister India Hat .. Mister India Shirt .. 90% of the padlocks and chains.. all of the Laundry Bobbseys .. many of the stationery writing Bobbseys .. all but one of the bowls .. all of the numerous hooks and associated 'hardware' Bobbseys that service the hooks .. a fair number of my socks and shirts .. 'Mister India Bag's' travel-trolley that I must use to transport him ..

IF .. and I will NOT rule-out another future trip back here to India .. I do return .. I will be able to do so traveling EXTREMELY LIGHTLY BECAUSE so many of my Bobbseys will be here waiting for me .. IF I do not ever return .. Jeevan and his family will find a use for him and all of the Bobbseys ! .. in the United States this would NOT be the case .. So it is a' win-win' decision for me !

Here below are two photos of some (NOT nearly all) of the Bobbseys that 'Mister India Bag' will be holding .. two of my safety-colored 'T' shirts .. on top of my 'India Shawl' that I have slept under .. 'Mister India Hat' and a Sun Visor I have used .. my Nike Sandals and 'Mister India Shirt' and one of my two pairs of raw-hide gloves .. and my coat hangars .. a quality Nalgene water bottle and the shaving kit with so many of the critical 'hardware' Bobbseys ..
  And below 'Mister India Bag' will also be holding .. my Safety Vest and assorted socks .. all of my bowls except one that will come with me because I need one with me .. and my rubber gloves ..
Here 'Mister India Bag' is sitting UPON THE WORK AREA THAT HE WAS BIRTHED UPON in late 1990 and early 1991 .. it is on wheels and rolls out when Jeevan needs him ..
 And lastly you can see ALL OF THE FRIENDS THAT 'MISTER INDIA BAG' will have to visit with and to keep him company ! .. 'the other bags' are already all a-buzz knowing he is going to be with them and that he will have MANY MANY tales to tell all of them !


And so .. The time has come the Walrus said to talk of many things .. of shoes and ships and sealing wax .. of cabbages and Kings .. of why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings ! 


Time to 'sign-off' .. for now at least .. with great LOVE .. tomorrow I begin the final stage of leaving India and returning home to the United States .. OH YES .. I will be sending posts from Hong Kong for sure .. God Willing ! .. so .. look forward to them .. LOVE.. cap ..

Friday, 17 February 2012

FWIW (TID-BITS).. 170.. February 17, 2012

WAY-BACK-WHEN .. it was when I was in Calcutta .. I wrote of the trash being searched by the hotel help or other 'outsiders' .. and of the problem it was for me to cut and 'shred' sensitive documents that I am throwing away .. 

I FINALLY GAVE IN AND NOW USE THE PERFECT DISPOSAL OF SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS .. such as bank receipts .. your address lists after I update them and need to dispose of the old ones .. envelopes with both of our addresses showing .. hotel bills .. etc ..

 The above was just a trial run for me .. NO odor what-so-ever .. and just a small amount of ash ..
 Clean and you would-never-ever-KNOW ..
 EXCEPT NOW I burn all items over the toilet and then flush the ashes .. I use a pair of pliers to hold the paper(s) I am burning and wear one of my raw-hide gloves to protect my hand .. 

SO REST ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY ASSURED THAT NO ONE WILL HAVE ANY SENSITIVE MATERIALS OF EITHER YOURS OR MINE FROM THE TRASH !

FWIW (AGRA).. 169.. February 17, 2012

I see .. and I HAVE SEEN .. over the past 21 years of traveling here in India .. so many just 'day-to-day' things here in India .. that I just walk past them and pay no attention to them .. today the following scene .. one I have seen too-many-times to even begin to count them .. CAUGHT MY EYE and I snapped it for you all to enjoy..

SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT .. JUST A TRIM .. PLEASE STEP RIGHT UP SIR !


NO OVERHEAD HERE ! .. just pull up your stool and arrange your 'fixings' and go-to-work!  RIGHT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD ..


 Jump forward in time now to .. FWIW (DELHI)..  174.. February 20, 2012 .. for the same scene in New Delhi !

Just ONCE MORE CAPTAIN .. please tell us .. "Cap .. just exactly what is it you LOVE SO MUCH about INDIA" ..

FWIW (TID-BITS).. 168.. February 17, 2012

This is for Patti 99501 .. but you all can read along ..

Do any of you ever get a 'song in your head' and it just keeps going around and around ..
When I was in elementary school .. about the third or fourth grade I am guessing .. I was walking in the hallway and a class a year or two ahead of me was singing a song in their room and I could hear it as I walked past the door to their classroom  .. to this day I can hear it and remember it .. the song just enchanted me .. and I still love it !

Here are a few lines from it
..
Froggie went a - courtin' and he did ride .. a - hah ..
Froggie went a - courtin' and he did ride .. a - hah ..
Froggie went a - courtin' and he did ride ..  sword and pistol by his side .. a - hah ..

and it continues ..

He rode up to Miss Mousie's door .. where he had often been before .. a - hah ..

He said Miss Mousie are you within .. yes kind Sir I sit and spin .. a - hah ..

He took Miss Mousie upon his knee .. said Miss Mousie will you marry me .. a - hah ..

When I was in Chennai in my Air Conditioned Dormitory Cubicle waiting for my train North to Agra Cantt last Sunday .. the 12th of February ..


I was sitting on the edge of my bed when ..

Wonder of wonders .. the cutest small grey MOUSE walked confidently past my right foot and explored some crumbs I had dropped on the floor from a cookie .. satisfied he (or she) had gotten them all .. he (or she) quietly retreated back under my bed ! .. after all .. this is his/her HOME .. I am just passing-through ..

That instantly took me back to  1996 .. when Patti and I were staying in the YMCA in Calcutta .. and the same thing happened there TO Patti .. she was sitting at a desk against a wall when a mouse (or two I think) walked calmly past her feet .. 

Patti .. as I recall .. was NOT TOO PLEASED with her mouse encounter .. 

And so there you have it .. it all took me to .. Froggie Went A - Courtin'  and He Did Ride .. A - Hah !

Of course all of the above 'dots' were connected in less than a nano-second ! .. you all know how fast our minds work !

And aren't we all having fun here in India !

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

FWIW (TRAIN).. 167.. February 15, 2012

I do NOT know if my 'market' will stand more train photographs .. of what you see .. out-the-window from the trains as you roll-along .. 

BUT .. if just one .. just one of you .. finds one or more photos interesting  .. since I have them .. I will post them .. so here we go .. a shot of an oncoming train on the other track ..
 A shot of a special working-utility-car/engine .. you have-to-know I am not shooting from a  stationary-platform .. I am on a moving train and I get one shot .. frame it and shoot it .. flip-a-coin will it come out .. this one came out nicely ..
 A shot of a working-crew taking-a-break as we pass them .. notice the women out working alongside the men ! .. another train is approaching on the other track ..
 A very small Hindi temple .. way-out-in-the-countryside .. 
And ..a very small road-crossing-guard-gate .. way-out-in-the-country .. don't forget .. this small station must be manned 24-hours a day .. each and every day of the year .. the trains roll constantly .. I imagine that many of these men are very proud of their jobs .. with the Indian Railway !
YES .. THEY HAVE LIVESTOCK in India .. NOT all of the cows are wandering the streets of India's cities !
I LOVE the green of these fields .. I was told they are rice paddies .. but I will not swear to this .. this does NOT look like a rice paddy to me .. yet towards the upper portion of the field it looks like small dikes to hold the water rice requires ..
And .. MORE lovely green out-the-train window .. OK so I have told a 'fib' .. actually I stand between the coaches with the door of the coach wide open .. the train crews just love me for this most dangerous practice ! .. constantly lecturing me to .. "Be SURE you close and you lock the door when you leave " .. after some years I KNOW how to open and how to close them .. I do get a lot of fresh air standing for hours in the doorways ..
Well NO .. it is NOT all flat and green and lush !

OK .. thirty (30) hours on the train spanning two nights .. the trip had to finally end .. at 3:51AM in the dark morning .. ONE MINUTE EARLY .. we were scheduled to arrive at 3:52AM ! .. I got down at Agra Cantt .. and into the station I went .. got it .. it is now about 4 o'clock in the early morning .. and WHAT DOES ONE FIND .. 
Bodies .. of people .. colorfully adorned with their blankets .. sleeping as they await their trains ..
And out-the-door you walk and what do you find .. 
People .. still more people is exactly what you find .. the station police keep the steps pretty much clear for those coming and going .. but on the far step .. humanity is slowly encroaching upon the steps .. MANY OF YOU .. were it not for my photos .. COULD NOT IMAGINE such scenes !

Oh yes .. I walked .. in the early morning dark .. to my hotel .. here is my road ..
 And when I arrived at my Pawan Hotel .. at about 4:45AM in the early morning .. MY room number 115 was ready and waiting for me .. I do NOT know how they do this for me .. MY room .. What exactly is it I LOVE about India ..