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Archive for December, 2007

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Enter the Big Boss

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

A long day of transport via motorcycle from Murud to Alibaug, a short hike to the bus station, bus to the jetty, catamaran to the Gateway of India, taxi to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, local train to Chembur and finally an auto-rickshaw to Ratnadeep’s home is only continued a few hours later with a car–ride to Madh Island and the beach cottage where we would celebrate the changing of the year. The day is mostly uneventful, yet unfortunately uncomfortable due to the return of my old arch-rival, the stomach bug which has plagued me since Nepal. It is on this fateful day that I come face to face with the Big Boss, king of all toilets! [read on]

Maharashtran Royal Legacy

Friday, December 28th, 2007

With my work complete, I look for a fulfilling way to spend the rest of the day. While a pristine palm-line beach is under my feet, beckoning with the calls of a lazy afternoon sipping rum drinks by the shore, I don’t waste my time relaxing but rather take the motorcycle to the nearby ruins of Janjira Fortress; an impregnable castle sitting in the Arabian Sea. Its steep, twelve-meter walls literally rise out of the ocean and have been effective enough to keep it safe from invaders over the last thousand years. Since the fortress is no longer necessary it has fallen into a state of ruins, but the only way to reach it is still via sailboat from the nearby shore. [read on]

Further down the Konkan Coast

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Day two of my excursion down the coast between Mumbai and Goa; this day I hired a motorcycle to speed up the journey in hopes of accomplishing my mission before the deadline.    [read on]

Welcome to India: Part III: A different kind of good

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

On a lead for a well paying stock photo shoot, I quickly packed my bags and set off on a short trip south of Mumbai.  The Misson: a beach panorama for a 3m tall mural in a London children’s hospital.   While I was already supposed to be in Goa for the New Year’s celebrations, which would have made the assignment easier, I couldn’t refuse another invitation from Ratnadeep to ring in 2008 with all of my Mumbai friends.  So now I am set for a unique excursion to the beaches along the north Konkan Coast and waters rarely frequented by foreign tourists.    [read on]

Hottest Christmas Ever

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

My iPod is fixed.  It costs a full day and the equivalent price of a new piece of hardware; all spent in hopes of recovering seven-thousand songs, countless photos and other data stored on it.  Alas, it is all lost anyway… they manage to upgrade the hard drive another 20gb and also replace the ill-fated collection with about two-thousand Bollywood and Hindi hits.  This unexpected alteration to my music, the only thing I really found familiar during my travels, will now provide me with a more appropriate soundtrack to the true culture shock I’m due to find here.    [read on]

Welcome to India: Part II: The Good

Monday, December 24th, 2007


Enter Mumbai; time warp to a very different space in this word.  The population is still bursting at the seams and the traffic is simply horrific.  Long gone are the astroturf vests. Here is the realm of skin-tight bellbottoms and pastel pink shirts.  The 70’s disco fashion is still in vogue here, but Saris, Sikh turbans, Muslim Kufi hats and face shrouding Burkas are also common sights.    [read on]

The Big Boss’ Bodyguards

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

The last nine months of travel have thoroughly introduced me to squat toilets; from my first experiences in the relatively sterile Japanese karate dojo to the stinkiest shit-holes high in the Himalayas.  My earlier fears have long since past.  I can now see the benefits of sanitation and the fact that everything just comes out easier.  Still, as I draw deeper into the Indian subcontinent, I keep finding more and more standards to judge the worst toilets of the world.  I can already feel his presence, the Big Boss is near!     [read on]

Welcome to India: Part I: The Bad and the Ugly

Monday, December 17th, 2007

The eight hour bus ride from Pokhara, Nepal to the Sunali border of India actually took more than twelve hours.  It also didn’t take me all the way to Sunali, but rather dropped off 5km away.  So I am stuck in the back of a cyclo-rickshaw that is inching its way to immigration office.  Over the course of a half hour, I am able to catch my first glimpses of India, or rather my first obscurities.  The closer we get, the thicker the cloud of pollution enveloping us grew.  I thought China was bad, but here the haze is so bad that the even the ground at my feet appears faded.    [read on]

Things I will miss about Nepal

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Nepal has come as an unexpected surprise.  I knew virtually nothing of this country, its people and culture.  I had no intention of staying very long, and was only using it as a stopover on the road to India.  This lack of knowledge and prior expectation set me up for a fresh perspective, unmarred by any previous prejudice.  What a remarkable experience it has been.    [read on]

Day 4: Return to Pokhara

Friday, December 14th, 2007


The final day on TATA Bullet…  I’ve begun to feel at one with this bike.  All of the difficult little idiosyncrasies have become familiar and I can operate this temperamental machine just as well as any other motorcycle I’ve ridden.  However, there is a power and comfort of riding the Bullet that eludes all others!    [read on]