Saturday, January 09, 2010

A conversation that should have, but didn't take place over 300 years ago...

Yes, I know it has beautiful carvings and inlayed decorations. The view? Fantastic! Good breeze way up here and I can even see the Taj Mahal shimmering there on the other side of the river. It is the railing. No, the geometric designs are great and the marble is of the highest quality. It is the quantity I take issue with--they are only just high enough for me to trip over, which means that when I plummit into the moat, I will do so head-first rather than feet first.

Please see what you can do about this.

Just one little thing...

Yes, I know it has beautiful carvings and inlayed decorations. The view? Fantastic! Good breeze way up here

Just like home

The beach in Kapu is like the one we go to on Plum Island, except:

No sand flies.

No crowds.

The water is warm.

There are palm trees.

The place had one major flaw which will be in an upcoming update--if I can get Internet service--harder here than I expected it to be.

We Stayed at a classic Indian country house which was retrofitted with modern things like electric lights and running water. The place had only 4 rooms but we were the only guests. The center of the house was an open grassy area about 30 feet square and all around was an elevated veranda about 15 feet deep and covered. In essence, the place was a museum that you get to stay at. The residence itself was surrounded by a couple acres of garden with chickens, ducks and geese wandering around. The beach could be reached via a 5 minute walk down a sandy path.

So far so good--what is the big problem? The first morning at 5:00 AM and continuing for 2 hours there was broadcast some cheesy song over what have to be the lowest possible quality and tinniest loudspeakers in existence. The next night it was done by 5:00 AM, having started around 3:30 AM. We came to find out that there is some obnoxious cult nearby that all the neighbors hate, but can't do anything about. I suggested that in the USA, if the police refused to help then the cult compound would find it self vandalized until its leaders saw reason.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Taj Mahal

Here is a detail shot of the decorations: These are not painted-on, but rather inlayed with colored stones.

Here is the whole thing for scale.

Notice the shiny marble of the platform at the base of the monument. It is wonderful to walk on barefooted. They make you take your shoes off, so I figured that I would take my socks off too.

Running like a total tourist

I've only been able to run three times in India and each is pure cliche.

20 minutes on the treadmill at the Lalit in New Delhi. The roads surrounding this place were filled with traffic and the verges were filled with stuff (people, vendors, rubble, piles of building materials etc) Plus the air in Delhi was thick with smoke--not the kind you might think, auto pollution, but rather wood smoke. At first this was a mystery but then I paid attention and noticed that rubbish and wood fires were pretty common. The pollution was so bad that even in-doors, one could see it in large rooms and smell it everywhere. I figured that the air would be at least better inside and it wasn't practical to run out of doors either way. The health club had a treadmill so I figured I would give it a try.

It was awful! I hated that I was a slave to the machine--a half-second of running at the wrong pace and you are thrown off the back or hitting the front of it. I could stand only 20 minutes. Afterwards, it felt as if I had just smoked a whole pack of cigarettes.

The next run was in Agra. It was still polluted, but not quite as bad as Delhi. The streets were just as bad, or maybe not quite so bad, but pretty bad and the hotel sat in a multi-acre compound. I ran 6 laps through the compound in 40 lame minutes. The only thing of intrest were the shotgun toting guards walking their posts.

The last was on the beach in Goa. I ran up the beach for half an hour and then ran back for half an hour.