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Showing posts from July, 2011

Return of the native

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I am back! In Toronto. And full of the usual returned-traveller's appreciation of all the little things, such as Starbucks, air-conditioning, reliably heated & drinkable water, and especially, peace & quiet. India (outside of the Himalaya) is a very noisy place. Meanwhile, I've been reaping some egoboo benefits of my TechCrunch gig: in the last few days I have popped up at The Times of India , The Atlantic , CNN , The Week , TC sister/mother publication The Huffington Post , Newsweek Polska , and the Spanish-language eNewspaper . I leave you with a few photo highlights of this trip. 'Twas quite a good trip. I did not get to South Sudan, but that didn't seem fated to be, and Djibouti was a sufficiently weird substitute. I did not get to Srinagar, but between the monsoon and a pilgrimage of tens of thousands that was going on, all the transport links would have been flooded, so that's probably for the best. I did get to hike up to an ancient Ethiopian monaster

Indiapix I

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As threatened In the pines. India in miniature. The last village. The Jantar Mantar. Jantar Mantar detail. Gurgaon, from MG Road Metro. They don't call it "weed" for nothin'. The first snowcapped mountains. In case you didn't notice. Fallingwater. Cobra temple. Onwards and upwards. Under construction.

kullu valley blues

Uh-oh. I fear I'm out of shape. Well, I'm not as out of shape as I first feared I was, but I'm still out of shape. We went on a day hike today, and after a mere half an hour of steep ascents, I was seriously dogging it. (M., being ferociously fit, barely even broke a sweat.) We're only 2000m up, and it's our third day here, so it shouldn't be altitude. Fortunately, I seemed to kick it up another gear for the rest of the day, and/or the ascents were lower-grade. I think basically my aerobic fitness is OK, but my anaerobic fitness has gone all to hell. I hope Phil-my-Montreal-boxing-coach never reads this. He'd be so disappointed. So where was I? Oh yes. Leaving Chandigarh, and ascending into the mountains. We felt them long before we saw them, swaying back and forth with every switchback, as we passed Tata and Ashok Leyland trucks - some driving by night, many more parked beside the road. The only road to Manali and thence Leh, National Highway 21, is not a

notes from the foothills of the himalaya

Wow. India has gotten positively mellow . Well, relatively speaking. Once - which is to say, the first two times I came here, in 2000 and 2004 - it was a pounding, nonstop, all-out assault on every one of the human senses, including especially those of dignity, decency, propriety and personal space. For travellers it was a destination of constant hassle, a land of lies and scams (some so elegant that they were almost beautiful.) Those moments of transition when I first stepped out of the airport and into India proper - the arena, if you will - remain two of my most searing, powerful travel memories. This time? I girded my loins, battened my hatches, readied my defenses, and stepped past the airport barriers, and found myself beset by ... nothing. There was no gauntlet of touts or taxi drivers. Nobody noticed or cared. A 21st century train service took me to New Delhi Railway station. There was indeed a vast mass of humanity there, waiting to be security-groped before entering the met