Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas traveling

Between office closings, and timings of permits I'm going to be on mainland India for some time and I'll be doing a bit of traveling. I will still be working wherever I can find an internet connection, since almost all my work is online. So don't worry about me slacking off. I hope to post pictures along the way but we will see how that goes. To allow you to visualize my journey I've made a GoogleMap of my Christmas travels. So click on the link and follow along.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Street food

Well actually there is no night life on the Andaman Islands because everyone goes home and the streets are deserted by 9:30pm. But up until then there is some wonderful street food available.


Dilanipur at night, Port Blair.


My favorite row of food stalls, Delanipur, Port Blair.


Pani Puri also known as Puchka is a Bengali specialty where golf ball sized, crispy puffed flat bread is stuffed with potatoes and dipped in spiced water. The Puchka Walla makes one bite sized Puchka as you stuff one in your mouth. This isn't just fast food it's fast feeding.


Jelabi is a dessert that is made by drizzling batter into hot oil. When it is finished frying it is dunked into orange colored syrup which it soaks up. When you take a bite there is so much sugary syrup that it gushes into your mouth.


This is the mainstay of this row of shops, which serves up eggroles, chow mein, cutlets and samosas.

These vendors know me so well that I usually can't walk by without getting stuffed with free food... even if I've just eaten a full meal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Havelock Island

A few weeks ago Able (who is shooting the video documentary for us) and I took a trip to Havelock island. We were planing to scuba dive but all the slots were booked full. However, the snorkeling, amazing clear blue-green water, great beaches and peaceful atmosphere made the trip worthwhile.


Sunrise from Phoenix Bay Jetty waiting for the ferry to Havelock Island.



Boatman getting supplies ready, Phoenix Bay, Port Blair.

Colors of a Phoenix Bay sunrise, Port Blair.


Radha Nagar beach which some claim is the best in Asia, Havelock Island.



Able shooting at Radha Nagar Beach, Havelock Island



Sometimes elephants pass by, Radha Nagar Beach, Havelock Island

Clear Blue-green water at Elephant Beach, Havelock Island


We took a Dungi to snorkel at Elephant beach


Dungi Wallas unloading their supplies, Havelock Island.


Our beach hut at Pristine Resort, Havelock Island.


The bamboo finished outdoor lobby of Pristine Resort, Havelock Island.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama is Prezident Elect!

Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States of America! I got up at 5:30AM to watch the votes come in even though it wasn't decided for another 5 hours.

The beautiful new First Family (BBC.com)


Living in India, it will now be a bit easier to hold my head up when I tell people I am from the USA. Obama's acceptance speech was absolutely incredible. For the last 8 years when the leader of the US and the most powerful person in the world opened his mouth it was all about fear, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and us vs. them (not to mention being grammatically incorrect). But when Obama speaks it is inspiring, hopeful and uniting, not to mention intelligent and articulate. He is exactly what we need now.

McCain's concession speech was also amazing and and showed, real integrity.


Obama delivering his acceptance speach (BBC.com)



Maybe the US can now start regaining the respect of the world .



Friday, October 24, 2008

Ross Island

Ross Island is a beautiful little island just off the coast of Port Blair. It was used the British as an administrative headquarters, the ruins of which have been retaken by the forest to give it quite a jungle book feel.


Ruins of the Church


Church


Church bell tower



Fig trees have reclaimed these British buildings


Fig tree on brick



Ruins


The British used a desalinization plant to make fresh water out of seawater.


We were on Ross Island to shoot Video Documentary on the water situation of the Andaman Islands, but there was also another film being shot with a dance troupe and all.



Dungi's


Crashing waves caught in the the sunlight


A shaant (peaceful) beach


Golden sunset


Sunday, October 12, 2008

More picture from the trip to the Inner Islands

Anand is reallllly excited about purchasing construction materials, Diglipur


Temple, Diglipur

Chai Stand, Mayabunder

Florescent green of the rice patties, Mayabunder

Bus on Ferry, Andaman Trunk Road
(They can actually fit two buses and a few cars on at once)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

India Dances Together

Dance competitions bring Indians together like nothing else can. These events are usually held on temporary stages set up in public places with lots of flashing lights and big sound systems. They usually accompany a Puja or festival and last long into the night. Local groups of young men... and sometimes women perform choreographed dances to Bollywood hits, and popular songs. These dance competitions bridge religious divides; Hindu, Muslim and Christian, ethnic devides; Hindi, Bangali, Tamil, Ranchi, Malayalam, etc. and cast devides. India has a painful history of communal violence... maybe the answer is one big dance party?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Islands and beaches

We worked hard on this trip to the Inner Islands, but we did get a chance to go to the beach, snorkel and shanti out.

Avis Island

Light house on Avis Island

Dundi, Mayabunder

Mayabunder

Mayabunder

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Monsoon

When the monsoon comes you just have to take of your sandals and wait it out.

Diglipur

Anand and a bore well survey informant waiting out the rain, Diglipur


Sudheer, EHA Field Staff, Diglipur

Enjoying the sound of the rain on the tin roof, Diglipur.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Even more pics

Beach and fishing dunghies on the way to Wandoor


Rice paddies (no cauliflower here!), Wandoor


I'm a bit skeptical of this architectural design, South Andaman


This isn't an uncommon sight, but no one I asked could tell me what these guys were up to, my guesses, Puja (worship), wedding, funeral, political rally or other celebration.
Delanipur (from my bedroom window)

Sometimes it rains... a lot... monsoon,
Delanipur (also from my bedroom window)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Inner Islands for bore Well Mapping

I'm off tomorrow morning to the inner islands for more bore well mapping for an undetermined amount of time. I'll be out of email contact for the most part.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ganesh Puja

These last few days have been Ganesh Puja (Worship of Ganesh). Many of the temples have been decked out for the occasion. The temple out side my window as been strung with bright lights, loud worship music blares from speakers most hours of the day and cows and calves wander around accepting food from temple goers.

Temple out side my window, Delanipur

Trucks complete with flashing lights, decorations and massive speakers strapped to the front roam around town. Large crowds dance in the streets in front of the trucks. In the back of each truck is a large statue of Ganesh (Depicted as a pink elephant) sitting amongst piles of sweets and flowers. Priests sit on the tailgates handing out prasad (food and sweets that have been blessed by the Ganesh). At one time I saw 8 of these trucks slowly make their way up the road in a row each stopping at the temple and each playing different music.


Dancers in front of a truck, blaring worship music and transporting Ganesh.


video

Video of Dancers in front of a Ganesh puja truck.


A little story,

So I finished dinner early and as I was walking home I decided to take the rout that would take me by the Ganesh Puja (Festival were Ganesh is worshiped) that was going on. As I was getting closer someone recognized me and told me to join him. I started asking questions about Ganesh Puja so he said, "Chalo (come lets go)". We walked around the side of a tent that had been set up in the middle of the road which housed a stage. This was the Cultural Event portion of the 4 day Puja or so said the glittery banner. This night was a dance competition complete with strobe light, and groups of young men doing choreographed dance moves to the latest Bollywood hits. From the other side of the crowd a bunch of young guys who I had talked to before were motioning me to sit on the wall with them. I didn't really want to make a huge scene of the only white guy climbing onto a wall in full view of everyone, (and a fantastic view of the stage). But they insisted and so in the end I obliged. In the process of climbing up I'm sure all eyes were on me, but I got a sense that my presence was accepted if not appreciated. But as soon as the next group was on stage everyones undivided attention was off me and onto the dancers again. I stayed for about an hour and left as they were planning (I think) to get me on stage. As I was leaving I passed the temple that has been erected to house the large Ganesh statue.