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Re: India.

Postby John George Peppers on Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:34 pm

Just reading this thread for the first time. Great travelog!

Dear Faiz,

Please take me to India with you next time you go....please.

Love,
Peppers

PS: I do not wish to see any eunuchs on the trip. That part is still creeping me out.
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Re:

Postby Gramsci on Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:49 pm

Mazec wrote:How are toilets in India in comparison with North American ones?


Well for a start they often don't have wall or are not inside a "building" of any kind. Secondly they often are devoid of any kind of ceramic "toilet" like WC as you are accustomed to... pretty much a lot of people just shit where ever, when ever they are so inclined.
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Re: Re:

Postby sparky on Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:43 pm

Gramsci wrote:
Mazec wrote:How are toilets in India in comparison with North American ones?


Well for a start they often don't have wall or are not inside a "building" of any kind. Secondly they often are devoid of any kind of ceramic "toilet" like WC as you are accustomed to... pretty much a lot of people just shit where ever, when ever they are so inclined.


Whilst I've seen plenty of places with al fresco shitting, I've seen as many without in India. And I've rarely had problems finding Western-style WC's, despite having traveled most of the length of the country on a small budget. Bit of an off-generalisation, there.

But one is not enthusiastic about the water/hand/shit cleaning conjunction, bringing toilet roll is recommended.
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Re: India.

Postby Bob Weston on Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:03 pm

We were in India for 2-3 weeks a few years back. Mostly all over Kerala in the south. But the last 4 days in Mumbai. And although we carried some tp with us and were often off the beaten path, we were very surprised to use porcelain toilets, in stalls or private rooms, supplied with tp, 100% of the time.

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Re: India.

Postby scott on Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:30 pm

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Re: India.

Postby kerble on Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:03 pm

sparky wrote:
Gramsci wrote:
Mazec wrote:How are toilets in India in comparison with North American ones?


Well for a start they often don't have wall or are not inside a "building" of any kind. Secondly they often are devoid of any kind of ceramic "toilet" like WC as you are accustomed to... pretty much a lot of people just shit where ever, when ever they are so inclined.


Whilst I've seen plenty of places with al fresco shitting, I've seen as many without in India. And I've rarely had problems finding Western-style WC's, despite having traveled most of the length of the country on a small budget. Bit of an off-generalisation, there.

But one is not enthusiastic about the water/hand/shit cleaning conjunction, bringing toilet roll is recommended.



absolutely. I've lived there for maybe 5 years combined traveling and i think I've only had dodgy bathroom situations maybe a handful (yikes!) of times. TP doesn't even seem hard to come by nowadays. have you actually been to India, gramsci? where'd you go that was so porcelain deficient?

also, a bottle of kaopectate or pepto is a must. just take a swig of it after pretty much every meal, and you'll be in good shape. bring enough so you don't have to share. My brother and I usually horde ours.

also, thanks for the kind words, JP. I hadn't thought about these travelogues in quite some time.



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Re: India.

Postby B_M_L on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:48 am

I read this thread a while back – it’s nice to see it on the front page again. I love your descriptions of the smells of India in the first post Faiz.

India has this smell. A thick, musky aroma that clouds everything. It's simultaneously inviting and mildly repellent, with its' mixture of diesel exhaust, bidi smoke, fried but unfriendly to the american stomach roadside foods, jasmine and the occasional whiff of human waste…


When I think about travelling it’s always the smells that bring back the strongest memories. In a few weeks I’m going to be passing through Bangkok and already I can remember the smells – Charcoal grills, sweet fried food, dried blood, sewer, and incense. Everything is so much more intense because it hangs in the heat & humidity and seems to get stuck to your skin as you walk around. I think the extreme jet lag magnifies the whole experience – for the first few days, especially at night time I have this beautiful blissed out surreal feeling like it’s all just a hallucination.

I have never been to India though - So I am a +1 for the “Please take me with you!” Please…

And it's a fact that the worst & most unhygienic toilets in the world are actually at Heathrow airport… though I have a funny & gross story about using the ladies loos somewhere in Thailand that I might write in the ‘embarrassing moments’ thread one day.

BTW - New Zealand smells like freshly cut grass and gently sweet cabbage trees in flower.
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Re: India.

Postby Gramsci on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:59 am

kerble wrote: have you actually been to India, gramsci? where'd you go that was so porcelain deficient?


I found your posts very entertaining. I haven't been to the sub-continent. It's not high on my list, but I'm finding my interest increasingly raised.

I was making light of the toilet question in terms of relevant, current cultural events. i.e. Slumdog (the toilet scene) and some interesting comment and enlightening comment in UK papers by leading Indian thinkers like Salman Rushdie. Also, at university there was a discussion the issue of poverty and sanitation in India. Hopefully you weren't displaying any hyper-sensitivity and realised I meant no ill and was not being sarcastic, just making light of a terrible problem in Indian society (in "laugh or you'd cry" kind of way).
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Re: India.

Postby Casimal on Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:28 am

I traveled around eastern Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the summer of 2004 to do research on urban waste management and santiation. These areas are part of the "cow belt", the dim green centre of the country, and outside of the crumbling hotels and tidier private homes there was a general lack of western-style johns, or reasonably clean ones. I saw barely any toilet paper, and paper napkins became a precious thing that I cadged and hoarded when nobody was looking. That's not an experience I would readily generalize to the rest of the country, though, particularly not the bigger cities or the south.

The inability to find a place to shit in peace -- in a society in which filth is deeply stigmatized, and discriminating against those who handle it is a central part of caste oppression -- is an essential way that poverty begets humiliation there. I spent a lot of time poking around fetid ditches and traipsing around landfills, so I was often in places where people were going to or coming from their secretive daily ablutions, and I was thus not a welcome sight. After a while, the toilets that some would construct for themselves -- a hole in the ground, surrounded by a screen made of crooked twigs and scraps of tarp carefully sewn together -- became evidence of the effort people will expend to maintain a little dignity.

It was some bad shit.
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Re: India.

Postby Tommy Alpha on Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:59 am

B_M_L wrote:I read this thread a while back – it’s nice to see it on the front page again. I love your descriptions of the smells of India in the first post Faiz.

India has this smell. A thick, musky aroma that clouds everything. It's simultaneously inviting and mildly repellent, with its' mixture of diesel exhaust, bidi smoke, fried but unfriendly to the american stomach roadside foods, jasmine and the occasional whiff of human waste…


When I think about travelling it’s always the smells that bring back the strongest memories. In a few weeks I’m going to be passing through Bangkok and already I can remember the smells – Charcoal grills, sweet fried food, dried blood, sewer, and incense. Everything is so much more intense because it hangs in the heat & humidity and seems to get stuck to your skin as you walk around. I think the extreme jet lag magnifies the whole experience – for the first few days, especially at night time I have this beautiful blissed out surreal feeling like it’s all just a hallucination.



Fresh/ uncooked Cardamoms and I'm back in the western ghats. I smell them cooking and I'm in Ernakulam, waiting for the inevitable, stomach churning smell of an open sewer to sneak in afterwards.
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Re: India.

Postby Gramsci on Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:51 pm

Casimal wrote:The inability to find a place to shit in peace -- in a society in which filth is deeply stigmatized, and discriminating against those who handle it is a central part of caste oppression -- is an essential way that poverty begets humiliation there. I spent a lot of time poking around fetid ditches and traipsing around landfills, so I was often in places where people were going to or coming from their secretive daily ablutions, and I was thus not a welcome sight. After a while, the toilets that some would construct for themselves -- a hole in the ground, surrounded by a screen made of crooked twigs and scraps of tarp carefully sewn together -- became evidence of the effort people will expend to maintain a little dignity.

It was some bad shit.


One of the projects some people at university did involved mapping a slum and helping to design and build washing and toilet facilities... The actual small huts that held the toilets lasted about a month before the local people started to used them for storage and went back to shitting in the ditch at the back of the slum...

You can lead a horse to water... etc.
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Re: India.

Postby harrycaul on Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:37 pm

Indian police look to pyramid power to cut accidents
MUMBAI — They have been credited with supernatural or paranormal properties since the days of ancient Egypt. Now the putative power of pyramids is to be harnessed by Indian police to cut road accidents.

Traffic officers in Nagpur, 540 miles (870 kilometres) west of Mumbai, have agreed to allow small pyramids to be placed at 10 accident-prone sites in the city to see if their claimed positive energy can reduce crashes.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sahebrao Patil said the road safety initiative came about after a meeting with an expert in Vastu, an ancient Hindu system of construction which is similar to Chinese Feng Shui.

"He told me that he had placed a number of pyramids on roads outside the city and the results were excellent. The number of accidents reduced. He wanted to do it in the city, so I said, 'OK, no problem'," Patil told AFP.

"He's going to be installing them in 10 spots. They won't be on the road directly but at the corner of chowks (squares) or near traffic signals so they won't obstruct traffic."

Vastu expert Sushil Fatehpuria, who offered his services free of charge, said that each 30 centimetre (one foot) tall pyramid will have a copper bottom and five smaller pyramids inside.

"I think the accidents are caused by negative energies. So we need to minimise or convert the negative energy into positive ones," he said.

"I will energise the pyramids. I will transfer my positive thoughts into the pyramids."

Patil said his officers' own, more human, efforts to cut the number of road accidents would continue during the experiment.

"We will see in six months. If it gets positive results then that's excellent," he added.

A combination of an increase in drivers, many of them untrained, poor road planning and lax law enforcement have made India's roads the most dangerous in the world.

More than 114,000 people die each year, according to the World Bank.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
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Re: India.

Postby P.J. Craven on Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:21 pm

High on my list of places where I want to travel.

1) Europe
2) Japan
3) India
4) Australia/Oceania
5) Brazil
6) Southern Africa

I lived for a year in a place with a pool where I could hook my iPhone into an outdoor speaker system. I would do laps and listen to Ravi Shankar. That was boss.

Looking forward to a new kerblelogue.
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Re: India.

Postby dontfeartheringo on Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:07 am

I have taken all of FM Kerble's advice about what to pack.

Of course, this morning I discover that the World's Best Suitcase (which I have traveled with for so long that I have never even considered another) has split a wheel and will not roll. COCKNUGGET.

Going on my lunch break to buy a do-fer suitcase for the most important trip I've made in years. The company the made WBS is going to honor their lifetime warranty, I just have to mail them my bag, which I guess I will do when I return.

I will try to report back as much as I can, though I am not traveling with a laptop. Typing on my phone is the best I can do.

Cheers, friends.
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Re: India.

Postby the finger genius on Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:22 am

Awesome, where are you going?
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Re: India.

Postby dontfeartheringo on Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:42 am

Well, I'm back now. I took a lot of notes with no clear plan of what to do with them. I wish I'd had a lightweight laptop or a bluetooth keyboard for my phone because I'm not terribly likely to transcribe all of my handwritten notes any time soon.

We flew into Delhi, had a couple of hours to kill in the airport, then flew east to Dibrugarh, which is a former tea trading hub in the Assam state, then drove six and a half hours northeast into the disputed territory of Arunachal Pradesh to a town called Pasighat. Pasighat is the nearest place once can rent a hotel room to the actual festival site, but it was still an hour and a half from the festival.

The drive from Pasighat to Dambuk is through mountains that are covered in thick forests. The drive crosses a huge dry riverbed (it still has two river crossings, but they're just swollen creeks this time of year). The river is fed by snowmelt from the Himalayas in Spring and early Summer, and the small handmade wooden bridges are washed away by the torrent of water and rock washed down by the snowmelt. During that time of year, the only way to cross the river is by elephant.

Locals were fully unimpressed with seeing elephants, but a white guy wandering around? "Selfie, sir? Selfie?" and they'd shoot a selfie that'll end up tagged on Instagram as #randomwhiteguy

Speaking of that, I saw an elephant on the road every day that we drove to the festival. I'd never seen an honest-to-god elephant up close before the drive that first day, and now I've rubbed one on the head. Changed my life, no shit. I asked some of the locals "Can you just buy an elephant? Like, is there an elephant dealer?" and they were like "Yeah, man, of course. Around here they're agricultural machinery that makes fertilizer."

Before we flew out, because I was crazy busy and also knew that Sean from Five Eight was handling the heavy lifting/detail work, I had only looked at the first couple of flights on the itinerary. I therefore wasn't aware of just how remote the festival site was. When I saw that Tangerine Dream and one of the guy's from Skid Row's solo project was playing, I figured this was going to be some sort of billionaire-boys'-club-from-Delhi kind of joint, since the Orange Festival also had some wild 4x4 racing, mountain bike, and motorcycle cross-country stuff going on. I couldn't have been more wrong. This was a festival for locals from Dambuk, and they love rock music. There were also some great bands from Calcutta and Bombay, all of which were really, really good. The audience, despite being mostly unfamiliar with the material, went nuts every time there was a genuine moment of honest emotion on stage. Watching the other acts and the festival a whole day before we played, I was pretty sure we'd do well with Dambuk.

Festival day came, we rose early in Pasighat, and made our way up to the festival site. There were two great bands on before us: a band from Calcutta called Fiddlers Green, that manages to mix Goan folk music with West African guitar songs, and Appalachian bluegrass, in the most seamless and perfect way. It was kind of astonishing, and they are rightly very popular in India. After that was a reggae/soca/'60s ska band made up of Indian and Sri Lankan jazz and funk musicians, with a truly hypnotically gorgeous singer. They were unexpectedly great, as well.

And finally, we played. The drum kit was a battered old Mapex kit with a broken leg. I've seen kits in better repair that self-destructed under the pressure of being played with any enthusiasm, but it's a funny thing about remote parts of India- people fix broken things so that they work, and work well. The stage manager improvised a duct tape splint, and the kit held up just fine to the pummeling I gave it. Backline cymbals were much better than I had any right to expect, including a bunch of Istanbul Agops, which is who I am sponsored by.

The sound was great on stage. The crowd was super stoked and actually jumped over the barricade in front of the stage to be closer to the band. The show was incredible.

Sadly, Mike's phone got stolen from the dressing room. This was sadly a pattern that emerged over the days of the festival. Three or four artists lost phones and wallets during their sets. It sucked, but the trip was too great otherwise to let it ruin our lives.

The drive back to Pasighat, winding through dogs and cows sleeping on the road, crossing the bridges in the dark, getting out to take a leak in the dry riverbed and seeing an upside-down bowl of stars above- all pretty magical.

Who knew we'd go over with a crowd of working-class rockers half a planet away from home? I am so, so, so grateful for the experience.
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Re: India.

Postby DrAwkward on Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:33 pm

Man, that sounds life-changing.
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Re: India.

Postby dontfeartheringo on Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:06 pm

DrAwkward wrote:Man, that sounds life-changing.


Man, it totally was. It made coming back to the US and seeing what's going on with politics here even MORE frustrating. Goddamn 12th Century mosques and shit over there, and back here, y'know, just some bullshit. I saw more walking wounded and sick people in the Wal-Mart in Indiana than the whole time I was in the "third world" country.

Anyway, here's Fiddlers Green, who are badass:

phpBB [media]
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Re: India.

Postby dontfeartheringo on Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:37 am

Our label head, who was traveling with us, made a video with one of the songs from the record and footage from the trip:

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Re: India.

Postby sparky on Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:03 pm

DFTR, salut. Your visit will stick deep into your recollections for life.

I'm just over halfway through a six month assignment in Gurgaon, a cough splat from Delhi, and confess that I am not enjoying the place. My colleagues are lovely, but the city and the smog over it is grim. There's a seamy, boozy side to it which I'm told has violent trimmings. Don't be around this mall or that mall at night, one woman told me, men hang around, looking.

Gurgaon is fascinating in the hard details, and I've been treated very well. The most prestigious address in Gurgaon is Golf Course Rd, which gives an idea of the spirit of the city.

After a Christmas break, I'll be back there for a last ten weeks. We visited Jaipur earlier this month; the Amber Fort still astonishes, but traffic has ruined the Pink City for me. Bring ear plugs. I could have framed the confusion on some poor rickshaw driver's face at my girlfriend's stream of Gallic invective after he near burst our eardrums with needless honking, squeezing past us under an arch. The motor horns are relentless, and that's normal. As I glared at the guy, I realised berating him was uncalled for, in fact just mean. Bloody tourists.

Hope to get back to the hills at some point.
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