the Long's Strange Trip

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Questing into the unknown...
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Carmen Miranda Goes to Bali
Cartwheeling Kids
I'm puttin' on my tophat
The Fallacy of Prohibition
Sleeping at the Job
Gummy Squares
Toy Boats
One Photo, Please!
The National Sound
Same same, but different

Lasting Impressions of...


  • One of the most bizarre things about India, and something I will never forget about the country, is the phenomena of Indian tourists asking to have their photo taken with us.  I can't imagine what they do with all of the photos they have of themselves and foreign tourists that they don't know.

  • When it rains, it pours.  The monsoons come down all day, and the streets fill up with water.

  • Everything we eat is absolutely delicious, and usually dirt cheap.

  • We have never been asked for money so many times by so many beggars of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

  • The saris and salwar kamezes (a long tunic with matching pants underneath and a coordinating scarf draped around the neck) that the women wear are incredibly beautiful.  The fabrics are usually jewel-tones, in colors like fuchsia, turquoise, and emerald, and they flutter beautifully in the breeze as the women walk by.  I will never forget the image of a commuter train speeding past with women hanging out the open doors, the fabrics of their garments flowing behind them.

  • In the Colhaba area of Bombay, where we stayed on our first trip to that city, we were asked if we wanted to buy drugs at least four times per day.

  • It often seems that every city sidewalk is ruled by impromptu street vendors, effectively reducing the size of the sidewalk by half.  They are selling everything from kid's underwear to sunglasses.

  • In India they drink their tea, or chai, as they call it, with lots of very hot milk and sugar.  Sometimes you get a cup of hot milk with a tea bag steeping in it, and sometimes the tea contains cardamom. 

  • Indians seem to be able to catch a few winks anywhere, and do.  People spread bedrolls or cardboard on the floors of train stations, on sidewalks, and in their shops, and many other places.  They rest peacefully, despite the chaos that goes on all around them.

  • The technology revolution has hit India, and thousands of schools have sprung up around the country to train young Indians for lucrative careers both at home and abroad. Walls are plastered with ads promising to make students proficient in Java, UNIX, e-Commerce, and  Oracle 8i (there's no mention of any of the products of my former employer, Informix - a fact that distresses me greatly as a stockholder.).

  • The smell of incense permeates the air of this country.

  • The "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" craze is sweeping India.  They have a similar show here, where they speak Hindi, but the questions are printed on the screen in English, allowing us to cringe in horror as a girl had to use her lifeline to answer the question: "What animal do you ride in equestrian sports? A. Camel?  B. Elephant?  C. Bull? or D. Horse?".




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