Carmen Miranda Goes to Bali
I'm puttin' on my tophat
The Fallacy of Prohibition
Sleeping at the Job
One Photo, Please!
The National Sound
Same same, but different
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
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?".