Central America
Around the World 2006-2007

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      I have embarrassingly low standards. At least I thought so until I went back to India, and then it seemed wise to "splurge" and pay $6 for a real room as opposed to $1-3 for a hovel, drawing the unspoken contempt from my fellow travelers. Have I gone soft? I had grand plans for India, but realized that I didn't have the money and desire to go through with it so I ended up just going to Calcutta--Kolkata, excuse me--and Varanasi.
      The background on this page is from the faux wood grain of a cabinet in my hotel room in Varanasi. Maybe I'll change it since it is harder to read my spellbinding text and it makes me dizzy.
In India I see things I've never seen before       A herd of sheep in downtown Calcutta!

Equal rights for women is a long road

This taxi is sponsored by Nike       I love decrepitude in all forms


      Calcutta rickshaws are pulled by humans and often without shoes.

      This I never understand. From a market in Calcutta, this is betel-nut spit on a stairwell.

In the third picture what they do is take a fresh large leaf, press it between two bowls and when it dries out, it becomes a bowl, or at least long enough to eat spicy potatoes for breakfast and then you throw the rest to a waiting cow. Genius.

In the middle photo and below is the process of recycling cow dung.
This girl collects it...
...then it's formed and dried and shaped...
and slapped on walls for reasons unknown.
It can be burned as fuel, too...
      ...and your laundry can be dried on it, if need be.



Rickshaw license plate

A cheap guest house's dorm room looks like a 19th century British hospital--which this could have been at one time, perhaps. Someone is inevitably sick, it is cold, drafty, etc. Awful. Beds are about $1.50-$2.

On the right is a Korean woman dressed beautifully in local clothes. I like the contrast between her and her surroundings. I have never been to a place where the vast majority of travelers were from one country, but India was absolutely infested with Koreans. Many interesting people, too.

dobi wallahs pounding the laundry       The Ganges River in Varanasi is heavily polluted


Casket above the burning ghats. I wasn't allowed to take photos of burning bodies, though family members sometimes did.       deep meditation

a nightly ceremony in Varanasi

Yeah, right.       About to take a sip!

            Varanasi is still a place of instruction

Back in Calcutta after an overnight train ride       The inside of this intense train station. The only photo I took and then I was read the riot act by someone very angry. No photos!

This is on the tarmac of Calcutta airport. For a city of over 10 million people, it's very quiet.

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