New England 2013: All Hallow’s Eve

I love Halloween, always have always will. Always been more than candy and costumes for me. As someone who grew up New England, USA and loves fall, where we seem to have a link to the seasons that cannot be denied, this day is the line between fall and winter. The earth outside my window is going to sleep, the harvest is in and it’s time to get ready to hunker down, snuggle in and get ready for the next season.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from the Keene, NH  2011 Pumpkin Festival I was lucky enough to go to last year. Imagine… thousands and thousands of jack o lanterns, candy apples, delicious food from great vendors, really not to be missed. Here’s their website http://pumpkinfestival2011.org

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India 2012: Taj Mahal

This morning we woke up at dawn to get to the Taj before the masses and I learned, you can never ever beat the masses in this country, because they get up even earlier and maybe never sleep at all.

I can understand now why my grandfather said it was the most beautiful place that he had been in the world. Simply put, it is. The dramatic entrance of the sun just proved his point more…the white walls and jewels glowed brighter and brighter, and it took my breath away.

The most impressive memorial of love lost in all the world, built by a man with a broken heart for a beloved wife, who died too soon. Shah Jahan would loose his empire and eventually his own will to live to build this mausoleum.

If you can come to see it, do it. Deal with the crowds, the hawkers with their books and their post cards, the security lines, the heat, the hassle…all of it (and if you’re looking for less hassle, I can already say, India is not for you… beauty is earned here for the tourist). It is worth the sight. Look at the building and take all the noise away and think of your own loves, hopefully not lost, hopefully a phone call, email, plane ride away because I did… I sent them all my love and more.

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India 2012: Cows

Of course, I need to write about cows here. So many cows, every where I look, more cows. More like wild dogs, domesticated cows sitting in the middle of traffic. Here’s a photo series of the whole high way being stopped by a herd headed south.

I have done so much more today and yesterday, so much I am too tired to speak about it – ballooning, temple seeing, museum going, Bollywood movie watching, chai drinking – I swear it’s all happening… and it’s amazing.

India remains one of the most baffling yet beautiful places I have ever been. I’ll be thinking of this trip, long after my return. Until then, the COWS!!

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India: Delhi to Jaipur 2012

India is all I expected and more – it is dusty, chaotic and noisy… people, cows and monkeys are everywhere. Life happens on the street – sleeping, eating, fighting, bathing. I can see how so many people come here and hate it but I can also see how people come here and loose their hearts to this land.

I arrived early in the morning and immediately faced a Delhi traffic jam like none I have seen (I include Los Angeles and Bangkok in that reckoning). All lanes, and I mean all, became two way roads.

And I was off… no personal space, temples of every kind on all the street corners, Buddhist monks crossing in non stop traffic, guards every where, school children yelling hello, hello, hello.

Yes, this is a stream of consciousness, but so is India. I am in the pink city of Jaipur now – spent all day yesterday bouncing along the highway. My ability to bargain is still not so great but I am slightly better and yes, I am okay with curry for breakfast, curry for lunch and more curry for dinner. I’ll let the pictures tell my story.

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This is indeed India! The…

This is indeed India! The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday’s bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.

Thank you, Mark Twain

Countdown to India: can count in hours now, 72? something like that