Blog Archive for Nov 2013


I’m not done with you yet, Istanbul.   We had one more day after the nonsense I wrote this morning—the nonsense about already having left the city, about the fatigue with the pollution and th

Let the great madness spin: India, part 1

First of all, we’re all okay. Thanks for some of your messages of concern. We’ve been out of touch because it’s taken us a few days to navigate the complexity and the chaos of the In

Let the great madness spin: India, part 2

Day 2 in Jaipur   I awoke at 9am after sleeping for 11 hours. I sat on this chair for another hour writing about our first day in Jaipur while next to me on the mattress on the floor, Liam and Do

The Magical Mystical Tour

    I don’t know much of anything about Islam. I lay bare my ignorance here. I know far more about ancient Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. They make sense to me in that all of our humanity

India, day 3

For most of yesterday, our 3rd day in India, we lay low in Amit’s home until at night we went out into the madness.   First, the day. I awoke to hazy skies and to Liam and Dolora fast asleep un

Wrapping up Jaipur

Yesterday we hired for the day a tuk-tuk, one of those 3-wheeled motorized rickshaws with an engine that might be strong enough to run a lawn mower. We decided that one day more in Jaipur was enough a

Onward from Jaipur, all on our own

This is good. The place we landed for the next few days is good. In India this is the best we can hope for. After days and days of choking pollution and staggering poverty and the endless tugs at our

Bundi, again

I awoke on this Friday morning and walked out onto the terrace here in rural Bundi in hopes of seeing blue sky for the first time in India. Not a lot to ask, is it? But no, not today. The sky is a mil

One Day in Dubai

    How fair can you be to a place when you stay less than 24 hours? And yet, I feel my utter lack of anything positive to say about Dubai would not improve if I gave it a year. I also cannot st

Free Falling

Disclaimer: probably not one to read aloud to children   Free Falling   My mentor Aftab Omer used to tell us in grad school that all worthwhile things require a sacrifice. Malidoma Some, a Dagar

Leaving Bundi

Yesterday in a rickshaw ride through the town of Bundi in northwest India, I saw on the street a vendor selling his product that was laid out in rows on his burlap sack. The product?   Dentures.

Pushkar Begins

And then we arrived at Pushkar.   It all began with that phrase, the Pushkar Camel Festival, when we began to plan this monstrosity of a trip about a year ago. I waited until I was granted a year

Enter: Pushkar

It’s nearly 8am in Pushkar, India. I’m sitting on the terrace that overlooks this city and its 1000 temples, its holy lake in the center of town where pilgrims from around the region are gathering

The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers   Many of the native Indians we have met describe their country as chaotic, a place of paradox and contradiction, a mélange of peoples and religions and beliefs held togeth

On the rooftop of Paradise

There were times yesterday while we walked among a thousand camels that it all seemed like a dream, a dusty dream among the men with long moustaches and vibrant turbans and camels upon camels in all d

A brief good morning

Liam is sitting across from me this Thursday morning on the rooftop of the Paradise Hotel.   I wrote that sentence an hour ago. During that hour when I should’ve been writing, we’ve been talk

Holy Daze

    We have been in Pushkar for some days, 4? 5? I cannot be bothered with a calendar or maybe India time has taken me over. I know it is Thursday, I think. I do know that Liam’s birthday

The pilgrimage

  It’s Saturday morning in Pushkar. The pilgrims have increased throughout the week, all culminating in the official full moon at midnight tonight. That’s when the lake will be swarming with bath

The Full Moon

I awoke before sunrise to watch the scene down at the lake. It’s the day of the full moon, November 17th, the day when all the pilgrims who have streamed to Pushkar this week make their push to bath

Speed blog…

Speed Blog: Last Day in Pushkar?   Dolora: I have to admit, the more I learn about Hindu gods and goddesses, the more irreverent I become.   Jim: I went down alone to a ghat this afternoon

Movie of Jaipur

For our first week in India we dropped into Jaipur in the northwest corner of the country. We stayed with a host family–Amit, Neelam, and their little boy Nick–to experience the festival o

Movie Time

We haven’t posted a movie in a long time, so here’s one that captures our first week in India when we landed in Jaipur. We stayed with a host family and experienced the festival of light,

Speed Blog: On a Train to Agra

    Dolora: Looking out the train window, India is what I imagined Africa to look like. Which reminds me of something I said long ago in the Peloponnese of Greece: that a field we were passi

The Romance is Gone

    Jim told me a long time ago that I had a romantic notion of India. Ever since I was little, before I even knew what India was, I was intrigued by India. Maybe I saw a Commander McBragg c

Wonder of the World

(Note: Pictures coming tomorrow. We’re exhausted after an 11-hour drive from Agra to Rishikesh–exhausted and thankful to be alive.)   Yesterday we spent the day at the Taj Mahal. Our

The Taj

I’ll get to the Taj Mahal in a minute. In that paragraph I’ll use words like “transcendent” and “inspirational”; I’ll probably talk about its symmetry and beauty and lightness, about it

Ahh, India

We ran into Will today here in Rishikesh. Will’s a British guy who slept on the terrace of the Paramount Hotel in Pushkar. The last we saw him, he was leaving to take an overnight sleeper bus from P

Settling into Rishikesh

I awoke this morning before 7am here in Rishikesh. I lay in bed listening to the rarest of sounds in India—the sound of nature. The wind is blowing through the trees, the Ganges is flowing across ro

Rafting the Ganges

What day is it today? I’d have to think about that.   ++++++   Let’s talk cricket.   Cricket is a sport for a country with a lot of land, a lot of leisure time, a lot of lawns. In o

The Mother Ganga

We non-locals say Gone-jeez or Gan-jeez when referring to the holiest river in the world. Indians say Mother Ganga (gong-gah). We are in Rishikesh, a place that the rest of the world might know becaus


That was dangerous.   No, I’m not talking about another suicidal drive this morning from Rishikesh that began at 4am. Nor am I talking about that curd, or that toilet seat, or that dog’s neck

Digging the Du

We can’t help it.   We humans are all about comparison, all about understanding something new based on the recently old. Allen likes his new Harley because it rides more smoothly than last year

Kathman-Don’t Mind if I-Du

    When we began planning this adventure a year ago, I made it known that I wanted to see Nepal or Tibet. More specifically, I felt like being so close to the Himalaya and not going there w

24 Days in India

    I wish 3 weeks in Hanalei, Kauai could feel as long as these three weeks in India. Something happened yesterday. I felt good. I realized I have not felt well since we landed in Jaipur on

Waiting to trek

The world tour has ground to a halt.   We’re a hundred miles to the west of Kathmandu in a town called Pokhara, the jumping-off place for most of the hiking treks in the Himalaya Mountains. Our