Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I found myself galumphing back to the Green Hills cottage lastnight after Dhanni's sister's wedding. I had to bow out around two in the morning. They told me to stay and dance through the night as the actual wedding ceremony wasn't going to happen until four. I had two of my favorite dishes, Pani Puri and Jelabees before heading for the dancefloor. Now, this being my second wedding I thought I would be a bit prepared for what was to insue. But, my confidence wanned quickly as I was being fought over to dance with. All the while the women sat and watched. In some places the men and women dance together; this wedding was not such an affair. Thus, I was left to contend with one guy wanting me to dance his way another squeezing my hand while pulling me towards his group. I found reprieve by dancing with the little kids. They are always a bit more spunky,and I connect with them. I lost interest with the dancefloor altogether when it started up again. It was nice to see everyone looking sharp and celebrating such a beautiful occasion. I am not versed in all the practices affiliated with a Hindu wedding, but from what I have seen it is quite lovely. At the family's home, next to the reception tent, there was a canopy built from banana tree branches and various other articles. For the ceremony it was explained to me that a fire would be set up in the middle which the bride and groom would circle seven times. There is a bit more detail on this site. After all the fun I had to excuse myself.

Funny, I was just reading in the news about homeschooled kids being present on most college campuses. The other day I was speaking with somebody I met about our educational system; the conversation was mostly about the limited scope offered to our kids. There are much broader learning experiences such as the kids I meet traveling with their parents around the world. An comprable example within the states I offered was homeschooling. One question that came up was whether or not it made a difference with college entrance or higher learning. Voila, this article goes into some of it. I commend those that have the opportunity and the drive to challenge not only their child but also themself to that end. The vast diversity in experience is truly amazing. Few things bring me as much joy as education and the opportunity to learn.

Monday, January 26, 2004

On blogger.com, the other day, I read as many as 300 new blogs are created per hour. That is a significant number of people putting content online. The rate at which global interconnectedness increases is astonishing. Yet, just the other day I met a couple running Horse treks through the Manali area of India; they were explaining how they meet people along their way who have no access to electricity. Being an ardent supporter of electrical technologies, such a lifestyle is hard to comprehend. Sitting quietly in the hills some place where the wind passes few ears and carries no hum of electrical generation is only one of the spaces available to us. Another space is city life; it has all the of advantages of boiling culture, religion, business, and other elements into quite an enticing brew. Each of us is left to figure out what space we occupy. Self-determinedly we choose the content filling our space; we can be in more than one place at a time. With technology and the reduced time to communicate new actors and audiences are continuously being created. We can create space including although not limited to our physical space. Phone, email, webpages, instant messaging, real-time broadcasts, radio, they all connect us. All of that being said, nothing touches the heart more than a face to face 'hello'. Sharing space has never been easier or more challenging in the absence of presence. This is for the girl in the high back office chair sitting at 125, the stacks, childpsych, class, dinner, or wherever you tread.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Ah, back in serene Rishikesh. The cold season and rainier days are coming to a close, and soon spring time in the mountains will bring back more Europeans and Israeli. However, for now, I am the only guest staying at the Green Hills Cottage. The clean air and slow pace offer nice peace here. There is a local cricket tournament happening. Three young guys managed to organize over 15 teams, and they are currently slugging it out done the road. It's an amazing thing, a blog. I came across a nice article from Google News about how blogging is aiding the political process. The speed surpasses even the strongest traditional news sources for conveying fast information. Although, there can be a big problem of accuracy. Even with the best of reporters forging some work these days, discerning the truth is a must, unfortunately. Chicago's Daily Herold has the story on blogging here. Real time information is quite the powerful tool. I find it very easy to update this, and I am pleasantly surprised to hear about people reading it, some of whom I have never met. From these quiet hills, I send my love.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Josh and Howie both had very successful trips while in Thailand, and I count my time there a success also. Whether spending a well deserved reunion with Dana in the islands or sipping on a Singha watching the sunset on the klong (canal), my in Thailand was delightful. One evening I even had the pleasure of meeting some Thai social activists. They were a diverse group some advocating AIDS treatment while others work for health education and gender equality. All the while the seafood and fruit juice were in fresh abundance. I even got to catch up on some film releases. There are many high quality theaters in Bangkok; sound systems make all the difference for that experience. Next time I am in Thailand, I plan to venture away from the capital towards the north, but for this visit it was wonderful meeting great friends. I had the pleasure of getting to know some great folk, including Ed originally from Ohio and Robert from Stockholm. There were a great many other characters I came in contact with like Phil from Pattaya whom I met after a long night out. He wanted the night to be longer, but I politely explained that Bangkok wasn't like that for me. When I was done explaining non-profit fungiability he politely bowed out of the conversation and excused himself. I too excused myself from the country when my visa was nearly expired, and I have returned to India. Announcing my arrival on the way from the airport there was dinner set out on the table at my great friend Prashast's house, and since then silliness and seriousness has ensued. Day after next I will continue onto Rishikesh for Dhanni's sister's wedding. From there onto Lucknow. Order and timing are very loosely based these days, but I will be there as it happens.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Again, my love is somewhere over the Pacific, and once again I am alone. It has been rare during this trip that I've felt a weight from being by myself. This afternoon it hit me. I said to D at the airport not to be sad or to shed tears. She wasn't sad, and she told me not all tears come from sadness. She is a very wise person. I masked some of my own feelings in trying to comfort her. I miss her. We shared a really beautiful holiday; for her it was well deserved rest. Tonight as I write and she flys we continue on our own paths until they cross again. I am very grateful to have had this time together. Thailand was very good to us.

Tomorrow I'll see Josh, and that will be nice to reconnect. I have some days with him in Bangkok. Then, Howie will arrive during his vacation, also. Life should is blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful and loving people. I am grateful for all that I have, in its time and in its place.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Resting never had it better. We're still rolling around Ko Tao a meal at a time. Lunch today was Deep Fried White Snapper with garlic and pepper sauce, accompanied by a four seasons pizza. Wash that all with some fresh fruit juices and you have the perfect meal after a morning of diving. The sites out here are phenomenol. Yesterday, we did a two hour tune-up/fun dive because it had been three and a half years since we went diving. Scuba Junction has a great staff, and the facility and equipment was all top notch. This morning we went on two more intermediate dives. Thailand's marine life is gorgeous. A lot of the dive sites have similar critters and plant life, but you don't always get to see it. There were a beautiful Titan Triggerfish, a Longnose Butterflyfish, Embedded Clams, and many other wonderful fishes. It's really nice to see them in their environment. Dana and I both feel quite strongly for only being a visitor and not disturbing the reefs too much. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that are oblivious to the harm they cause.

Aside from getting due rest for Dana, we've been beach bumming, a la shade style myself and playing some scrabble. We only played two games, but the first one lasted my first word. I dropped done O-N-*-S-E-L-F for 126 points. Then we played again, and Dana played a noble winner. Tomorrow, we're off Ko Tao back to Ko Samui, then the next day to Bangkok. It will be bittersweet as parting always is. But, I've been very grateful for this reunion so far along in my trip. It's been fun hanging together without obligations.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Dana and I have been moving a bit since she's arrived in Thailand, but it seems as though one end has been achieved. We are resting, losing track of time. We eat when hungry, swim when it's right, and we shop a little bit also. The deck overlooking the sea is serene, and the sun sets over the horizon as we sit and toast the occasional simplicity in life. There are lovely places along Sairee beach that we've been resting at one meal at a time. And, 'Thank Heavens' for 7-eleven, we've managed to acquire everything else we need.

We would like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year! Enjoy your celebrations. I may catch a west-coast reader for them to have these wishes before they celebrate midnight's coming; although, it would appear I missed the majority of you before the bell. Be well, and hopefully we will see each other soon.