Hiding in Mumbai
Wednesday 28, 2005
I am in a room here in Mumbai, India. I wonder if I am hiding, I have no desire to leave the room, I am not wanting to go see the city, I am not clear why, this part of my travel experience that is becoming more clear daily. It is not enough to see the world, which is not a good reason to travel. I must live and see the country, keep the same sense of boredom I have in the USA, too much stimulation is hard on my brain. There is no comfort in see everything and anything. I need a steady routine of nothing.
I cannot stand to study in University for 16 hours per day. I do not want to travel for 16 hours per day. I need to rest the brain; I cannot observe a place that is 80 percent different from normal the whole day.
There are people that can focus and study, learn 12-18 hours per day, I can learn about 7 hours per day and I think that is 6 hours more than normal. A brain drain concentration is difficult for people, if it was easy, then people would go to University with no problem. Everyone complains about studying even the persons in University.
Hobo in Mumbai India
Tuesday September 27, 2005
I am not sure what time it is, the time has changed.
I am in Mumbai and the world has changed channels, like going from HBO to the Discovery Channel life changes quickly. Hard to believe that you jump over a nation’s border and life changes so much. Jordan was like a weak version of Europe and now I am in a version of Niger.
This is my second trip to India, this one with be short, however I will never forget the manager of the Hotel in Varanasi, India when he said,
“I can never leave India, it is a Question Mark.”
A Question Mark
This is and still is the best way to describe India, I just had a 45 minute taxi drive with an over stimulation of the senses. The drive was hot, with this sticky sensation, as if we were walking though the mist of the wave crashing on the beach. This however is a combination of pollution, dust, and exhaust fume, heated up and you feel sticky.
I am decompressing from the five-hour plane trip from Amman, Jordan to Mumbai a.k.a. Bombay, India. I arrived at the perfect time, 10:30 in the morning and am now in hiding in the most expensive hotel I have ever been in India. At 20 Dollars I am way above my normal Hobo pay scale, I am trying to figure it out, Goa is about 4 dollars a night, beaches, waves, palm trees, and cheap, a trade for too much of too many.
However, I am presently the dot on the bottom of the question mark; I am in Mumbai, India the center or the storm, the question mark of India.
Interesting type home, there is second story and many times, it is almost impossible to enter the lower story, maybe this is a new type of protection for the home from theft.
A man sticking his hand up to the window of the taxi, a very common event, the see me in the taxi next to them in traffic and decide to say hello, of course many time in typical Indiana fashion, I say hello and they return the hello. I am from Indiana, the state of I now have to be careful, and they do not think I am from India.
Wonderful to see the simplicity of life some day, this little girl was showering in the street as I am sure many do in the semi-typical manner of India to take a dip shower. She is oblivious to the thousand of cars, the smells, the taxi driving by with a foreigner in the back, totally over stimulated by a city that for sure has more questions than a two life times of exploration could answer.
Antique Telephone in Jordan
This is a photo of a telephone sitting on the desk inside the Cliff Hotel in Central Amman, Jordan. The owners a Christian guy from the Palestine territories, as Jordan is 65 percent Palestine he tells me has a lot of old English type devices and system as he said the area was colonized by England. I am just repeating, not too sure, however for sure Amman, Jordan speaks some of the best English on the planet for a second language.
Take look, all sorts of buttons, a crank, I think it was used to connect to the various rooms in the Hotel. I told him, I think this is valuable, take great care if people try to buy it; he said one woman already offered 200 Dollars.
Telephone in Jordan, probably an Antique.
Some of you know I posted a five dollar question on Google Answers, I am posting another, note if you wish paid, I suppose you just go there and answer with a good answer!
Three Nutrition Calculators Links Wanted
I went to the country of Niger, they are having an Epidemic of
Mal-Nutrition. I have taken photos of all the foods they eat, I need
an online internet page that I can load in the foods to decide what
foods they need to grow to be safe. I am world traveler.
I would like three URL or Links to webpage that are nutrition calculators.
It would be really great if I could type in all the foods and the
quantities, then it would say the totals and how they fit in with RDA
Recommended Daily Allowances. Applied to the foods on this link.
I fly to Mumbai or Bombay India tonight, I will be in Mumbai around 10:00 AM or in the morning of 27th of September. I was real worried about hotel and then it hit me...
India has the safest budget hotels on the planet.
There are these huge sliding deadbolt locks in India, I can stay anywhere and be safe, I just need to find a Hotel then figure it out later. I need a Lonely Planet, the internet has completed made me angry, they are getting more full of bait and switch, hide the price.
Big problem now is they advertise the price of the bed, not the whole room, so it has three beds so you pay three times the price.
Andrew purchased a Lonely Planet in Goa and is going to figure this out, finally got him on Yahoo Messenger Chat. So life is good, Stephen is coming from Singapore and we are going to have a SEO or Seach Engine Optimization moment and three man conference in Mumbai.
Totally nerd webpage for a few days. Woopee!
Photos of Niger Typical Foods
11:06 Monday September 26, 2005
I am very proud of this collection of photos of Niger food, it maybe the first time I have every collected a very comprehensive photo collection of foods for a country. Normally I take photos of anything and everything, however I have no way to know what I should have focused on until after I left or am leaving the country. After I have left, read more, thought more then I can see the common elements of think of the common elements. Since early in the travels I was told about the Food Crisis or more accurately by Doctor Ahmed of the Doctors without Borders defined the Niger problem as an - Epidemic of Mal-Nutrition -.
This is the basic foods eaten in Niger, please look at any vegetable or fruits and view it as a possible food for them and not a food that is eaten in abundance, the Cow, Goat and Millet, Peanuts and maybe Beans are eaten in Abundance. I cannot remember if this includes cow, however there are cows everywhere in Niger.
If a person analyzed the foods here for nutritional values, they could then deduce the nutrients they are eating, and therefore come up with a list of foods needed to be grown to help solve this Mal-Nutrition problem in Niger.
My feeling is these are the foods they could grow more of that are not grown in abundance, however would grow in Niger easily.
These are not in these photos, however should be more of even if I have shown a couple of time:
MY LIST OF FOODS THAT ARE NOT GROWN AND SHOULD BE GROWN MORE OF AND COULD SAVE LIVES.
5. Mangos - Very needed.
6. Bananas - This should be number one on the list.
7. Cucumbers - This is a very easy and NEEDED.
10. Potatoes - More of them.
11. Rice - I saw none being grown.
12. Corn - The grow, however it should be half of the Millet.
13. Wheat should also be involved more and less Millet.
14. Yams, they have however too few.
15. Olives - Easy
18. Melons, Squash, Muskmelons.
20. Grapes made in Sultanas or Raisins
This list above is normal foods I see in dry or arid places on the planet and are very scarce in Niger. I would put the apple on the list, I however am not sure if it will grow in these areas. However if it will, then add the apple.
Niger Food Beef Brochettes Locust Grasshopper or Crickets Millet
Niger Food Beans Okra Pomegranates Yogurt Chicken Potatoes
Niger Food Special Juice Drink Fromage Dried Cheese
Niger Food Dates Tobacco Cucumber
Niger Food Tomatoes Grains Peppers Beignets Water Yogurt Goat
Niger Food Peanuts Onions Beef Jerky or Goat Jerky Salt Rice Millet Sorghum
Niger Food Tea Sesame Baguette Chi
I want to put this up and complete this before I am too far away from Niger and my focus changes, it is very hard to remember and prioritize when you are out of the mainstream problem areas.
However to me these photos above need analyzed by a professional nutrition scientist, then taken to an Agriculture department and create a list of foods that can be grown in Niger, then signs need made in there language, French, Hausa, Arabic of the names of these foods. Told in clear language, these foods need to be grown or your children will die. Put on signs and on the radio in Niger.
On the funny side, to get me to eat most of these would be like pulling teeth, I do not eat properly, however after Niger, I am doing 50 percent better. Surprising how a person can be scared into eating his vegetables and fruits. In Indian terms I am meat and potatoes man.
I had a reader or person write and say to not give up on a country.
I find this interesting.
Is there a competition and is this why a lot of travelers are crazy in India.
Do they feel like they must try to be nice, or do they feel superior so they must be nice, sort of patronizing to make the world happy.
I travel for fun. India is the same as any country. If I have fun. I have fun, if I have think it is dirty, I say it is dirty. I do not understand this desire to save or help a country. A country is independent and it is not the job of the world to save or help, or not give up on them. I know for sure that no one cares whether the USA succeeds or does not succeed. I do, but the rest of the world wishes us misery on daily basis. But I could care less because I know the USA will do good with or without their help. The rest of the world is the same.
People that do not care do not even come to India.
India is full of the runs or the shits. It is impossible to just live normally and have daily trips the toilet before breakfast. The food is crap and so spicy the body has to revolt and spew out or forth on a regular basis. It is not for the most worth mentioning because this is minor.
But I have found a daily Heaven. For some unknown reason the shower in the YOGI LODGE is very hot and has lots of pressure. I can stand in this shower and be baptized of my sins or wash away the world. The problem is that I never want to leave, and in my selfishness I am hoping to use all the hot water, and then I would feel guilty again. It is just too much.
WHAT I FEEL IN VARANASI
Yesterday it was wet in the streets and alleys because it rained the night before. As I took my morning walk there whole city had a ½ inch layer of cow manure and mud mixed together. There is almost not barren soil as all the walking area are stone, concrete, or asphalt so the blackish mud is really a mixture of something I am not sure how to describe. I am sure there is lot of the spit from beetle nut include as the ground is covered with red splotches of spit.
In my State of Indiana terms I would describe it or explain it this way. When you have milking cows there is normally a tramp shed that is where the cows sit around and chew their cuds in safety from the rain, cold and weather. In this area wheat straw is place down for bedding and you can feed the cows bales of hay. Just outside in the barnyard is an area where there is a silo full of corn silage or Alf alpha silage that is dispensed by an auger system. This are is normally in my area has a concrete base, and the milking area or parlor will empty all the cow manure into this area. So as the cows eat silage and or are milked they excrement or defecate in the troughs or area of the barnyard.
When they clean the barnyard area has a concrete base or floor to it the farmers will take either an old tractor with a front end loader, or a scrapers on the back that looks like a road grader, or use maybe now a Bobcat that is a 6 wheel vehicle with a front loader or bucket. They will take and scrape this area.
Now if it rains the mixture of cow manure and rain creates a mush or slime over the area. There is always a constant drying factor, and cow manure when dried, or maybe dung is more of a dried grass or digested grass and is not so extreme. But when filled with water or hydrated in any way, the mixture is a slime of manure.
So how do I feel walking around Varanasi?
I feel like I am walking around in the barnyard that has been scraped recently, but there it has rained the day before and is slimy. If there I no rain, there are islands of dry spots and ways to walk around and avoid the slimy mud areas. If you are paying attention you can avoid the cow patties and other obstacles. Normally a farmer working in this area would be wearing some pull on boots over his work boots that lace up about 7 inches. If not really working in this area you walk around or skip on through in your normal work boots, but at the risk of soaking or stepping in extremely wet spots.
It is fun to watch the city kids come to this area or women in High heels trying to tip toe through the barnyard, as it is really impossible to avoid. This is Varanasi except there is another couple of factors.
Everywhere you walk there are store on both sides of the cow path and people are talking to you or saying things to you in English,
“Where are you going?”
“What are you looking for?”
“Hello, sir, just come in, it cost nothing.”
The speak more in command then real questions, and difficult to say no because the command or statement are not really open.
The will say,
“You come back tomorrow.”
It is not a question and it is more of a statement, and the only honest statement I can say is,
“No, I will not come back tomorrow.”
Sometimes they temper this with
“You come back tomorrow, maybe.”
“NO, not maybe, not at all. I will not return.”
If I do not do this, or I try to ignore them, when they see you the next day they will tell me, or say to you that you promised or you said. Now I am very good at ignoring and I do sort of chide them and egg them on or wind them up, or even take the piss as the English say, and try to be brutally honest with them and say.
“You are just trying to make me feel guilty so I will come in your store and it not going to work. If I wanted to come in your store I would come in your store.”
Now the problem is that their tactics work very well. You see lots of traveler inside the shops.
So as I walk around in the cow slime there are vendor laying on the guilt and trying to convince you to enter the shop.
Now the next factor.
In this stupid little slimy cow path with talking noise and guilt are motorcycles riding through as fast a possible. Now I am in a canyon of concrete building and India people are like 2-year-old children on the motorcycles and the beep the horn always just like a 2 year old child. So you are walking along and people are shouting and making noise and motorcycles comes along and beep their horn and make you dodge them, as the path is really not wide enough for everyone. I say an old man get knocked down yesterday into the slimy cow layers of crap. Now here is my nightmare. That I would slip into this stuff and have to think. I would think that I am lying in cow manure. In the middle of Human Urine, Human excrement and all is inhumane. Spit, and hockers, and spit of betel or beetle nut, or whatever that nasty red shit that is in the mouths of every India person. I would want to lie down and die.
So as you walk down the path with noise horns, people trying to lay guilt trips on you, fear of falling of choosing bad steps in the slimy cow manure you also…. Aagh This really never stops.
Then you have the tag-alongs. The people whether it is beggar with no fingers or a small barefoot child, or maybe a vender speaking good English that alternates between selling you silk or hashish is on your side and will not leave without extreme rudeness, or until about 10 minutes of ignoring. I think they know that maybe with enough time you will give in. They are beggar vendors. The will not stop whining in your ear until you give up and come look at their crap.
Varanasi is a shoppers 5 and dime buyers paradise in the middle of the barn yard. There are 1000’s of shops, and at the river edge you can watch burning bodies and people swim in the runoff from the slimy cow manure, spittle, betel, human urine and other ingredients.
I agree this place is Holy. You become so full of fear that you look to God as the only solution.
I also think to call in an air strike would suffice. When I leave I will not look back as I am afraid I would turn to salt.
Now that was a good ramble. I am going to put that in my newsletter and send and save myself another ramble.
ONE WEEK EXPERTS
I am having a lot of people accost me or ask me to buy, sell, want to show, or anything in the world. Some of the travelers in the Hotel were telling me that I needed lessons in how to manage the Indian people. I soon found out one of the leading experts has only been in India for one week.
I am blond and blue eyes, and older than normal so I think this is the reason they are after me all the time, but I also think I am not rude to people and do not get angry. I have found that people do not realize how rude they are to people because they get so angry, but I would say they are afraid and do not know how to deal with the people. I am just wondering around and I could care less that there are Indian people around me, and try my best to just ignore them, but they will walk right in front of me.
I do not think I need lessons in how to deal with vendors. I thought this was sort of silly, but people like to become experts in a week and this is not possible. I am always learning more on how to deal with cultures. Life is easy in India, but the smell! The dirt, and the ground in dirty is just hard to believe.
But really travel in India is so easy it is ridiculous. The actual crime is very low and this is nice. I just do not know where I would want to sit down my bag in some cities.