Monday, October 24, 2005

LAX

Okay . . . Here we begin . . . Los Angeles International Airport . . . on our way to India - stopping through London for a few days first, however . . . Here I'm eating a blueberry muffin, blackening out the logo on my bag (we figured it would be too "touristy" looking), and looking (believe it or not) about ten (maybe fifteen) years younger than I am about to . . .

This (below) is Ted sitting right across from me during my muffin-eating moment. He's looking young, alive and fresh . . . but it won't last for long - trust me.

London

We arrived in London, where we stayed at a pretty old and fancy hotel called "The Gore". It was within a few short miles of the main square, so we decided to walk wherever we went.
(Above) Here we stand in front of the Queen Victoria-built Albert Memorial monument in London's famous Hyde Park. The park is absolutely gargantuan in size, spanning something like 350 acres. I went on a 4 1/2 mile run through it, and ended up doing like an extra two or so miles on top of that because I got so lost in it. AND I ended up getting bitten by a dog for my troubles in the process. AND it started raining while I was wandering around disoriented! Yes . . . it was a fun run. In the pictures above, we're already both starting to look a little the worse for wear (me a bit more though) . . . and we hadn't even gotten to India yet.






Here we are (above) standing in front of the "Big Ben" clock . . . The pictures look like they were Photoshopped, I know (especially the one on the right) but, believe it or not, that's simply the way they came out.
Here I am above sitting on a statue of a lion in the main town square area. The photo itself fails to do justice to the true size of the statue. It was situated atop a marble rise, and one had to climb quite a bit just to get to it.
Above and below are some photos I took of Ted while atop a double decker bus, and at a restaurant (respectively). As whoever other film and photography geeks who might be looking at this web log can probably tell by looking at these two photos, I'm a big fan of dirtying up the framing of my compositions.

Here (above) I stand before the gates of the . . . of the . . . sheesh . . . I fogot WHAT the name of this place was. Anyway . . . it's famous, so maybe somebody looking at this will be able to tell where it was. It's where those royal london guards or whatever stand up and . . . don't smile or something . . .

Delhi

The Fun Begins . . .(Above) Our very first moments in India just after arriving from a 12+ hour flight across I don't know how many time zones involved what up to that point was one of the most conjested bus rides I had ever been on in my life (only to be topped by all the OTHER bus rides we took while in India) and ending up walking around abyssmally disoriented for upwards of an hour and a half at something like two o'clock in the morning in a pitch black portion of New Delhi (Paharganj) that made some of the poorest parts of the United States look like absolute paradise. I was ready though. My mind was focused, my conviction was resolute. I felt good and was confident that the journey was going to be a positive and educational one.

Ahhh . . . A Place To Rest . . .We finally made it to a hotel at something like 3:30 AM where, as you can see from the picture taken above, the accomodations were - um . . . somewhat less than spectacular. The expression on my face is one that I found myself making more than once during the course of our travels in this country.
India was a land of intensely hot summers, and (to put it mildly) elevated population concentrations [try over one billion people in a country smaller than the United States]. Not infrequently were inhabitants found sleeping outside - many on the streets, and some, as pictured above, upon the roofs of their domiciles.
Above is a photo from one of our first auto riksha rides in India. We were on our way, I believe, to one of our first fort-stops: the Humayun Sikandra (pictured below).
Here Ted and I (above and below) stand inside the area where some of Humayun's closest relatives are kept.
Above, Ted stands just outside of the tomb of the fated emperor himself.

Sick And SweatyHere (above), the aches are beginning . . . (I'll explain later).

Purana Kila
Also known as "The Old Fort", it definitely lived up to the moniker.

(Above) The Old Fort truly did have a very ancient feel to it, and walking through some of the ruins made us feel as though we had stepped a few hundred years into the past.
Here I sit before the front entrance monument at the Gandhi Musuem. I found our stay there quite educational indeed. I was surprised that there weren't more visitors, however, and that the place did not seem to be more of a site of touristic interest. Although I much preferred the quiet and solitary peruse through the museum that ocurred, I still found it a bit odd that there weren't more (or really any) people there.
Here we were (above) at a rooftop restaurant overlooking one of the major market centers in Delhi.
(Above) This, I think, is one of the best images captured while we were in India. While I would like to take full credit for it, Ted is the one who actually took the photograph. I'm not sure whether it was taken on a morning during one of my my pre-sunrise runs, or on one of the lesser ocassions when I went on a run as the sun was setting. Either way, it is, I believe, a beautiful picture.

Delhi Continued . . .

Jama MasjidThe Jama Masjid is the largest muslim mosque in India and was built buy the emperor Shah Jahan during his reign in the 17th century.

Here we are in the photos above atop of one of the towers in the mosque which overlooked a portion of the surrounding town. The view, we thought, was quite impressive.

Delhi MuseumWe weren't supposed to take pictures of anything while at the museum, but . . . well . . . it didn't make much sense to travel half way around the world in the name of research and NOT capture some much needed images. Above we see a sword, some daggers, and a battle axe. Below an elephant in full war gear, circa 1600 or so.
(Below) Only a day or two into our trip, Ted and I had already travelled quite extensively. Here we begin what I believe was our second (of many) major train trips to yet another distant land.

(Above) I had to include this shot in the collective. I really like the turbined gentleman in the back ground.

On The Train . . .
(Above) This was my first real bout with sickness while in India. I had ran something like six or seven miles during the early morning - only four and a half of which were intentional; the rest occurred as I got (yet again) lost amongst the conjested streets of Dehli. After the rather exhausting early morning run, Ted and I began our usual walking through the forts, museums, and temples of the city. This tended to take the better part of the day, and, at times, added something like another five plus miles to my daily trek. All this on top of the fact that my body was still very, very much in shock from the stress, conjestion, and pollution of the country itself, put a tax on my system that I am still quite a bit shocked I did not get really sick from. All the same though, one can only take so much, and at the point when this picture was taken, I was having shivers and body aches pretty badly.(Above) I thought the composition of this photo that Ted took of one of the passengers sitting across from us to be very sound. The contrasting play of light and dark, as well as the bluriness of the passing trees, seems very effective.

To KalanarNot long at all after finishing our long train ride, we boarded a taxi and took it for another few hours to a very remote area of northern India called Kalanar. A small monument was constructed there to commemorate the sight where the emperor Akbar was unofficially crowed by his general, Bairam Khan, and we felt it appropriate to pay a visit. It was actually quite a pleasant drive, as there were long stretches of green fields and the air was clean and crisp. Here our driver does a bit of on-the-spot refueling.


Cows, Cows, Cows
What depiction of India would be complete without taking a few pictures of some cows? There was a cow or two in the immediate periphery of the small temple which made for an interesting mixture of scenery, so I decided to practice a little more on "dirtying up" my framing.
(Above) I had a slight, silent communication of sorts with this cow. It was a nice, serene moment, and I thought it appropriate to take a photo of her.
(Above) another bovine enjoys a nice, cooling bath.

Golden Temple (Amristsar)
On our way back from the long trip to Kalanar, we decided to make a small, detoured stop at the holy pilgrimage site of the great Sikh religion.
Okay, although I know this picture above is neither golden NOR the Golden Temple itself, it 1) was of a beautiful building situated just to the side of the temple itself, and 2) I wanted to have a shot of it on here nontheless . . . Look at the sky. It doesn't even look like a photograph. It looks like it was painted on there by some 16th century master or something . . .
The Sikh religion is one whose mythology is very rich in war and fighting, and much reverance is given to acts of bravery during battle. All the same, however, the temple was one of the absolute most relaxing, and inviting ones (if not THE most) that we visited while in India. It was very, very hot outside, yet the temple's layout and marble floors - as well as its being constructed surrounded by this very cooling lake - made the short time we spent there quite positive and memorable.
Here (above) Ted decides to take a dip in the Sikh lake. Although there were various individuals themselves bathing in the lake - mothers, children, and males of all ages - and although we were in respectful observance of the Sikh customs during our time there, Ted was still initially hesitant about going in. Again, however, we found that there was a general aire of acceptance and tolerance . . . so Ted decided to go ahead and cool off for a moment.
(Above) . . . beautiful Golden Temple. I was indeed very happy and appreciative of being here. I was glad we visited.

Back Again

With no time to waste, we, again, arrived at the train station ready for our next destination. We were tired, beat from the long trips, and, as mentioned earlier, I was still quite a bit achy. All the same, however, I had made a commited to continue my disciplines (physical and otherwise) while in the country, and it didn't matter that I didn't always have a convenient place to work out at. Matter of fact, rare was the ocassion when my workouts were not significantly encumbered by some very real obstructions. Wherever I was, however, when it was time to get the work done, I had to commence. Above and below, Ted took some photos of me at something like three or four in the morning after I had just finished running something like 4 1/2 miles around the train station itself (no. I didn't get lost this time) and then began next on some upper body disciplines. The natives were quite interested in the goings on, and a small crowd of onlookers began to form as I worked out.