Page 7 of sapere18 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Mathura July 1st 2008

“You choose! This is your India!” he exclaimed. Pasar’s final destination was also mine, though his journey started twenty-four hours before. We had joined up on the same bus from Agra to Mathura, an eighty-minute journey in a lunchbox on wheels. Having stepped into the chaos of the bus terminal, I asked him if it would matter how we should move forward, either by shared rickshaw or grab one of the several private ones on the side of the road. His emphatic answer pleased me. With a youthful tangled beard and white robe fastened at the waist by a red sash, the student of Sanskrit from India’s northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh and I hopped aboard. The rickshaw driver opened the hood of the engine to strike up the motor with a soiled cord, like how ... read more
Pagal Baba Temple
Quiet Vrindavan

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra June 30th 2008

I take joy in the stupidity of others. It also relieves boredom. Our rail coach contained blend of foreign daytrippers and uppity Indians who enjoy bossing service personnel around as if they were unresponsive oxen. Across from me sat an antsy Indo-Frenchman leading a group of college interns on a three-day excursion from Delhi. Conditions were ideal to begin with: I had been assigned a window seat and there was a table in front of me to place my notebook. I could stretch my legs to their full length below the seat facing me. Better yet, the seat next to me would remain empty for most of the journey. He had an Anne Rice novel to pass the time, but kept at his cell phone too often to knock off even a few paragraphs. The train ... read more
Watery Image
A Bend in the River
Sandstone at its best

Asia » India » National Capital Territory June 28th 2008

In many ways, Delhi is exactly what I expected it to be. Nothing about the Indian capital has taken me by surprise. It is very much like my arrival in Bangkok last year, but with more haze and blaring car horns. The Hotel Indrapasthra anchors a street in Karol Bagh, a district of local shops, idle cycle rickshaws, mediocre restaurants, and banished cheap hotels. Mine is one of many in the same range that offers some privacy, cramped accommodation, and overstaffing to ensure the amiable boss does not have to lift a finger, except to feed himself and switch the TV channels with his remote control. Management sees to it that there are little extras to compensate for the indulgences I chose to bypass by not paying Western prices for a room. The overpowering odor of ... read more
Scam Artist
Old Delhi
All Tied Up

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 25th 2008

June 29, 2008 Delhi, India No one ever wants to hear about what happens at an airport. Start telling stories of delays at check-in, indigestible airline food, and the in-flight movie, and eyes roll back after they quickly gloss over. There are, however, exceptions. American Airlines’ terminal at O’Hare International Airport is essentially a massive self-contained, self-sustaining, detached suburb of Chicago. It deserves more than a cursory look beyond the hunt for a connecting departure gate. Tuesday afternoons cater to a business crowd. Thin haired, middle aged men in khakis tow wheeled carry-ons with pocket s and slots for every imaginable electronic accessory. I remember hearing that khakis are simply jeans for guys over thirty-five. Now that I have met the age requirement, it all makes sense: replace my red t-shirt for a white button-down collared ... read more

North America » United States » Connecticut June 21st 2008

I can never tell anyone the events that transpire during my morning commute. Only the broken white stripes on the asphalt of I-91 South prevent me from drifting into an adjacent lane. The commute is so stress free, I chuckle at traffic reports on WFAN out of New York City. I listen with anticipation as the updates are announced: It is “only a forty-five minute delay on the George Washington Bridge. Traffic is barely moving onto the inbound Lincoln and Holland tunnels, expect backup well through New Jersey and most of Pennsylvania.” I, on the other hand, become highly irritated when I have to stop at a red light. I check the clock on my dashboard; it is just a few minutes past six. The morning commute is purgatorial cruise control. It is strikingly similar in ... read more

North America » United States » Connecticut June 15th 2008

Welcome to this summer’s essays entitled SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT. SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT will depict my journey starting in Delhi and moving on to the far Western Indian state of Rajasthan. From there, who knows? A traveler’s itinerary should never be set in stone. For me, that has always been the case. The purpose of these essays is to document what South Asia feels like through my eyes and ears. They are raw, unfiltered, and very subjective. Moreover, they serve a purpose well beyond a replacement for sending postcards every three or four days. Let me explain what that means to you, the reader: First of all, postings have only gone through a cursory edit. While in motion, it will be more important for me to get the information out and then go back and refine. Errors will appear ... read more

North America » United States » Texas » San Antonio April 14th 2008

Phillip flexed his muscles to remove his sole bag from my trunk directly outside the entrance to the American Airlines terminal. His mother had overstuffed the three-chamber American Tourister carry-on with needless extras. It bulged at the seams and strained the limits of the zippers. I dismissed the oval tear in the back of his monochrome grey t-shirt and un-ironed cargo shorts; compared to the other schoolboys departing on vacation, he was way overdressed. He was proud of his independence. The rollers on the bag and shoulder straps gave him the option to go wherever he wanted with his belongings without surrendering anything to me. We approached the automated check-in and I barked at him, “Get over here, please. I need your help.” Phillip loves to help others and me in particular. Others around us might ... read more

North America » United States » Louisiana » Abbeville December 31st 2007

I had never heard of Joseph Jefferson before I came to Vermilion Parish. Chances are it would have remained that way. But the renowned 19th-century American actor grew so fond of Southern Louisiana that he poured much of his earnings into a twenty-five acre, subtropical retreat in Delcambre. Jefferson’s New York fame for playing the Washington Irving character on stage over four thousand times explains the literary allusion to the property’s name, the Rip Van Winkle Gardens. Otherwise, how could anyone connect one of the greatest performers of his time to the soft, moist shores of shallow Lake Peigneur? As a Northerner during Reconstruction, Jefferson was well-received by the Cajuns; people of the time considered him one of their own. Even in my brief stint in Vermilion do I realize how difficult it is to ... read more

North America » United States » Louisiana » Abbeville December 28th 2007

It was time to head north and get back to Abbeville. The open wetlands stretch for several miles north of Cameron. The massive shallow lakes are a refuge to numerous waterfowl of which my favorite are easily the egrets. The tall, long-legged, and lanky ivory hued birds are as commonplace as squirrels back home, but less suicidal. I comment about them to Alison, but she pays little attention. She probably doesn’t even see them anymore. I have pulled over anywhere possible to photograph them and Alison ignores me; she doesn’t even get out of the car. Tourist, she most likely mumbles to herself. But to me egrets are appealing. They take flight at very low speed and do not fly very high off the ground. Egrets do not sprint when their feet leave the surface; their ... read more
Flocks upon Flocks

North America » United States » Louisiana » Abbeville December 28th 2007

Cameron’s importance before September of 2005 centered around shrimping, the petroleum industry, and being the seat of the parish of the same name that abuts Vermilion to the west. While all three still play their essential roles, the wind-driven destruction of Rita lends to Cameron an ominous sensation that the storm struck its lethal blow only three weeks ago. Cameron is the swamp version of a ghost town whose primary sign of life is connected to the grey angular monsters of natural gas platforms rising from the Gulf. Cameron is still reeling. Dangling pieces of rusty sheet metal flap from the steel beams of obliterated warehouses. Homes were so completely wrecked that only their foundations remain from which entangled copper wires reach up but connect to nothing. In what used to be the front driveway, the ... read more
Tossed About
Fill'er Up?
When Did it Hit?

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