This, I can never get used to. This picture is one that is all-too-common in India. Here, you can see a big heap of trash and some animals. Most of the time there are no Indians in the picture. I’m really not sure what this guy is doing. When I take a picture of some guy in a garbage dump, I try not to linger. Animals in garbage dumps is not uncommon in India. However, to put the whole thing in some perspective for my western friends, it is important to understand a couple of things. First, in India, the lives of animals are much the same as the lives of humans. That’s why the vast, vast majority of Hindus are vegetarians. Second, it is important to support our animal friends by giving them the refuse that we don’t want, especially cows, which are, for Hindus, sacred. It’s something like having a pet, but on a higher social order. All animals are our friends (pets) and we should help them. Best way to help them? Feed them our garbage. It’s like feeding Fido under the table when dad wasn’t watching. At this point, however, the whole thing starts getting a little murky as the results of the logic are piles and piles of garbage everywhere and loose animals feeding in them. But, if the Indians don’t have a problem with it, why should I? It’s their country, isn’t it?
This is where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated after he was assassinated in 1948. In the Hindu culture, cremation is the normal way to deal with a person’s body after they expire. The area around the site has been turned into a large park. I’m not sure what happened to his ashes. Someone told me that they were scattered from an airplane across the country of India. That sounds appropriate.
These are the immigration lines in New Delhi, India. Were they long? This is just one. They were incredibly long. I almost thought that there were some union organizers from the U.S. who had come to India and were working with the Indian Immigration Officer’s Union in an attempt to raise union membership by slowing down the work so that the government will hire more people. Sorta’ like they do in the United States. Luckily, they opened up another line to the right of me and I jumped at the chance, getting to be the third person in line. Two little Jewish ladies from New York in track shoes beat me to it. I remember waiting with our driver outside of the gate for someone else going to the hotel that the driver was supposed to pick up off the same flight. The next day I met the guy for which the driver had been waiting at the hotel and he said it took him more than an hour to get through immigration.
Hey, at least you got some warning before you opened the door and it did give a person a chance to make a choice between a squat and a western toilet. I thought that was commendable. Truth is, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go and it really doesn’t matter what type of toilet it is.
It’s me. It’s the Great Wall of China. Not the one at Charleston, WV, the one a Badaling, China. What I hope you take from this picture are the mountains in the background. It seems that the Chinese built their Great Wall in places that were, well, not conducive to easy wall building. Some of the sections of the Great Wall are so steep that a person needs to be part goat to climb up and down them. To be perfectly honest, it really is a "Great Wall" and I’m glad I didn’t have anything to do with the building or maintenance of the wall in anyway. Is it the Eighth Wonder of the World? It’s got my vote simply due to my estimate of how many lives must have been consumed in building and maintaining it.
It’s called Pit 1. It’s supposed to contain up to 6,000 pieces of the terra-cotta army of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China which were buried by him around 210 BC. They were discovered in 1974 by some locals who were digging a well.
We had two bunk beds and four lockers in a small room. Two people couldn’t dress at the same time. You had to hope the guy above or below you was having a restful night. You had to hope that no one would come in drunk in the middle of the night. Four bed dorm rooms cost more than six bed dorm rooms. Six bed dorm rooms cost more than eight bed dorm rooms. Eight bed dorm rooms cost more than 10 bed dorm rooms. By the time it gets to a sixteen bed dorm room, you can be virtually guaranteed that a good night’s sleep isn’t achievable. The largest room I’ve ever slept in was a 36 bed co-ed room at Vondlepark Hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Sleeping in a room with that many people is a form of Hell. Even the military doesn’t put that many people in a room. Outside of a hostel, I think that only refugee camps house that many people in one space.
I talked to a lot of people about Expo 2010 and many of them said the same thing – that the China Exhibition was almost impossible to get into without a reservation. That’s probably because 95% of the attendees were Chinese. That issue aside, it’s rather obvious that the China Pavilion was the biggest pavilion at the Expo and the Chinese splashed the picture of the pavilion all over Shanghai. Imagine that…
It’s me. I’m in a McDonald’s in Beijing. I’ve got my Mandarin phrasebook in hand, trying to order breakfast. It’s something of a challenge. It seems that the percentage of Chinese who speak even a smidgeon of English is virtually miniscule. Lucky for me I’ve go the phrasebook, right? That’s really funny. But, somehow I manage. At least I don’t seem to be loosing any weight. At least not so far.
I was told that the first thing I needed to do was to try and find a way out of town as soon as possible. They say overnight sleeper berths are in limited supply and the best time to get one is NOW for sometime in the future. I got one for five days hence for the overnight to Shanghai. They say Shanghai is worth seeing. They also tell me there is some kind of Expo there at present. We’ll see…