Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ah, the joys of travel. Specifically, the joys of traveling like this--an early morning rail station where you don't speak the language and you have no idea what's going on. If it weren't for our coolie (have I mentioned that you need to tip these guys well because without them you will end up in a place you never wanted to go and can't get back from?), we'd still be lost, likely someplace north of Tajikistan.

This is actually quite common, and not frowned upon.

Typical platform scene.

This dude was my favorite.

Lots of local scenery available from the rail car--as long as you stand between cars to get a good shot. All the trains have bars on the windows, which I guess prevents stowaways from getting in and prevents passengers from getting out in the event of an emergency.

Okay, so why are we doing this, and what's here? Well, there's this:

So we're walking around all of this, barefoot, on cold, slippery marble, when the thunder peals and the sky opens up. But when the sun comes out it's a whole new day. This might be my favorite shot of all.

There's this other, older monument affectionately called the Baby Taj. Relatively free of visitors, its proportions and styling are more approachable and, to my eye, more pleasing.

Then there's this: Fetahpur Sikri, the Ghost City. Occupied for only fourteen years during Akbar's reign, it's a truly stunning piece of architecture. Sure, it's a drive, but it's unlike anything else you've ever seen.

Monkeys! Everywhere!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


We took close to 1600 pictures--way too many to post, and we don't believe in torture. A blog should be a nice diversion, not the dreaded three-hour, six-carousel slideshow you had to sit through when your uncle got back from the Grand Tour. The best way to do this seems to be by city--so we'll start in Delhi and work our way around the subcontinent. These are the high-res, main camera images, so know that you can click on anything to TajMahalenate (even higher res are available if you're interested or, if you're a client, for purchase--heh heh).

Morning in Delhi, from our hotel. The air quality really is this good.

The Delhi Arts & Crafts Museum is rather impressive--better than the National Gallery. Indoors and out, it's a stuff-folks-have-made tour of the entire country. Some of it's free, some of it's not, and some of it comes with traditional folk singing and hawker stalls.

This is the inauspicious entrance to...

...the first of the Really Big Old and Beautiful Things. I give you Humayun's Tomb.

It's not the only tomb. You can walk around the Lodi Garden and see a few more tombstones, mosques and whatnot. Good restaurant there.

Speaking of religion, there's more than we can count. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jains, Ba'hai, Christians, Jews, Animists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs...they're all silly and they all have their own dietary restrictions that prevent me from eating tasty animals, but the Jains take it to a new level, erecting a temple to care for sick or injured sky rats (read: pigeons). A noble endeavor, to be sure, but visitors are required to walk through the bird piss in bare feet. Have I mentioned at all what's wrong with this country?

Also, that guy in the photo is a veritable source of everything: lunch, taxi rides, temple tours, export/import processes and currency exchange. His only problem? There's 400 million more just like him.

This is actually hugely impressive: the Red Fort. Fucking big, like in a "Have you been to Teotihuacan? This will deliver some serious ball stomp to Teotihuacan" kind of way. The dude on the left--totally cool.

That's the gate.

That's what lies beyond the gate. This is just the antechamber.

Goes on for miles. And that was right before Karen's wallet was stolen. So we sat outside India's largest mosque during Friday prayers and called all the credit card companies to cancel. I can only imagine what the folks on the other side of the line were hearing...

Yup, it's a mosque. Yup, it's big.

Dusk is just as clear as dawn, as far as atmospheric conditions are concerned. The Ba'hai Lotus Temple bans photography on the inside, but I suspect that's because the outside is more impressive.