'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, September 25, 2005

My India Trip 

I'm really bad about taking pictures when I travel.

I'm kind of spiritually opposed to the whole enterprise. It always seems that if you take a lot pictures on some vacation five years later all you remember are the things you photographed, whereas if you don't take any pictures you end up remembering the experience more holistically. Also I hate carrying the camera around.

The other problem I had in India was that the subjects I most wanted to photograph were people -- street scenes, market scenes, etc. -- but I hate to treat human beings living their daily life as though they are exotic animals, so I took almost no daily-life-in-India type pictures and the ones I did take didn't come out because I took them quickly on the sly and my hand wasn't steady enough. In retrospect I kind of regret that I didn't just ask a few people permission to photograph them.

Anyway I did take a few pictures that came out all right...

Here's the sun coming up over the Indian Ocean at the southernmost point of India:

This one is looking down on Tamil Nadu from the mountains in Kerala. That's a waterfall in the lower right; you can see it better in the high res version of this picture. As you can tell, Kerala was already in its rainy season.

And here's a picture from my close encounter with a monkey that occurred when a gang of the little bastards layed seige to our hotel room in Thekkady. (One of them actually made it into the foyer of the room but was quickly shooed away by the room service guy.)

Anyway, I feel as though I should write a big post about the experience but the problem is (a) I don't feel like it, (b) I don't think I could boil it down to a blog post length chunk of text, and (c) this is American Leftist, after all, and I didn't really do anything political there.

(We did meet a fellow who rows tourists out to see the mangroves of Tamil Nadu and talked to him a bit about the Indian government's response to the Tsunami (he was very satisfied with it) and he told us that the boat tour guides were about to unionize and want to strike, but the Communist Party advised them to wait until the tourist season when striking would be more costly. Also when we were on the road somewhere, I saw a Communist Party organized workers' rights march which was interesting because it was composed predominantly of women. I learned a lot about the Indian activists who fought for civil rights for the lower castes -- much like the civil rights movement here in the 60's. One time a bartender asked me to explain the US's support of Pakistan and I talked a little with a shopkeeper from Kashmir about the situation there ... but, honestly, that's about it for the American-Leftist-Goes-To-India side of the trip)

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