Sunday, December 29, 2013

Giving Thanks in God's Own Country

ATK enjoying some hammock time in the backwaters of Kerala
So, the ATKs spent their last vacation in India in Kerala, a state in South India which bills itself as "God's own country."  There seems to be universal agreement about this among Indians (at least the ones I've talked to) as during our two years here I have been peppered with questions like, "Have you gone to Kerala?", "When are you going to Kerala?", and "You must go to Kerala!" (admittedly, that last one is not a question.) We were very excited to spend our last Thanksgiving in India relaxing in this Xanadu. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Trip to Trash Mountain

Cows hanging out  in front of the mountain o' garbage. The little black specks in the sky are birds. This picture really doesn't do the vastness of the mountain justice.

The other day, I went on a field trip with colleagues to Ghazipur landfill, a.k.a "trash mountain" (like Space Mountain, except not at all.) A little background, December 9-11 we had officers from around South and Central Asia come to New Delhi for a conference to discuss regional environment, science, technology, and health issues. On third day, we spent the morning visiting a material recovery center and schools run by the NGO Chintan, an organization that works with wastepickers in Delhi, as well as stopping by the Ghazipur landfill, one of the oldest and largest landfills in Delhi.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Last House Guest Part III: The "I am so ready to go home" Edition

Yes, the time has come. The Last House Guest, who had been in India for about a month now, flew home early last Tuesday morning. While here, he visited Shimla, Amritsar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Agra, Varanasi, and, of course, Delhi. He even took a few days to fly down to Bangkok.  It was quite the whirlwind for him. He took all sorts of modes of transportation on his journey--taxi, rickshaw, metro, and bus. Very adventurous of him. Mr. ATK and I had never taken the metro until now and we've never taken a bus (and we have no intention of doing so before we leave). He walked around a lot more than we generally do (because walking around these streets is incredibly stressful with the honking and cars and the bikes and the motorcycles and the cows and get the picture.) However, he did so seemingly by choice. Or perhaps because he didn't want to pay for a taxi.

I think, though, in the end, one month in India was too much time in India for him. Why do I say this? The first clue was when I went to pick him up from the airport after he got back from his last intra-India trip to Varanasi, the first words out of his mouth were, "I am so ready to go home."