Saturday, April 15, 2017

Flying over the US

Thursday, 13 April 2017

As we started our descent to Washington, DC, we flew over the New York metro area, and I had a prime view out my window.

JFK Airport and the NYC beaches.
Manhattan. The World Trade Center stands out in the lower left, Central Park is in the center, and the mid-town skyscrapers are in between. The Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River is barely visible in the upper right.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think this is Blue Marsh Lake near Reading, Pennsylvania.
Susquehanna River (Pennsylvania)
Dulles Airport, Virginia

Home again! We finally made it to Clifton Forge about 9:30 PM.

Our Indian Family

April 2017

We’ve got pictures of friends sprinkled throughout this blog, but here’s a selection from the last week-or-so.

Sachin (left) was our driver when we lived in Vapi. He’s also been our driver for the last 12 days. On the right is Savita, who was a secretary at WestRock in Morai, but now lives in Mumbai.
We always have a visit with Sachin’s family before we leave India. (Conveniently, he lives near the International Terminal.)
Sachin’s sister and her husband live in Daman, near Vapi.
Sachin’s sister tutors children for their semi-annual exams. (Tutoring is called “tuitions” in India.) Currently, it is board exam time. Everyone was studying. Summer break for most Indian schools is late April through early June.
Paromita and family -- friends from Vapi.
We’re missing many more. Many times our camera didn’t get used for photos, so I’m waiting (hoping) that we’ll get a few more via “What’s App”. When (if) I do, I’ll add them here.

More Bandra

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

India is constantly under construction and/or renovation. Right now the Bandstand is being repaved.

I didn’t remember that the Bandstand had “ghats” (steps) going down to the sea. I remember it as having a wall that people climbed over to get to the water. Regardless, the path at the right of the photo above is currently being resurfaced.
Paving slabs ready to go.
When I first came to India, I would not have known that the corrugated metal sheets at the left were construction worker housing. This is where the workers live while installing the paving blocks on the Bandstand promenade.
I understand the sentiment here, but when your “house” is merely a shack on the road with no “facilities”, this sign is pretty much ignored.
This woman is doing the family laundry by slapping the clothes on the rock. This is the traditional Indian method of washing clothes. Sometimes, the clothes are beaten against the rock (or concrete slab) with a wooden bat. I’m amazed at how well fabrics hold up to this treatment.
Clothes laid out for drying -- practically underneath the “No laundry ...” sign.

Bandra - Mount Mary

Tuesday & Wednesday, 11 & 12 April 2017

Mount Mary Road parallels the Bandstand. It is a shady, residential street.

The left-side set of steps up to Mount Mary Road. The mosaic mural is a recent addition.
Immediately to right of the steps above is this set with a different mural. I really don’t know why there are two side-by-side sets of steps.
Mount Mary Church, officially “The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount”. While this building is about 100 years old, the site was first occupied by Portuguese Jesuits who built a chapel here in the 16th Century.
Front view of Mount Mary Church
A small crucifix stands in the middle of the road between the church and a pavilion-like religious structure.
This is India -- every statue of a deity should have a garland of flowers -- especially for festivals. (This is Holy Week.)


Tuesday & Wednesday, 11 & 12 April, 2017

We enjoy visiting the Bandra area of Mumbai. Officially a “suburb”, it is now in the thick of the metro area. It’s an interesting place to walk around and enjoy the ambiance of an old Portuguese colony that has now been overtaken by high-rise apartment buildings and enormous Bollywood “bungalows”. There’s also plenty of shopping to be had here -- from street stalls for clothing and shoes to very upscale specialty boutiques.

The Taj Lands End Hotel in Bandra is a great place to spend a few days. As the name implies, it’s at the end a small peninsula that forms the north side of Mahim Bay.

We had a great view of Mahim Bay and the Sea Link toll booths from our hotel window.
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge. Completed in 2010, it saves 30 to 60 minutes when driving to the southern parts of Mumbai.
The Taj Lands End is at the southern end of the Bandra “Bandstand”, which not a music venue, but a 1+ km long promenade along the Arabian Sea. It’s very popular for exercise in the early morning and evening.
It was a very hot day -- near 95°F (36°C), but the intense humidity made it feel much warmer.
The sea shore here is very rocky.
An old fishing village survives along the shore amidst the high-rises of modern Mumbai.
Fishing boats. At low tide these are high and dry!
I liked the multiple layers of palm tree shadows on the marble exterior of the Taj.

This doesn’t fit here, but it doesn’t fit anywhere else, either.

This high-rise apartment building is on the east side of NH8 north of the airport. I don’t remember seeing it before, but clearly it’s been there a while. I’m not sure if this is a single unit (the top terrace suggests that), or whether it expands the adjacent flats.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dogs & More

April 2017
I am too much of a dog lover -- that can make living in India disturbing.

A not-so-healthy dog in Udawada. At first I thought he was suffering from “Vapi pink dog syndrome” (i.e. laying down in red dye effluent), but it appears he has just lost his fur and the pink is his skin. On the other hand, this dog was not having any difficulty getting around.
Another not-so-healthy dog, in Bandra. A lot of dogs in Bandra have green collars. I assume this means that they have been given some sort of care (spay/neuter?), but they are definitely not someone’s pet.
Not all dogs are in poor shape. This one was enjoying the rocks on the Bandra Bandstand.
And it’s not all dogs. This is Sachin’s daughter with her pet squirrel. (Sachin was our driver when we lived in Vapi.)

(Not) Only in Vapi

April 2017

More sights from Vapi on our trip.

We came across the lone elephant in Vapi three times. Here she (he?) is taking up most of a narrow shopping lane.
Egg delivery on a two-wheeler.
This is what I call the “disappearing hill”. It’s being actively quarried into oblivion.
Lost in translation?

Trucks & More

April 2017

Indian trucks have been a recurring theme in this blog. Here are some highlights from this trip.

This painting is more detailed than most.
This bird was painted on the side of the same truck. It’s an ad for the truck painter.
A unique variation on the poison skull-and-crossbones: pierced ears, horns, and tongue.
It’s not a truck, but it is brightly painted. Pink bicycles like these are provided for girls to have transportation to school. I photographed these in Moti Daman, but they are common in rural India.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What’s New in Vapi?

Monday, 10 April 2017

On our way out of Vapi, we took two quick diversions so that I could photograph two new big items in Vapi.

By far the most significant is the new railroad underpass. Like many towns, Vapi is divided by railroad tracks. There was only one way cars and trucks could cross -- on the very overcrowded flyover. A small tunnel was available for two-wheelers.

The old tunnel under the tracks. It’s barely big enough for a two-wheeler. I’m not sure whether even a tuk-tuk would fit.
This is the new underpass. Regular trucks and buses still don’t fit, but it’s great for cars, tempos (small trucks), and three-wheelers.
It has nice approaches on either side, with rotaries to help traffic flow.
Art students have been painting murals.
The mural on the GIDC side.
The mural on the Vapi Town side.
The photo above was too contrasty to do the center face justice. So here it is with a better exposure.
And on the GIDC side is a new large mosque:

There are several small mosques (“masjid”) in Vapi, mostly tucked into small spaces -- it’s easy to pass right by them without noticing. This is a huge mosque in a large setting -- definitely difficult to overlook.