Monday, July 04, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
when you wake up in the desert the minah birds have been eating bugs off your camel all night and there are tiny tracks in the sand and in their fur and little poops down their sides. when you stop for lunch and a herd of goats pass through and add their dung to your camels, little birds and chipmunks come out of seemingly dead and dusty bushes to fight over each little poo ball and scuttle back into the brush with it.
we didnt take and post enough pictures of regular street life though it was what we were surrounded by and affected by so often. it turns into one of those almost quantum physics situations, though, and maybe the hardest part of being in india for so long for me, personally. the act of being there and observing your surroundings changes them. being white stands out so much that it disrupts the stream of life around you. i'm not a journalist and am uncomfortable with taking someones picture without their permission for the most part. here's one, though, taken from a bus window, i think, in rajasthan. pretty typical little street scene.
mr peanut gets a hug
and this, being hugged by a very nice musician friend of rohan's, is mr. peanut. mr peanut is one of the unofficial winery dogs. he's not fed by the bungalow staff, though he might be by the workmen in shacks out back. he shows up, generally at night, and runs with the officially sanctioned puppies and dogs through the fields after helping himself to whatever is left in their bowls (if theres no one there to chase him off.) rajeev does not approve of mr peanut and swats him off the comfy chairs on the patio he likes to sneak up and nap on. i think rajeev thought that andy and i (ok, i) fed mr peanut and encouraged him hanging around, but i swear it's not so. he looked healthy enough that i could resist feeding him, but he had such a great personality that neither of us could resist playing with him. we'd go for an evening walk and there'd be a rustle and flash of ginger fur in the vineyards and hurray, mr peanut would join us for our stroll, always polite and gentlemanly as a funny little stray dog could be. the night of the opening party, or rather the next morning before dark as the party stretched out, someone left the downstairs lobby door open and in ran mr peanut to join the festivities. he danced with guests, politely had a cracker or two when it was offered, charmed the hell out of everyone (except for rajeev, who just shook his head low in resignation and admitted temporary defeat to 'that little doggy') and made his guest appearance before disappearing into the night.
i didn't add a counter to this site until we got back - our connection speed was so bad we just got our business done, tried to keep this updated and reread emails from home 5 or 10 times each... i'm pretty suprised to find so many hits when we've been back so long and never even added most of our final stories and pics. so... i'm adding some here and there now that we're readjusted (mostly) to our lives in SF. it's almost easy to feel as though India was a dream though i know that we're both changed by our trip.
this picture was taken in Bundi. every day we'd leave our hotel and step around a pile of little piggies and puppies napping together, playing, snuffling, and drinking the incredibly foul black water constantly running through the ditch. they get much bigger and less pretty - grown up they are astoundingly ugly, all coarse black hair and jutting hipbones, generally missing an ear and eating garbage or highly suspicious piles from the pavement. supposedly their ears are clipped to varying degrees by the very low caste people who claim them as their own to identify them. in another town a hotelier with a powerful voice and personality told us that their meals were vegetarian but if we asked ahead of time he'd have his cooks prepare us chicken if we wanted. we said that vegetarian was fine but he kept insisting, sure that americans needed meat and even offered pork. it was late and we'd been on trains for hours and i didn't really think when i said something, trying to reassure him lightheartedly that we were fine without meat, about having seen some pigs out on the street that i'd prefer not to eat anyway. i honestly was just trying to joke our way out of the conversation and into our beds and was so sorry when, offended, he drew himself up and responded that those street pigs were not for eating, that indians ate 'pretty pink shiny pigs just like americans.' i felt pretty bad about that until later when i realized that other indians had told me that they WERE eaten - and anyway, i'm pretty sure most of the pigs i've seen in america aren't exactly pink and shiny, either. oh well.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Monday, June 13, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
this wall has one side with clear glass facing in for wine bottle display and one side with sand blasted glass and lights for a nice fuzzy projection effect. that works both ways so that you see the same effect from the lobby below. the floor is blue epoxy. to the left in this photo is the glass display area and entrance, to the right is the glass mosaic bar and exit to the balcony. there are large viewing windows where you can see the bottling room at work, but you cant see them in this shot.
there are more pics and adventures to share without respect to actual timelines, but for now we're moving on to heading back to maharashtra to put some final touches on the tasting room for our opening party. here priya (one of our favorite indian friends) and i clean the bottle lamps above the bar.
kid and kid
lady of the sands
we stayed one night near this womans house in the desert where she lived with a man, a toddler and a baby, a few dogs, and a few dozen goats and sheep. she came and sat by the campfire with us for the evening and was very entertained by staring at me and laughing (what can i say? i'm pretty damn funny sometimes). her little hut (with no electricity, of course) is surrounded by giant high tech windmills that our driver said power the border between them and pakistan. the land right around there is covered with ancient coral and sea life fossils. very surreal in the desert.
boys in camel drivers village
girls in camel drivers village
we got to hang out in our camel driver's village for a while with all the kids and have lunch with his family before setting out. this pic was taken while the girls were still warming up to us (the boys are bolder) - later the girls showed us how to play a game involving a stack of rocks and a ball made out of tied up plastic bags. we weren't very good at it.
and here's a view of the palace from the rooftop of our hotel )the lower left area is home to some 'bad monkeys much biting danger!' the little local boys who adopted us warned us about.
we ran into some pretty scary macaques that wouldn't let us pass and made little angry drunk faces at us if we got too close.
Monday, February 28, 2005
#1 - we are BACK, unpacking and readjusting in SF.... but we will be posting some more pics and stories so don't give up now if you're still interested. the last few weeks were so busy and all of our pics are temporarily stuck on andy's ipod, but there's plenty of travel stuff and, of course, the opening party for the tastingroom to share.
#2 - i wanted to explain why i posted that last post even though it disturbed some people. india is very very different from the united states in so many ways i couldn't even have foreseen and won't claim to entirely comprehend. i know that everyone's experience there as a traveler is different depending on their own backgrounds, where they travel and who they meet, etc... it's huge and made up of a fascinatingly cohesive patchwork of different religions, geography, tribes, languages... (i would never recommend mumbai to my mom, for instance, but know that she'd enjoy the wildlife parks and temples in rajasthan). we had a great time and learned and saw so much but it wasn't always easy or nice and i felt like it was important in sharing our experience on this blog to not just talk about the beautiful colors and gentle people. this trip was a huge impact on my life for which i'm very grateful and hope i came out a slightly more conscious world citizen at the end. the colors ARE beautiful - men and women love to wear hot pink and bright orange or peacock blue, whole cities are painted pink or blue, hibiscus grow as big as plates, green parrots flit everywhere...and poverty that seems shocking at first reveals a strength of dignity and enjoyment of life and family thats really very inspirational and comforting and gives me, personally, more hope for humanity. part of our experience there, though, involved learning how we reacted to so many new things we hadn't seen before (especially me) whether it's villages of kids who all want to play with you or seeing elephants and camels on the streets or lepers begging or small children sleeping on the floor of the train station in a pile of stray dogs or accidents and deaths and the very un-western reactions others have to them. it's quite a strange, deep adjustment having come from a culture that is based on the importance of the individual as opposed to the larger community. so... that's why i posted something unpleasant like that, if that makes any sense.