INDIA: Riveting Reptiles! (A Ratsnake and other Friends)

I RESCUED A RATSNAKE WITH MY OWN HANDS. Sort of. Sadly, there is no photographic documentation of myself with the cute lil’ snakey-poo in my arms, but I do have a photograph of Snake Shyam with the snake afterwards! I’ve been meeting with him a few times a week to go on snake runs/ learn interesting facts, but this time he came to the hostel on official business.  The kitchen staff at the hostel (who are pretty cool, I might add) discovered this little guy curled up in a basket filled with coconuts down by the compost pile, and flipped their lid. A few shrieks of , NAGARAJA! COBRA! (and, okay, a phone call) later, I knew Snake Shyam would be on his way. I peeked into basket only to see only about an inch of brownish snake that didn’t look anything like a cobra to me.  But, when I tried to get closer to see, I was ushered away in fear of some sort of snake attack!

Snake Shyam arrived in Option #2 of his 3 Snakemobiles that I have met so far.  The first is a little motorbike decked out with stickers of snakes and specially rigged to place his snake equipment/snake bag on the front, which we take on sunny snake-run days and the third is a van that he uses to take 5 loads of children from the Mysore area to their respective schools every weekday (which includes saturday here) since there isn’t a local schoolbus. I woke up at 6 one morning and went with him, helping load the kids’ backpacks on and off of the little rack on the roof when we arrived.  Turns out he’s somewhat of a local hero! Even the cutest mini-Mysorians adore him.

But, on this day, it was raining, and so he took Snakemobile #2: Normal Car Edition.

When he arrived, he saw me right away and shook my hand.  After examining the basket himself, he motioned me over, pointed in and winked at me.  I was right! It was no cobra at all, just a friendly ratsnake (which, despite the unfriendly sounding name, are nonvenomous and completely harmless). At this point a large number of hostel employees had gathered around to see the supposedly venomous beastie.  He smiled instructed me to stick my hand  in the basket (he’d shown me before the proper way to gently handle the snake) and pull out the ‘cobra’.  Everyone gasped and I carefully extracted it (he was very long!) and it coiled around my arm.  Street cred: gained.  Here is Shyam with the snake afterward!

oh, and here are two bonus photos of some other reptile pals I met at the zoo!

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INDIA: Cantankerous Camels and the Dusty Desert

While in Rajasthan, I embarked with 8 fellow classmates on a brief camel trek! Riding a camel is a bit uncomfortable for the crotchial region (when it galloped: imagine riding a dinosaur made out of needles and fire. Cool, right? Except for your newfound physical androgyny) and makes you feel equally sorry for the tourist-saddled camel carrying your lumpy butt. BUT. Camping in the sand dunes is totally worth it. I may post another post with more nitty gritty soon, but for now: just photos!

Here’s about where we stopped for lunch on the way up!

Oh, and we got ‘free turbans’ (a sad strip of mesh we were allowed to wrap around our heads). A very bearded Joseph models.

The camels were not allowed to wear turbans.

But it was okay because we slept in this big pile of sand!

INDIA: Stranger Ranger Vs. Mumbai Men

I thought I would change it up a bit from the scenic beaches of Goa to some strangers I photographed in Mumbai/Bombay.  I’m trying to get braver with approaching/ taking photographs of people I don’t know.  It’s even more intimidating here trying to ask in my feeble Hindi skills (Kannada, the language of Karnataka, is of little use up north) let alone get permission to put them on the internet. I like to pretend that I’m some kind of photo sneaking superhero documenting the lives of the people, the STRANGER RANGER! But mostly it’s just me trying having nice conversations with people until their comfortable enough for me to take a natural-ish photo of them, though sometimes they just run away laughing.

I think my cape and spandex unitard might have thrown them off.



Okay, so I was actually just wearing leggings and a tshirt. To my credit, with my ghostly pale skin and (often misplaced) unbridled enthusiasm I could be dressed like Ziggy Stardust and I would probably get the same amount of stares. But, amidst the disdainful looks and negatively affirming head wobbling, some people are genuinely really receptive to having their photo taken! Here are three such men from Mumbai. Above is a man who sold me a banana, A friendly mustachioed stranger on the street who stopped to help when I looked lost, and a travel agent who booked me a terribly overpriced bus ticket (which was, sadly, necessary when my train ticket got canceled at the last second!)

I will try to post more frequently until I am caught up on posts, as I’m so behind!

INDIA: GO GO GOA-ING

Ok, so I feel a little sad inside whenever I don’t have a groan-worthy title for my blog posts.  But: I do have some pretty pictures from Goa, India to show you (as well as some other neat-o ones coming soon from the rest of my month of travels.) I didn’t go as far north as some of my comrades did, as I chose to travel solely by train and bus over airplanes.  But my route was essentially Mysore-Mangalore-South Goa-South Mumbai-Udaipur-Johdpur- Jaisalmur- Jaipur (I spent the most time in Goa and Rajasthan, which is where Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisulmur where) and then back down through  Ahmedabad to north Mumbai, North Goa, Bangalore, and eventually Mysore.  I’ll say more on this when I’m back safe and sound (don’t worry mom/dad/grandparents, it will be soon!) But in the meantime here’s the glorious goa-tion ocean!

INDIA: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Upper Respiratory Infections

And also eat an entire jar of peanut butter with their fingers! Gross home-food cravings don’t happen often (I LOVE Indian food!) but when they do, they come with a vengeance.  Chips and nutella have already been outlawed as failsnack choices, and I’m pretty sure peanut butter just made the no-no list.

I finally went to the doctor this week! And low and behold, I’ve caught the black lung, pop. I’m alright though, a heavy dose of sketchy Indian antibiotics and I’m already feeling as good as new (don’t worry mom, they’re not really that sketchy. I did get some funky ayurvedic mint balm equivalent of vick’s vapor rub though. That makes me feel a bit too healthy for my own good, I think.)

Okay, so I don’t have the black lung.  But I do have an upper respiratory infection.  And bronchitis.  Aaaaand laryngitis.

But really, things aren’t so bad.  I’m feeling a lot better and quite productive! TIME TO KICK THESE PAPERS’ RESPECTIVE REARS!

I’m sitting at just about halfway-done for both of my 10 page papers and taking a little brain break. Before I go to sleep tonight, paper-y justice WILL be served.  I had a Kannada exam this morning, turned in my millionth and FINAL draft of my project proposal for the last month of the trip yesterday evening (more on that soon) have my final drum lesson tomorrow as well as an oral language exam, and leave for Goa/traveling TOMORROW EVENING.  I’m really hoping that the free time traveling will finally give me the breathing room to play with my camera a bit.  We’ve been horrendously busy, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for cameratoria to play with her microphone/flash.  Hopefully I’ll have some sweeet things to post soon.

So, I’m leaving a quick update before I get sucked back into academia! And I will leave you with a fun picture or two, just for good measure.

INDIA: New Post Coming Soon

I say this every post: but. This time I mean it! In the mean time here are some photographz from our north Karnataka Tour

 

 

INDIA: Tangerine Dream Team

I am writing this post as a positive procrastination technique for the two 10 page papers due come tuesday! I figure doing this is at least more productive than looking at pictures of kittens wearing hats. Speaking of which, special edition kitten pal post coming soon! Made a new kitten friend that lives in a box outside of our school.

BUT: more pertinently, yesterday we visited a Ram Krishna ahsram.  It’s a combo mega attack spirtual/education facility/hostel/all around nice person place! It was beautiful.  There were a lot of smile-y people in robes and a orange things!

PHOTO: Jake Vs. The World (And the World’s Tallest Monolithic/ Anatomically Correct Statue)

SCOUT’S HONOR I will post a new post soonishly soon! But I have been horrendously busy writing the midterm papers for my classes here (and procrastinating writing them) and have about a zillion photos to sift through.  BUT: until that day when papers have been finished, here are two photos from our trip to the temples I didn’t show you before!

INDIA: It’s TEMPLE TIME!

Yesterday I climbed 700 steps into the clouds barefoot and saw the worlds tallest monolithic statue (carved out of a single rock) and some beeeeeeautiful temples with this good lookin’ crowd:

Our climb began down around those houses and ended maybe 40 steps above here! ^

INDIA: Week Two! (Or, More Quick Clips that Curate Curiosity)

Today I finally tackled some of my footage I’ve been collecting over the past week or so! Thought I should throw it together before it got too late… Photos to come soon.

The song, OM NASHI ME, apparently means ‘infinite nakedness’ in Sanskrit. Weird, bro. But also: neat!

The farm pictured is nearly a ‘zero farming’ entity, meaning that very little human interference is needed for producing sweet amounts of crops!  Instead of applying yucky pesticides/weedicides, they allow for the growth of “weeds” that provide the soil with elements it needs! For instance, the fainting plant, a “weed,” gives the soil essential nitrates that it needs. Worms and other bugs aerate the soil naturally, and the plants grow where the seeds fall.

Also, kids are awesome.  The Tribal School we visited was so SO aMAZING.  I will have to say more about that when my brain starts putting thoughts together in some sort of coherent pattern (today was the Ganesha festival, and this girl is tuckered out! Sleeptoria’s comin’ to town…)

Blast from the Past

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