Category Archives: India

Interactive Vlogs – Video Logs

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In the spirit of making this blog and website, as interesting, interactive, and utilitarian as is reasonable, given our staff of 1.5, we have now added a Video feature to our site.   These videos are from our various journeys over the years and are meant to add another layer to our journey of discovery.

The Video tab is located in the menu bar above or click the word video. All videos are categorized by country, where applicable.

I hope you enjoy them and I look forward to your comments.

Bird Poop = Bollywood Fame

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There is an Italian belief that if a bird poops on you, you will have good luck. So while in Pondicherry, India we seemed to have an abundance of good fortune, in proportion to the number of times I was pooped on.  In the markets, while shopping for fish, and on the sidewalks while ruminating on the beauty of Pondi’s ashram community.  On one such occasion, after wiping the poop off my shoulder with a mortified sigh of resignation, we continued with our walk and decided to stop to watch a film production crew.

India is the leading producer of cinema in the world, and each region of the country, with its distinctive languages, cultures and dress, has its own base of film production.  Pondicherry,  a beautiful sea-side colonial town, is often the backdrop for many Tamil language films, so it was not surprising to run into a crew.  What was surprising, was that we were asked to join the production for that afternoon, to film a dance/music sequence.  This is India after all!

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It is in India that I learned to say “yes” to everything except initial price offers.  So of course we agreed to be extras in the scene.  Our (my daughters, my sister and myself) brush with Bollywood stardom included:

  • Sitting in the director’s chairs’
  • Getting our hair made-up; i.e., production assistants were trying to figure out how to put bands in our hair since they had never seen black-African) hair before…lol, and they were in awe of the braids,
  • Being served delicious chai tea and bottles of water from production assistants,
  • Getting dance instruction from the chief choreographer/director (to which my sister promptly commented, “That is not dancing!”,
  • Hanging with the star of the film, whose name I could not pronounce and have now completely forgotten.

So next time you watch a Tamil-language Bollywood film and you see four random black females shaking in a dance sequence….that may be us.

 

What You Get For $300 – Pondicherry, India

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Located in the Southern end of India, Pondicherry is a charming and small city.  We chose to visit here because I was curious about a place called Auroville, its related ashram, and the city’s history as a French colonial base.  I was not quite sure whether we would be staying for 3 months or 1 year so we decided to rent an apartment to get the best feel for the city.

As a single woman, travelling with 2 daughters and a young sister, I wanted to make sure our accommodations met the following standards:

  • Secure and safe
  • Clean and furnished
  • Close proximity to the beach
  • Close to transportation

We ended up in the beautiful and quaint Muslim quarter of Pondicherry, where yes, the majority of the residents are Muslim. Many are descendant from some of the original Arab traders who settled in the area. One of the perks of this neighborhood was that because of the religious requirement for cleanliness, street cleaners came through twice a day and the trash was picked up daily.

For $3oo rent we had a 2-bedroom, 2-bath, furnished apartment with a combined living /dining room, and a small kitchen.  Unfortunately, in a late night rush to organize my pictures, I accidentally deleted about 500 of them.  However, I did want to share some pictures of  our road, which I took subsequently.

The cost of living in Pondicherry, compared to Cuenca (Ecuador), is slightly higher, but the experience of living and breathing India for a moment, was definitely worth it.

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