Signs you are in India

We traveled to India to see things that are different (if we wanted to see things that are “the same,” we’d just stay home).  Signs are one thing we found to be different. This post has a few that we found interesting.

As an aside, our driver (Saran) found a long line at the only shower available for drivers in our hotel in Hospet. Rather than be late (or unbathed), he bathed in the river where the “Beware of Crocodiles” sign was posted. Experiences like that shine a different light on first world problems.

Mystery & Lighting Effects

Ganges Aarti, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

While appearing mysterious to Westerners, this man is part of the Ganges Aarti, a religious ceremony with 12 Hindu priests (pandits) simultaneously performing the same set of rituals. In Varanasi, the ritual occurs at sunset on the holy Dasaswamedh Ghat (steps), near Kashi Vishwanath Temple.This choreographed nightly lighting of lamps, accompanied by chanting, is an offering to the Goddess Ganga of the Ganges River, the most holy river in India.  While a popular viewpoint is the rooftop of a shop behind but higher than the ceremony, another option is to hire a local boat for an even better view from the river.

Ganga Aarti, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India





On our recent trip to Southeast Asia, we observed many types of connections. Here are four examples.

Bridge in Luang Say Lodge, Luang Say, Laos

The first example is a bridge (physical connection) between the main reception area and our cabin at the Luang Say Lodge beside the Mekong River in Laos.

Wedding on the Thu Bon River near the Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam

During our stay in Hoi An, Vietnam, we observed this wedding ceremony (human  connection) on a boat on the Thu Bon river just below the Japanese Covered Bridge in the Ancient Town.

Fisherman casting his net, Thu Bon River, Hoi An, Vietnam

Also on the Thu Bon River in Hoi An, Vietnam, we saw a fisherman casting his net for fish (a food connection).

Incense coils in the Chinese Assembly Hall, Hoi An, Vietnam, connecting wishes to heaven

Finally, in the Chinese Assembly Hall in Hoi An, Vietnam, we saw giant coils of incense that send wishes to heaven (a spiritual connection).



Day 2 extra: Sparks fly in Chiang Mai, or, don’t hire this electrician


As described in the Day 2 post, Pati and BeeBee were present at the kiddie fairgrounds in the Night Market periphery when power failed to the ferris wheel and blow-up slide. Pati had hoped to take some night pictures of the lights of the turning ferris wheel, but had just managed to adjust the camera settings when the lights went out.

They decided to wait for a few minutes to see whether the ferris wheel would be restarted. After a few flickering mis-starts, a man with a few tools began to work on the thick power line running along the ground from (somewhere?) to the ferris wheel. Taking a large wire stripping tool, he began to work on the end of the power line nearest the ferris wheel. That appeared to be unsuccessful. A second man began pulling power lines from the merry-go-round to the ferris wheel. No one was riding the merry-go-round, and the ferris wheel was attractive and visible from farther away. Now all the rides were dark and disfunctional. This tactic didn’t work, or perhaps it was a precurser to the next step. The “electrician” then carried a tall stepladder across to a pole carrying a thick bundle of power lines about 12 feet above the ground. Taking the end of the line that he had just stripped and a tool, he climbed the ladder and calmly connected his line to something in the bundle. Meanwhile, a child climbed into the ferris wheel bucket nearest the ground and waited.

A few minutes later, and success! The ferris wheel began to turn. Propping himself and the camera cautiously against a metal pole, Pati got the shots he wanted.

(For the faint-of-heart: the photo above is a time-lapse shot. The buckets and child did not go spinning out into the night.)

A Parisian Alphabet



Serendipity exists for a reason, I always say. When I published my post There is no W in Paris a few days ago, I was unaware of the Alphabet photo challenge. But since I have a photographic alphabet, why not enter the challenge?

The astute reader will notice that the alphabet grid is 5 by 5, containing 25 letters. A clue to the missing letter is contained in the name of the referenced post. And I am beginning to wonder about K.

Hint: turn the M upside down.

There is no W in Paris

In October of last year, we traveled to our favorite city in all the world, Paris. As we usually do when we plan a trip, we chose a theme for our visit (well, two themes, actually): food and photography. Suffice it to say, we learned a wonderful chicken recipe from an excellent cooking school and it has become a staple of our evening meal planning. And, yes, you can buy pig’s caul locally, in our case, at The Meat House. But enough of food for now …

As amateur photographers, we always see room for improvement. We signed up for two classes in Paris with an excellent photography school, for night-time shooting and for street photography in the Marais. Perhaps the results will be the subject of a future blog post.

In any event, we thought that we could use our photography to create unique Christmas presents for our family. A recent fad that I have seen is to create personalized framed names or quotes using photographs of letters from signs or photographs of objects that look like letters. How hard could it be to “collect” photos of letters from Parisian signs? We decided to create a Parisian alphabet from which we could create any personalized gift we needed. The rules were simple:

  1. The letter must be contained in a French word that is publicly displayed in a large font
  2. The letter might be visualized within some physical object that is in public view

We would be the final arbiters of whether the actual letter or the physical substitute would be used in producing the actual gift.

Eiffel_TowerExcept that how can anybody use anything but the Eiffel tower for “A”?

Since we carried a camera with us everywhere, it was easy enough to snap any sign that could result in just the letters we needed. One Rmorning, leaving our apartment, we came across the letter “R” on Rue Cler, being towed behind a bicycle. We never discovered why R was there or what it meant. Wouldn’t that be a great solution to finding all the letters? Most of the letters we found the hard way; but really, it was great fun looking!

We kept a list of letters as we found them, to be sure we had the complete alphabet. What we discovered was that some letters were harder than others to find.  The letter that was impossible to find in a French word was “W.” We did find it, but it was in the name of an English company. That didn’t meet the rules. So our eventual solution, in creating Christmas gifts, was to use an upside-down M as a W.  (The gift recipient with the faux W didn’t even realize the trick until we pointed it out.)

So, the next time you are in Paris, see if you can find the elusive W!