04 April 2008

DEL-BRU-JFK-FLL

The return trip home from India was a straight slog, I slept through nearly all of it, and have nothing of real interest to report. The pharmacies in Delhi will sell nearly anything so I purchased a handful of scooby snacks with my remaining rupees and passed out comfortably in Premiere Class all the way to JFK. These snacks mix very well with port and champagne, though it is not something your doctor would recommend. Bliss.
Photo credit: Feith Laszlo


Before boarding my flight (while still conscious), I spied in the terminal this painting (right) that seemed very familiar. No wonder. It is incredibly similar to the graphics that Scott Lenhardt created for the Ross Powers year 2000 pro model snowboard, manufactured by the Burton Snowboard Company. Take a look for yourself at this base graphic sheet (below) - am I right or what?
Photo credit: MHIP

Even the short list of Ross Powers´ accomplishments in the halfpipe are incredible - a gold medal (2002) and a bronze medal (1998) in the Winter Olympics; twice the winner of the US Open (2003, 1999) from seven podium appearances; winner of both a European Open (2004) and a New Zealand Open (2005); an X Games gold medal (1998); and numerous wins on the US Grand Prix tour.

After a long association with Stratton Mountain Resort Ross Powers is now partnered with the Mueller family ownership of the Okemo Mountain Resort in several projects. In addition, he currently owns and operates the Podium Skate & Snowboard Shop in Manchester, Vermont, as well as overseeing the non-profit Ross Powers Foundation that provides scholarships to athletes in financial need.
Image courtesy of Scott Lenhardt

03 April 2008

BACK TO DELHI

There are some beautiful sights to see and places to visit in this city, but as I had only 14 hours between flights I didn't see any of them on this occasion, so I can only guess at the location and significance of this structure. It must be something worthy because my friend took a picture of it, and liked it so much he posted it on the internet, where I found it and copied it without permission. Thanks buddy!
Photo credit: John Carolin

02 April 2008

KOCHIN, BRIEFLY

I return to Fort Kochin for 18 short hours and in that time run into several friends made on previous visits, and I am reminded that this is such a comfortable town. It is unlike any other place I have been to in India (which is saying very little about the extent of my travels); the pace of life in Fort Kochin is so relaxed - there is little to no hustle and bustle that is common, and sometimes overwhelming, elsewhere.

The market town of Mattancherry is decidedly more lively, as it is still an important trading area where the focus is on the spice trade upon which the town was founded. Here you will find the air is redolent with ginger, which emanates from the many colonial warehouses still in use today. Near the center of this district you will find Jew Town (actual name), a colonial enclave that dates back to 1524.

Keralans have a reputation throughout India for being progressive and tolerant. Indeed, one can find a Hindu temple, an Islamic mosque, a Christian church, and a Jewish synagogue in close, and peaceful, proximity to one another.
Photo credit: John Carolin

01 April 2008

THE MANGALA LAKSHADWEEP EXPRESS TO ERNAKULAM

I reluctantly leave Palolem and take the Mangala Lakshadweep Express overnight to Ernakulam in order to board a flight from Cochin (COK) to Delhi. There I will collect two bags of snowboard gear from the Left Luggage office at DEL and board the return flight home to the USA.

My original return flight was scheduled for today but I didn't think it was prudent to fly on April Fools Day. This didn't keep me from riding the trains however, but I did get pranked. The railway service is a great pride of India and it is said that despite the chaos, and all the other madness, that at least the trains run on time. This isn't true - Train No. 2618 was 1.5 hours late pulling into the station at Madgaon. The arrival though, at Ernakulam Junction, was dead-on time so the railway company redeemed itself in pretty short order.

This time on the overnight train I shared a compartment with farters and snorers, and I slept fitfully with my head buried in a pillow.

GULMARG IN FACEBOOK

If you Facebook, and are friends with these folks, you can view some excellent photographs of Gulmarg by peeping these photo albums and groups:

Album - John C.
Album - Eric E.
Album - Sarah F.
Album - Alex G.
Album - Andrew J.
Album - Varvara K.
Album - Grant K.
Album - Tony L.
Album - Edgar M.
Album - David M.
Album - Arttu M.
Album - Ido N.
Album - Michael N.
Album - Colm O.
Album - Melanie R.
Album - Matt R.
Album - Alexander S.
Album - Tim S.
Album - Sam S.
Album - Matthew S.
Album - Yannick T.
Album - Dave W.
Album - Carlo W.
Group - Gulmarg Untapped
Group - Gulmarg Winter 2007-2008


Victim: John Carolin







Rider: Eric Eide










Rider: Alex Griffiths








Rider: James Jordan







Stoked: Andrew Jowett







Glowing: Varvara Kemnits








Skier: Grant Keogh








Rider: Tony Linnell







Skier: Edgar Mann







Your Host: David May








Photo: Arttu Muukkonen







Photo: Ido Neiger






Micro Aerialist: Mike Nixon








Shaka Thrower: Colm O'Carroll








Photo: Melanie Reisinger








Photo: Matt Roon







Photo: Alexander Semenov







Rider: Tim Silverman







Rider: Sam Smith








Rider: Matthew Sutherland








Chiller: Yanick Turgeon








Skier: Dave Watson








Pan Flutist: Carlo Wein

30 March 2008

GULMARG IN FLICKR

Flickr - Badmalone
Flickr - Batschmidt

Flickr - Benito Aramando
Flickr - BingDunlop
Flickr - Doughboyshredder
Flickr - Griff and Smith
Flickr - Johnnyboy Gomez
Flickr - JonAdler938
Flickr - Knut.Rogne
Flickr - Lenskap
Flickr - MyHouseinPanama
Flickr - O.Joel
Flickr - Owais Zargar
Flickr - Ridehouse
Flickr - Ski Himalaya
Flickr - Stylz
Flickr - Trisb
Flickr - Williewonker
Flickr - Walydug
Flickr - Clusters: Gulmarg
Flickr - Tags: Gulmarg
Flickr - Tags: Kashmir

29 March 2008

THE BEACH AT PALOLEM (GOA)

Goa is one of the most visited states in India. This is where the world comes to party, but things have changed with a new noise ordinance (silence at 11:00PM) which effectively pulls the plug on the all-night rave party scene. Still, last night there was meant to be a "Silent Rave". This is an event where people rent headphones and all listen simultaneously to the same beats. Retarded.

Palolem in South Goa is one of the less-hyped beach towns, so it's pretty mellow, especially compared to Anjuna and points north. It is very nice; the official website for Palolem claims that the "world's best beach" is located here.
Photo credit: Mel L.

28 March 2008

THE RAJDHANI EXPRESS TO GOA

Ernakulam to Madgaon by the overnight Rajdhani Express. I like railway travel and don't do it in the USA, so I opted for an express sleeper to make the 12-hour journey north.

I underestimated the coziness of the sleeper compartments and was startled to see a family of three spread out all over what little there was of a space. One berth was conspicuously left alone however it was not mine, which was a lower berth (requested and reserved). When I declined to switch berths the air went cold and inhospitable and the father asked about my home origin.

All parties turned in almost immediately and in the morning when I awoke I discovered they were gone, going down at an earlier station, and the compartment was free for the remaining few hours. About as good as it gets on a train.

26 March 2008

THE BACKWATERS OF ALLEPPEY

Alleppey, or Alapphuza, is a nice spot for a trip into the backwaters but the town itself is a snoozer. I call it Allapalooza, which it's not. Instead of a tourist boat I traversed the backwaters by government water taxi and saw pretty much the same thing.

THE QUEEN VICTORIA AT KOCHIN

The Queen Victoria of the Cunard Line calls on Fort Kochin.
Photo credit: Cunard Line

23 March 2008

EASTER SUNDAY, KERALA

At Munnar I discover that Christianity is a very strong religious influence in this region. At every turn there were processions in the streets celebrating Easter.
Photo credit: John Carolin





Having a good shave in the morning was one of the small luxuries I had planned on months before I left for India. The neighborhood barbershop is generally easy to find, and is often my first stop of the day. Here a friend is getting tuned up for Easter. You have to trust your barber, so relax!
Photo credit: MHIP

BY AUTORICKSHAW TO FORT KOCHIN

Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP

22 March 2008

THE TEA COUNTRY OF MUNNAR

Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: John Carolin







Photo credit: MHIP

19 March 2008

MUNNAR

Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: MHIP

BLAST RIPS THROUGH SRINAGAR, PEACE ENDS

Blast Rips Through City Centre, Breaks Lull, Wounds 16 - Kashmir Observer, 19 March 2008.

UPDATE: Fire in Gulmarg's High Altitude Warfare School - Kashmir Observer, 24 March 2008.
UPDATE: 15 Soldiers, 64 Militants Killed in 2008 - Kashmir Observer, 24 March 2008.

18 March 2008

THE MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP TO MUNNAR

Photo credit: MHIP







Photo credit: John Carolin







I don't like stuff in my soup, and I don't like eggs. Here I get both and I'm not happy.
Photo credit: John Carolin