Thursday, July 26, 2012


Went offline for a week in Nepal, came back, spent forever not updating this and now here I am.  A slice of my trip -
Boudhanath, stumbled across this huge stupa wandering down the street from my hotel the day I flew in.  Being able to sit on its wide open white roof reminded me of how much I just missed space in India.
One of the more populated points on my trek along the Annapurna base, these little tea houses offer food and a bed making hiking long distances easier.
I shared this snack of 'green corn' with my guide - it's slightly unripened corn, freshly harvested and toasted on request. They threw away the husk before we had a chance to say we actually wanted them to go - so they gave us some torn up kids' exercise books (?) to wrap them up for the journey.
Loved this concrete game of table tennis - note the tile for a paddle.  Found these guys down a side street in Kathmandu.
Electric clouds as the summer sun took its time to set over dinner.  I had the 'grilled lake fish' which turned out to be fried fish with grilled cheese - no less delicious and I still choose to believe it was caught fresh from the lake.
Ah, to be sitting on the side of a narrow mountain road with no reception again.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Invisible cities

I have this thing about my reflection against a city scapes - never photoshopped, but just taken when the light is bouncing off the glass in the right way.  This was this afternoon in Delhi, taken from an office window just before the cooling rain hit (not sure if I have ever willed for it to rain before, but this is what Delhi heat does to you).

With my olive pants merged into the background it looks like I'm floating; I thought of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and how this might be the kind of image I use if I had to design the book cover - does anybody else do this?  Re-imagine covers for books that they've read?  Anyway, was a refreshing brain exercise at the end of a very long couple of weeks.

Enjoy the Friday y'all.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We're all busy, right?

Idleness on a sunnier Sydney day at Coco Chocolate.
The 'Busy' trap is making the rounds recently - definitely a good read, I especially enjoy the focus on 'idleness'.  At university we were always encouraged to make time for 'necessity of play' and this resonates with that.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

Only thing I don't agree with is the notion that work was invented as punishment.  Much as I agree with  the core of what Kreider is saying, I would argue that he gets enormous satisfaction and even pleasure out of the 'four or five hours' that he puts in.  Doing the work that you were built to do is wonderfully rewarding thing - the point is just to keep your mastery over it.  And always make time for play.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The local moment

Whenever I go to a new city, I'm never truly satisfied until I feel I've been somewhere truly local and been able to navigate my way through a situation, sans driver or guide.  While my drive around town had been amazing, it was hardly experiencing the city as locals do (pretty sure they don't get carted around in the back of an air-conditioned Toyota with iced water all day).

That changed yesterday when I came across this chaotic canteen at Shilparamam and had the delicious local moment I'd been waiting for.
The guy at the very back would squeeze the flour out into the piping hot oil, which firms it up into ball form.  I actually tried to order one of these but when I said "can I have one of those round balls please?" they just laughed at me haha!
I finally worked out that there was a ticketing system which meant fixed prices from the board - refreshing after all the haggling I'd been doing.  Went with a masala dosa, thanks to C for introducing me to these crispy pancakes on the poncy streets of Surry Hills.
Success!  Perched it on a chair as it was insanely hot to hold through the paper plate.  Not sure what the darker sauce was but it was delicious as it was lethal!
The chair I was resting my dosa with was swiftly taken away from me when someone else needed to sit down.  Seeing me struggle, these two beautiful girls made room for me on their table and even shared their iced water with me! (I was crying from spices at this stage).
Authentic local meal achieved - and with the kindness of strangers I didn't burn my hands or belly.
My hands and face were covered with oil at the end of it all (napkins aren't big over here) yet even my meal at the palace wasn't nearly as satisfying as that burning dosa.  
Was the perfect end to my (almost) week in Hyderabad.  Best 44 cents I ever spent.