This has been one of those weeks where the clothes in my suitcase got dumped into the laundry machines and then went straight back into my suitcase. That was followed by a full day at work, rush hour traffic to the airport, and more than 3 hours in flight delays.
So, while there are lots more pictures from India to share, for now I’ll leave you with these baby birds. They didn’t seem to be having much luck flying either.
One of the great dichotomies of India is the apparent mixing–yet dissociation–of social classes. It’s an ironic sight when beautiful, well-maintained Portuguese mansions (above) and small shacks (below) are neighbors.
As I witnessed it, the living situation is very intermingled, with hovels situated in whatever small space is to be found between larger houses and complexes. One of our drivers explained that in a way this is made possible by the caste system, which is very ingrained in Indian culture. Even with people of different castes living so close together, everyone knows their place in society and so maintains a social distance. It was surprising to me as an American, where class-segregated neighborhoods are the norm.
Over the summer I visited India for the first time to present at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. It was my first time in Asia and a totally different cultural experience than I’d ever had before.
India is an incredible place to visit, but I think tends to be one of the more intimidating ones for westerners. It’s expensive to get to from North America, the language is indecipherable compared to western languages, and the cultural differences are numerous…from understanding the caste system to eating with your hands. The trip was well worth it, though, and it ended up being much easier to get by than I’d anticipated. It’s a trip to research in advance, but not one to miss.