"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The India Journals, Ch. 37, Doing Delhi in a Day, Part Two

I know, I know. It's been a long time since Part One of Doing Delhi in a Day. My excuse? It's summer in Alaska, a sometimes fleeting experience and one not to be missed.

Ch. 37, Doing Delhi in a Day, Part Two

Be the change you want to see in this world and feel proud to be an Indian.   Happy Republic Day--
Message on a greeting card

I'm going to fudge a bit with this Doing Delhi in a Day.   Some of these things we saw the following afternoon, but it's appropriate to include them with the New Delhi activities, because the next day on the trip, we are going to Old Delhi, and THAT is special.

So continuing on with New Delhi, we drive through some beautifully landscaped avenues.

Note the monkeys near the hedge on the right.

A line of pigeons on the line.

A bit of traffic.

There are very few malls in India, because they are too expensive for the average person.   Instead, most people purchase their groceries from street-side vendors.

Taking a break.

Making a living shining shoes.

Making a living digging in the dirt.

Kind souls feeds the pigeons.

I notice how clean everything is.   Then I see sets of parallel bars on the sidewalks and shoulders, much like cattle runs.

They ARE cattle runs, for human cattle.   Turns out, New Delhi is expecting company and was sprucing up the Raj Path, the ceremonial boulevard on which the Republic Day parade is held on January 27 annually.   The guest of honor for this year?   US President Barack Obama.

Republic Day marks the anniversary of when the Indian constitution came into force following independence from Britain in 1947.    Those cattle runs line the streets of the parade route.

The coach creeps past the India Gate so we can get a glance.    This is India's equivalent of Paris's Arc de Triomph.   It's a war memorial for the 82,000 men of the British India Army that perished in WWI and the following Anglo-Afghan war.  It is also the memorial for India's unknown soldier.

Because of the preparations, we were not able to walk up to the India Gate, hence my crummy photo.   Below is one I found on the Internet.

India Gate close-up.jpg
A clear-weather photo of the India Gate from Wikipedia.  This photo is taken from the opposite side of the one I took.

Likewise with the government buildings.   We couldn't even drive past them, so the driver parks our coach and many get off to walk down a block to see the building.   I stayed on the coach and kept my horrid cold company.

The famous B'nai Lotus Temple is in another part of New Delhi.  It has received many architectural awards and is reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House with its 27 freestanding white marble-clad petals over an interior hall that can hold as many as 2500 people.  It is surrounded by acres of grass and gardens, and  --out on the street--hawkers.

Not me, I decide, I'm not getting near any of those hawkers.   I remain on the coach and take my photos in peace.

That is either incense or Buhach burning in that pan.

We head back to the Taj Hotel.   I'm in the back row, as usual, leaning against the window when the coach stops in traffic.   Holy Moly!   Before my wondering eyes, what should appear but a naked man!

Our guide Dinesh quickly explains that the naked man belongs to a sect of Jainism and that he is either a saint or aspiring to be a saint.  The Jain religion is ancient, and is the oldest religion in India.

Jainism carries asceticism to its furthest extent.   Believers try to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation.   Its tenets teach non-violence to everything, with a hierarchy ordered to humans, animals, insects, and then plants.   Being lacto vegetarians, the Jains will not consume even dairy products if the making of that product caused pain to the source of the ingredients.

They don't eat root vegetables such as potatoes, believing that because the tubers have the ability to sprout, it is a living being.

And, of course, they believe in chastity, with the saints practicing celibacy.

For more information on Jainism, follow the link below.   As for me, I'm heading back to the hotel and to bed.   Tomorrow is a big day.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Half-Baked Alaska, No. 5

Summer lies heavy upon the land. 

Tree branches droop with the weight of their annual decor,   wildflowers work 24/7 under the Midnight Sun to propagate their species, and the last baby birds will fledge any day.

The above-average temperatures have the high mountain snowfields and glaciers melting like crazy, giving lakes and ponds that over-filled look, with perhaps only surface tension keeping their waters from running willy-nilly across the land.

I am certain that during this warm and wonderful summer I have used the air conditioning in both of my vehicles more than the total time in all eleven years I've owned each of them.   There's a message in there somewhere.

I'm just not sure if that message regards climate change or menopause....


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Half-Baked Alaska, No. 4

For the past eight years, I have worked an occasional day for Erin, my friend who had the contract to deliver mail for the U.S. Post Office.  She was known as a contract carrier.

In order to work for her, I had to have a urine drug test and be fingerprinted.  (I've been fingerprinted in the past for security clearances, so my prints are on file.)    I was issued a badge and when Erin needed a relief driver, I  picked up a batch of mail and packages destined for the village of Hope and headed off, also delivering to rural mailboxes along the way out of Moose Pass.

I left Hope with its out-going mail, as well as for mailboxes on the Hope route.

Then I went to Cooper Landing, picked up all the mail and packages on that route, and delivered them.   I finished the route at Moose Pass, where I dropped off Hope's outgoing mail.   About 130 miles of scenic driving, summertime traffic, and the infrequent white-knuckle drive on the Hope Highway.

Erin recently decided not to bid when the contract came up for renewal, but just before that date, the post office issued me a new badge.

Neighbors on the other side of me, the Berrys,  were awarded the contract and asked me to be their relief driver.  My first day is to be this Saturday.


I filled out the paperwork, got fingerprinted again in case my prints have changed, and provided a specimen for another urinalysis on June 23.   Then I was told I also had to provide my driving record.  Yesterday, Tuesday, I went to Seward, filled out a form, and received my perfectly clean driving record.

Here's the catch:  the results of the UA have not yet been received by the postmaster in Cooper Landing, where the new contract route now begins.   Until he has the results, I am not allowed to work, even though he has a new badge for me and I've been doing this for eight years.

I contacted the lab.   The medical revue officer said the results were mailed June 26, two weeks ago.

Do you understand what this means?

I can't deliver mail for the post office because my urine test results are lost in the mail.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Half-Baked Alaska, No. 3

In Half-Baked Alaska, Episode 1, I wrote about a phone call from a neighbor warning me that she had seen moose and bear tracks in their driveway that appeared to be headed toward my property.   About the same time, another neighbor saw a young brown bear cross the highway by my place.

Yesterday, the friend who lives on the front of my 4.6 acres, told me there was a dead moose calf close to her apartment, between her and the highway.

This is the front half of the carcass.   The stomach and hindquarters are gone, as in a bear ate them.

 This is not a good situation.   Bears become very testy about their kills, which I am guessing this is.

I'm standing on the edge of the lawn.   The light greenish/gray line near the top of the photo is where the Seward Highway is.

 Not a good situation.    Today, the friend and another person removed the carcass, hoping giving the brown bear no reason to return.   Ah, like in Alaska.

The round white things are the moose calf leg bones, stripped clean.   The front quarters are above that with the head lying towards the right.            

Sunday, July 5, 2015

All in a Day's Work

Early July and the nuthatches are busy stocking up for winter.   At the feeder outside my window, one nuthatch found the most expedient method to stash away those black oil sunflower seeds.

A mere foot from the supply itself, he pokes the seeds into the log that holds feeder.  

Occasionally, I see this nuthatch running head-first down the side of the log, but haven't been quick enough to get a photo.

Assisting him are the tiny pine siskins who, when they aren't fighting with and running off other pine siskins, sit in the slot that holds the seeds.   If a seed isn't easily opened by their tiny beaks, they pitch it overboard where the nuthatch runs around gathering them.

Also gathering the seeds is this newly-fledged black-capped chickadee.   It;s a whole new world out there for this little guy.

This slate-colored junco goes right to the source, loads up, and flies off.   All business.