Archive for December, 1996

My Trip to India and Nepal – Not Your Usual Vacation…

Sunday, December 22nd, 1996

Kalighat SadhuAs you may know, I spent most of November wandering the Indian subcontinent. Not for work, mind you – this was strictly vacation. And what an exhausting vacation it was. In 21 days, we wandered northern India, from Delhi and Agra to Varanasi and Calcutta, hiked the hills and meandered the markets of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, and braved the monsoon season in Madras and coastal Tamil Nadu. (The gentleman you see to your right, btw, is a Hindu holyman I met at the Kali Temple of Calcutta just before the daily morning goat sacrifice.)
In a nutshell: India is an incredible place. Incredibly crowded and filthy, yet incredibly beautiful and mystical. Whether it was exploring the abandoned Mughal palace city of Fatehpur Sikri or floating down the Ganges at dawn, I was overwhelmed by the life of India and its many peoples, its spirituality, and sadly, the tragedy of it being such an overpopulated and polluted place. Traveling to India was taxing on the soul, but worth it in every way.
Nepal, on the other hand, I found to be a cleansing and peaceful experience, especially after spending a week in the crowded alleyways of Delhi and Varanasi. Though Kathmandu suffers from the same problems that haunt other large third-world cities, I found it to be full of smiling people who worked hard and were immensely proud of what they had. A melting pot of Tibetans, Newaris, Kashmiris, Tamang hillpeople, and many other cultures, Kathmandu was vibrant and alive, always with a new surprise around each corner. I can’t wait to go back.
As we do every year, Susanne and I brought tons of film – nearly 25 rolls. We developed around 700 pictures, and I’m now in the process of scanning my favorite pics. To see some of them, please feel free to check out my Subcontinental Slide Show, which includes many of the pictorial highlights of the trip. And for you intrepid readers out there, you can also look at my India and Nepal travelogue – all 40,000 words of it. It’s broken down into day-by-day accounts of the trip, and it’s interpersed with some of the pictorial highlights of the trip, not to mention recipes of the various dishes we encountered during the trip….
boy paints graffiti after Rabin assassination
If travel to the Middle East floats your boat, you can also view Andy’s Mideast Journal, a travelogue of my wanderings through Egypt, Jordan and Israel in the fall of 1995. From the ruins of Petra in Jordan to the events surrounding the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, it’s all in my travelogue. And of course, there are lots of pictures for you to enjoy, so if you want to see some lovely shots of me hanging out in the desert, check it out.