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Tomorrow I'm off to India for two months!! I'm in South India for the first month with my girlfriend, and the second month I am going to Kashmir to visit my friend Fayaz, whom some of you know from previous posts and such!


The first half of this trip is going to be, um, spontaneous. Yes, that's it. Not any real plan yet. Hopefully we can hook up with Vinay, but it's gonna be a spur of the moment thing, it seems. The second half is mostly about relaxing and hanging out with Fayaz' family.


If you're thinking, "What a strange trip. He goes to the south during monsoon season and then goes to the far north, all in one trip!!" you'd be right on. It makes no sense!! But it should be fun nevertheless. I'm looking forward to going and having fun for a couple of months!

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Originally posted by 4-DakRecorder:

Have a safe trip Ken. Post pics as you can.

Above all, have a great time.

I will, just 'cuz you said so! :D Thanks!


I don't think I can post pictures as I go, unfortunately, but you can guarantee that around September or October there's gonna be a lot of photos up on my web site!!!! Hopefully, like last year, I can post about the trip a few times (at least for the first half - I don't think I'm going to have a lot of internet access for the second half).

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Ken, when are you due back in SoCA? We might be able to hold off on the BBQ until you get back, if it's not too late. :idea: Actually, I've gotten a couple of suggestions to do a combo Musicplayer BBQ / Phil & Sandy's B-Day party thing this year, and our B-Days are not until the end of September...
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Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe:

Ken, when are you due back in SoCA? We might be able to hold off on the BBQ until you get back, if it's not too late. :idea: Actually, I've gotten a couple of suggestions to do a combo Musicplayer BBQ / Phil & Sandy's B-Day party thing this year, and our B-Days are not until the end of September...

Oh, that's great! I get back on the 23rd, and probably need a few days to recover from the flight!! :D September would be awesome!


You can guarantee that I will take tons of pictures!



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Originally posted by Anderton:

HAVE A GREAT TIME! That's an order from your friendly dictatorial moderator .


I only wish I could say "Meet you there!!!" If you find any great Bhangra CDs I'll gladly reimburse upon your return :)

Thanks everyone!


And yes Craig, since you say so, I will have a great time!! :D


I'll see if I can find any cool Bhangra CDs. Believe it or not, "The Rough Guide to Bhangra" is not bad. I'm also gonna be on the look out for cool electronic/trance stuff. But since I'm in South India, I'm going to be especially on the look out for beautiful Carnatic (South Indian classical) music. :thu:


And finally, contrary to popular rumor, Bruce Swedien is not accompanying me to India. I'm sure there's another reason why he's not posting here lately! :D;)

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Dammit, I must've already left for the day when this was posted....


Have a fun and safe trip, Ken. We'll be here when you get back!




"I prefer to beat my opponents the old-fashioned way....BRUTALLY!!!!"
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Originally posted by Geoff Grace:

Originally posted by Lee Knight:

Man... I've always wanted to go to India. Ever since I got into the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda, India has been on my list.

Lee, I suppose you've been here then. ;)


This one is particularly beautiful.





Yeah, I guess I have. I live in Encinitas BTW.



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Checking in a little sooner than anticipated! I'm in transit here at the Singapore airport. They have free internet in the airport, and I've got a few hours before our flight to Bombay takes off, so I figured I'd say hi!


These flights are looooong, but even in Economy Class, Singapore Airlines has "On-Demand" movies and TV shows (meaning that you can start 'em up and pause 'em any time you want!). So I watched some movies I haven't seen, such as "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby" as well as some that I shouldn't have (did I really need to see "XXX" with Vin Diesel?). Probably watch "Streetcar Named Desire" on the way to Bombay...


The Paramahansa Yogananda book is really great, for anyone who hasn't read it, and the lake shrine is very beautiful and peaceful.


We still have no idea where we're going in India. Very strange. We're going to wander around Bombay for a couple of days, see a few things, and then plot our way to wherever it is we are going. This is the second trip in a row where I'm just wingin' it. During Ghana last year, I literally made up much of the trip on the flight over... :D That was mostly because of relationship issues. This year, it's mostly due to lack of time for planning and maybe a little bit of an unconscious reaction against our current state (the last few months, we've had really fast-paced, every-single-hour-crammed-with-stuff sort of schedules). At any rate, I definitely do not mind the complete spontaneity.


Thanks for all the wonderful wishes!

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Hello everyone!


We arrived safely in Bombay. It's been raining, but really, we've been extremely lucky with the weather, as it seems to rain whenever we're already indoors.


Yesterday, we took a tour of Bombay, stopping at the Mahatma Gandhi residence (which is now a museum and research facility), a Jain temple, the Hanging Gardens, a fishing village, Malabar Hills (where many of the uber-rich reside), and a few other places. The old colonial architecture here is fantastic, particularly the Victoria Terminal (train station), a fascinating hodgepodge of domes and such, completely over the top in its sheer size and detail.


We have eaten at a pizzeria, the Tea Centre, and a Chinese restaurant so far, and also have tried a little street food. All were very good. My girlfriend loves to try ethnic cuisine in other countries, and figures that we will be eating South Indian cuisine the other time. However, I've been trying more of the local Bombay cuisine, which is quite good.


Tonight, we are catching a train to Aurangabad so we can see the Ellora and Ajanta Caves, which feature fantastic reliefs carved by Buddhists hundreds of years ago. I have been wanting to see this for years, as the carvings are supposed to be beautiful. It has been designated a World Heritage Site.


After this, I think we might try and go to Hyderabad and then to Bangalore by train so we can visit the Coorg area and Madhurai, but plans are still iffy and vague! :D

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Greetings from Bangalore, deep within South India!! We arrived here this morning on the Rajdhani Express A/C Sleeper Train, and have been wandering around the streets of Bangalore. Bangalore is, along with Hyderabad (dubbed "Cyberabad" by the Indian press), the Silicon Valley of India. It's a high-tech, modern, bustling city with a lot of really great shopping and restaurants. And I must add that the shower in our hotel is utterly blissful after two days of riding trains and tramping around.


Several days ago, we visited the *fantastic* Ellora and Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad. These were carved roughly between 1500-2000 years ago, depending on which cave and where. The Ajanta Caves are exclusively Buddhist caves, while the Ellora Caves are a mixture of Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist. But what cave carvings they are!! Imagine pillars, statues, staircases, railings, reliefs, and colorful frescoes hewn out of basaltic rock from mountains that look like something more amazing than you've seen in Indiana Jones or Mortal Kombat, and you start to get an idea of the sheer beauty and magnitude of these caves. They are truly breathtaking!!


The Caves all have been designated World Heritage sites and are obviously world-famous. One of the carvings at the Ellora site...well, it's a cave but much more, as the entire Kailasa shrine, the enormous elephants, the pillars surrounding everything, and all the reliefs, everything, were hacked from a mountain over the course of 150 years by 7000 artisans and laborers!!!


We've seen much more than this, but the Caves really stick out to me as a highlight, almost worth the journey to India alone. But we also saw one of the most impenetrable medieval forts I've ever seen, and bear in mind that I've been to Morocco. It too was hewn out of rock, and has fake underground passages leading to nowhere, drawbridges, moats, enormous Tolkien-style teak doors with anti-elephant-ramming spikes, cannons, more trick passages, caves, bats, man-eating crocodiles, you name it....this too was in Aurangabad.


From Aurangabad, we headed south to Hyderabad, a predominantly Muslim city. There, we visited a giant Buddha dwarfing the tiny little island it rested on, took pictures of cute little kids swinging in a park, ate at a posh hotel fashioned like an Austrian castle, and at a buffet that had lemon cream pies, fish masala, and Chinese noodles.


The food is delicious. But what else would there be here? We've had very good pizza, masala dosa, Gujurati thalis, channa masala, fried noodles, ice cream, mouth-watering Kerelan cuisine served on banana leaves, delicious desserts, and much more, all ranging from fancy restaurants to scruffy roadside hole-in-the-walls with monsoon rains battering their corrugated tin roofs.


And like I always say, India is a country with the intensity knob turned up full. All sights and smells and colors and aromas and sounds, ranging from divine to hellish, heavenly to screechy, are on parade for us to experience. No other country seems to be quite like it. I absolutely love it!! :thu:


We will stay here in Bangalore for two days, and then proceed to Mysore, then probably go to a couple of hill stations (Ooty), eventually heading south to Madurai.


Take care! I hope everyone is doing well!

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