Monthly Archives: February 2008

On the Dolphin Boat Tour of the Mandovi River



Sun 02.17.08 – Self-portrait taken with a Nokia N82.
Today is Day 8 of my leg of the Nokia Urbanista Diaries adventure. Goa is lovely, but I liked Kerala better.
Tomorrow I depart for Mumbai for my last 2.5 days in India before traveling on to Austria where I will meet up with Urbanista Ryan and pass the ‘baton’off to him for his two weeks of mobile photo travel adventures.
Six more days to go. I hope you have enjoyed the photos.

Horn Please

Horn Please
Photo by Ms. Jen on Fri. Feb. 15, 2008 in Goa with a Nokia N82.

Fri. 02.15.08 – Much like the independent film that came out in 2004, “A Day without a Mexican“, I wonder when a film entitled “India: A Day without a Horn” will be made. Of course, it won’t be an art house film, but an action thriller horror movie, as what would Indian drivers do without a car/truck/motorcycle/rickshaw horn… It could also be a comedy under the right writers and director.
Also, I love the artwork painting on trucks, esp. the front of the cab and on the tailgate. The truck above on the road between the Goa airport and Panaji was one of many with signs, art, and slogans on the tailgate.

Kerala: God’s Own Communist Country

Grazyna and the Kerala Communist Flag
Photo of Grazyna and a Communist Flag in Kerala taken by Ms. Jen on Thurs. Feb. 14, 2008, with a Nokia N82.

One of the best parts about the Indian state of Kerala is all of the signs, esp. in tourist frequented locations, that state “Kerala : God’s Own Country”. Of the three Indian states, that I have been too so far: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala, the last one has the most amount of religious edifices. Christian edificies at that.
In the 1.25 hour drive from the airport to Fort Cochin, I counted no less than 20 Christian churches of all stripes (Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical, and plain ole Protestant), 2 mosques, and only one Hindu temple. This seemed to be the pattern when we drove the 45 mins. to the Backwaters boat tour.
Then there is the beauty of the place. Coconut palms everywhere. Wide streets. No where near the trash on the streets as the other two states. etc.
And best of all, the 2 days I was in Kerala coincided with the annual Communist Party Conference (Feb. 11-14, 2008). Everywhere, except in Fort Cochin, all the towns were decked out in red finery: red flags, big decorated arches welcoming partisan politicians, big posters of the local Communist politicos. According to the Lonely Planet “South India” and other sources, Kerala is the only freely, democratically elected Communist state in India.
Kerala, possibly the only place on earth to freely and with abandon mix Communism and the love of Jesus, Allah, and [insert name of fave Hindu diety here]. God bless ’em.

Zanzara

Kerala Backwaters Boat Tour - The Foot Edition
Photo taken by Ms. Jen on Thurs. Feb. 14, 2008,
in the Kerala backwaters with a Nokia N82.

Zanzara… the word sounds so exotic, doesn’t it? It is a Italian word for an insect and the when you say zanzara is is somewhat descriptive to how the insect sounds when it flies real close to your ear. zzzz zzzz zzzz.
The Aussies use the word mozzie. In English, we say mosquito. I call them, “Why, you little f*^kers!” as I attempt to eradicate them from the vicinity.
After getting my vaccinations for India, I was not allowed out of the Kaiser Permanente building without a prescription for malaria pills. All of the Brits and Europeans I have spoken to so far here in India, were given all the same shots by their health care folk but were told they didn’t need the malaria pills. huh. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
During the Kerala Backwaters boat tour today, Grazyna noted that I did not have any mosquito bites on my legs or feet, whereas her bites had bites. I asked if she had taken the following precautions that I have learned over the years:
How to prevent or at least reduce getting bit by mosquitoes:
1) Stay somewhere with screens on the windows or in an AC room.
2) When in mosquito country, only use unscented soap or shower gel. Mosquitoes primary job in life is to be plant pollinators, only the females bite when breeding. So, don’t walk around smelling like a flower or a fruit.
3) Sub-corollary: Don’t wear perfume in mosquito country, esp. if you are me and all your perfume is rose & gardenia scents.
4) Wash your feet well with unscented soap twice a day. One of the widespread mosquitoes around the world loves all things stinky, esp. foot smell, and will only bite your feet. So instead of wondering why only your feet got bitten, wash ’em.
5) Use an insect repellent with at least 50% deet. Spray it everywhere, including on your clothes.
While my arms, legs and feet were bite free on Thursday, my butt was not. Yes, people, I neglected to spray the deet repellent on my capri pants and they were thin enough for the mosquitoes to bite me on the backside. I may have an itchy backside, but I did take my malaria pill on time yesterday… ;o)