Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Maggie is the most psychotic, neurotic, crazy, ball chasing, rock retrieving bundle of loving energy that I know. I spent some time with her last summer and haven't yet been back to see her. She chases her tail (stop that Maggie), she barks at the highest frequency that humans can hear and at as many decibels as she can muster, she usually waits to do this until you have your ear next to her for maximum effect!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

From The Garden

A little reminder of summer gone. Maybe a series "from the garden"? Hmmm... Off to get my lens back from the repairer today, can't wait to try it out...

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal! Awesome place, I was taken there by a friend and our guide was from a family who once oversaw the finances of Agra. Agra is the city closest to the Taj Mahal and includes the Red Fort (which we didn't visit). From the residence of our guide we had views of both.

The building is abour 204 feet high and as soon as you walk in to the complex (don't take a mobile phone - you will be frisked by the police on entry) you realise two things, it is a long walk still to the main building and it is HUGE but it looks close (a sign of being HUGE!!!)... Did I mention that it is HUGE! My Hindu guide assured me that it was built by the Hindus long before the Muslim Shah used it as a mausoleum to his wife. He used the Hindu symbols as justification for this, "surely a Muslim Shah would not have used Hindu artwork and symbols on a Muslim temple" was his main argument. The debate will rage (quietly - I hope) for a lot longer yet, I'm sure...

My overwhelming memorys of India are, the enormous population (15 million people in Delhi alone), poverty and SMOKE... As soon as we landed we could smell smoke and on the last morning we were there we had breakfast in the hotel and there, in the shafts of sunlight through the room we could see smoke. The burning of dried cow manure to fuel cooking fires seemed to be the source!
The population is supplemented with a Noahs Ark of animals roaming freely throughout. Ubiquitous cows, dogs, cats, monkeys, donkeys, camels, horses and we saw one elephant, painted in a riot of colour just wandering along the side of the road!
The traffic was horrendous, we arrived at 8pm in Delhi and had a 180km road trip to Agra. In Australia you would expect that trip to take about two hours - not so in India! It took two hours to get out of Dehli and another two hours to negotiate the highway to Agra. On the way dodging trucks, buses, scooters and all manner of home made contraptions. Barun, our host explained that in Australia you drive on the left, in America you drive on the right, in India it is optional... To be driving towards a bus at 100kmh is an interesting and very unnerving situation, where did I put my first aid supplies? Did I bring enough to fix amputation?
Would I do it again? Maybe? It was certainly a place with a rich cultural heritage and very colourful once the layers of dust and smoke were removed...