Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge: PRIDE

The Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge this week is PRIDE.

Landry shares an e-mail from his daughter, in which she writes:

“It was not the exoticism of India that watered me but the feeling of having found my place.”

Self decided to post a photograph from a trip to India in January 2012. It was her first time to visit the country, which had always fascinated her. Dharamsala had not been on the itinerary, but she decided to go. And it was freezing cold (one night her inn had no power. And self thought she would DIE).

She is glad she went, for Dharamsala is a beautiful, magnificent place. And she would never have seen it if she’d “played it safe” and stuck to the original itinerary.

DSCN3495

Dharamsala, official abode of the Dalai Lama. Self was stunned by the whole idea of it, by the whole idea of HERSELF in Dharamsala, alone with two brothers who ran an inn called the Snow Crest . . . It was FREEZING in January, but the upside was: barely any tourists, only crazy ones like self.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sylvain Landry Weekly Photo Challenge: School

This is a picture self took in the village of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India in January 2012.

Thanks to Sylvain Landry for the prompt, SCHOOL.

School in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India: January 2012

School in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India: January 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Power Outage, Dharamsala, January 2012

Never mind the reasons why.

A hired car and driver were available, right that very minute. Before self could over-think, she heard herself say, “Take me to Dharamsala.”

About halfway there, self looked around and saw that they seemed to be approaching a huge mountain. The mountain just kept getting bigger and bigger. In fact, by the time self had actually arrived IN Dharamsala, the mountain had lost its identity as mountain and was just this huge representation. An all-encompassing I-am-in-India-having-an-out-of-body experience type of representation. (Just think: two weeks earlier, self could never have imagined that she would be in Dharamsala. In fact, she almost never used to think about Dharamsala. In fact, she knew next to nothing about Dharamsala. Until she got stuck in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, she was having a super-sized ADVENTURE with a capital A!)

“Where is your hotel, madame?”

Funny, those are probably the only words of English self ever heard the driver utter. He was from Tibet. Which is how she knew she could trust him.

“Um . . . ummm”

Self casts her mind back to the previous night. She’d stayed up, scanning tripadvisor.

She managed to dredge up a name. The driver took self to the name. It was inside a military cantonment. Oh thank God, self thought, I AM SAFE! (How did she know it was a military cantonment? Because the hired car was stopped by soldiers, a security check before entering said military cantonment)

Self was so exhausted by this whole first-time-in-India thing that she stayed in Dharamsala almost a week.

At one point, there was a power outage.

No no no noooo!

Self had been crouched in front of a portable space heater, praying it didn’t short-circuit in the middle of the night and burn her to a crisp.

But — power outage! Why had she never considered the possibility?

Self’s first thought: I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!

Teeth making loud chattering (involuntary) noises.

At some point, a knock on the door.

Geez! What next? Go away, self yelled.

Then she recognized the voice of one of the inn-keepers. “Madame,” he kept repeating, almost frantic. “Madame, are you all right?”

At which point, self decided to speak:  “M-m-more c-c-comforters!”

Man returns with four.

Next morning, having survived the night, self makes chit-chat with front desk. “Does that happen often?” She means: Power Outage.

Man nods convincingly. “Oh yes, Madame. Last year, we had no power for two weeks.”

!!!###@@@

Holy Cow! self exclaimed. Two weeks! How did you get through it?

At which point, the man just shrugs.

What must be endured, must be endured.

Of course! Because, no one has any choice. Self asks the stupidest questions sometimes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Pile of Stuff: The New York Review of Books, 26 September 2013

Oh why oh why had self mis-laid this issue. Apparently it lay discarded in self’s clothes closet for over a year. And today is a busy busy Monday (Mondays always are), but she just can’t help perusing the issue. And it turns out, there are so many interesting reviews!

Without further ado, here are a couple of books reviewed in the 26 September 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books:

  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis, by Julie Kavanagh (Knopf, $27.95)
  • The Lady of the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas fils, translated from the French by Liesl Schillinger (Penguin, $16.00)
  • The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace, by Alexander Stille (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28.00)
  • The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (Random House, $15.00)
  • Calcutta: Two Years in the City, by Amit Chaudhuri (Knopf, $25.95)
  • Subtle Bodies, by Norman Rush (Knopf, $26.95)
  • Mortals, by Norman Rush
  • Whites, by Norman Rush
  • The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced, by Stephanie Dalley (Oxford University Press, $34.95)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Humanity 6: India, January 2012

Because of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, HUMANITY, self has been re-visiting the pictures she took on her first (so far, her only) trip to India, January 2012.

She’s so glad the theme allows her to publish photos she’s never posted before, like the one of the roadside market on the road to Kasauli from New Delhi, and the one she took in a night bazaar, just outside the Red Fort in Old New Delhi.

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Baikunth, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Kasauli, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Humanity 5: The Shiva Temple at Bajnath (Himachal Pradesh, January 2012)

Self is really loving this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  HUMANITY.  She’s got so many photos that fit the theme.

In January 2012, self went to India. Specifically, the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It was very cold. In the villages and temples, though, people smiled at her.

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple at Bajnath

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Silhouette: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Young Monks Taking a Break, Palpung Sherabling Buddhist Monastery in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh: February 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Entrance to Main Prayer Hall of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery near Bir, Himachal Pradesh: January 2012

Because self visited so many monasteries in northern India, some people assumed self was “sick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Zigzag 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

For today, self decided to focus on gestures of the human body:  bent elbows, bent knees, and so forth.  Because the human body, too, can be sort of zigzagg-y!

So, here’s what she came up with — in terms of the human body bending etc — from her various peregrinations:

The Red Mosque, Old New Delhi, After Prayers:  January 2012

The Red Mosque, Old New Delhi, After Prayers: January 2012

Niece G and Self, after a reading in the San Francisco Main Library:  September 2009

Niece G and Self, after a reading in the San Francisco Main Library: September 2009 (Funny:  Self JUST noticed the bent elbows of the model on the street posters behind!)

Street Musician, Venice, April 2013

Street Musician, Venice, April 2013

Like the elbows theme, dear blog readers?

Self loves how having the prompt makes her look at photographs she’d never ordinarily have thought to post here!

Stay tuned.

Zigzag 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s photo challenge on the WordPress Daily post is ZIGZAG:

Share a photo that foregoes the straightforward.

Self’s grandfather, Generoso Villanueva, had this house built in the 1930s. At that time, it was the tallest structure in the city of Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental. It had a working elevator, and a spiral staircase that wound up three floors.  The floors were Carrara marble, shipped from Italy.

The Daku Balay:  Burgos Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The Daku Balay: Burgos Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The old houses in the province of Negros Occidental tended to look like this (He was such a groundbreaker, self’s grandfather!):

Zigzag Wooden Bannisters:  Lacson House, Talisay, Negros Occidental

Zigzag Wooden Bannisters: Lacson House, Talisay, Negros Occidental

And this last picture was from a trip self took to northern India in January 2012.  The story of how self got to this precise location — well, that’s a book.

Self flew into New Delhi, accidentally wound up alone in the hinterlands of Himachal Pradesh, and then hired a car and driver to head due north, eventually arriving at — TA RA! — Dharamsala.  Which was a weird place, full of Korean tourists.  And red-robed monks caressing white Akitas.  Self remembered buying a box of tea that supposedly had calming properties.  Honestly, the entire trip was like a hallucination.  Only she had these great photos to show afterwards.

On the road to Simla: the road hugs a steep cliff: January, 2012.

On the road to Simla: the road hugs a steep cliff: January, 2012.

 

Containers 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

What a good idea, Red Hen Press!

They promoted Type O Negative, Joel Tan’s poetry collection, by handing out these chocolate candy bars at the AWP Book Fair, several years ago.

Candy Bar Wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan's new poetry collection!)

candy bar wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan’s new poetry collection!)

Containers # 2 is a fresh coconut:

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice.  This was somewhere near Sum-ag, near Bacolod City.

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice. Self took this picture on a beach in Sum-ag, just outside Bacolod City.

In January 2012, self went to India for the first time.  She flew from San Francisco to New Delhi, and spent the next two weeks traversing Himachal Pradesh.  She made it to Dharamsala.  It was freezing cold.  These hot braziers were brought into the dining room of the Colonel’s Resort in the village of Bir.

It was so cold, self's last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

It was so cold, self’s last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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