Archive for December 2009

India Journal: Progress in the Midst of Pain

As I mentioned in another recent post, I just completed spending several days in India.  I also said that, having spent nearly three weeks in Delhi, and some of the north/central parts of the country about 18 months ago, I was eager to come back, and to explore some of the other cities that I’ve heard so much about, namely Mumbai and Bangalore. While these two cities are very different in some obvious ways, they are still India.  And for someone from the outside, that can be jarring.  I think that given that I’d been here before, I underestimated the impact that being here would have on me.  My hotel in Mumbai was within a half-mile of one of the largest shanty cities in the world – go watch this clip from Slumdog Millionaire, and you’ll see it for yourself.  It’s right there next to the airport.  I’m glad I […]



My Christmas Wish

Greetings from wherever I am when you read this! I’m writing this post sitting in the domestic airport in Mumbai, India. When I post it, I’ll probably be in the air, on my way to Bangkok, Thailand. Wherever I am when I post this, and wherever I am on Christmas day won’t matter that much. I just wanted to say a quick Merry Christmas to you all. If you’ve been following my adventures here, thanks. I love reading your comments, e-mail messages, Facebook wall posts, and tweets. I’m grateful for your interest and support and encouragement, and perhaps even your jealousy that I get to do this trip. It’s a strange way to think about it, but I don’t think this journey would be worth taking if I didn’t have folks to interact with along the way. Much love to you as you celebrate with family and friends. Much more […]



How to DRAW a Crowd in Mumbai

I have recently completed a brief visit to Mumbai, India.  It’s something I had been looking forward to for a long time.  As you may know, I had the opportunity to spend almost three weeks in India in the summer of 2008.  There’s something about this place that grabs you.  I had a sense when I left last year that I would be back. When planning my itinerary, I wanted to visit some other cities in India that I hadn’t seen before, so rather than returning to Delhi (which I strongly considered doing, in order to see friends there), I decided to go to Mumbai and Bangalore – two very important cities when it comes to globalization, and the rapidly growing future of India. I was in central Mumbai on a Sunday afternoon, walking around, seeing the city.  It’s different in many way from Delhi, similar in many others.  As […]



My Advent in Bangalore

As I was preparing to go to Bangalore, I was in my hotel room in Mumbai, near the airport.  Being a budget traveler, I had booked the hotel there at a cheap price, compared to most hotels in Mumbai.  The fact that it had its own bathroom and an internet connection were nice frills.  I went online to book my hotel for Bangalore, and found that the rooms are generally a good bit cheaper there, which was a relief.  I looked around, comparing properties, and finally settled on one that looked like a real bargain – what looked to be a higher-end hotel that was running a special that made it basically the same price as the other rooms in the area, and the same price as my room in Mumbai. I’m writing this post from my hotel.  Yes, these pictures are of my hotel room.  Yes, inIndia.  No, I […]



Sunday Brunch in Barcelona

I was out for a Sunday morning stroll through the lovely streets of Barcelona, and I began hearing some music.  I thought it was just some recorded Christmas music coming from a shopping district nearby, but then as I got closer, I could tell it was live.  I went to investigate, and found a large group of folks, enjoying a small orchestra and dancing together.  Once again, my poor camera skills are obvious, but have a look.



Turkey: A Muslim Counterpart to the United States?

As my trip was in transition between Latin America and Asia, I had a chance to stop for just a couple of days in Istanbul, Turkey.  This is fitting in the sense that Istanbul is a geographically transitional city – half the city is in Europe and half of it is in Asia.  Turkey is also a transitional country, in that they are trying pretty hard to gain acceptance into the European Union (which is an interesting, complex story).  I’m glad I got to stop there, because a former student at The Purple Door in Seattle is from Turkey, and my parents have spent some good time there, so I wanted to be able to experience a small bit of what they have. Because I was only on the ground for such a short time, and I was only in the most tourist-y, small section of a huge, huge city […]



Sagrada Familia – A Cathedral Without a Community?

When I visited Barcelona, I stayed in a comfy hostel about a quarter-mile away from one of the biggest tourist hot-spots of the city – a “temple” called the Sagrada Familia, or in the Catalan language, “Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família” – Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. It’s a massive, massive cathedral that has been under construction since 1882, and is set for completion in 2026 at the earliest. This schedule is actually several decades sooner than earlier expectations, having been accelerated by contemporary building technologies and techniques. It was designed by Barcelona’s famed architect, Antoni Gaudi. His work is quite distinctive, and can be seen all over the city. He is said to have wanted the cathedral to be “the last great sanctuary of Christendom.” That’s a vey interesting statement indeed. While Christendom’s power was only beginning to wane at the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, […]



Images From Off The Grid

I’m still not going to say where I went in words . . . I’ll let the pictures figure it out for you.  Just a little slide show I threw together.



The Misnomer of Traveling Alone

Over the past week or so, I’ve been much more on my own in my travels.  Just about as quickly as posted about engagement vs. consumption in travel, and the importance of making personal connections in the places I’ve gone, I visited two cities in which I had exactly zero deep-level engagements.  I actually had a few leads in these places, but unfortunately, none of them worked out. Anyway, almost from the beginning of this trip, I’ve been kicking around writing a post about the ups and downs of traveling alone.  Fortunately, because of the number of new friends I’ve made along the way, I haven’t been truly alone very often.  However, this definitely is an “alone” trip in many ways, so here are a few quick thoughts (I’m not even going to attempt an exhaustive list). Five “ups” of traveling alone: –  I’ve been able to be enormously self-centered […]



Futbol – The FC Barcelona Way

I’m a futbol fan – say it with me, people – “fut-bol.”  I’m also an NFL football fan (with just a little college football mixed in), but I love the game USAmericans call soccer.  So, when I started out on my big trip around the world, I was really hoping to get a chance to see some high level futbol (I’m a Seattle Sounders FC supporter, but Major League Soccer in the USA is on a very minor league level compared with most of the world).  Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out with my schedule to see an English Premier League fixture while I was in the UK.  Happily, my time in Barcelona coincided perfectly with perhaps the top futbol team in the world, FC Barcelona, to be playing at home, and I was able to acquire a ticket.  I ended up kind of building a full day around this […]