>Travel Pictures


A typical day's trips...

Breck and Alea are both real troopers when it comes to putting up with the hassles of life here. We have a 20 minute ride in to school in the mornings, and close to an hour on the way home. They amuse themselves (and the others) on the bus with their fancy dance moves and protective headgear (one couple braves a motorcycle ride through the streets, and they sometimes leave a spare helmet on the bus).

And we always try to spot the "Praise the Lord" bus!!

The  kids are rewarded with a bunch of free time when they first get to school, and sometimes use it to play on mom's computer.
Of course, there's no telling what they'll see on those rides into school. We often pass through intersections already crowded with buses and rickshaws by 7 am, families lined up on the household motorcycle (I love the fact that the dad is the only one with a helmet), 
and squatters' shacks that house many of the day laborers that throng the big city. Since most of them have no water, we usually see the coastline filled with people - men, women, and children - in the morning "doing their business" on the low-tide-exposed rock flats (and yes, we're talking number 1 AND number 2). Right around the corner from the school is a construction site that is always filled with workers - who are lucky to have this opportunity - taking their daily bath when we zip by.

On the ride home, the scenery is usually no less impressive. Our driver Iqbal keeps his eyes on the road and his hand on the wheel, so we can look around at all that is going on.

We'll pass by the long line of rickshaws queuing up for LPG cylinders,
the unavoidable "Horn OK Please" signs on the back of trucks, and people crowded onto the local (double decker) buses.

We'll pass a corner that usually has many people selling things (books, toys, Santa hats, vegetables, car implements) as well as many beggars (which really upsets Breck. It is kind of interesting - he says he doesn't mind the people selling things, but the beggars knocking on the windows really makes him paranoid, and he comments on approaching that particular corner every day).
The filth and poverty around the city is pretty overwhelming. We get to drive by most of it, but the sights are always there, the smells permeate the air, and we stick out enough that we are accosted more than Indians are. It has become part of the background of our everyday lives, and yet it isn't - it is simply too much to ignore completely.

Rounding the corner into Bandra, the part of town that we live in, I am struck (again) by the mix of religions and belief systems that seem to coexist rather well here. Obviously all is not peaches and cream, as the Hindus and Muslims (especially) have been at each others' throats for decades, but to see a poster advertising a Virgin Mary festival right next to one for Ganesh is pretty cool.

During the festival, devotees of the Madonna can purchase wax figures and body parts to offer and melt in the hopes of having physical ailments relieved. And if it gets too hot, the local little girl selling hats is available too.

Or stop in at the local roadside barber shop for a shave and a haircut - pretty much two bits. Breck and dad go to a high class place around the corner from the house. It has its own shop with electricity, so it is pretty pricey. The foreigner cost (at our place, not on the roadside) for a haircut is 30 rupees - about 75 cents.

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