Saturday, February 06, 2010

Auto rickshaw in Delhi, on the way to the train

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Sent from BlackBerry� on Airtel

Posted via email from Dave Adair Photography (on Posterous)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

SO much life (and some death) on the streets

(Note to blog readers: (are there blog readers?) I loaded larger photos, and the layout doesn't really support it, so some print is on top of the photos. But I like the photos being so large. What to do?)

I went for another long walk today, (OK, I haven't told you about the other long walk yesterday) and I was so enjoying the interactions I was having. So many locals here see a Westerner as an oddity, at least in the non-touristed places I was roaming. Combining years of travel and keen observation, I stumbled on a great photography secret today: if you like to take pictures of people, a city is a great place for it because, drum roll.... there are lots of people in cities. (Thank you! Hold your applause.) If you enjoy the photography and use it as an excuse to interact with people, it's just so fun. Snot-covered street kids, rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, parents of all flavors - they're all possible subjects for the camera lens, and that's an excuse to make a fleeting connection and sharing that leaves everyone smiling and warm.

I haven't mentioned the chaos here much, but trust me that it's inescapable, especially in Delhi. I was crossing an impossibly crowded street, taking my life in my hands as you must, before I reached the shore of relative safety - the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I stepped up on the sidewalk, and in front of me I saw a dead body. Not dead when I saw him, but almost certainly dead by the time you read this. You were spared that I didn't take a photo, because it was a horrifying scene even by Haiti earthquake standards. This poor man was skin and bones, covered in filthy rags for clothes, and what remained of his teeth pointed in all the directions of the compass. But the most disturbing aspect to me was that as he lay there with his eyes mostly but not quite closed, the pink bits of his eyes were covered with flies. I thought he was dead when I first saw him, but then could see him breathing. 

I looked around, and traffic was lurching past, unimpeded by the drama. A bicycle rickshaw driver stopped beside me and indicated, as best I could tell, that the man had been there a couple of days. He made a tsk-tsk sound, shook his head sadly, and then tried to talk me into taking his rickshaw. I debated about what to do. Actually that's not true. I had a passing thought that MAYBE there's something I could do. Then I dismissed the thought, and walked away, holding my hand over my stomach for about a block.

Even with this, in spite of this, because of this,

Too much love,

I'm trying something new. The photos below are larger than in the past. All the photos were taken in one evening and the followng day. These are probably my favorite, but there are many more at the link below. I hope you enjoy them!

I'm investigating glaucoma treatment...

I'm investigating glaucoma treatment at a hospital in Delhi. The public section of the hospital was horrifying, while the private section is just really really scary. Damn. Sent from BlackBerry� on Airtel

Posted via email from Dave Adair Photography (on Posterous)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Foot in Two Worlds

I'm sitting in an over-priced upscale white-tablecloth mostly-Westerner's restaurant in New Delhi, India, listening to American pop and rap on the sound system. I'm on my new laptop, connecting wirelessly through the terribly slow wi-fi. Outside the restaurant doors there are great huge oxen pulling enormous loads of who-knows-what, which get off-loaded a sack at a time on the skinny shoulders of the cart driver, as it has, basically unchanged, for millennia.

I've flown to Delhi just a few days ago, moving out of my tiny in-law apartment where I'd lived for six years in the upscale Marina district of San Francisco. I drove a 1988 VW van and lived like a college student, while a house four doors down sold recently for almost three million dollars. (With no view!) I might have as much luck getting an invite into that house as the cart driver has of getting invited to lunch in this restaurant.

In my mind it was pretty clear that I didn't quite fit in in the Marina district of SF. But do I fit here? Now that I've given up my SF life for one on the road, am I the traveler who visits India, or am I the traveler who visits San Francisco? Where's home?

So enough of the wandering wonderings and onto the facts as they exist: what are my plans, now that I've given up my apartment and come to Asia? I'm going to a 10-day open retreat starting Feb. 9th, and I'm going on a 40-day silent meditation retreat starting March 15th. Other than that, and following that: I have no clue. I have a 10 year Indian visa, but that only allows stay of six months each, and between visits a new law requires the tourist to be out of the country for two months before returning. That will encourage me to see other places that I might not otherwise, so it's a mixed bag. I'm looking into projects where I could volunteer and might make a difference. We'll see. Beyond some ideas for this summer, it's a foggy gray wall, like a San Francisco summer day.

I've uploaded some photos from Delhi. You can see them here:

Stay in touch!

Much love,