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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calling Dr. Bombay

Okay, I haven't had much time to take pictures, but a few of you have emailed to say 'nu?  photos please' so here goes:

First up is a thoughtful little thing I've seen in all the airports here.
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It is a sponsored ad panel that has a little shelf and charging cables for pretty much all the popular brands of cell phones... plus an outlet for plugging in any unsupported charging cable.   I mean duh, what a great idea!  Who hasn't been trapped in an airport with a dead or dying cell phone battery?  Here's a closer look:
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Next is something you see all over the place here in Asia; a swastika.  Yes, I know it's an ancient religious symbol over here and has nothing to do with the Nazis or any modern skin-head movement.  But spotting one still never fails to knock the wind out of me.
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My afternoon meeting yesterday was canceled because it was a holiday that my outlook calendar failed to warn me about (the birthday of Guru Nanak Jayanti).  So I took the opportunity to wander over to a local park with a tuna sandwich (I'm really getting sick of tuna and kabanos, let me tell you) and a can of coke where I watched a local cricket match (or practice... I have no idea which) on a beautiful sunny day:

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I have to admit, after watching for almost two hours, the game is still a complete mystery to me.

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It was a hot day, and at one point after I'd finished my coke I went over to a nearby street to see if I could locate another cold drink.  That's when I spotted this stand.  They basically take freshly cut sugar cane, put it through a mechanical crusher and sell the resulting juice:

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Now, because of the whole kosher thing I'm limited as to what I can eat when abroad.  But looking at the entire process from start to finish there really was no possible problem... at least from a kashrut standpoint.  But because of my ingrained fear of consuming 'street food' - even 'street drinks' - in developing countries, I decided to pass up the sugar cane drink, and maybe... just possible... I spared myself a case of 'Delhi-Belly'.

The last set of photos for the day are from the elevator in my hotel here in Mumbai.  On the way up to my room after checking in yesterday, I spotted a reproduction of an old map of the city (from when it was called Bombay) on the elevator wall:

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When I show you a close up of the lower right hand corner you'll understand why I got a bad case of the giggles the first time I glanced at it:

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Instead of "... De Bombay"... I thought it said "... Dr. Bombay"... and I actually donkey laughed and snorted in an elevator full of people.  Yes, I was pretty over-tired from my early morning flight... and yeah, I watched way too much TV as a kid.

Have a nice day.

Posted by David Bogner on November 13, 2008 | Permalink

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That thing to charge your electronics is hysterical, how long before we see it in the US?
That park looks beautiful, at least you had sunny weather to enjoy!

Posted by: SaraK | Nov 13, 2008 9:39:08 PM

When we were in Thailand the street drink was water poured into a sandwich bag, tied in a not and handed to you with a straw. Sort of a 'do it yourself' shoko b'sakit. Meanwhile our hotel was warning us not to brush our teeth with the tap water. Sugar cane juice would have looked pretty good.

I hope to get to India one day but if I don't, I will reread the 'olfactory overload' post a few more times and pretend I am there.

Posted by: Chedva | Nov 13, 2008 9:56:29 PM

Numbah one: sat sri akal AND jayanti mubarak.

Numbah two: You are in Bombay. Have you eaten any Parsee food yet? Dhansak? Murgi ni farcha? Wafer per-eda? Chutney fish in banana leaf?

If not, do so. Now. Then sleep the rest of the afternoon.

Bohri food is also great. Go to Bendhi Bazaar.

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Nov 14, 2008 12:25:41 AM

I've seen a number of charging stations in US airports, but normally they just have USB slots for charging. They pretty much assume that travelers carry AC adapters with them, which is not a wholly unreasonable suggestion. Certainly most business travelers have one of those iGo things for all of their devices during travel.

I'm a big fan of the USB ones, though - then I can charge my Bluetooth without pulling out my laptop (or lugging along another AC adapter).

Ender

Posted by: matlabfreak | Nov 14, 2008 1:22:35 AM

Cool pictures.

The charging stations in the U.S. that I've encountered simply have electrical outlets (as opposed to having to hunt for the few electrical outlets scattered throughout the terminal). I prefer this "international" solution.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Nov 14, 2008 2:18:12 AM

too bad that smell-o-rama technology is not yet perfected; otherwise we could both see AND smell the India you are encountering! thanks for the pictures! are you on your way home, or are you spending shabbat abroad?

Posted by: Debbie | Nov 14, 2008 6:11:34 AM

If you want to understand cricket, read this: http://www.royalengineers.ca/cricket.html ;-)

Posted by: Simon | Nov 14, 2008 6:44:17 AM

The charging booths are impressive, I know I disparately needed one, once. :-)

Do you understand baseball? Then you can understand cricket!


Posted by: Rami | Nov 14, 2008 8:36:43 AM

I understand your point about the swastika. In Copenhagen, the original Carlsberg Elephants at the gate of the brewery have swastikas on their backs; it is weird.
As for cricket, I guess you have to be born in the British Empire to understand it!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Nov 14, 2008 9:02:40 AM

VERY GOOD CALL that you didn't try the cane juice. It gives INSTANT, and I mean INSTANT diahorrea (sp?). I worked in Bombay and thank G_d I was warned.

Just around the corner from that cricket field is a street market that sells CHEAP clothes that were made for export, but perhaps had a small fault, so were rejected. It is really worth checking out.

Try the fish at the second floor restaurant at the Taj Hotel near the Gateway of India, also not to be missed.

Posted by: noa@swissmail.org | Nov 14, 2008 9:21:54 AM

i have british ancestry and i still have never understood cricket. i enthusiastically refer everyone to bill bryson's excellent book about traveling in australia, "in a sunburnt country", which contains a description of a radio broadcast of a cricket match which is one of the funniest things i've ever encountered.

Posted by: bratschegirl | Nov 14, 2008 9:29:11 AM

Cricket is a mystery? Try and watch a 4 day test match, the you'll get into the gentleman's game!

Posted by: Aussie | Nov 14, 2008 9:33:13 AM

First of all, your olfactory post was so descriptive it managed to turn my stomach and I nearly threw up. So thanks for that. In the better news department there is a Indian vendor that sells sugar cane juice in the shuk in Ramle. He hand presses it rather than using an automatic machine. If I remember correctly he is right outside one of the Indian spice shops. Next time you are in Ramle (probably never) you should check it out. Or go for a special trip and grab lunch at Maharaja, the authentic vegetarian Indian restaurant.

Posted by: harry | Nov 14, 2008 10:52:34 AM

Re the swastika - I seem to remember reading that Indians are the actual Aryan race. Leave it to Hitler to hijack and permanently taint an innocent symbol and an entire race of people he had nothing to do with. Of course, that's pretty low on his list of crimes against humanity, but still...

Anyway, enjoy your trip. And keep us updated.

Posted by: psachya | Nov 14, 2008 1:40:40 PM

Echoing psachya's comment a bit...when I was in Taiwan years ago, I, too, was struck by how often the swastika appeared. It is a common - a universal - decorative motif on any Buddhist temple, of which there are plenty in Taiwan and Japan. (The swastikas generally are "counterclockwise," unlike the Nazi symbol...but not always.)

The Nazis indeed hijacked that symbol, claiming that they were the true descendants of the original Aryans. But the Buddhists and Hindus had it first, and so I try to keep that in mind as I travel in Asia.

Hope you get back home safely, with kishkes intact!

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 14, 2008 4:16:27 PM

...Emergency! Come right away! I would have laughed too.

Posted by: Alan T. | Nov 16, 2008 4:12:34 AM

Oh, my goodness! What a coincidence. I just blogged about a recharging station for cellular telephones that I saw at the Tel Aviv University train station a few days ago. It's , right at the beginning of the post.

Have a great rest of the trip and come back safe and sound, with an intact stomach!

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 16, 2008 12:09:55 PM

(Oops... left that tag open. Sorry.)

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 16, 2008 8:28:53 PM

Charging station: Believe it or not, there is one in the food hall at Kanyon Malcha - it has been there for at least a year...

Posted by: Victor | Dec 8, 2008 4:08:33 PM

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