Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Invitation to road rash and burns...
An AP story on nude bikers originates out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and is hopefully noted by my good friend Captain Mike who begins his annual bike trip out of neighboring Arkansas. And to any of Chennai, India's Madras Bulls who have similar ideas, I have two recommendations:
1. sunscreen with high SPF
2. practice safe biking, put a helmet on it ;^)
Friday, July 25, 2003
I heard from the King of Corinth today & I'm feeling impotent...
I'll be back to norml soon.
And in Offbeat News from Delhi...
Elephants have been used as work animals long before rights groups arrived on the scene. Commercial work is often done at night and care for these giants now includes safety reflectors on their backsides. Editors note: wouldn't it help if Indian officials enforced better street lighting AND the use of lights on vehicles?
Thursday, July 24, 2003
A message for Sisyphus:
Monday, July 21, 2003
What's it like in India?
The Census of India says: "Thirty-nine percent of married couples in India do not have independent rooms for themselves while 40 percent of the 179 million families that own houses live in one-room dwellings. There are more places of worship in the country (2.4 million) than schools, colleges and hospitals combined. In most states, more houses have TVs than toilets."
More on the Census at the Indian Express website. Learn about electrification, water supply, consumerism and ...blush... sex ratios (bachelors should avoid Chandigarh, but where's the hot spot?)
Friday, July 18, 2003
Not wanting to turn this into a motorcyclog of India driving, BUT...
here is Swami's thread from our MadrasBulls.com:
"Jaffer Ali, known more popularly as Jaf, had a serious accident yesterday, and has been under intensive care since yesterday at a hospital in Annanagar. It makes you wonder when a man in his late 40s who has ridden motorcycles for a living since his teens lands up with a broken hand, a broken nose, and a severe head injury from a road accident. It makes you realise that there are two kinds of people on the road. The ones that cause accidents, and the victims of them. Apparently, a Ford Ikon made a u-turn at very high speed, got on the wrong side of the road and piled into him on his 535cc [Bullet] head-on at 8:30 AM yesterday. Then, the driver of the car, who was incidentally a minister/MP/MLA's son picked him up, put him in the car, deposited him in the nearest hospital, and left. Since his motorcycle was still lying on the road, a couple of passing cops saw it, noted the Government plates it had, and immediately thinking a fellow cop had been hurt, landed up at the hospital in full force. When they realised it was 'just a mechanic' that had been hurt, they left as soon as they had come without making any effort to even find out who had caused the accident. Jaf is reportedly better today, and is now conscious, but it will most definitely take a while for him to get back on his feet."
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
When it comes to driving in India, you don't have to believe me...
After my recent motorcycle accident, an Indian friend forwarded me this Cover Story from India's No. 1 Weekly News Magazine. I'm currently back to riding with hopefully a larger awareness of what is locally referred to as "rash" driving. Most other places call it "vehicular assult" ;^(
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Medical advice from your motorcycle parts dealer?
I've got a spot on my lower, right back that's been paining me for a few weeks. I attribute it to either my flight over my handlebars or the few crunches I do in the name of exercise. A doctor has inspected & the focus is not a broken rib, rather the muscle spasms between. Last Wednesday, my mechanic called me in to pick up (and pay for) my repainted bike. I mentioned my soreness to his son, the parts dealer, as I was having some trouble holding the 168kg motorcycle. The young fellow whipped out & recommended a few tablets. Now the beauty of Indian drugs, besides being readily available, is that they're well marked with name & price. After eyeballing the capsules in question, I found they were Gelucil, an antacid. At least my stomach feels better that my dealer is dealing over-the-counter & I do appreciate the kindness of his unknowledgeable effort. If Gelucil works for his bad back, there's a lot to be said for the power of auto-suggestion ;^)
Sunday, July 06, 2003
Is anyone else worried about the DCA1 microbe?
I think I'm glad that researchers have discovered this PVC-digesting microbe. This cultured organism would have a feast here in plastic-strewn Chennai, India, where bus billboards warn of PVC doom. There's great hope for this sub-soil microbe to better resolve dump sites & contaminated groundwater. India needs every drop of water it can clean up. My concern is for the microbe itself, based on an adage I learned during the Hippie Days (1960s): "You are what you eat." Once these little PVC chowhounds have had their fill, what risk do they present? When these pugnacious piranha of plastic take a potty break, what the hell do they excrete? Is this a case of "out of the Teflon coated fry pan & into the fire"? Tho not very scientific, some of my concern originates with reading comic books as a kid. There I learned of monster lifeforms based on the chemical element silica. Back to reality, many would argue that we have come to face modern day monsters of silicon (and silicone!), so I'm worried about their brethren PVC ;^)
Old Blogger vs. New Blogger...
I try to post every day. In some odd yet lenient way, call it Discipline without the Bondage. So here I am posting at 10 minutes past Midnight because the New Blogger has tossed away my 30 minute crutch. That's right, the Old Blogger couldn't handle India's GMT+5 1/2 hours and blessed the Sub-Continent with an extra half hour. The New Blogger is spot on and I'm busted ;^(
Friday, July 04, 2003
If you're Web-searching info on Chunnambar/Pondicherry, beware of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)...
tourisminpondicherry.com, representing the PTTDC, Pondicherry Tourism & Transport Development Corporation (Government of Pondicherry), lists an email addy on the website, but has not answered my email enquiries from 15 days past. Phone numbers published on the website are inoperative. Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, a PTTDC enterprise, has also not responded to similar email enquiries and posted sparse/inaccurate info on the website. Nonetheless, I took a chance, travelled 160km to the resort & made my own discoveries as follows. Be prepared for a Rs. 3 admission anywhere beyond the "Seagulls" restaurant area. If you want to walk off a heavy lunch: Rs. 3. If you want to see the backwater or sit on the beach: Rs. 3. To get to the boat dock for rentals: Rs. 3. Tho advertised, the sail (1) and hydroplane (1) boats were inoperative. The Web notes "swimming pool in the midst of the backwater, floats and a swimming coach", but I saw nothing other than a sign reading "Swimming Restricted" (not allowed). The three tree houses promoted for overnight stay are, in fact, one tree house in a high traffic area. The following unposted details may help your travel decisions:
1. The tree house sleeps 2 and has no facilities (water, toilet, etc.).
2. The tree house is clubbed (bundled) with an a/c room that sleeps 2 more & provides facilities.
3. Total cost is Rs. 750/night. Plus Rs. 3 to walk to the tree house!
4. The correct phone number is 91-0413-2600816
I wonder if they'll be sending me Agent Commissions for having the only helpful info on the web ;^)
Thursday, July 03, 2003
I'm overdue on reporting last Sunday's ride to Chunnambar (near Pondicherry, India)...
probably because the pluses barely outweigh the minuses:
1. We never start on time (7:15AM departure on a scheduled 6:30AM ride).
2. On the trip out, we did not ride well as a group. Speed demons.
3. Breakdowns & maintenance. I hate to see a person's bike fail.
4. Each leg should have taken 3 hours for the 150km ride, but they lasted almost 5 hours each way.
5. Only 3 hours available at our destination. A few bikers returned after 15 minutes!
5.1 At the beach, swimming was "restricted". I fully understood when beer drinking was also "restricted".
5.2 I hid a NaviCache at the far end of the beach.
6. For a French enclave, the restaurant (Seagulls) only served Indian cuisine.
6.1 Pondicherry has low taxes & my one beer was half the price of Tamil Nadu.
6.2 Having passed many prawn farms, this seaside restaurant was out of prawns.
7. My touring Bullet, "BlueBull", ran perfectly as I didn't exceed 80km/hr.
8. The weather was comfortably cool & not overly sunny.
9. I saw my first salt ponds. Fascinating, but we sped by.
9.1 I saw the greenest rice paddies in various stages of growth, tho we flew past.
9.2 We also whizzed by some brightly painted, giant stone horses that were probably in front of temples.
10. One guy took a minor spill, but we all returned safely.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Hand-written notes from the canteen wall of a major Chennai, India Call Center...
"Kindly allow me to be with my counterpart - bin.
by Used Plates"
"I'm shy to be here in this place.
I think these reminders are aimed at the royalty amongst employees who finish their meal & leave the plate, etc. at the table for someone else to pick up. Could this mindset be influenced by living at home with mama, servents, maids, etc.? BTW, I've watched these people push their food around their plates, squeezing & re-squeezing. A lot gets slopped onto the table & there it sits (waiting for me to come along & inadvertantly stain my shirtsleeves). I guess the special employees don't do laundry either. You know these people: they're the ones that then go into the loo & take a bath (well, that's what the flooded sink counter looks like). Do not let your dress pants touch the counter edge or you'll look like you wet yourself. Do not let your nice tie drag in the puddles. Speaking of puddles, what is all that liquid on the toilet seats? Something from the bucket or bidet hose? Or not ;^(