About Me

I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

Any views expressed on this site are my own.  

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Saturday
Jul212012

In Your FACE! 

The best way I can describe India is to say it is, quite literally, in-your-face. In your eyes, your mouth, your nose, your ears. I've never been anywhere that's made such a blitzkrieg on my senses- one second I'm flinching at a blaring horn that sounds like a firecracker going off in my ear (dude, was that REALLY necessary?!), next second we pass an open sewage stream someone is peeing into and I'm knocked breathless by the stench so I breathe through my mouth- only that's not much better on account of the diesel exhaust blowing black fumes into the air from the oil truck we're following- then we fly into oncoming traffic because the driver feels some inherent desire to put our lives in jeapardy to leapfrog another rickshaw (impatient, are we?), narrowly avoiding sideswiping a Hyundai on one side (which is overtaking us as we are overtaking the other rickshaw) and a courageous (or suicidal) woman pedestrian walking in the middle of the road on our other side carrying a bundle of something half as big as her body on top of her head, then... calm. But only for a few seconds. 

Tuesday
Jul032012

Yes, India has a space program (what I did on my sick-cation besides watching Big Bang Theory).

(Update: I'm feeling much, much better. Space aliens did not burst from my stomach and it turns out Indian hospitals are even more efficient in some ways than American ones-- testing, pharmacy, making appointments, but absolutely NOT in the area of communicating. While sick, I had a lot of time to read and research the Indian space program. The following represents some of the fruits of my digging around on the ol interwebs...)

If you read my title and your first thought was “of all countries on Earth, why does India, a country with half a billion poor people dying of disease, hunger and terrible living conditions, waste money on space?” … you were about to make a horribly ignorant generalization.

So let me stop you right there before you do that. India’s space program was created for the purpose of DEVELOPING THE POOR AREAS OF THE COUNTRY.

Say what?!

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Tuesday
Jun262012

What It's Like to (Still) be Sick in India

Still not fun. But I guess I’m just out for the full India experience. I started to get a fever last Saturday that probably got up to around 101F… I say probably because we had no thermometer for the first few days before locating one at the corner “pharma” store. And by locating one I mean we told the 12-year old boy at the counter that I needed a thermometer and he went off running down the street to find one from some unknown location. Maybe a warehouse. Maybe another pharma store. Maybe in a trash heap out back? (There’s no shortage of those here).  We broke the first one trying to sterilize it in hot water on the stove—causing immediate melting within 2 seconds.

The replacement came delivered by the boy’s father, Umesh, the owner of the pharma store. Now my temperature is down to 100.8F. I also have horrible cramps and a cough that does not make the cramps feel better. Add in a headache and a stiff neck and no A/C and you get the conditions that amounted to the decision to check out the Indian hospital system. 

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Sunday
Jun172012

What It's Like to Be Sick in India

It's not fun. 

Monday
Jun112012

Jurassic Park University

First day of work. The rickshaw ride from my apartment to the university took about 25 minutes. I told the driver to let me off at the main entrance, indicated by two hinged iron gates and a security shack with a guard outside with his back turned, hunched over a table scribbling into a notebook. The road into the institute campus was lined by a cascade of intense vegetation—towering trees with twisting trunks, red-orange flowers dotting the canopy a hundred feet in the air, undergrowth thick with ferns and grasses tan and green, clusters of bamboo stalks and palm leaves sprayed from jagged stems. This place is a jungle. The gate might as well have been a massive wooden arch with the inscribing: JURASSIC PARK.

I felt it equally likely I might at any instant be swung into the air by a swooping Indian Tarzan as attacked from behind by a pack of velociraptors.

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