Remembering India

A few days ago I applied for a travel writing contest with a story about India. It was really nice to remember the whole India experience,  so I decided to post it here as well. I’m not sure I even told the story to many people back home, so here it is, just a small piece of an Incredible India.

Where India and Pakistan Meet

Punjab, India, after 10 nights of sleeping in third class trains.

‘Hotel, hotel’, ‘Mister, mister, you want tuk-tuk?’, the well-known chatter of locals offering their services fills the air. Today our stop is Amritsar. It’s a hot summer afternoon, and we plan to see the daily flag lowering ceremony at Wagah border with Pakistan.

We take a rickshaw from the dozens parked at the station. By now we’re used to sitting like sardines as we zoom through crazy traffic, praying our backpacks will make it too, up on the roof. The driver masterfully zigzags through cows, people and cars. He asks us where we’re from. When he hears we’re Romanians, he smiles broadly, saying: ‘I’ll put on Romanian music’.The old tape player starts blasting old 90’s dance hits: ‘I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…’. We smile and prepare to face the 20 km ride.

Arriving at the border, we stumble upon endless lines of people waiting to get in. A young boy introduces himself as Arnav and tells us that foreigners can go in front. A fair amount of nudges gets us there, we show our passports and pass through. We wait for Arnav, but he can’t go through. We beg the guard to let Arnav pass, but he’s unmoved. We eventually walk away, feeling guilty we’re the privileged ones.

In the main area, we see a flurry of moving patterns from hundreds of colorful saris. We manage to find a place to sit on the ground. Indian soldiers wearing crisp, extravagant uniforms strut up and down, keeping people in lines. Everything is so alive, with Indian music playing loudly, women dancing and people chanting patriotic songs.

Then a peculiar show starts. Women hold huge Indian flags and sprint down to the border gates and back, while the crowd cheers. Before I realize what was going on, a lady comes up to me and hands me the flag. I hear the crowd cheering me on, I’m pretty confused but I start running like crazy. I feel like the hero of a whole nation.

The ceremony begins. Soldiers with big feather hats start several rounds of peculiar moves, with legs kicking up higher than their noses. Well planned steps, unflinching faces, perfect choreography. The Pakistani guards do the same dance, the only difference is their bigger beards. The gates open, Indian and Pakistani guards shake hands, the flags are lowered and the gates close for the night.

The crowd starts dispersing, fading away slowly in the dusk. We follow them, still under the spell of the ceremony, still wishing Arnav had been with us.

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Playing Minty Lemony

Some experiments of minimalist photography, a bit of photo editing and minty (also a hint of lemony) mood.

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Sunset, Landscape

Minimalist photo, look up, minty colors, minimalism, photography

Torii Gate

Minimalist photo, look up, minty colors, minimalism, photography

Look Up!

Minimalist photo, look up, minty colors, minimalism, photography

Dialogue

Osaka, the Best Sunday Getaway

Osaka is the perfect getaway for a sunny afternoon.

It’s very close to Kyoto, about an hour by train.

It’s full of life and interesting people.

It’s noisy and trendy.

It’s the city with strange hotel architecture (and also strange names : ‘Puppy Hotel’?!).

It’s the city of fashionistas (Amerika-mura is the well known center of youth fashion).

It’s the city of vibrant colors and over-sized flashy neon signs.

It’s the city worth returning to for many Sunday afternoons from now on.

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Street Art at your Feet

The other day, while searching for things to do and see during our trip to Tokyo, I found a wonderful article about the art of manhole covers in Japan. The pictures are just stunning and it’s really incredible that these grey, uninteresting covers we find in any city can turn into something that beautiful and with such a complex design. 

All photos credit: S.Morita 

Manholes Japan, Tokyo, art, beautiful art, stunning manholes

Manholes Japan, Tokyo, art, beautiful art, stunning manholes

Manholes Japan, Tokyo, art, beautiful art, stunning manholes

Manholes Japan, Tokyo, art, beautiful art, stunning manholes

Manholes Japan, Tokyo, art, beautiful art, stunning manholesThe entire collection of  photos is available on S. Morita’s page – a photographer who has traveled around Japan to capture these beautifully decorated manhole covers. It seems that there are around 6,000 such manhole covers spread around Japan, each city having their own elaborated  design and colorful patterns.

I wasn’t that lucky to spot even one in Tokyo or Kyoto, but in my future trips I’ll just walk staring at my feet.

 

Color Harmonies

After finishing my collage class in Bucharest, I sometimes see the world in a different light. This class made me aware of the color harmony that exists in the world. I’m now aware of patterns in the day-to-day life that I wouldn’t have noticed before. I see unconnected pieces that I would integrate into a collage just because the colors match perfectly. I see clothes or shop displays that catch my eye just because they ingeniously mix colors.

Some of the chromatic scenes I love:

– a small house on a back alley in Jerusalem

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– a funky store in Hong Kong, Marimekko (which is actually Finnish)

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– another store display, of a socks and stockings shop in Nara, Japan

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– seeds drying on a sidewalk in Tagaytay, Philippines

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– the bright blue of a boat on the Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines

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– the blue again, in Israel

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– the discrete nuances of green and yellow in the paper strips with messages written on them

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