I wrote this a while ago but hadn’t posted it before..so here goes
It always begins as almost every other begins. After a few frantic minutes of “has anyone seen my keys” or “my phone is missing”, I get into my car puffing and panting like a steam engine pulling an overly burdensome load. I ought to stop colour coordinating my handbags with my outfits and have just one bag where nothing will ever go missing and I could leave for work on time. Instead I’m speeding the car up the ramp from the basement garage to the gate- my faithful steed wheezing like an asthmatic goat, woken up suddenly from peaceful slumber.
We reach the gate and wait to take the left turn to join the flow of traffic on a not-so-busy road. However this is one of those stunts that like in reality TV look very easy to do but are impossible to pull off. I wait- the seconds ticking on the digital clock in the dashboard. I fidget, I fumble around with my phone and that constant stream of traffic does not stop. Every one of those motorists knows that I’m trying to join the stream, but nobody wants to let me get ahead of them. Instead of slowing down, they speed up anxious not to be the “loser” who actually stopped for a fellow motorist.
Unable to wait any longer I slowly begin to inch ahead- one would think that would make them slow down- but they begin to make arcs around my car bonnet- like how ants run when you put your finger in their path. Just as I see a window of opportunity a pedestrian steps across the way trying to waltz with my car. I brake, he stops. I start, he walks. At this point I’m fuming but being politically correct I wave the pedestrian across- he looks almost as angry as I am. Insulted I suppose that I broke off the dance too quickly.
The steady stream of motor bikes, cars, tuk tuks and all manners of contraptions on wheels continue to stream past me. In a fit of anger and resignation I surge ahead. And immediately a burst of angry honks rain down on me. Angry hand gestures are passed around- I am angry enough to want to hit every one of them with a plastic fly swatter. But victory is mine and I am now driving to my destination.
I hate having to go through this ritual almost every morning- Sundays and public holidays being the exception, not that people are in a more forgiving mood- just that there aren’t enough of them on the road.
But that is not the end of the story. Once on the road, I spy a car trying to peep out of a gate, like a roach with only its antennae out from a crack in the wall. After all I’ve been through it would be right of me to stop. Instead I step on the gas pedal. And that, ladies and gentlemen is what I hate the most!
Offer Only Available at the Bookstore at the Hemingway House
The bookstore at the Hemingway house at Key West, Florida is a treat not just for fans of the author but also for cat lovers. Frisky, dignified, curious, uninterested- you name it but cats of all attitudes inhabit the house and the shop. A must see destination!
On my trip to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas National Park, I had a chance to observe a large number of Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones.
Sanderling on the Beach at Fort Jefferson
The Sanderlings are long distance migrants and are fun to watch. They feed on invertebrate prey in the sand and you can see them burrowing very quickly (almost like a machine) right behind a wave as it retreats. I read that this is also because wet sand is easier to penetrate with their beaks and that they feed on the prey washed in by the water.
Pair of Sanderlings engrossed in their work
The Ruddy turnstones are also migratory birds and they feed on insects and other invertebrates.
I’m a Turnstone and I can turn
The sanderlings and the turnstones form quite the pair and wander the sands of the beach. They are not particularly shy once they know that you mean them no harm.
I can never believe a book store can make a mistake so I am still trying to understand if this was actually a mistake- that someone typed current offense instead of current affairs or whether current offense actually means something in the sense that is intended here. The only current offense I could google out was actually current offenses by prison inmates. Photographed at Key West Island Bookstore, Florida.
This normally ought to have been done in the last few days of the last year. Knowing me however, I am surprised that I managed to post it before January 2013 ended.
2012 was an interesting year. Although by no means my most prolific year, 2012 saw my very random blog break down into 4 other themed sub-blogs.
Looking Back or was that sideways?
My Adventures with Ancient Rome focused exclusively on my interest in Ancient Roman history. A visit to Rome in mid-2012 brought much fodder to the blog, though circumstances have conspired to keep me from publishing most of the material.
Photography was what led to the rebirth of my blog in 2011 and hence it seemed only apt that I devote an entire blog to it.
And where would photography be without my love for travelling? I wanted to create a blog themed around my travel experiences. I must say I have not written much but thoroughly enjoyed what I had written.
Perhaps in 2013 I may be able to give these blogs the justice they deserve (or not, knowing that a month has gone by already without my having done much. But that’s how life goes- you just carry on as best as you can!
I have not seen too many monitor lizards in my life. The few that I have seen in non-urban environments have always confined themselves to the ground- quickly flitting away when sensing human or other activity around them.
Imagine my surprise then when we found a monitor lizard astride a tree bark. Although not immediately vanishing from our sight, the monitor lizard slowly crawled to the other side of the tree where it felt we couldn’t observe it.
Monitor Lizard crawling up a tree
Crawling away gracefully from our sight
I never realized monitor lizards were quite so long
I was fascinated by the texture of its skin, its sharp claws (I somehow imagined they would have lizard like feet- though now that I think about it I do not clearly know what kind of feet lizard really have) and also its eyes. I am not sure what it was doing in the tree (apparently some monitor lizards are arboreal)- eating insects, stealing eggs?
If you strain your eyes hard enough, you’ll see the wedding couple in the foreground
I am not particularly confident about candid photographs especially those of newly-wed couples- so the photograph above is for obvious reasons not zoomed in on the couple who were posing for their official photographer.
The scenario set me thinking- agreed the colosseum is an impressive monument to have as a background to a photo- but is it really the perfect monument for a wedding?
The colosseum has a gory and bloody past as the venue of many fights and executions and to me somehow that goes against the spirit of weddings or maybe the Colosseum is probably the most apt monument- whoever heard of marriages without fights?
I’m not even sure why I picked up this book. I must have been intrigued by Herodotus. I can definitely say that I did not pick this book up after watching “The English Patient” where Herodotus and his histories feature prominently. I think it must have been the grand title “The Man who Invented History: Travels with Herodotus”.
I don’t know much about Herodotus and I haven’t read the Histories either but that is not a prerequisite for reading this book. I must have been intrigued with Herodotus from another quote I had read in a book by Steven Pinker “The stuff of thought” where he describes Herodotus as much as the Father of history as the child of the alphabet (or something to that effect- I quote from memory). Herodotus for those who are not familiar with him was the world’s first documented historian- writing in the 5th Century BC- a man who defined the study of history in the way we have come to recognise today.
Marozzi does a retracing of sorts in Herodotus’ footsteps visiting Turkey (starting with Bodrum- the town of Halicarnassus where Herodotus was born) continuing to Iraq, Egypt and finally Greece. Marozzi loves Herodotus and describes him not just as the world’s first Historian but also “its first foreign corresponent, investigative journalist, anthropologist, and travel writer”. Marozzi’s account sprawls just as Herodotus’ original narrative supposedly sprawls across different genres, themes and timelines. And like Herodotus who in his time gathered a lot of information from priests in temples, Marozzi meets a lot of impressive people- intellectuals, museum directors, diplomats, writers and so on to gather their opinions on Herodotus and a lot of other things.
And through his journeys Marozzi highlights how little the history of humanity has changed. That although learning history may help you handle things better, people never avoid making the same mistake twice. “It is one of history’s most endearing illusions”. That our current times reflect things that are much the same as they were in Herodotus’ times with just a little change in context.
Oh! That was just irresistible. I hasten to add that I have never seen the movie 300. I did watch bits of a spoof once- I think it was called “Meet the spartans”. Anyway this post is not about Sparta or about silly movies.
Well this is my 300th blog post! It has taken me more than 4 years to get here. Some years, months, weeks, days have been better than others. I’ve written about a lot of things- I have dithered, wandered, erred and blabbered. My blog has often hibernated but has mostly come back to wakefulness after a long slumber.
I would like to thank everybody who has been with me through the journey- the ones who have followed and encouraged me from the beginning, the ones who visit occasionally and the ones who have joined me most recently. Your support and feedback means a lot to me.