January 22nd, 2024

… arrival at the surrealistic Sujan desert camp – the high point of the India trip for UD.

For a dark sky type like UD, the nights were … indescribable.

January 22nd, 2024
More India

UD‘s buddy Peter Galbraith strolls in a Mughal garden. Peter lived in India as a young boy, when his father was the American ambassador.

Palace musicians.

Sarah Peck tells a cow to smile for my camera.

Birds, breakfast, fort.

January 17th, 2024
Part 2 of Indians Making the Peace Sign for UD

At Samode Palace, as an absolutely insane Indian wedding gears up.

January 12th, 2024
It all just comes at me.

There’s so much, and I know so little.

Even if I knew somewhat more, I’d venture little, because there’s so much to know.

The main impression is the impossible city streets, whose cows motorbikes kiosks trucks pedestrians ruts and speedbumps our driver honks/slices through at an impossible speed. There are no traffic lights, no stop or speed signs. Small children on bikes carry in one hand whirls of cotton candy for sale. The other hand steers through the chaos. Piles of old tires, and piles of old garbage, line the road; half-built houses and mounds of stone lie with them. Everyone seems to be trying to mend the world one burdensome inch at a time – transferring this stone to that place, herding three goats some steps along the road, flicking a shop’s scarves to make them a little more noticeable. The view is at once frenzied and sisyphean.

January 11th, 2024
Peacocks above the pool…

… at our hotel in Fort Nagaur.

January 10th, 2024
UD’s very proud of this photo.

I told this crowd of Indian students to flash the peace sign. They did that AND gave out a big group cheer.

In Jaisalmer. India continues making me love her.

January 8th, 2024
On the way to Jodhpur…

… a swimming hole.

January 7th, 2024
The others scrambled up the enormous fort’s last steps…

… but UD had had enough climbing, so she sat in a dusty nook and watched this woman lug stones on her head. In seconds, she and two other women put down their work and excitedly gazed at UD and came over and talked to her, though she and the women shared not one word in any language.

Americans are attractive exotics round these parts, and UD was several times at the fort stopped by families who asked if they could take her picture. Whole families crammed into the picture, arms around UD

Who is UD, she thought, as exuberant, curious people rushed her, that Indians art mindful of her?

To the three ladies’ manifest questionings, UD passed her hand against her forehead: I stopped walking because I am tired. Yes, yes, they signaled, and then talked with me some more. Eventually I closed my eyes and leaned against the pillar, and they went back to work.

A man seeing me with my eyes closed approached. “Are you ok?” “Just waiting for my husband; thank you for asking,” and he smiled the sweetest smile.

The acoustics were good, and one of the ladies was singing; so UD sang. She sang Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Mister Paganini; she sang Sarah Vaughan’s version of Speak Low. She sang – natch – Music For A While. The ladies seemed to like all of this, though it sounded not at all like their songs.

January 6th, 2024
View from the other direction, a few hours later.

On our balcony.

January 6th, 2024
Laxmi Hotel, First Day.
January 5th, 2024
Now off to India, to meet up with these two…

… who look like they’ve stepped out of the pages of Vogue.

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