Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hope Floats....literally. A Post-Tsunami Village at Covelong Beach.


Fisherman's cove, Covalong beach 40 k or so south of Chennai.  I thought it was just a nice sea side resort....turns out, it is so much more.


It is a fishing village.  A real fishing village where people still depend on the sea simply for survival. A real fishing village that 7 years ago was more or less completely destroyed by the tsunami.  We walked the 1.5 k up the beach from the resort today the town. On the way we saw the sign noting reconstruction efforts..and, thanks to my husband's linguistic abilities were able to talk to the local people about the devastation.  3 people in the town of 5000 died.  They considered it a miracle.


This is what the village (and environs!) looked like today... a festival day as it is school holidays! The future, like the past, depends on a strong and vibrant local fishing economy...the future of the community floats out with the small fishing fleet every day and returns with it, either buoyed by a successful day or weighted down by a poor harvest fish.  Today though, was a holiday...rough seas meant no fishing.



Men doing their never-ending off-season work  mending nets.

Future Indian stars honing their skills on

the hastily constructed beach cricket pitch (if that's what you call it... my apologies to my cricket-oriented friends / fans if I have messed up the lingo!).


Chili fish and Chili crab...freshly caught and prepared...we weren't game enough to buy some and try it  though.  Our excuse?  No stove....good excuse isn't it?
And a really weird, waist-high merry-go-round to amuse the kids ....oh, and the tourists too!


The remnants of a boat long since decommissioned provide shade for a local dog...the local fellow found his own shade!


The end of our walk through this valiant little community ended up at the end of the peninsula where we saw some very interesting people and a whole swathe of colourful outfits.  Here are a few of my favourites...

Young love...


....contemplating the next wave...

...some very colourful tourists trying to blend in...

And I love that those ladies in traditional clothes just don't give a rats colourful backside about getting their clothes wet and plunge in to enjoy a refreshing foot dip into the ocean!

A few other interesting sights.... a fortune teller holds a family spell-bound...

A very young marksman practises with the balloon board...it is a festival after all!

Of course, one can't document the goings on of a fair in a little Indian village without capturing the goings-on of the local cattle...

or the school girls wanting to get their picture taken...

And living in a hut in a hastily reconstructed village that has not, as yet, made a full recovery from the devastation means infestations of many sort.  I suspect this is one of the least problematic...think snakes... just sayin'.


..hitching a ride on one of the multitude of local free-range goats!

There were a bunch of kids flying kites...and loving it. This fellow was still busy making his... gorgeous!



I went on a walk this afternoon with no clear appreciation for the people and their struggles in the neighbourhood and returned changed.  We spoke to the waiter at dinner and he was here for the tsunami. Half of the resort we are at was devastated by the wave...miraculously, no one lost their life here...but it really does give one pause.  Especially because until we saw the sign posted that I started the post with, I hadn't given it a thought.  It was lovely to see these strong, determined people having moved on and gotten on with things and today having a lovey break with their kids.  Kind of glad we picked this resort as a result. It sounds kind of odd, but I am really happy to  be in and supporting an area that was so affected by the tsunami.  Of course, it's a lovely spot for a vacation too... 
More in a day or so....!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Wonderful Russell Market - Bangalore




One of the strange and unexpected things I saw yesterday at Bangalore's Russell Market ( yes, I know, "Russell" is so NOT an Indian name- sorry, editorial license doesn't allow me to change it to something a little more appropriate!) was the commercial evidence of the forthcoming holiday season.  Yes, that's right....India is getting ready for Christmas!  I wasn't really expecting this, but, when you go to a market that is roughly triangular in shape and has, on one corner...
a full scale Catholic church which has more than its fair share of devotees...


..including those hoping for good luck by tying wishes onto the foot of a reclining Jesus statue...not a practice endorsed by the Vatican I don't think.
 There are, of course, any number of ways of proclaiming your faith.  I haven't seen an "Infant Jesus" bumper er..window sticker before though!!

In the back corner of the triangle there is a mosque..small and discreet, but very very loud five times a day...I know, I was there for two of them!



And when the mosque calls, the faithful answer.  Some happily and in a very friendly manner... just sayin'.


 As you would expect, the other corner of the market is decorated in fine Hindu fashion with a lovely, vibrant temple.  Seems that the religious folk around Russell market have neatly capitalized on the combination of prayer and purchase.  It is a very vibrant scene, and I was keen to head out with the Nikon to try and capture some of it...
I had mostly positive reactions from the locals...although a few people were pretty suspicious about the snap happy tourist...
 
Mostly kids.  Seemed they were either very suspicious, or very keen to be in the picture!
The adults, however, were not all quite so keen!

So, here are a few of my favourite shots of the day..taken as a whole, I think you will get a good idea of what a market in India is all about!  White rats...for sale?  I don't know - but the kids were very keen to get a picture taken with their "pets"....
That's grated carrot, beet root, onion and radish for sale...on a dirty piece of tarp on the sidewalk...hmmmn appetizing.

 Oh, and a little boy gazing longingly at nativity scenes??


  Didn't expect to find a beef market..complete with as-yet unbutchered beef.

So far, the only cow that I've seen restrained in any way!!


Ok, so this one is not only strange, but creepy. Very creepy.The bird market - lots of chickens, ducks, turkeys, (Avian Flu anyone?) and geese....


but also the avian grim reaper!  Grim indeed.

But the vegetable end of the market more than made up for the grimness of the meat markets.  My favourite lime seller!  Very happy to post even though we didn't buy anything!  What a lovely smile she had!
And her neighbour..the OCD victim in the fruit section!
...happy families everywhere!  This Dad asked me to take a picture..not sure why, but I was glad to oblige!
The flower end of the vegetable section..lovely smell, which made it quite a change from the majority of the market!
The youngest Christmas ornament seller!  

And like any other open air market - you can get just about anything there.



Nice to know that you have your choice of fruit, or fruit of the loom.... or...


Disney wall stickers...wow.

You might have to outbid your neighbours though!


And some of the items will require a lesson in just what exactly it is that is for sale...in this case, crystallized sugar Christmas ornaments that can be eaten when the season is done..kind of a new twist on the hallowed candy-cane.  Cool.
...I just want to know one thing..where is he going to sit?

As the day draws to a close, it is all just too much for some people...including a vendor who clearly wasn't getting enough business to keep her awake....


and this lovely little one.

Last favourite shot...sweat pants anyone?