There’s no place like home… India

India is the land of my soul, the place where I feel so at home my heart aches with joy. No, you smarty-pants people, not indigestion, it’s heart-warming joy and belonging. I know every trip is different, it was just that leaving Brisbane this time was so rushed with preparations and distractions it hardly felt like I was supposed to be enjoying myself. But when the plane tilted turning to come into Bombay Airport and I caught my first glimpse of India, well my heart soared as Mata ji, Maa Durga, mother earth goddess, welcomed me back. I was grinning like, well a lot! Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

When the plane touched the tarmac I realised the random selection on my phone was colluding with the universe: it was Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral that was reaching it’s enormous, brass filled crescendo in my ears, reverberating in my being. I knew I was not alone.

After a couple of hours in Mumbai meeting a dear sister-friend in person for the first time, it was into a car for the three hour drive to Pune, and the 6th National Bioethics Conference.

img_6593No the traffic hasn’t become any less traumatic, I just photographed a quiet bit!

To be honest I didn’t see too much of Pune, and not only because of the terrible pollution that shrouded everything and made breathing a chore. I spent a huge amount of time eating dhosa for breakfast, preparing for the conference, or at the conference, or getting to and from the conference in took tooks. In some ways, after 12 or so trips to India, this has been a trip of firsts. It was my first time in Pune. It’s my first time here “alone.” I’ve always been here for work or as an affluent tourist, and in both cases have had a hired a/c car and a driver. And now here I was standing on the road flagging took tooks, giving directions in my limited  Hindi. When I went out of the hotel there was no uniformed Karthik (name changed) waiting for me, I just walked off into the surrounding streets to explore. Continue reading “There’s no place like home… India”

Au revoir Montreal

Soundtrack: Jean Michel Jarre, Fifth Rendez-Vous

Well it was cold the weekend I arrived, it’s been hot and incredibly steamy, now the days are shortening (no not butter) and there’s a chill in the air, although it’s still steamy ugh. Just this morning a loud roofing contractor has started assembling scaffolding over the road. Last weekend was labour day, the last long weekend of summer for locals and so it’s all signs that it’s time for me to move on. Over the last week I’ve been visiting some of my favourite spots to say farewell. So these are not a reprise of old photos, they’re new to you, spots that will stay fondly in my memory of Montreal.

Jean Talon – look at those brassicas! The lady assured me that all those cauliflower colours are natural. Just amazing.

There will never be berries the same… a person could almost cope with 6 months of winter here just for 4 months of berries.

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Thank goodness I didn’t go into the Gin Pub till the end of my trip! Continue reading “Au revoir Montreal”