Saturday, September 27, 2008

Avani's Little Boy

So, working on the smallest laptop known to man (seven inches for the
monitor and less space for my fingers), I am reconnected to
technology. I have invested, hoping to receive some money back with
resale at the end of my volunteering tenure, in a small, portable,
energy efficient 'laptop', more like right-thigh-top, and am ended up
armed and ready to return to Uttaranchal, after one tiring day in
Delhi. (I ended up staying for three days), but cities are expensive
and exhausting, and I skipped the site-seeing, crammed in all the
shopping I could and headed back to the mountains. I decided
Well, I look quite goofy here with my light blue encased technology on
my lap, as the cleaning guy comes in to sweep dust off the floor of
this overpriced motel room (couchsearching tonight?). The day's plan
is to steal enough wireless to get my $400 back, though that could
take some time and a lot of coffee. Plenty of research to do though,
and I must soon begin the task of designing my pine needle cutting
machine, to improve upon the current inefficient machine actually for
cutting up wood.
To update, and steal from my journal, we have the following exciting story:
After leaving Lahore, Pakistan and stopping in Amritsar for four
hours, just enough to wander around the Golden Temple, which really is
made of gold, I set off again on an overnight sleeper to the nation's
capital. Heading out of Delhi, I skipped the train, they were changing
the rails, and followed a Bombay businessman to a rickety bus he
considered a desperate mode of transportation, but thats what he and I
were that morning. So, crammed in, with people sitting on bunkbed like
constructions above us (Indian double decker?) we cruised the bumpy
road toward Uttaranchal, my Himalayan province of choice. In the
meantime, however, this unexpected guide filled my ears with his
passion-conspiracy theories, specifically of the historical variety,
and I learned that ancient reptiles developed humans through genetic
experiments and plan to return in 2012, as per Mayan predictions of...
I looked out the window, saw the biggest cow of my life, actually a
buffalo, and then, bump bump bump, we pressed on. A road block.
Police? No, a train crossing, and we continued and then a man casually
rode by going the other way on an elephant. I turn back, and unfazed,
Bombay continues about crop circles being invitations for reptilian
extraterrestrials to return... back to the window and three monkeys
sit on the side of the road and I realize that I really am in another
part of the world, not just China this time. We stopped again, a man
with mangos for sale boarded the bus and I finally caught a glimpse of
the full moon overhead. The tides have changed. Two days of travelling
and I finally met Avani's director, who I was volunteering for, he
gave me a big friendly bearded grin, and I set off for Tripuradevi,
the small town of Avani's headquarters, as I peered out the window for
nearby rocks to climb on and ate Indian chow mein and drank the ginger
and green tea over-sugared chai that I have become accustomed to by
now. This place set me up with a room, but no key, so they sawed off
the lock, a fine lunch of lentils and rhoti (Hindi bread) and a calm
afternon tour of the facilities with a stop at the neary store for a
SIM here, requiring extensive paperwork, passport copies,
signatures... and a picture! The next day I walked to Berinag, the
nearby town of population 10,000, for honey to combat local allergies,
rolled my ankle again, and continued my pursuit of Hindi vocabulary. I
saw the pine needle gasifier in action the next day and noted that
while I known next to nothing about gas-powered generators, I know
even less about the gasification process and equipment, but I asked
and drew and intend to find answers somewhere (one of the numerous
softback engineering books around here?).
Finally, I took a two hour jeep ride down what have proven to be some
of the worst PAVEN roads I've seen to Dharamghar, another village
Avani center, where I witnessed their first collection of oak tussar
silk worms in their coccoons.
After all this excitement, I still decided to run off to Delhi, taking
the 9 hr jeep ride followed by 9 hours train into a crazy city of
honking cars. Two nights was enough, and after the train back and only
4 hrs on a bus, I attempted to bike the rest of the way. One night up
on a hill and the next day I couldnt move my legs, so when I reached
the bottom of the valley, I hopped in a jeep. Now, I am actually back
at Tripuradevi, hoping that this will get sent through the internet,
repeatedly interrupted at the one moment in which I finally got
internet for two seconds.

3 comments:

Mat said...

mary mcconnelog and mike broderick say hello from vegas.

kenners said...

Jono can you post the model of your thigh-top so I can look some of the specs up?

It doesn't sound like an eepc which everyone was raving about a few months back.

rvac106 said...

Trust Kenny to pick up on the computer reference. Jono, I met up w/yr Dad and Jess at the Salt Lick out in Dripping Springs. You remember Texas BBQ?