After walking thru the area where they were "playing Holi"
Holi, Festival of Spring and of Colours is here. It seems to be the most secular of the Hindu festivals and is all about drenching your friends (and strangers!) in color and water. It, apparently, isn't celebrated in the South as much as in the North, but Bangalore is the exception. Our apartment put on a festival with a dinner and concert Tuesday night and colour play and lunch on Wednesday. We listened to the concert, and had tickets for lunch. On the way to lunch Tim and I got waylaid (see pics). We let the kids join in when they got home from school (5pm). Pictures below:
Kekai as captain
After the Fulbright conference we traveled down the coast by bus, boat, and train until we reached the southern-most tip of India. A very holy as well as a pretty-darn-cool place-to-have-been. You can see three oceans come together and watch the sun rise in the Bay of Bengal, travel over the Indian Ocean, and set in the Arabian Sea. Cool.
Male house sparrow in Gujarat
So, talk about crazy things. In Hawaii, where there are no native sparrows, they are common species and considered a pest by some. Here in India, where the House Sparrow is native, the birds are on the decline and are rarely seen in urban areas (Delhi has adopted it as the State Bird due to concerns over it's decline). Today, 20 March, is World Sparrow Day, dedicated to saving sparrows in their native range.
Indian sparrow info
Info on decline of similar birds in England
MM Hills villages; purple = high elevation (1,000+m), cyan = low (400m)
I've been working on visualizing the sites I worked in. Didn't think to get my GIS site license updated before leaving so that left me in a bit of a quandary. Especially when it came to finding the underlying data files for the GPS locations. But I finally figured out how to find elevation data and more. Here's a look at my sites (each point labeled with the village it is in) color-coded for elevation. Turns out the villages weren't at the elevations I thought they would be when I started the study (will be analyzing data a little differently now) but, that's why you collect data. The cyan sites labeled "forest" are the areas where they take cattle to graze for much of the year.
If you have Google Earth on your computer and you want to look at the sites with a little more detail, open this file:
Kalani & Tim taking the boat to our hotel room
Last month was the South & Central Asia Fulbright conference. It was pretty cool -- a week at a swank hotel in Kerala getting to hear about a lot of cool projects.
I got enough data analyzed ahead of time to be able to say something semi-intelligent for my talk, and my talk was on the first full day which meant I could be relaxed and just listen to what everyone else was saying the rest of the time.
Yesterday while riding pillion in the heavy traffic of Bellary Road on my way to ATREE I saw what looked like a Christmas tree made of flowers rising above the traffic. As we drew closer to the apparition, I decided that it looked more like a woman in a bustle (but made of flowers) with a long, thin top, a ballooning butt and a small taper at the bottom. It was held on a stout (~5cm) bamboo pole, and fluttering above an autorickshaw. Rising about 2m from the other side of the auto were longer, thinner bamboo poles that were leaning out precariously over traffic.
No making fun of the asses
(you can tell how busy it's been the last few months -- I'm finally posting December travel (21-28) in March)
When Tim's folks made their plans to visit we were excited to have the opportunity to visit north India. Unfortunately, they were unable to fly out until after Christmas so it meant that most of the boys' winter break occurred before they arrived. We thought about hanging out in Bangalore and flying to Delhi on 28 December, but that many free-days in the city sounded painful so we pulled out a map and a guidebook and decided to travel part-way to Delhi in the week of vacation before they arrived. After looking at lots of options, the boys decided that the coolest thing to do would be to travel to Gujarat and see the wild ass sanctuary (I'm not sure whether to be a proud ecologist-mother whose children chose a wildlife sanctuary over all other forms of entertainment, or to roll my eyes because I know that they really just wanted to get to say "asses" over and over). So, the day after Kalani's train rolled in from the 35 hour trip back from Delhi we hopped on a plane bound for Ahmedabad.
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