- Yet to reach the beach… Apr 1, 2018
- Off we go… Apr 1, 2018
- The Caribbean waters… unbeatable Apr 1, 2018
- Fiesty waves in an otherwise placid sea Apr 1, 2018
- His and Hers Apr 2, 2018
- He and She Apr 2, 2018
- Run in Country #19 Apr 2, 2018
- “Out Ball”!! Apr 2, 2018
Circa 1986. Early evening. A few of us were in the hostel (dorm) grounds. Some of us were playing volleyball on one side of the ground. A few more were waiting for their turn and then some more – both on the ground and from the corridors of the three story building were lazily watching us play.
At some point, the game had reached a feverish pitch with the ball having switched sides multiple times without hitting the ground. In one of those heated moments when excitement had reached a peak, the ball came to Girish. He was a first year student – one year junior to me then.
At that moment, he shuffled his feet with eyes firmly on the ball and got himself in the trajectory of the ball with the arms locked to return the ball. As the rest of us fixated our sights on Girish, he calmly got ready for the ball and at the very last moment he called out “Out ball” and stepped away from his position without touching the ball. His eyes though followed the ball all the way to the ground and he was absolutely right on his call. The ball did fall about half a foot outside the chalk line.
As Girish triumphantly looked back, he was hit with a scenario he could not have been prepared for – even if he had tried to. Everybody – the players, the spectators and the folks on the corridors of the different floors were all rolling on the floor. It was like a wave of boisterous laughter had suddenly hit the hostel. You could see a few more of the students coming out of their rooms and peeking curiously – trying to figure out what the whole commotion was all about.
Of all the people who did not know what the commotion was all about, Girish was one! He kept alternating between looking at the spot where the ball fell (which was clearly out) and looking at the others on the ground laughing – his finger on his chin with that quizzical look all this time.
Till one of the players sobered up, got up, dusted his pants off all the dirt and went up to Girish – “Idiot, that was a pass from your own team mate!! What the heck are you calling Out ball for?”. I am sure that was an young engineer’s first lesson in the difference between being right and being successful.
Girish was a few doors away from me. There are way too many funny stories about him and wing cricket and table tennis to narrate in one day. Or even a month.
I last saw him in 1989 when I left my college.
29 years later, a little birdie told me (no, I do not follow Donald Trump’s tweets) that he would be in Cancun when I would be there too! This morning, after having a coffee with Sharmila by the beach, I put on my running shoes and went running for about 5 miles (8Kish) to his hotel to meet him.
Girish has not changed at all. Looks the same. Very funny still. Got that somewhat-lost-professor look around him. But razor sharp in his intellect. And his sense of humor!!
I also learnt about how he and Sandhya are proud parents of two siblings they have adopted from Guatemala.
Running another near 5 miles back to my hotel, I could only think of one sentiment towards this gentleman… “You are a good man, Muckai Girish, you are a good man. They don’t make them like you no more!!”
- That one caught her by surprise Apr 2, 2018
- That almost Moses like moment… Apr 2, 2018
- She takes to water like a fish takes to… well, I guess, water 🙂 Apr 2, 2018
- Sharmila’s balancing act… Apr 2, 2018
- You think she is having fun this vacation? Apr 2, 2018
- The great unifier!!! Apr 2, 2018
- Sunset in Cancun Apr 2, 2018
- Early morning sun rays pushing the blue hue of the sky and water back Apr 3, 2018
- Morning rays… momentarily hidden behind the clouds… Apr 3, 2018
- Something about the Mayans… Apr 3, 2018
They sure were obsessed with their calendars and construction… How they made that 100 feet structure with limestone with all the tools that they had over a thousand years back, I will never know. But they made the step count to exact 365 – to denote every day of the year … now that is something…
This is in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
- We spotted some Mayan construction workers!!! Apr 3, 2018
- Cenote Ik Kil Apr 3, 2018
First the geographical background. Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is mostly formed with limestone rocks. Limestones being limestones, they often cave in. And I mean not like your average potholes in the road – this is tens of meters in diameter going down tens of meters below ground level. These “sinkholes” – called Cenotes were often a source of relaxations and pilgrimage for the Mayans who found clear water (and cold water, I might add) in the holes. (The water was mostly rain water getting filtered of all particles after going thru tens of meters of soil.
After seeing a few of those 6000-odd cenotes in Yucatan, this one truly took our breath away. The limestone rock caved in more or less vertically for about 90 feet. The sinkhole is about 200 feet wide and about 130 feet deep with water.
The amazing part were the vines that went straight from trees in ground level to the water.
Can you spot a couple of people in the picture jumping into the water?
- Does this really work? Apr 4, 2018
On our trip into the Yucatan Peninsula yesterday, we went to a local place to eat. It was a very large outside restaurant. While eating, we noticed something curious. Look near the roof at the edges. You see those plastic looking bags seemingly hanging with water in it? Well, they were actually plastic bags with water in it and they were hung up all over the edges of the roof.
Having flagged down the nearest waiter, I asked him what that was all about. Got a very interesting answer. Apparently they put it up to keep the flies away. I was wondering whether it was merely a custom or there was any reason for it. Before I could ask, the waiter explained to me that the flies get scared since everything looks bigger in it and thru it (the rounded edges of the water magnify things).
“Do you see any flies around?”, he asked.
“Nope”, I admitted.
“Mayan technology”, he proudly declared and went away.
Last evening I was researching on the Internet about it. I remember the craze for some purple colored water in villages in Bengal some time ago to keep away mosquitoes or something. I had seen it while running and had similarly asked a house owner about it. That was a complete misconception, I had found out while researching.
This one though is not so clear cut. Snopes (one of my sites to do fact check) left it as “Not determined”. Some people absolutely swear by its effectivity. Some claim positive bias (the ones who see a difference report enthusiastically, the ones that don’t simply move on to other things instead of reporting it).
In any case, that was an interesting learning…
- That was a colorful town Apr 4, 2018
On our way back from Chichen Itza, instead of taking the normal route, we had planned to take a slight detour and visit a small town that my friend Christina had told me about. I am glad she had given me that tip. Valladolid is very different from most of the other small towns or neighborhood we have seen so far. The striking thing is how colorful each and every building and house is. The even have doors painted in bright colors contrasting with the house colors. The city center roads were cobble stoned.
Reminded us of a place we had visited in Italy a couple of years back – I think it was called Burano. (island off Venice).
Very nice people and you can see the pronounced indigenous features in the faces of the citizenry here. An interesting feature was all the middle aged and elderly ladies seem to dress the same style – a casual, white tunic like one piece dress with some modest prints on them.
Went to a flea market to check out the local wares…
- There’s a first to everything… Apr 4, 2018
- Sometimes, real life can be so funny… Apr 4, 2018
Saw this board in Cancun airport. It was very funny – or should I say “punny”?. Brought Nikita from where she was to show it to her.
Sitting in the plane, I was wondering if there was a myth behind the Conch Republic. Found out there is no myth. Only reality!!
There is a micro nation (mostly the Key West) which is called the Conch Republic. It even has an army and artillery – chiefly water guns and stale Cuban bread!!
I lived in Florida and never knew about this. You can read up about the hilarious history here…
- The Caribbean! Apr 4, 2018
The whole spectrum of blue – from turquoise to ultramarine, the Caribbean waters has it all. The picture quality is terrible – we were about 10,000 feet above ground when the airplane banked to its left to head north and I had a few seconds to pull out the iPhone before the plane straightened out again. The clouds in the sky and the greasy window pane in the plane did not help matters much.
But you can still get a glimpse of what it looks like. That is the Cancun beach in Zona Hotelera. A 8 mile long “C” like island. If you can spot the three red roofs towards the very low end of the “C”, that is where we were staying…
So long, Cancún!