A VISIT TO ASIA
“Everyone says they like India … but (confound them), they can never tell you WHY they like the (bloody) place!”
— Paul Newby, a British “traveller” in the very early ’70s.
I met Paul, along with many other back-packers, in Tokyo, where we were all teaching English of one sort or another. Most of these ‘travellers’ had been to places like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi, Kabul, etc.- on their way from Europe to the Far East. I was different. I flew directly from Alberta to Tokyo in early 1969.
Paul had ‘issues’ with India: Indian people, Indian travel, the Indian railway system, Indian toilets, Indian food, and so on. When he was asking why everyone seemed to like the place, I had never been there, and would not have the opportunity to do so until I had finished my three year English teaching stint to the Japanese “Zaibatsu” (conglomerates like: Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, et al). This question sparked my curiosity.
I was eager to go to India, but had virtually no contact with things Indian, save some Indian pickles in Japan. I liked the pickles and later on would come to love the food after my first ‘real’ exposure in 1972—take-out from a small Indian restaurant in the Changi district of Singapore. This exposure to some very excellent Indian cuisine occurred in Singapore while in route to India with friends. We were travelling on the cheap: tramp steamer from Hong Kong to Singapore— “deck class” for about US $45. We cut our hair on the ship a couple of days before landing, as we had heard that the authorities in Singapore would cut it for us!
That was 33 years ago. I went to visit and ended up staying in India for two years. I revisited New Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta a few brief times around 1984; then did not set foot on Indian soil again until February 2004. I returned once more this year for four weeks in February and March. Most of this last visit was not dedicated to travel and photography but to spending time in an ashram where meditation was a major routine of the day—a ‘spiritual boot-camp’, as it were.
However, I did get in about a week of ‘travel’ during each of these recent trips and exercised my camera. I had always wanted to see the ‘desert of Rajasthan’—camels in the sunset and all that jazz. I wanted to go to Jaisalmer, in particular. In the end, Jodhpur was also a treat for the eyes and senses in general.
The following images are from my last two trips to Asia. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed Making them.
In his past lives Ron Snider has, amongst other things, dabbled at being an English language tutor, freelance photographer, copy writer, and antique restorer. Currently he has earned a BCom. (MIS) and does computer-related support work in the real estate industry in Edmonton, Alberta.