25 July 2013

23 Things Colombians do

I'm gonna take a break from India posts for a while to share something that I thought was spot on. To my American friends, forgive me for number 6. Believe me when I tell you number 4 is the bomb and number 5 and 7 are probably my faves… Do you have any? 
(click here to view the actual article)

12 July 2013

Agra the Taj Mahal and the never ending Indian song

Agra, the Taj Mahal. One of the seven wonders of the world. The Eiffel tower of Paris. The Pantheon of Greece. The Wall of China of.. uh…China. This architectural marvel is definitely worth visiting. The trip to Agra was definitely a must and I'm glad we did it but...
 In a couple of years I probably won't remember that it took nearly 22 years to construct or that over 1,000,000 elephants were used to transport the marble. I probably won't remember that the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a tribute to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child. I'll probably forget that nearly 4 million people visit this place every year or that it cost an estimated 320 million Indian Rupees to construct. But there is one thing I am certain I will never forget. That is our transportation experience from Delhi to Agra and back, mainly because of one very interesting character named Sanjeev.

Sanjeev was our designated driver for the day. He spoke very little English, but that didn't stop us from having a great time with him. Fifteen minutes into the trip, once we got out of Delhi he played this Hindi techno song that was just perfect for the occasion. The sun was rising, the Delhi traffic was left behind and the song just felt sooo right. What we didn't know was that Jimmy and I had committed a fatal mistake. I guess with our singing and dancing we let Sanjeev know how much we loved the song. This proved to be an unrecoverable mistake. The CD that Sanjeev was playing had over 100 MP3 songs (I know this because after our day trip I borrowed it and quickly burned a copy on my laptop) but he played this song the entire trip. After 15 minutes the song started to lose its luster. And at 30, it was just full annoying. 

I will never know what was wrong with Sanjeev's CD player, but everytime the song would stop he had to press the eject button. Then we would have 10 seconds of peace. He would then look back at us, give us the biggest smile and press the CD again back into the stereo. So I have two theories about this unexplainable behavior. He either loved this song so very much that he felt the need to play it 1000 times a day or he was probably thinking, "I'm gonna torture you with this song you stupid tourist." 

The second memorable episode with Sanjeev was on the way back as Jimmy and I asked him if we could have a restroom stop. In broken English he says "nummbberrr one or nummberrr two?". I leave it to your imagination what the answer was given his reaction. Middle of the highway, he pulls to the side of the road, Turns off the lights of his car and yells "go". It was pitch black, but under the Indian stars and hearing the trucks passing by I thought "only in India, only in India"

Sanjeev, the Legend

Outside of Agra

Beautiful Indian women and their colors

Indian food.. Yes please!

Agra Fort

Jimmy being Jimmy

Notice what he is holding in his hand? 
"I'm going to torture you"

04 July 2013

Happy Fourth: Words from a thankful immigrant!

In this great American Holiday, I just wanted to share some words I received from my dear friend Ruben Torres. I think nothing that I'd say would come close to his remarks.

Dear Friends, 

I wanted to take a quick moment to express my gratitude to you, our hosts and companions in this beloved America.

Wherever this email finds you, know that there are many of us who feel deeply indebted to your country and its people for the opportunities, the kindness, the friendships, and the many wonderful gifts we reap on a daily basis from this extraordinary soil.

 Where else in the world can someone land with nothing but the clothes on their back and build a great life for themselves and their families?
We all know at least one such story and perhaps many more. Heck, as difficult as things may be at times, this is a place where at least you can aspire to build any life you can imagine.

 It would have been very hard to fathom even for Horatio Alger or Alexis DeTocqueville  that America would become what it has: the last bastion of self made men and women.  We are all incredibly privileged to call the USA home.

In this commemoration of our beloved country, I carry in my heart and thoughts all those who would desperately want to be here but cannot, all those who have shared in this "dream" in one way or another, and perhaps most of all--all those who despise the idea of America and fail to understand what the beautiful USA is about.

This is the only place in the world where a person can dream independent of background or kin;  Whether you are Colombian, French, Turkish, Canadian, SouthAfrican, Chinese, Korean, Serbian, Montenegran or from the Congo, if you work hard YOU ARE WELCOME; even if you are British, we will take you :) 
This is a place where others lift you towards your dreams and where people are eager to watch you succeed.

Things may not be perfect and they never will be. But what a deep feeling of gratitude to wake up in the morning in this extraordinary place, and what a wonderful dream to one day have the privilege of waving that flag as if it was mine.  

The next time you hear that beautiful anthem, know that there is a battalion of foreign hearts that are being melted along with yours. 

On behalf of all your immigrant guests, your advocates, and your friends, Thank you

Long Live the U.S.A.!