Reading Delhi with the Delhi Walla

Filed under: india — Tags: , , — thomas11 @ 11:47

A gori flipping through Raghu Rai’s coffee table book on Taj Mahal (Rs 3,000). She places the book back on the shelf and exits. Past the magazine stall, past the doggie shop, past Blanco, past the kebab corner, up the stairs, past Anokhi and into Market Café. More goras inside. One reading The Economist (Rs 150). The other working on his Apple notebook (Rs 50,000). No empty table.

7pm in Khan Market.

No one writes about Delhi like my friend Mayank, so I have to plug his blog once again. The occasion is two recent articles I consider to be among his best.

I have been to Garstin Bastion Road, the city’s red-light district, just next to New Delhi railway station (Ajmeri Gate), more than once.  […]

However, one evening, I gathered up courage, climbed the stairs, knocked at the door and walked into a kotha — and into a living room.

Feature – Talking Life in GB Road.


First gay parade in Delhi

Filed under: india — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 07:59

Wow, if you know anything about contemporary Indian culture with respect to sexuality and especially homosexuality, that will come as a surprise: The first Gay Pride parade in Delhi did not only take place at all, but was apparently a tremendous success. I have a lot of respect towards the people who organized that, despite being in danger of being attacked.

Interestingly enough, I can’t find any mention of this at Tehelka or the Times of India.

Update 2008-07-03: Still not much news coverage. The Guardian has an article, and has an interesting interview with movie director Deepa Mehta. She shocked India in 1996 with “Fire“, the story of a Lesbian couple, at a time when many believed homosexuality didn’t exist in India. (It’s a great movie, btw!) Years later, the movie still wasn’t shown in most cinemas. When I was in Delhi, I saw it in an open-air screening in the German embassy – behind closed doors.


Fête de la Musique weekend

Filed under: geneva, life — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 11:57

Oops, just found the beginnings of a post about last weekend in my drafts. Well, we’re one weekend later and I have no idea if any one wants to read this, but now that I’ve started already, here we go.

Last weekend, I took a break from hiking and spent some quality time in the city – it was the weekend of Geneva’s biggest festival, the Fête de la Musique (Festival of Music).  Fête de la Musique, Genève It’s one weekend packed with concerts of all kinds, some open-air, some in classic concert halls, some with orchestras, some by street musicians.  The weather was fabulous, a little too hot even (now it’s really too hot!).

I spent only Saturday evening and a little of Sunday evening on the festival, which is a shame. I managed to pretty much waste my Saturday until the evening with shopping and laundry, by being lazy and unorganized and not feeling too well.  At least Saturday night made up for it.

I slowly wandered through Parc de la Bastion, my favorite park, towards the Old City, stopping all the time to watch people and listen to music. I met an English fellow from a previous Sunday hike there, and we spent the sunset down at the lakeside, then made our way back to Bastion to listen to one of the best sets of electronic music I ever heard.  The two young DJanes, Kyssia and Myssi Sensi, seriously rocked the park.  They covered a pretty broad range from House to Techno with some Drum’n’Bass influences, and were not afraid of adding quite some noise here and there, which made me especially happy :-) They are Geneva locals, and have their own independent label o’xensa, and that’s a site I’ll definitely keep checking for events.

Salève on Fire

Following up on that with a couple of refreshing beers made sure that this Sunday’s hike wasn’t going to happen for me. Which was fine, because my coworker Jerven had organized a picnic at the lakeside, where we happily spent the whole afternoon doing nothing.

As you can see, I had, of course, my new camera with me.  Some shots turned out pretty nice, but most of them have problems with sharpness, focus, or lighting.  I still have a lot to learn, and the SLR doesn’t do as much hand-holding as the compact one.  But it’s great fun.

So much to do!

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 11:34

It’s horrible. There’s so much to do, and so little time. What, at work? No, on the weekends, of course!

Starting next Tuesday and ending the following weekend, there’s the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. “The Swiss event for fantastic films, Asian cinema and future images”? – I’m sold. And I’ve never been to Neuchâtel, about an hour from here, anyway, so that should make a nice weekend trip.

Sunday at the Lake
During the whole of July and August, Geneva hosts the Musiques En Été (summer music) festival. In various venues, among them the old courtyard of the town hall in the Old City, jazz and classical concerts are hosted.

Also in July and August, OrangeCinema brings open-air cinema directly at the lake. Just look at the photos on the site! Amazing.

Since the Love Parade, every city must have a similar event, contrived or not. In Geneva, it’s, unsurprisingly, called Lake Parade and will be on July 12th this year. Well, there might be some good electronic music, making me have a look although it’s not exactly my kind of event.

No, I’m not finished yet! Two more to go!

Sunday at the Lake
From July 31st to August 10th 2008, Geneva hosts the Geneva Festival 2008. It’s an official event organized by the City’s institutions, and seems to offer a broad range of events. August 1st is the Swiss national holiday, so at least on this day there should be some interesting happenings.

Finally, August 29th to September 13th will see a festival called La Bâtie. From looking at the website, I honestly am not sure what that’s about, but it sure looks interesting. Music, dance, modern art, and lots of chicken and roosters running around. Look at the video on the page if that sounds weird to you :-)


Hike: Sous-Dine

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , — thomas11 @ 21:04

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to do a hike with just me and a charming girl :-) We climbed the Sous-Dine [fr], a 2001 meter summit, again in the Haute-Savoie.

Sous-Dine hike

As usual, it was quite cloudy and the view suffered, but we still managed to get a few breathtaking glimpses. In fact, concerning the panorama, this was the most impressive hike so far. The Sous-Dine has no clearly defined summit, but is a stretched range with a steep dropoff on one side. Along the whole range, you can see Lac Léman on one side and the giants of the French Alps on the other! The Sous-Dine itself consists to a large part of rocks that have been splintered, perforated and bleached white over time, which gives the scenery a feel of being more exotic or high up than it actually is.

Sous-Dine hike

The starting point is easy to find. Drive towards Thorens, and turn left at the sign “Col des Fleuries”, which is easy to overlook!, and drive until the end of the road. The path up is sign-posted all the way through.

We said that we definitely want to repeat this one on a day with clear view. There is a route circling the mountain, so we still have some variety to look forward to.

Hike: Lac de Gers

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , — thomas11 @ 21:02

Yes, more hiking! Sorry if you’re fed up with it already (or just envious??). Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. I’m just really happy that I manage to get out to the mountains every Sunday so far, with some nice people sharing this passion.

Glocals hike with Phillip - Lac de Gers Glocals hike with Phillip - Lac de Gers

Last week, the lake Lac de Gers [fr] in the mountains around the curiously named, but really beautiful village Sixt Fer à Cheval in the French Haute-Savoie region was our destination. To be honest, the hike isn’t that spectacular. It starts with a steep ascent, then follows some idyllic meadows with grazing cows towards the lake at the end of the high valley. There’s a cheese dairy, restaurant, and mountain hut all in one. It’s probably due to the again very obscured view that I didn’t find it that exciting, although I must say that it has everything a classic relaxed hike must have. It follows a beautiful river with some waterfalls, there are cows, a mountain lake with the characteristic stillness and mirror-like reflection, and a cool beer at the end.


New Camera

Filed under: life — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 20:54

Wow, I finally did it. For a long time I had been dreaming about getting a digital SLR camera to be able to shoot better photos, and now I got one.

New shiny D60!

These cameras give better results all round due to the higher quality of their electronics and lenses, but especially in low light conditions and with moving subjects. In addition, they allow completely or partially manual operation, for experimentation or simply when the automatic mode doesn’t get a particular situation.

I opted for a Nikon D60 with an 18-55 mm lens. Lacking experience of my own, I could only judge by reviews and personal recommendations, and the Nikon entry level series does very well there.

Now there’s a lot to learn. Aperture, focal length, sensor size, ISO: you name it, photography has it. My favorite so far is “circle of confusion”, however. That’s something I can relate to.

I’ll need to get a decent book on this. Of course, being the web nerd I am, I googled and clicked around longer than what’s sensible and found Cambridge In Colour by far the best introductory site to photography.

Now, on to trying the thing out!

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