I did a post not long ago about how there was a distinct lack of creativity in architecture these days – we no longer seem to put in the effort and time to decorate our buildings as used to happen. There are a few very talented people that keep traditional crafts alive but not enough.
My response to the challenge this week is from a trip to India that I did – my first one. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and the colours everywhere. In an abandoned palace in the middle of nowhere there were some amazingly colourful mosaics which caught my eye. The walls were crumbling and there was nobody to prevent rot and destruction setting in but the mosaics still shone…that’s what I call a work of art! Something that can withstand time, the elements and still be inspiring.
I am very excited – I am trying to keep my excitement contained but it is very hard. In approximately 48 hours I will be winging my way over to Kenya. It will be my first time visiting this amazing country and I can’t wait. I know how irritating it can be watching the excitement build while you are sitting in the office, starting to plan Christmas and the nights are drawing in – hence trying to contain my excitement.
I am quietly bouncing up and down inside with visions of giraffes and lions floating around in my head. I have no concept of what to expect in reality and it brings back the joy of travelling. We have become such proficient travellers now, that it is important to remember the joy of discovering new things, new cultures and new people. The last place I went to which was new to me was India a couple of years ago and what a culture-shock that was – I loved every minute of it! Then, I was a little bit sheltered because I went with family and stayed with family over there. This is slightly different because it is a work trip (I can hear you groaning in sympathy for my hard job!). We are lucky enough to be sampling safaris, bird watching, beaches and even staying in a tented camp for one of the nights. Suddenly the cute giraffes and lions in my head take on a sinister turn – surely a lion wouldn’t have too much trouble getting into a tent???!
I hope to be able to keep you posted on my return (if the lions don’t get me!).
An eagle soaring above the crowded masses. Masses milling about barging. The Taj’s ethereal aloofness. Spicy smell. Drain smells. Choking dust. Factory town. Beautiful sites. Terrible poverty. Contorted beggars. Pushy “salesmen”. Starving animals. Starving humans. Welcoming smiles. Beautiful girls. Men holding hands. Cows in the road. Traffic chaos. People lying sleeping in the streets. Richer people in a tent. Richer still, in a shack. We are kings and queens. We pass above the insanity not daring to touch it, breathe it. There’s a fence up that we won’t cross for fear of being touched. We want to keep it that way. How many people actually give money? How do these people survive? They seem happy – some of them. Wings uplifted – soaring beauty. Graceful lines over rounded domes. Breathless splendour. Peaceful in the crowds. New Year’s Day brings saris drying in the sun. Neatly stacked piles of cow dung. Washing day. Beds stacked outside. Work doesn’t stop. Relatively well off country villages with neat houses. Fields of mustard flowers and the odd speck of sari working. Men playing cards. Faces smiling or frowning. Hands reaching out as if for a blessing (more likely for money). Village markets. Piles of spices. Every useful thing known to man sold or made. Rows of cut-throat barbers. Tree shrines. Pairs of peacocks wandering. Pigs foraging. Wash day at the fountain. Camel carts and oxen pulling. Over-loaded trucks, tuk tuks and bicycles. Unbelievable roads. “Horn please.” Bright colours everywhere – saris and turquoise houses. Train crossing stopping everything. What was Grandad’s life like as a child? What would it have been had he stayed? What would my life be if I was like them? Smiling? Begging? Happy working in the fields? Tired of life? Back to civilisation and not feeling so good. Shut myself away from the crowds to establish normality again. A night of Pringles and Friends and no curry. Jaipur and pink – all building painted the same dodgy pink. Poorly treated elephants lumbering up to the Amber fort laden with tourists. Back to the crowds. Always wanting, needing, begging, touching. Time for shopping and more hassle even in a “hassle free” fixed price place. A modern town designed for shopping. Back to Delhi to a strange place in the middle of a suburb. Children here are more pushy. Music, dancing, full on spectacular spectacular…