Swipe-N-Wipe?

The Internet can solve a lot of problems, but not this one. Spotted this sign in heavy traffic on the stretch between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai proper. Never did spot the facility itself as promised, 100 meters on. Or was that the place where all the cyborgs were lined up, that most human of all … Continue reading Swipe-N-Wipe?

Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)

When your official government itinerary on U.S.-flag contract carrier United Airlines is thrown into disarray because of concerns about flying over Iranian air space... ...and the United agents can't confirm the final leg of your trip (which includes traveling on Air Canada, Germany's Lufthansa, and Air India) for 24 hours... ...so that after two hours on … Continue reading Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)

Operation Sheltering Sky

Rajasthan is desert country, 70% of the state---India's largest---an arid mix of scrub and sand. We trekked by camel into the Thar Desert about 50 km outside Jaisalmer. Abdullah led our beasts on foot, their names Simon, Paulos, and---inexplicably---Johnny No. 1. Toward sunset we reached the Sam Dunes. The wind died down and we made … Continue reading Operation Sheltering Sky

Lucky Encounters in Serendib

We greeted the New Year from a treehouse in old Ceylon. We rode the waves at Midigama and Weligama in Southern Serendib. We climbed to Buddha's retreat at Pidurangula and looked out over forests surrounding the ancient ruins of Sigiriya. In Kandy, we spied the room housing the casket that holds the dagobas  wherein rests … Continue reading Lucky Encounters in Serendib

Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

The Sunday Straphanger

We hopped a train at Bandra Junction toward the old Victoria Station, now called Shivaji Terminus, ten stops away. The tidy compartment carried just a handful of passengers scattered about on a few padded benches. Overhead the silver handles shook as the train departed. I offered the window seat to my boys. Turns out it … Continue reading The Sunday Straphanger

Elevatorwala

Mumbai has a wallah for everything, no task too big or small. Outside my 14th-story flat, one of four elevatorwalas pushes the button that takes us to the street and back again. The other night we ate our first dinner at a Parsi restaurant called---this is all one word---Sodabottleopenerwala. It’s a chain. Derived in part … Continue reading Elevatorwala

Transit Post—Frankfurt

Just so I have a post from Germany. We have a decent layover in Frankfurt, and although it's zero three hundred at my point of origin---hence the cobwebs in my head---it's 9:35 here and past noon at our final destination. Normal workaday hours to write and post! Marginally related to all this, I've been tracking … Continue reading Transit Post—Frankfurt

Posting from a New Home

After five years posting from DC, BenEastBooks moves on to Mumbai. Expect the same focus on craft and reviewing serious books by independent authors. Expect new writing invigorated by travel and adventure. Expect postings flavored with the exotic, the ancient, the extraordinary, and the very new. I welcome contributions, requests for reviews, and sensible observations. When … Continue reading Posting from a New Home

Maximum City

We are neither here nor there. The carpets are up and the curios down. The boys are packed and shipped off south for a week with Naniji. A week from tomorrow the packers arrive. They'll invade for 3 or 4 days to box up several categories of shipment: 700 lbs of air freight; 7k lbs … Continue reading Maximum City