Tuesday, February 3, 2009

E-mails sent and now recorded in the blog for completeness

E-mails sent and not recorded in Blog

(Sent before trip started, early January?)

Hello all:

- The intro

- Pros and Cons

- Acknowledgments

- What we ate

Most of you were on my updates from Beijing, some of you are new. With the push by the younger generation, I've decided to go one step beyond e-mail (or for some of you, one step back) and post updates from our upcoming trip to India on a blog, which can be linked to below. After a layover in London, we're staying in Mumbai for a few days to rest up from jet lag, then flying to Chennai (formerly Madras) and winding our way back to Mumbai over 20 days, on a small tour of 12 people.


The advantages:

- we can post some pictures easily

- your mail box isn't full of long missives, just a few reminders about new entries in the blog

- if you aren't interested you don't have to ever visit the blog (HUGE advantage!)

- if you get behind, you can visit the blog and see all the entries to date and catch up (hmmmmm....something tells me getting behind is likely to result in never catching up)

- You'll get to read all about meals from another part of the world

The disadvantages:

- the blog will be full of long missives and, unlike the Big O, there won't be a lot of press coverage going on of our tour (we sure hope there aren't any terrorist actions warranting press coverage!), so you won't have much to compare to...unless you watch your local Indian cable channel on a regular basis (maybe just for this month, give it a try!).

- there will be a lot of Ralph and his honeybunny traveling around in areas most of you haven't ever been to and probably won't ever get to

- Some of you won't be getting real postcards!

Katie won't be on this trip, and to say the least she was a huge help as we stumbled our way around Beijing. And, she took the e-mails and turned them into a I'm-not-kidding-you hardback book complete with pictures (if you at least visit the blog once, you'll see her picture of me in the Birds Nest contemplating my notes for my next e-mail, with my eyes closed and no notes in sight).

Because we'll be on a tour, the chances of stumbling will be minimized, so that is going to cut down (way down!?) the opportunities for self-deprecating humor (okay, what passed for humor). Can I make fun of the other people on the tour? HEY, now you'll all be reading to find out...at least the first few days (AND NO, I WILL NOT BE MAKING FUN OF MY HONEYBUNNY).

Some of you made it this far because you wanted to find out what we ate, food being a major attraction...WE HAVEN'T LEFT YET!

OKAY, OKAY...for dinner last night we had pho with brisket and beef, bun vermicelli with pork and egg roll, 33 and Tsing Tao beer, and leftover Katrina Rozelle chocolate cake and assorted homemade cookies. Today for breakfast: grape nuts with apple and frozen berries for me and sugar shredded wheat with blueberries for my honeybunny, lunch - lamb sausages, fritos, salad, pickles, olives, pear for dessert, and diet hansens and water.

Ralph and his honeybunny

ps: now would be a great time to tell me you want to be left off the distro list altogether, I won't be hurt...

pps: if you want to buy a signed copy of the Beijing book (price TBD), you are not allowed to opt out of the distro list

Thursday, Jan 22

The blog and the blogger slowed down

Hello all:

We do not have wi-fi and thus cannot post the latest updates. The next few days we're on a boat and thus I predict further no wi-fi.

In brief, we've left the temple area of Tamil Nadu, entered Kerala, visited a wildlife sanctuary and now are on the lake (what lake?) awaiting a noon pick-up for the boat.

Health: of the 11 tour members, 9 have now been stricken with something. 6 with cold-cough, 4 with fever/virus, one with vomiting (TMI!) and most with diarrhea (WTMI) of some sort of other. The day after the inauguration, I went to bed at 5pm with significant chills (the first symptom of virus) and started on Cipro, the wonder drug. Now feeling (and eating) about normal, 36 hours later. MHB has been an excellent nurse, she's (only) got the cough thing and feels it is mostly past her.

Amazingly, all remain cheerful and doing as much as possible. The group has turned out to be very compatible (one couple dropped out, and we hear we are very fortunate). There is much mixing and matching. The best news of all, the doc on the trip is one of the healthy ones so we are getting medical advice from a one of the still standing souls.

Later, Ralph and MHB

Saturday, Jan 31

Lie Detector Test, Reply Requested

Hello all:

This is actually a Feedback form, anonymity is protected because most of you won’t bother returning the survey and those of you that do will be forever in my debt (elephant head bump here for you!). Semi-seriously, I’d love to hear back and treasure your honesty (another head bump blessing applied). If you were silly enough to share the blog with others, I would be eternally grateful (more head bump blessings) if you would ask the others to reply as well. There are one or two ringer questions (ie, the ones I really am curious about), so no skipping around! And don't worry about include lots of very nice comments about how much you enjoyed it (another head bump blessing), we'll catch up on a separate exchange (like now he's begging for smoke up the skirt)

After placing your ring finger of your left hand on the screen, please answer yes or no (no metaphysical maybe’s, please) to the following questions:

1. The blogger’s favorite ballplayer of the last month is named Rickey
2. The blogger’s favorite animal to get a blessing from is an elephant
3. You should always take a supply of cipro on a trip like this
4. You (YOU, the reader) would take this trip
5. In high school, Ralph took English from a teacher named Fred Holtby
6. On a third world trip, It is a good idea to have one of your tour members be a doctor (any kind of doctor!)
7. You (YOU, the reader) would take this trip only if MHB agreed to come along
8. Bob Dylan is the greatest artist since Shakespeare
9. You (YOU, the reader) would like to see the blogger (me) blog from Berlin and Copenhagen this summer
10. In the future, an editor should be hired to trim the blog before the postings are posted
11. You would like to see more pictures posted with the text

If you answered Yes to all ten questions, one short reply is sufficient (try: All Yes). If you answered No to any questions, just submit the number of the question(s) with a No answer.

If you noticed there were 11 questions, not 10, go to the cosmic center of the universe, do not stop at GO.

Thx, Ralph