Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal


scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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gemboree2 020, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Aristocracy oozes from his very pores, he is cool and non commital. I wonder if I am worthy to even barter. The table in front draws me closer. The salavitating rockhound within is fixated on the stones. Oh, oh, I must have a citrine! I cant help myself and he knows it.

I inquire as to where the stones come from and am told that everything passed through Jaipur. Apparently this guy lives six months in Montreal and six months in Deli. “Jaipur is only a three hour drive from Delhi, but that can vary quite considerably” he says with understatement. The roads in India are a nightmare. It appears that there is little in the way of rules, beyond “don’t hit the cows”. They are sacred animals and have every right to snooze undisturbed in a busy intersection. Trucks choose whatever side of the road they wish to travel on and the carnage of burned out smashed up auto shells litters the roadside.

I mention that I am writing a book on gems, “Oh but you cannot forget the Indians,” he asserts. “Jaipur is the major coloured stone cutting centre in the world”.

A massive wall and seven defensive gates surround the Old City, where the gem trade thrives. It is a place that breathes colour and is dyed with an ancient culture. People call it the “pink city though it is also the state capital of Rajasthan. “It was founded over four hundred years ago by the great prince, Maharaja Jai Sing ”. Brightly clad women, in silk saris, float through broad-street’d markets. A monkey with leathery and wizened features peers from a darkened alcove. At sunset the streetscape melts into a world of orange and pink pastel, a camel cart creaks by led by a wraith-like figure. He glides slowly along on stick-like feet. As the warm evening breeze ruffles his cotton shroud you might suspect that it were only a skeleton beneath.

“We Indians have the buying power that other regions do not,” the dealer tells me. You see my stones, none of them were found in India. They were however all cut in Jaipur. Of course there are other places”. “Bangkok”, he raises a knowing eyebrow. “Brazil” he shrugs. “China”, he sighs. “Its big and new and just entering the market”. A great beam breaks his saddened features, the very sun shining from his teeth, fanning his hands over his product he proclaims in a golden voice, “And then there is India”.

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Blog11, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Anne Gordon, (Anne Gordon Images) a regular guest blogger on my site has just emailed me this post …

“How about a kiss;
These cows are seen everywhere in India. Woe betide
anyone who causes them injury.
Buses, cars motorcycles and humans give way
even when they lie down in the middle of the road.
Arriving in Jaipur late at night we saw them stretched
out on the raised area dividing the road lanes, often
with a mangy mutt cuddled up beside them”.

It would appear that in India the cow is a sacred animal, it is reguarded as a matriarchial figure, respected by Hindus for their gentle nature and religious connections. Lord Krishna, is sometimes depicted as a young cowherd and his alternate name, “Govinda” can be loosely translated as one who brings hapiness to the cows”. The Hindu purifacatory material, “Panchagavya” is derived from the cow’s various by products (milk, curds, ghee, urine and dung)

Roaming free, the Indian and Nepalese cows enjoy a priviledged status amongst animals and in essence are even reguarded more highly than many people. The poor farmer benefits from this free ranging arrangement in that his charges are free to wander into the rich man’s field and gorge to their heart’s content. 

FOR AN INTERESTING READ ABOUT AN INDIAN COW SANCTURARY GO TO, http://www.chakra.org/living/SimpApr02_03.html


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Blog02t[1], originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Another amazing picture from Anne’s travel library see her website in the del.icio.us links “Anne Gordon Images” (sidebar to the right). Anne’s own description seemed the most fitting explanation for the chance encounter.

“I had taken this image at Pushkar on the fringes of the Great Indian
Desert in Rajasthan. It is an Important religious centre for
those of the Hindu faith. This old man is a sadhu; a priest in the Hindu religion.

There are close to 5 million sadhus in India today. They are
men who have given up all wordly things and live in
caves and temples relying on other Hindus to provide
sustenance. I had managed to capture this image in the early evening while walking alone down to the mela to photograph the
sunset. It is a most sublime feeling watching as the great glowing orb sinks behind the dunes.

The sadhu stopped me and pointed to my camera and himself indicating that he wanted his picture taken. The Hindus were gathering for prayers beside the lake and the strident sounds of the day were replaced by bells, music and song. In preparation for worship they set adrift thousands of leaves, each carrying a minute flickering oil lamp”.

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Michaelblog01[1], originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Check out this angry critter. If this is not a loud, snorkeling protest, I dont know what is. My mother is a travel writer (see her website in my Del.icio.us links in the sidebar to the right – “Anne Gordon Images”). This superb picture is but one from her vast photo library. I hope to feature a sample of her work from time to time.

Somewhere in the furnce blasted dunes near Jaisalmer travellers arrive at an unusual scene, two hundred camels crouch in moaning ranks waiting for a rider. A mirage of desert splendor shimmers on the horizon and the heat climbs to unbearable levels by midday. Still these dusty beasts crouch; all tasseled and bejewelled in beaded harnesses and bells. They are a dissatisfied lot. The camel is seldom happy and will voice his dissatisfaction whenever given the remotest possibility of an audience.

When visiting Morocco I remember paying a camel herder a few dirhams for a ride on one of his charges. The creature would not co-operate and howled and moaned until the herdsman beat him with a stick. Roaring he stood up – hindlegs first, toppling me onto his neck. Seizing the opportunity, “a nice juicy Canadian boy” he lunged around and bit me. His master gave him such a beating I had to pay him double the initial fee to stop.

The cameleers sit paitiently sipping char from cloudy glasses. They are dark-skinned, fierce, hawk-featured men whose grandfathers were once feared desert warriors. Here, in the Sam Sand Dunes, on the border of Pakistan they chatter quietly amongst themselves waiting for money laden Western tourists to people their strange caravan.

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