Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today my dear wife watched our kids while I went down the hill to Dehra Dun to try to track down George Everest's theodolite. It supposedly resides at the Survey of India museum, but it turns out you have to write a letter to the Survey General at least a few days ahead of time to humbly ask permission to visit the museum, and individuals are not given entry, only groups. I thought it made a lot of sense. I mean, without this reasonable measure of having to seek the permission of a government official, we would just have kids strolling into that museum like nobody's business, learning about cartography and history and who knows what else.

I was able to buy a few maps, which have generally been difficult to find here. A letter was not necessary to buy maps, thankfully. I got a fairly nice 1:10,000 map of Mussoorie and it has my house, Redwood Cottage, marked on it and listed on the margin. Our town is pretty big but has only a few roads, so it is not very descriptive to say what road you live on. Instead the houses have names.

As I do not have any theodolite pictures to post here, I thought I would take this opportunity to show a few pictures that I have encountered which I should have posted (or maybe I did and I'm too lazy to browse the back-issues) earlier. The blog is pretty demanding in that I sometimes have a picture I would like to share, but which is a bit on the mundane side and I can't think of a caption at the time and you know how I hate to bore my readers. To begin, here is a picture of me sitting next to the campfire with my kids. We enjoy our campfire and I will miss it when we leave.
Below is a green beetle.
Here is me in a skirt with Kyle at the staff banquet last June. A lungi, actually. They are very masculine in some cultures, you'll just have to take my word for it.
Here is a pattern in the domed gateway looking into the Taj Mahal enclosure. I wondered how they decided that they would need to go from six-point stars to five-point stars.
Here is my first view of the Taj Mahal, as seen from our hotel's rooftop restaurant.

Here is my darling Annie enjoying the matching dresses that Joie made for her and "baby Dechen".
And here are my Will and Annie in their fancy hats from Auntie Dot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

jaipur - amber fort

Here Will is looking through one of the many little windows in the fort. It was a maze of a place with little rooms everywhere around a big courtyard. It made us all think of hide and seek.

Here I can see Will, Joie and Eleanor across the courtyard. I think Will is showing his claws here. Lately he has been showing his tiger claws and declaring in a fierce growling voice "I am Shere Khan! Give me my man-cub!"

Monday, January 4, 2010

taj ii

The taj is somewhat photogenic, to be sure.

pine marten

A week or so ago I finally got a nice shot at a pine marten. These animals live somewhere on the mountainside near our house, and we seem to spot them more often than most people. They are pretty shy though, so most of my pine marten pictures are a bit like those out-of-focus shots the loch ness monster. This one was more cooperative than usual.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the taj mahal

We made it! The Burchells have finally seen the Taj Mahal. I have dozens of other pictures that look like the rest of the pictures that anyone reading this has probably seen. It is certainly a grand spectacle.