Wednesday, February 26, 2014
India Pt 2
2/16/14 New Delhi Airport
About to board for Taipei via Hong Kong. I had a busy day today. We visited a mosque in the middle of old Delhi in the morning. I managed to make my way up into on the minarets for a foggy view of the old city. Still, not a bad five bucks slipped to a guard.
Second stop was the Red Fort. Agra Fort was more interesting architecturally, but the small bazaar in Red Fort made up for its shortcomings.
Third was a tomb, much like the Taj Mahal, but more visually appealing. Humayan's Tomb is mostly of red sandstone white white marble accents, where the Taj is all white marble, making it rather boring up close.
Last stop of the trip was the Qutb Minar, a bloody big minaret standing among the ruins of what was once a mosque. There was a partially built minaret that was to be even bigger nearby, but war halted its construction, and it was never completed.
India was overall quite a treat, but it's been hard on my body. I'll probably never come back, having decided I've seen enough of it. The trip has been very fulfilling and more than worth the money, but once is enough.
2/15/14 New Delhi
Didn't do anything but drive today. And visit a shopping mall. But said mall was exactly like a US mall with the addition of very grope-y people at all the entrances frisking you. Spent a bunch of money on a soapstone elephant at the souvenir shop at our hotel, but it's the last night and I haven't really bought anything yet, so why not.
Is it some kind of sign, this rainy Valentine?
It is some national holiday today, and most of the sights that we had wanted to see were closed. We were allowed into and around the High Court building as well as the Open Hand monument, the symbol of Chandigarh, so that was quite a treat. The rest of the day was pretty boring.
I found out that the new Ghost in the Shell anime was released, and subsequently spent the rest of the night trying to download it onto my phone. Eventually I just bought the season on iTunes and got it overnight. I will watch it on the long bus ride tomorrow, and hope iPhone screen isn't too small for subtitles.
2/13/14 Over India, OTW to Chandigarh
Sitting in the first turboprop plane in recent memory, flying over India during the day. I find it fascinating how similar, yet different it looks compared to the States. Squares and rectangles of agricultural fields in greens and browns make up the most of it. A once large river stretches across my view. Most of it is now a thick brown ribbon of sand threaded through with black ribbons of water. A smoke stack, a hundred meters or more, candy striped, spews a miles long trail of smoke in the distance.
Now landed. Why don't Indian airports offer free WiFi? (They do, you just need an Indian cellphone number to use it, which means foreigners are screwed.)
Ended up visiting a few government buildings. It seems that most of Chandigarh was designed by Le Corbusier. The legislature building was the most interesting, though the roof of the Secretariat was worth a look. They have snipers up there. Interestingly enough, two different provinces share the government buildings here in Chandigarh. Good way to keep cost down.
The hotel tonight is a Marriott, with a whiskey bar. Thank the gods.
Three more architectural destinations of notes today.
First was a private home, the Villa Shodhan. A modernist abode, formed mostly of concrete slab, I found it an interesting study of what modern home designs really look like, as I had not previous seen examples of such in person. Note: Chipmunks everywhere.
Second was the highlight of the day. The Ahmedabad Textile Mill Owner's Association Building. I really loved this one. The lines and the lighting and the interesting shapes really brought out something in me. I've never appreciated modern architecture as much as I have before this building. There were only two active offices though, as the rest of the building is pretty much abandoned. I was able to explore all about the building, including the roof.
Third was the studio building of renown architect Doshi. One of his interns showed us around. Most curious was the use of White China Mosaic on the half cylinder roofs to reflect heat. I touched it, and it was actually rather cold in the blazing hot sun, similar to the Sydney Opera House. I caught a glimpse of the man himself as we arrived. It seems that many well known architects prefer round glasses.
Last was the IIMA Campus. I thought it boring, so will not write of it.
Need to catch an early plane tomorrow.