Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Golden Temple and BRAINS!


This Labyrinth was secretly built by a man hiding just outside the city of Chandigarh. He would sneak bits of construction materials and rubbish out of the city and assemble his maze in the jungle far from prying eyes. After many years he was discovered, and the government gave him a staff of 70 people to continue his work.

Stepping into this maze is like entering your favorite fairy tale. Small villages, waterfalls, steps to nowhere, tiny doors to other mazes... it has everything.

It even has THIS! Come on guys, there are enough open swings that you don't need to share! The worst part it that the young man in red was the one pumping for height while the man in blue yelled, "Har-Der! Har-Der!"

Hoards of stone people and animals watch you as you wind your way along the stone paths.

Who's hungry for BRAIN?

ROOAAAAA! Time for another round of Cipro.

The most holy site for the Seik religion, the Golden Temple. The Seiks are an imposing bunch. They strap themselves with swords and daggers and tower over you in their bright turbans. They all sport beards as thick as the trunk of a tree. They are also quick to give a hearty handshake and a smile.

Or a frown.

...or saw you in half alive.

Mia, Stephan and Isabelle try to placate Joe with a smile. Why have they stopped washing my floor!?

A man does some touch-ups in the Seik Museum. This museum was pretty much just hundreds of painting of horrible ways to die. (see one example above). Others included boiled alive, crushed between two spiky wheels, de-skulled and left to die from a dried out brain, beaten and decorated with a garland of your own baby's limbs and head, etc.

It was agreed that this gentleman looked a lot like Joe.

And this is the artist who makes it all possible. He has been working for the museum painting portraits and historical paintings for over 25 years. His portraits were photo-realistic. Truly incredible. In the background you can make out a painting of two young boys being bricked into a wall alive.

Every night at sundown the the India - Pakistan border breaks into pandemonium as the two nations most jingoistic patriots drive 3o kilometers to crowd the fences and scream at each other. It is a pep rally style affair. Both sides blast their own national music over loud speakers that would put a Slayer concert to shame. They dance in the streets, chant at each other, wave national flags, and then the Military comes out to really get things wild. Here, an Indian soldier preps himself for a showdown.

When the soldiers are in place a 20 minute ceremony commences as both sides try to one up each other with yells, marches and high kicks that repeatedly bring soldiers shoes close to their own ears. A military man from each side starts off by having a 'who can yell into a microphone the longest without taking a breath' contest and then each man marches at the border to meet his rival where they both KICK, KICK, turn, KICK KICK! Repeat. Everyone goes WILD!

Is this really the best way for two nations to act even as their other soldiers are dying in the north because of hotly contested borders?

So long, Stink-dia! We are off to the Himalayas, where the streets are a little cleaner and the air is a little cooler.

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