Sunday, October 17, 2010


I've been living in Paharganj New Delhi for over a month now. Its the center Of Delhi and the hub for tourists, plenty of Hotels, bars, restaurants and shops for the foreign traveler, its also where a lot of the disfigured beggars and street kids congregate to beg for money from the western tourist with a bleeding heart and a sense of humanity. These guys are pro's they know how to break the hearts and open the western wallet. That's how they get by from day to day.

I met a few of these kids while sitting in a cafe, I had more than enough food on my plate and couldn't eat it all. So when I saw those hungry eyes I couldn't just shoo him away. I asked the waiter to make my meal take away, when the food was brought out the child sat down in the street and started eating so robustly I couldn't imagine when was the last time he had a full meal.

Of course news spread fast and I had a few more who came up asking for chapati's, well most tourist's just give them 10 rupees and leave it at that. I knew these kids were hungry so I said wait, let me take you for a meal. The cafe I was in catered to western tourists, thus being more expensive. They needed a full meal that they could enjoy and would give them some nourishment. So for less than $1.00 each, I started feeding these kids. some days they would find me and some days they didn't. I refused any of the kids who were high or sniffing glue, and that has been my stance I will feed them but not if they are high.

And then I met Suresh, they call him fireboy. The first time I saw him I was surrounded by a bunch of street kids and we were laughing about some joke when I looked up and there he was, filthy, and badly burned. He showed me his hand and his fingers looked like charcoal. I called my Doctor friend and told him about the boy, he told me what to buy at the pharmacy, and that he would be in Parahganj shortly, to wait for him.

I bought some gauze and ointment for burns but I had no idea how bad fireboy was. When I noticed that the dirty rag around his head had fallen slightly back I saw more burns, I asked if I could see them. He removed the rag and I have to say not much shocks me but this was bad. The boy had no ear, it had been burned away. Only a hole left where the ear used to be and bad burns that were reeked of infection.

When Doctor came he saw him and said we need to get you to hospital, the boy was scared and didn't want to go. It took me three more days before I got him into a burn clinic.The second day I bandaged him myself with many onlookers, even a young doctor, who turned away when he saw how bad his ear was. But I had to get this kids confidence, and I had to show him love and caring and that he was human no matter what. The story behind the burns remains vague, I have heard three different versions. But whatever the truth is, the boy needs help.

He has an heroin addiction, along with whatever drugs he can find. He lives on the street and because he is an addict people take advantage of him. After I got him to a hospital we got him medicine I gave it all to him, big mistake. Within 3 hours it was all gone he said it was stolen , or maybe he sold it. But he was crying and when I asked the other boys what happened they said he was hit by a Sikh man. The next day I asked the boys to tell a friend of mine who is local to the hood who this Sikh was. It turns out he is a drunken cop. Wow so not only do I have drug addiction to deal with I have the cops.

But there is a lot of good that has come out of this, because of my compassion for these street kids the Doctor who has a NGO is going to open a center and a mobile clinic for them. He has given this to me as my project I have 8 social workers who report progress back to me. The center will take some time to get set up as will the mobile medical clinic but its a start. I got these social workers out there every day making contact and getting to know these kids.

Posted below I have pictures of Suresh aka Fireboy. Be aware they are not for the faint at heart. But notice how he is smiling after his return from the hospital. He was told that if he went with us we would throw him in jail, was happy he was back and looked after.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On the road to Ladakh

A dear friend of mine Karten Wong sent me this video he made. Way 2 Ladakh. he's also a talented DJ so the music is his mix. Just looking at those mountains makes me miss Leh and Ladakh even more. So please sit back and enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Cricket Streets of Delhi

I know I have some posts that I have to do of my time at the Taj Majal and Varanasi but today was Mahatma Gandhi's 141st birthday, lol he's no longer alive but it's still a holiday in India. Thus making it a DRY day no alchohol to be sold.

So after lunch I went back to my hotel only to find some friends playing cricket in the street. It reminded me of the movie Wayne's world they kept moving the wicket (which was a plastic chair) for the cars to pass by. I don't know a thing about cricket even though many an Indian and even Aussie have tried to explain the game to me. However just seeing grown men in the heart of Delhi playing cricket on a Saturday afternoon brought me to bring my camera out. Here are some of the pics nice street scenes I think!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I arrived a few days ago and got my mobile internet back, I need to get my camera lens fixed before I can start taking pics again but here is a Delhi update anyways.

So last night I hooked up with some friends in South Delhi. It was an outdoor mall with bars and restaurants, not unlike something you would see in the west. But not exactly either. But what blew me away was everything closes at 12 am wow thats early, I managed to stay up partying till 3:00 In Leh which is a small village not the capital city. So Thursday we are going to a club those are open till 2 i think.

Today i went across town to a shop I have been told can fix my camera but when I talked to him he said the Tamron lens I have has this particualr problem and the part can't be bought. So now I have to buy a new lens he has the same tamron or for a bit more I can buy the sigma or for more than double i can buy the canon 18-200is which is a better lens. I sent an email to an Indian photographer friend to see what he says about it and the prices so i will see, its an uexpected expense but I was thinking of getting a better one when I got back for xmas anyways.

So after the disappointment at the camera store I wandered and i wandered, getting myself lost in old delhi bizarre. When I was sufficiently tired out and sweating, i tried to grab a rikshaw but there weren't many I asked a few and they all declined to take me where I was going. So I kept walking and finally came upon two riks sitting there next to a bicycle rikshaw I asked but they didnt want to go, so the bicycle rikshaw says he will take me. I'm thinking this guy is nuts or he doenst understand where it is I want to go. so I jump on and this poor guy pedals me around Delhi. I felt so guilty, and terrified, being in a auto rikshaw is one thing but this bike was exposed to all the traffic around you and there was plenty of it. Right in front of us a scooter a bicyle rikshaw and an ox pulling a cart collided and had to get unstuck from each other. Lol that was kinda funny.

But the saddest thing i saw was a man lying in the middle of the street naked except a lungi (loin cloth) He was deathly thin you could see all his bones. And he was just wriggling there in the midde of the road. Thats not what you see when you look at the brochures or the Incredible India tourism commercials that you see on CNN. It left me gutted, as a matter of fact I'm still seeing him, I swear I thought he was dying. I wanted to stop but there was so much traffic we couldn't.

I don't think honestly he was dying, I think its his way of begging, or have I become so... I don't know what the word is, but there are many emotions running through me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cloud Burst and Flash Floods Leh

August 5 2010

I don’t want to scare anybody who reads this especially my momo and dad, but I just experienced the most frightening thing in my life, as I sit back and write this I’m realizing how scary it actually was. For those of you have never been in a flash flood, caused by a cloud burst, as I haven’t been before you cant imagine the devastation I saw around me.

Its been raining hard at night for the past 2 nights, and tonight the rain came hard early on then slowed down to a drizzle. I was out with a friend of mine and we decided to go home early. It was 11:30 pm I had just arrived at my guest house gate when a guy I sort of know pulled up and started to talk to me. We sat there chatting for a bit the rain had stopped completely at this point. When all of a sudden a terrified Australian/Indian shows up and asks for help. His flashlight had died and he said he had terrible night vision and also gotten a scare from the stray dogs that roam the streets. He asked this guy for a ride to his guest house, when they started to pull away I noticed that the driver was really to drunk to drive as he hit a curb. So I offered to drive the Aussie home. This was to be my first time driving on the left side of the road, but since its night and very little traffic and I wasn’t drunk I thought it would be ok. So I drive through Leh to the guesthouse and drop off the Aussie, at this point we are at the bottom of town and the guy asks me to drive to the gas station to get gas I look and he is on empty. I figure what the heck get some practice in on driving on the left.

We arrive at the gas station and its closed but we both know that there is another one 8 km out of town, that should be open, so I go for it. As I start to drive its starts to rain a little again. By the time we get to the pump its pouring. The guy gets out to get the attendant who is huddled in his little station, he comes back and we wait. The rain comes down even more, and the attendant hasn’t come out. We figure he doesn’t want to get wet, after 15 minutes of waiting I decide to drive back to Leh to go home. By this time the road has turned into a river in parts but its still drivable in second gear.

I'm slowly driving back to Leh, at this point I haven't seen any other cars. When all of a sudden we come to a part in the road that has been badly washed away and debris is all over it. I stop to look and see that what I’m looking at used to be mud brick walls and and houses in my path. On the other side of this new raging river are a bunch of cars trying to get through. I tell the guy to drive since I don’t want to damage his car, I figure he cant drive fast so its ok. Well we go through that river but come right into another one with debris everywhere. Its not passable and other cars are all sitting there, we asked a few people what it was like further up the road and they say its not passable. So this guy turns around and we go back over the debris and then we here the thump thump thump of the flat front tire.

I think about my options sitting there in the pouring rain waiting for it to stop and then putting on the spare. But still not being able to pass or I leave the guy and try to find somebody on the other side of the flood that was going back to Leh. I figured I could walk the 3 kms that I had left, since cars couldn’t get over the debris I would be stuck out there all night. I leave this guy, who happens to be a jerk and start walking back. Its raining but not to hard.

I've been walking a few minutes when it comes back full force I seek shelter with these people against a building they were on a bus that was going to Leh. I ask is it going to go after the rain stops nobody knows. When the rain lets up a bit I start walking again. I'm trudging through mud and water, being very careful with my steps, and then my cell phone battery dies and that was my only flashlight. I see a car full of people and ask if I can buy there flashlight. They give it to me and say they don’t want any money and wish me luck trying to get to Leh.

I keep on going, the mud is high up to my calves in some parts and the water as well. I get to the roundabout at the bottom of town where the first gas station is and its like a different place from the hour and a half ago that I was there. Cars have collided into each other and cars and buses stuck in the mud, nothing is moving expect the water raging down the hill. And its starts to rain hard again. Three kashmiri muslim guys in a mini bus call to me to get in and say that I cant go up the hill cause its too dangerous. They are trying to get to the other side of Leh to save there family they tell me. so I ask them if they can drive me up but they seem to scared to go up the hill. I wait with them for awhile until the rain lets up once again.

I see people outside and the other road up the hill doesn't look to bad now. So I get out to see if its passable. I come across four Ladakhi boys who are going to go for it and I jump in with them. Its pretty bad at parts but the people have started clearing the road of debris and we make it to the top of town. When we get to the old bizarre I cant believe my eyes, besides all the debris that has been washed into the street. There are two dogs in the street stuck together fucking. Now why would they do that? LOL! the Ladakhi boys drop me off at my guest and I am so glad that I am safe and that I didn’t have to sleep in a car full of people all night long. I knew if I hadn't attempted the walk I would still be out in the road cold and wet. But in hindsight it was a crazy thing to attempt. I looked at my watch when I got home it was 2:00 am.

PRELUDE: August 6 2010

The morning sky is bright but with some clouds, I take my time getting out of bed and slowly get dressed to go out for breakfast. Its not until I leave my guesthouse and go out into the street that I truly know how much devastation there was the night before.

I notice the shops are all shuttered and I find that strange. I get to my local breakfast spot only to find them closed they tell me that they are shut for 2 days due to morning. I ask how bad it was last night and they tell me that many have died and that a mudslide has taken out homes and the bus station. I started looking around and I see people milling around nobody knowing where to go. The tourists looking for shops to buy something to eat or restaurants that may be open. The locals with a look of despair on their faces. At this point I knew it was bad.

I find a friend who tells me about a restaurant that is open and I go there for some food not knowing if this will be my last meal for awhile. I try calling my friends here but the phone lines are down.

After breakfast I walk down to the bus station, I don't go all the way down. There is a ridge that people have lined up to look down at the devastation. I can't believe my eyes. I have never in my life seen anything like this, only on the news. But to see it with your own eyes and to have lived through it puts it in another prospective. I couldn't hold back tears as many others around me couldn't either. How some people could takes pictures of it was beyond me. I have no pictures to show you all as I couldn't bring myself to take them.

I decided that going down to help in the rescue effort would be to difficult for me and then I see my friends employees I ask about them and the restaurant they say that that everybody is ok but the restaurant got flooded and its full of mud. So I decide to go help clean up there instead.

Evening comes and another menacing clouds lurks high above the beautiful town of Leh. Suddenly there is panic, somebody had screamed that the river was rising and that the water was coming. People start to run but don't know where to go. I run to my guesthouse which I believe is safe. Nothing happens but you can see in everybody's face they are scared. Some people even run to higher ground they run up to the hill where the palace sits. But that isn't even an option for me I have seen inside the palace and it doesn't need much for it to fall over so I decide to stay put at my guesthouse. I go to sleep fully dressed and with my bag ready in case of rapid escape. The night passes with only a little rain and I awake once again to another beautiful day in Leh.

August 9th 2010

There is still a lot of work to be done. A huge relief effort is on its way. I will be buying food, clothes and blankets for the needy. If anybody wants to help with a donation you can pay into my paypal account is the address.

I'm also working with the locals to organize a concert for the flood victims. Today almost all is back to normal in the towns , but the statistics are heartbreaking.

140 dead
500 still missing
1000 homes destroyed.

Thankfully there are many western tourists here who are very organized and capable of helping.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Diskit Nubra Valley Part 3

I arrived in Diskit and since the driver didn't seem to be an official driver, I asked if he knew of a guesthouse we stopped at a few until I found a room. After taking a much needed shower I ventured out. Wow, talk about a one horse town! I walked around a bit and found the way to the monastery and the huge newly built 100 foot Buddha that the Dalai Lama was coming to inaugurate, the weather was changing and I didn't want to be caught up a mountain side in the rain so I found the only place in town that had food, as did every other foreigner.

That evening I also found the only bar in town, it was an open garden, Sangam hotel bar and restaurant, connected to the Sangam restaurant in town that was the only one to have food earlier, and not good food by any means. The bar was filled with local men that almost fell over when I sat down and pulled out my computer. However all they had to drink was Godfather beer, yuck too strong and sweet, or rum with water. So I had the beer, the next night I would come prepared and bring my own coke for the rum. Indian rum isn't bad and when you can't find red wine its a good alternative.

The following day I wanted to see the Monastery and Buddha and the sand dunes and take a look at the camels. I hired a driver to take me around, and we went to the monastery first and the giant Buddha.

After we headed to Hunder where the sand dunes are, however the road was under-construction so we got stopped for an hour, after awhile we decided I would go on walking ahead and he would pick me later. I came across family in a truck the man said they were all his children, if its true he sure was busy the truck was packed full of them.

The driver finally picked me up and we headed for the bacterian camels, now I had told many people I would never ride a camel in my life again, they smell, have fleas and spit, I have spent too much time in North Africa too like camels. But these camels were different they are two humped instead of one and they looked clean weren't spitting at anybody and didn't smell to bad. I wanted to do a 15 minute ride which would have cost 150rs but the guy didn't have change so I opted for the half hour ride for 300rs, across the dunes. As soon as that camel stood up I regretted the half hour ride, OUCH! All I had between me and the camel was a blanket. I looked back at the Indian tourists also mounting their camels when one very aggressive male knocked the guy right off him. Shit, I'm holding on now! The boy who walked me and White Beauty (my camels name) told me these camels come from Mongolia and were used in the silk route, well I doubt White Beauty was but maybe her ancestors were.

The following morning I took another shared taxi back to Leh, this time the music was to loud to dose off. We were driving for a few hours when we came across a truck on its roof and another truck parked in front of it, the men were eating their breakfast between the two trucks, notably shaken but alive and with no injuries, wow miracles do happen. But I must of dosed off afterwards for I woke up to find we had a punctured tire, well no biggie right? The driver has a spare? NO!!! So now what do we do? I was told not to worry that the driver knows many people and soon one will pass and lend us a spare. I fell back asleep in the jeep and woke up and hour and half later to everybody getting in, luckily I guess the driver had found a friend.

The rest of the pass was a hairy ride as I mentioned before and with all the traffic coming over the pass to see the Dalai Lama it made for a breath holding ride. I don't want to scare my blog followers and especially not my momo and dad, but I don't get scared often or easily, however this pass was not for the faint of heart. Once I got over the Karhdungla pass and was on the side of Leh once more, I breathed a sigh of relief, I knew I was gong back to civilization , well sort of when the internet is working and the phone lines are on, LOL. But at least you can get a semi-cold Kingfisher beer or a bloody Mary.