Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat is a small corner of Mumbai that is the city’s laundromat. Most of the clothes are washed by beating them against cement blocks…

…scrubbed by hand…

…hung to dry…

…pressed, folded,…

…and returned to the apartments from where they were collected. One thing I’ve noticed over my time in India is the proliferation of smartphones. Data plans are now cheap enough that video calling over WhatsApp is an everyday experience for many workers.

Cooling off in Dhobi Ghat

It was a sweltering hot day. This guy was making the best of it by cooling off in one of the laundry tubs.

Mumbai under construction

Pretty much all of Mumbai is under some form of construction or reconstruction. It feels like every corner of our neighbourhood of Lower Parel is growing vertically. I enjoyed watching this crane grow taller outside my office window. It took nearly two years to  for nearly two years to grow to the point where it was above me.

Mumbai’s Gudi Padwa Parade

Marathi Hindus’ celebration of the new year is Gudi Padwa. In Mumbai, this means a big parade led by women on bikes, a lot of drumming, dancing, and a lot of smiles.

Signs that amuse me: Donald Duck says, “Don’t Touch”

This was a large mural outside of the child care room at an airport in Trivandrum, Kerala. I can’t explain.

Also strange, the happy baby doll in a plastic bag on the display of banana chips.

Banana chips from Kerala are delicious.

Oddities and construction along Kerala’s waterways

I don’t have explanations for any of these things we saw in Kerala.

This looks like a normal house under construction until you look closely and realize that a scarecrow is doing the roofing.

I’m very intrigued how this boat would eventually be put back into the water when it’s completed. There were a lot of boats being constructed or refurbished along our route. They were outnumbered only by boats tied up and sitting idle.

A lock to separate Kerala’s backwaters from the sea

Most of the backwaters of Kerala are fresh water. They provide not only transportation, but irrigation and drinking water to support a very large population.

There’s a manually operated lock that allows vessels to move in and out but keep sea water out. We pulled up, but no one could find the keeper of the crank.

After some protests and the payment of an ‘appropriate fee’ the crank handle appeared, and the large doors slowly closed behind us, and the one in front opened to allow us to continue our journey out toward the sea.

Coconut collection

Three days a week a coconut is delivered to our doorstep in Mumbai. It’s a delicious treat, and a small luxury of living in this part of the world. Here, a couple of guys are cruising the waterway collecting fresh coconuts.

Fishing from shore

We got one thumbs up and a bunch of stares as we cruised by this group fishing from the shore of the canal.

Kingfishers and other birds

Peacocks may be India’s national bird, but the brightly coloured kingfishers should definitely have been the runner up for the title.

They’re nearly impossible to photograph as they dart quickly and rarely stay sitting.

One morning, our boat turned down a narrow channel with plenty of overhanging trees. That’s where most of these photos came from.

The right way to play Settlers with a baby

The boat crew thought we were awful parents by letting Carmel crawl around on the deck floor while we played Settlers of Catan. On the other hand, she was happy and so were we.

Public waterway transit in Kerela

I’m always intrigued by communities that use waterways for public transportation. The backwater villages of Kerala take full advantage of their calm waters to get around. Below, the equivalent of a bus.

This girl ran beside our boat for quite a long stretch. She was on her way to school.

We passed these kids loading up onto the local school bus.

They may have been headed to this school.

At numerous points, there are local ferry services to move people from one bank to another.