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Showing posts from 2017

The Tea Is to Die for, the Water Likely Survivable: Sampling the Old Delhi Spice Market

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"Clear, pure, cold water." I was parched, it was 105 degrees out and the airborne spices of the Old Delhi spice market were starting to irritate my eyes and throat.

I must have made some sort of subconscious assessment of the likelihood of the water before me being contaminated. I seemed to be thinking.....well, optimistically. A sign on the vendor's cart had a picture of plastic cups and even said "disposable cups." However, instead the street vendor handed me a 12 oz discolored glass (the fragile kind) full of water he had pumped from his own personal container of water.

I drank it quickly, neglecting a conscious risk assessment with the ludicrous rationale that if I drank it really quickly I was less likely to get sick. I had already eaten some street food just prior, and since it was my last day in India, unofficially decided I would go all in and test the waters. This decision required repressing my memory of flying sick for 24 hrs after taking a risk with n…

Mr. Thakur's Saloon

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Snip snip snip snip snip snip snip....I counted roughly two snips per second consistently for at least 25 minutes. Mr. Thakur carved the hair on my head with precision. The cut itself was by-the-book...there was no stylistic creativity. He simply gave me a nearly flawless traditional men's haircut. The experience he provided, however, was art. Not the kind you hang on the wall and rarely, if ever, take the time to truly appreciate. But the type of art that comes and goes once. The kind that slips away if we don't allow ourselves to fully experience it. That type of art which can fundamentally change our perspective forever if we are present to witness it.


Sachita Nand Thakur, originally from Darjeeling, India, has a one-man barber shop on a small paved residential alley toward the top of a Himalayan foothill. I'd seen his shop door open, the light on, but the shop had been empty every time I walked by on the way to my local home stay.
One evening, I saw him sweeping up hair …

Duguma Hunde

A few of the few of you who read my blog nearly ten years ago may remember a post which mentioned Mr. Duguma Hunde, the owner of Ethiopian industrial conglomerate DH Geda. In short, I met Mr. Hunde who was in his 60s, and one of his board members in a Beijing train station. I can't remember for how long we spoke between that time and our exit in Shanghai, but he will forever remain with me. 
I'll never forget the way Mr. Hunde made me feel as we sat next to each other in the station, talking quietly and calmly about the upcoming 2008 US presidential election and other things, as he held my hand gently between his hands. I could have never guessed that I'd be comfortable with another man holding my hand. I can't really describe what I felt, but the experience was something like the following. 
He leaned toward me, was completely focused on what I said, and made me feel like I was important to him. His eyes and attention not once averted from me and our conversation. He ha…