D68. Nov 7 . Delhi sightseeing

The Delhi’ monuments I went through yesterday are really a 3D representation of India’s historical milestones, summarizing an ebb & tide of influences over time – muslim Mughals (Turkey), Persians (Iran), British…

Qutb Minar
Erected by muslims in 1199 to mark victory over the local – and accessorily a minaret.
72 meters of red sandstone (grès) engraved with Coran suras (sourates).

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You cannot enter the minaret anymore: in 1981 a crowd panic resulted in 40 casualties! The monument has been closed ever since.

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Such shinny and colorful shinny everywhere could almost make me forget that women do not exist as such here.

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Would you like any refrigerated water before leaving the place ?

Humayun’s Tomb
Erected in 1595  by the Mughal emperor’ widow. It adopts the style of a persian’ grave.

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It was probably an inspiration for the architects of the Taj Mahal.

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Indian tourists come here with their families or classmates.
And I’ve counted 3 types of westerners:
. English people in their twenties, with Indian origins, coming here with a bunch of friends;
. French couples in their fifties;
. American groups in their sixties.
same typology in every monument!

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Old Delhi Red Fort
Constructed in the 17th century and the seat of Mughal power, it became a symbol of the rebellion versus the British. With the end of the Mughal reign (1858), the British gave official sanctions to remove and sell valuables from the palace at the Red Fort.They put down the harem apartments and instead of them erected a line of barracks. After Indian Independence, the site experienced few changes in terms of addition or alteration to the structures. The Red Fort continued to be used as a cantonment even after Independence.

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The site isn’t only touristic. As the entrance fees only cost 10 Rupees to locals (250 for foreigners), they often come here for walks or shop, as thee Fort also shelters a bazar.
It looks like nothing has changed since the independence, and the picture below reminds me very much of an Alfred Hitchkock movie – I couldn’t say which one – here the hero would be pursued by bad guys in a gloomy bazar : )

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The Parliament
In the parliament’ street, very British in its style, a bunch of Ambassadors.
Those cars were primarily manufactured by Morris Motors Limited in Oxford, UK, in the 1950′. Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered as an Indian car and is fondly called “The king of Indian roads”. All taxis were Ambassadors but 2011 anti-pollution norms banned them from 11 cities, including Kolkata were the car is produced, and the sales are plummeting…

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D42 . Oct 12 . Busan film festival

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As you can imagine, we had a very demanding day at the beach.
Of course, since Koreans hide from the sun, they only come to the beach in the late afternoon, as covered as an Iranian – Which made me feel almost uncomfortable in my bathing suit by the way!

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In the evening, we attended a film released by the Busan International Film Festival. Yesterday was the last day, but we were lucky enough to get tickets.

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Though, we didn’t really have a choice in selecting a film matching our priorities, the only tickets left – For a film in English language or including English subtitles – were for “Savaged”. Capture d’écran 2013-10-12 à 17.54.18

So, what was Savaged about?
Savaged was about a deaf and mute woman who drives through New Mexico to join her boyfriend (are you getting excited?).
But of course, things get bad. She witnesses a murder and the killers run after her. Of course she gets caught, of course she gets raped, of course she gets murdered. Qnd then you might think: Well, this is it.
But nooooooo; This was just the beginning. Because an old Indian Chief finds her, brings her back to life, an ancient Indian spirit embodies her flesh, and she’s gonna kill them all for what they did. Yeah.
Follow tons of blood, gun shots, ghosts, etc. I spent half of the film closing my eyes and getting out of there was quiet a relief I must say. But people clapped at the end. Well, this is a film festival, we had to : )

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Outside everything was quiet, even though the closure ceremony of the Festival wasn’t over yet.
We’re glad we’ve been able to attend the Festival – In addition a good occasion to discover another district of Busan, made of very creative buildings.

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D39 – Oct 9 – Andong’s Masked Ball

According to legend, the Hahoe mask tradition came about when the residents of Hahoe got frustrated with their hoity-toity noble clan.
One clever craftsman carved a likeliness of one of the most obsequious, much of the delight of his peers.
Then, such masks were used in the traditional dance: Characters wear masks representing social classes… including corrupt monks, the establishment, etc. The conflicts among them are portrayed using a style which is kind of a mix of pop art and shamanism.
I let you find who could be who – And vice versa 😀

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D14 – Sept – Novo’s underground

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Today, a marathon was taking place in Novosibirsk, and so was our day, as we bounced from one place to another with no stop. Yesterday evening and today have been amazing, thanks to Sergeï, who is a friend of Micha, who is a friend of Oleg, who is an acquaintance of my parents.

This is Sergeï, yesterday evening, in front of one of the many Novo’s theaters.
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In this very theater, yesterday was the season’s opening. Musicians where playing for free to give a glimpse of the concerts to come, entire city was there, and old ladies were selling tickets.

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Sergeï is responsible for organizing the temporary exhibitions of the Fine Arts Museum.
This morning, as we had to print train tickets, he brought us to his office, full of frames, paintings, papers…

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And then we had a look a the current exhibition, from an artist who uses boiled wool to picture typical Russian’s scenes.

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For instance, the little girl on the left is preparing pelmenis, which are Russian dumplings.
And the little boy on the sofa is watchin a TV program back in the 1970’s, when there was only channel, ready to eat pelmenis as well.

Then, Sergeï took us to the workshop of an artist, a painter.
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He started his career doing illustrations in books, it could be a kid’s books or Homer’s Odyssey.

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He explained the complexity of working in USSR at the time. You couldn’t find any oil paints in the shops anymore, unless you were a member of the Party league of Artists. But, if you were a member of the Party, you were told what you had to paint. For instance, he did show us a painting influenced by the Surrealists, but this was completely in opposition to the Soviet’ line : Realism. He finally decided freedom. Out of the Party. Out of supplies.

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Life started to be better after the Perestroïka, that he mentioned several times, and seems to  savor every moment of his freedom. He said, as a conclusion to our discussion, that meeting two women, who were traveling on their own, from France, visiting him in his workshop, would have been impossible to even imagine, back in USSR.

He was born in Birobidjan. What is Birobidjan ? Well, an other interesting story I will try to tell tomorrow, before entering a train for a 30-hours trip to Irkutsk.

The day ended nicely with Sergeï, who brought us to the top of a hill on the other side of the city to have a look on Novo.

Next to the view point was also a very photogenic abandoned Luna Park…

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