Mega(city)transect

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeMJKmrFdPc[/youtube] Megatransecting Mexico City In 1999, American biologist J. Michael Fay set out on a project to map and survey the vegetation of Africa’s entire Congo River basin. Heavily promoted by National Geographic as “The Megatransect,” Fay’s feat involved 455 days of walking across 3,200 miles of largely untamed territory. Biologists had actually been using […]

Posted in: Europe, Latin America, South Asia, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Mega(city)transect , , , ,

Morning Coffee: Bombay’s Zoroastrian Cafes

Zoroastrian carving, Bombay. Thanks to Toreajade. Bombay’s Zoroastrian community emigrated from Iran about 1,000 years ago and brought their religion along with them–the oldest living monotheistic faith. They are also known as Parsis, because of their Persian origin. Since they cannot marry outside the community, they have retained a distinct identity and appearance. They worship […]

Little England in India

If only the bus were a little more red and a little less boxy, I could have sworn I was in South Kensington or Knightsbridge in London rather than in Mumbai. The double decker bus, the Victorian Gothic architecture — a common inheritance of the British empire that is at once familiar and strange. I […]

Posted in: Heritage and Preservation, South Asia, Transportation by Donal Hanley Comments Off on Little England in India , ,

Don’t Bulldoze the Slums

Street scene in Dharavi. Photo from the Economist “Around 6am, the squealing of copulating rats—signalling a night-long verminous orgy on the rooftops of Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai—gives way to the more cheerful sound of chirruping sparrows. Through a small window in Shashikant (“Shashi”) Kawale’s rickety shack, daylight seeps. It reveals a curly black head […]

Posted in: Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture, South Asia by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Don’t Bulldoze the Slums , , , , , ,

Victoria Regina vs. Technicolor Hippies

“My grandfather was a barber to the British,” says this umpteenth-generation barber in Dalhousie, India In India, Victorian England is alive and well with all its stuffy floweriness and chastity belts. Picture yourself in a café painted in sombre greens. A Brahmin gentleman at the table next to yours takes Queen & Lion brand snuff […]

Life vs. Bombay Taxi-Wallah

[youtube]FJaVR7nJXX8[/youtube] Taxi drivers, it’s safe to say, have attained iconic status in the annals of urban folklore. They’re the embodiment of a city’s wiry energy and gritty determination to survive. They are strange, slightly crazy and defiantly individualistic. Surely, it takes a special character to drive strangers around for hours on end, competing with thousands […]

Looking Back on Huxley and Colonial Bombay

Most people are poor judges when it comes to architecture from one generation back. Take Montreal’s Place Bonaventure or the Concordia University Hall Building—some of you may appreciate these buildings, but most people don’t. I am considered a weirdo when I argue that Quebec City’s “le bunker” (also known as “le calorifère”) is an interesting […]