Saturday, January 9, 2010

Birds in our neighborhood - continued

Here are three new additions to our bird list. There are several small birds in the flowers, which we have a very hard time identifying because they move so fast, and our eyes aren't very quick or clear, ya know?

Needless to say, this guy was easy to see! It's big and was in flight when we saw him.
Nilgiri Wood Pigeon

Sri Lanka White-Eye, goes from flower to flower, very small. They are in the garden every day.

Friday, January 1, 2010

29-30 December 09 Chennai

We had made arrangements with the curator of the J. Krishnamurti exhibit 'World in Crisis' to order posters featured in the exhibit, so Tuesday, the 29th, we took the Gosavis to the J. Krishnamurti Foundation so we could take care of that. Their friend Rudy came along and we got to know him a little better.

Gopal and Rudy, from the Netherlands (he has lived in India for 7 years)

We left the Gosavis later and returned to our guest house. That's Gopal walking toward Auroshree Guest House.

Later we went for a walk from our room, a very urban walk. Then we came to what appeared to be an empty lot, a wooded field, and there was a Spotted Deer! Turns out the lot is the back of the Guindy Zoological Park.

Hard to see the deer

This is on our side of the fence from the park!

28 December 09 Chennai

On Monday, Vijaya signed us up for a Chennai tour. Krishna stayed behind.

Our first stop was Snake Park, a park full of reptiles and snakes. It was pretty depressing. Small cages for everyone and very little water for the crocodiles, etc.
Snake Park gate

Our bus and some fellow passengers (in white)
Next, we went to a museum featuring stone and bronze artifacts and statuary.

Another stop was the Valluvarkottam where Gopal and I had been several times

We also visited Kapaleeswarar Temple again, this time actually going in.

Marina Beach where Gopal and I had already been, but not when it was so crowded. These guys were on the tour with us.


There was one couple on the tour for whom we always had to wait at each stop. Then the tour operator added another temple, the Ashta Lakshmi Temple ( We went in there too. I have to add that at both temples and at the museum I was stopped as a foreigner, and they tried to throw me out of the temples. My status is actually "Person of Indian Origin", and I am a resident of India, so we had to work that out many times during the day.
We returned back to the Theosophical Society two hours late, at 8pm.

Chennai 27 Dec 09

On 27 Decemer, we took Raju down the mountain to Coimbatore for his flight back to Delhi. It was hard saying goodbye to him; in fact, we barely had time as they whisked him away from us to board his flight. (Raju, we think we were approaching the runway when your plane took off.) Gopal and I flew to Chennai at the same time to see our friends the Gosavis from Mumbai who were attending a conference at the Theosophical Society. Bala, our landlord at our house in Brooklands, lives in Chennai and met us at the airport. He and his wife Vanitha were so gracious and generous with us, it really made our visit to Chennai a wonderful experience. They had made arranagements for us to stay at a nice guest house owned by a friend, they took us to a wonderful vegetarian lunch at a bustling, popular place, Saravana Bhavan. Then, they thoughtfully took us to Vivekananda College where Gopal had worked right out of college. It was good to watch Gopal dig in his memory as he recognized this and that.
We flew to Chennai on SpiceJet. Our plane was Cinnamon; Raju flew to Delhi on Basil.

En route to lunch, Bala took us to Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore.

Fish we fed in the temple pool

Feeding the fish

Gopal and Bala at lunch in Chennai

Vanitha and Carolyn

Gopal at Vivekananda College where he used to work

Bala and Vanitha also took us to the Ramakrishnan Math, which was very beautiful too.

They also took us to the J. Krishnamurti Foundation where they tried to get us a room to stay in, which didn't work out this time. In the future, it might be a nice place to stay.

I like this picture.

Next, we went to the Theosophical Society to meet the Gosavis (Krishna Gosavi, Carolyn, Vanitha, Vijaya Gosavi, Bala)
Theosophical Society website:

There had been a legendary banyan tree here which has died. I guess you could say these trees are its children. Needless to say, this is a beautiful place.

Vanitha, Gopal, Carolyn, Vijaya, Krishna sitting on a beautiful bench where J. Krishnamurti sat and lectured when at the Theosophical Society

Just to let you see the beautiful tiles
At the book store at the Theosophical Society there was a picture of a bird on the wall. It looked just like a Black-Crowned Night Heron, and is a bird they see near their beachfront. So I asked around but no one knew what it was. Today, I looked it up in my India bird book, and it IS a Black-Crowned Night Heron, exactly the same bird that nests over at Lake Merritt in Oakland and I used to see down at Point Lobos! How could that be? I haven't seen any in the Nilgiris, but they might be here around lakes, huh? How can there be the same birds in India and the U.S.? I mean it. I don't see how that could be unless people brought them in cages or something.