The Scruffman in Europe

Old Jan 30th, 2010, 08:38 PM
  #221  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just received a brief e-mail from the Scruffman letting me know he landed safely in Mumbai.
artsnletters is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2010, 09:55 PM
  #222  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,824
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Yay! Now the "real" adventure begins!
kerouac is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:25 AM
  #223  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Just received a brief e-mail from the Scruffman letting me know he landed safely in Mumbai.>>

is that relief that you are feeling, artsnletters, or trepidation at what he may get up to now he's arrived?

I feel your pain, though in a slightly less extreme version - my own "scruffboy" went off on the train [for anything other than a short journey] by himself for the first time on Friday, and despite delays and weather "issues" managed to get himself home again last night.

phew!

looking forward to hearing more of the adventures of Scruffman,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:44 AM
  #224  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
annhig, I'm not really worried about him at all. He's got money to come home if things go awry. He's always landed on his feet. I think there will be a period of adjustment, as India is quite different from Europe, but I know he'll make the shift pretty quickly.

My problem is that he doesn't write often enough - not because I <i>worry</i> about what he's up to, but because I'm curious!
artsnletters is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:49 AM
  #225  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,824
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
I think that spending time in squats and spending as little money as possible in the previous month will be a major aid to adjusting to Indian conditions. What may come as a surprise to him is that most Indians will still consider him to be immensely wealthy, so of course certain elements will try every ruse possible to separate him from his money.

One rule that I do believe in following in India is not to accept an offer of tea or any other beverage from totally random strangers. Many travelers have awakened hours later with absolutely no possessions. With a little luck, Scruffman has a good 6th sense that will inform him of possibly dodgy situations.
kerouac is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #226  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
kerouac, I hope you told him that when you met? I've wondered whether he's prepared to be as careful of potential swindles as he might be. He had a very consistently warm and fuzzy experience of Europe and may not encounter so uniform of response in India.
artsnletters is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 08:18 AM
  #227  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,556
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As others have said - and I too feel, this is where his adventure will really begin.
Barring anything untoward befalling him, I hope he will be touched and moved by what he sees and experiences. I sense Goa naturally calling to him, but there are a myriad of other areas to experience as well, particularly south India (Kerala). Let him know too that many of the sikh temples offer free basic (but tasty) vegetarian lunches every day and its an amazing communal experience to attend one (or more).

Did you say he was going to Africa as well ? Its a short flight to East Africa from India and there are some cheap flights to be had if the timing's right.

M
Mathieu is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 09:24 AM
  #228  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,824
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Yes, at dinner we tried to tell him that southern India was what would appeal to him, but for some reason he thought it was northern India that would be calmer and more laid back. I figure that he will meet other travelers his own age in Mumbai who will set him straight and not have to rely on questionable information from 3 codgers in Paris.

In any case, there is little pre-India advice that can prepare anyone for the immensity of the experience.
kerouac is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 09:28 AM
  #229  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It doesn't look to me like his funds will hold out for Africa unless he figures out a way to make a little money on his way. If my work situation stabilizes, I might try to cobble up a bit for him, but right now I'm more likely to lose my job than start feeling secure in it. The visa situation seems possibly problematic as well. He only has a visa for India, and he dawdled so long about that that I had to mail his passport to him in New York after he had left. It looks like he <i>might</i> be able to get into Kenya without one. I know he doesn't need one for South Africa, but it doesn't seem possible to fly there without a stop and change of airline (and ticket) in Nairobi. Cost of airfare is what's really eating into his funds. On the ground he spends almost nothing.

Thanks to those of you offering tips for India. I will be sure to pass them on.
artsnletters is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 04:08 PM
  #230  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love so many Fodors stories but this is seriously one of my all time favorites. I am not a Mom but have a soon-to-be divorced sister with an amazing 10 year old son, and I plan on forwarding her links to this. I would love for my nephew to have even a fraction of adventures similar to Scruffman's. I just finished reading Shantaram so am very excited to hop over to Asia and see how things are going in Mumbai!
bniemand is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 06:40 PM
  #231  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,849
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should mention, artsnletters, that one of my sons swears by Goa. He and his lady do Christmas markets in Germany each holiday season. They work their tails off for about six months a year organizing, setting up and tearing down the markets and then head for Goa to unwind with what they say is the most wonderful Vegan food on the planet. They practice their yoga, lay on the beach and, I'm sure, pollute their bodies with all sorts of chemicals --- but they love it. I'm sure Greg will, too, if he manages to get down there.

nukesafe is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:54 PM
  #232  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,183
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
Artsnletters, one of my friends is an artist and spends a month away each year, volunteering in developing countries. Last year she was in the fistula hospital in Addis Ababa. Received this yesterday. She also travels "on the smell of an oily rag" and embraces the people of the world in a most wonderful manner. The way the universe works, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Slavica & Greg's paths cross. I'm picturing his reaction to scenes similar to these:

"Dear All

I am now back in Delhi full moon and all and getting ready to catch an early morning train to Deradun at the foot hills of the Himalayas.

Have just arrived back for a couple of days in Japuir the pink city made from sandstone; where rugged mountains surround the city, rocky out crops of pink rock and dry arid landscape transport me elsewere.

We spent the days browsing in the old city wandering and getting lost searching for those elusive treasures that surface in old dusty lanes and hidden stall holders.
Monkeys clamour to lofty roof tops above the city streets watching us passing by and seem to claim the best vantage points.

We found some escape from the busy streets in a roof top cafe that we discovered but as we were led through a labyrinth of stair cases and dimly lit rooms with rather exotic pictures of couples we were not sure if this rather quiet place doubled as a brothel at night.

We however reached the rooftop without any questions been asked and settled for a while looking at the city streets below and the mountains in the distance. Above us kites flew over the city; small colured squares simple shapes floating above us that showed no sign of any ownership, they simply drifted in the sky circling with the wind and the flying hawks. In some ways I felt a little like the kites; circling around the city without rhyme or particular reason but of course occasionally gathering tugs from all directions for attention by the locals.

Amidst the chaos there is always glimpses of beauty; bags of colured pigments that appear at the corner of your eyes , marigolds and roses threaded in full garlands gathered high near temples, bright yellow and orange rice sweets piled so high they themselves become mountains and always saris beautiful saris of every imaginable colour.
We decided to have our palms read; as you do when you are in India. A rather serious looking doctor of Astrology measured our hands and looked at the lines of our palms. Soon our personalities and future unfolded. Some comments were remarkable accurate and other predications left wide open, leaving many optionsat our doorsteps; not unlike our driver who has continued riding on the roads in no particular lane preferring straight down the middle with his options open.

Our driver has been a kind-hearted man form the village where we stayed. His name was Ayub and as we found out in the village had a nickname which happened to be
" mental" apparently he is little crazy. He is simple in nature with not great english. We ask questions he repeats them as if he has answered it. We try a different version and again like an obedient parrot he repeats again, he then utters a few words and we go around in circles with no conclusion. He then leads us into a conversation which is totally irrelevant to our original question and so it goes on.

We dance around like this in and all to familiar dance back and forth with a few words here and there. Somehow we manage to get to where we are going much to our own surprise. Somehow we give in and accept this little tango. If we sit in silence for a while and then ask the question again sometimes just out of the blue we get an answer. We suddenly make contact. Ayubs favourite saying is " No Problem" it seems a favourite saying fo all of India as to " Anything is Possible.

So until my next dance on Indian transport to get to me to the mountains I will sign off. The lady in the internet has just worshipped one of the many gods and waved a huge bundle of incense in the room I am slowly about to pass out although it is a sweet fresh fragrance that is refreshing form the streets of Delhi."
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 08:03 PM
  #233  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bokhara, that makes me want to write Greg and tell him, go to Jaipur! He loves rock-climbing, so I imagine that alone would appeal, but it sounds fantastic. Slavica definitely has a way with words. There seems so much serendipity in the world, and so much resonant vibrating of certain spirits, that it wouldn't surprise me if they ran into each other. (And no, I'm not one of those New-Agers.)

Just had an e-mail from West's mother (West was Greg's hitchhiking companion across the United States and is still scruffing around the east coast - spent three months in the northeast (most recently staying in a communal space known as the Nut House) and is now in North Carolina, with plans to head for Florida before too long and to return to the Bay Area at the end of summer. West's mom mentioned that "Like Greg, he has a charm and kindness that engenders amazing generosity and a distinct lack of strife and 'trouble.'" They both really are extraordinary fellows. I just hope they can hang on to their youthful idealism and find good places in the world in which to do their important work.
artsnletters is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 08:34 PM
  #234  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,183
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
Artsnletters, I could give you Slavica's email address for Greg if you drop me a line at bokhara77athotmaildotcom. I know they'd have a great sympatico if it happened that they did meet.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2010, 09:14 PM
  #235  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15,183
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
' "Like Greg, he has a charm and kindness that engenders amazing generosity and a distinct lack of strife and 'trouble.'" They both really are extraordinary fellows. I just hope they can hang on to their youthful idealism and find good places in the world in which to do their important work'

Your comments pique something I've been thinking about apropos those "kids" of all ages who have difficulty fitting into the expected moulds at school and afterwards. There's a thread on 20somethings still finding themselves on the Lounge just now. Some of these folk are not going to fit happily into the "Corporate suit" literally or metaphorically. Yet those attributes which set them apart and make them an awkward fit in many, if not most, traditional business careers, are often the very same values/appearances/attributes which make them tailor made for work with people in societies with a different world view. These societies might be on our own doorsteps or scattered around the world, but an important and common thread is the difficulty professionals can have in gaining the trust essential to help. Their open manner and genuine interest isn't hindered by their dress or mannerisms as it can be when most of us step outside our usual niches. And just as importantly to bring some of the positive attributes & values of "developing", marginalised and fringe societies into the "mainstream" society in which many of us dwell.

Imagine the alchemy if the skills "The Scruffman" & his compatriots employ to get around the world were put to use in solving some of the problems and enhancing the communication & understanding between those marginalised by geography or other factors and we who think we live in the epitome of a civilized society.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 09:12 PM
  #236  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bokhara, it's taken me a while to post here again because I wanted to give your last post the attention I feel it deserves.

So many people who value "hard" careers - business types, engineers, medical personnel, etc. - forget that, first, many people don't have the aptitude for those jobs, and second, that there are many other very useful functions that people can serve who have a different set of talents and a different kind of intelligence. Even the artistic types: would any of us want to live in a world with no art, no music, no fiction or poetry? Van Gogh sold what, two paintings in his lifetime? Would our world be richer if he had given up and gone into some other line of work?

"People" people will never make the money that the people with "hard" skills do, so they will never have as pretty of lives, but we need them and their gifts. As our economy becomes increasingly global, we will need people who can communicate and relate to a wider range of people, who can walk through the financial district or a slum with equal comfort and speak to whomever they encounter there, who can relate equally to a fellow-countryman or someone from the other side of the world, in our land or theirs. The world's becoming a smaller place, and someone like Greg will be more able to circumnavigate it than those who take the more conventional path of college-business suit-career.

It's worth my adding that both Greg and his friend West, who is so similar to him, have both been self-supporting and independent since they were 18. They don't expect to be taken care of. They are comfortable living close to the ground, their material wants are few, their imagination and energy and love are boundless. You could not wish for better friends, or for better people to walk the earth with you.

Because they are not bounded by conventional expectations, the world has far more possibilities for them than most of us can see - and those possibilities are not just personal, but also global. I wish there were more like them.
artsnletters is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 09:12 PM
  #237  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And now I will close this chapter, and open another:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...n-in-india.cfm

Hope to see you all there!
artsnletters is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #238  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,109
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Arts, and who is to say that those of us who live more simply than the moguls with money don't have as pretty a life as they do? If you mean that we don't have a home that would grace the cover of a magazine or clothes that would fit a magazine, you are right. However, we have time to stop and marvel at the small beauties around us each day. Watching the earth come back to life after winter, feeling a cat go nose to nose with you, smelling all those things that make up each season, hearing a child exclaim, "Oh, I get it!" after you have spent hours trying different approaches to get across a concept needed for the next step in the curriculum, sitting on the grass watching the light change minute by minute in the garden, watching a poppy bud open to a full flower, hearing and seeing the excitement of a child as s/he shouts, "OH, Miss___ (or Aunt)come see_____!"

Your Greg will get all of this and so much more. He will contribute to the world in many ways. He is truly a young man of whom you can be very proud! Thanks for sharing him with us!
irishface is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2010, 09:50 AM
  #239  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just topping this in case anybody missed the transfer to the Asia forum, where the Scruffman is still having interesting adventures:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...n-in-india.cfm
artsnletters is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 09:49 AM
  #240  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is great reading. What an adventure.
henny16 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -