headermask image

roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Cleaning up

Wow – what a week. Since the last post we’ve had parties, packing, projects, finals, food poisoning, giardia, and rubella (German measles). Susan and the kids blast out of Jakarta the evening of the last school day, while I have the responsibility of representing the Stutz family at the variety of farewell happy hours and parties that afternoon (darn).

As I was taking down the room today, I ran across some signs that have been hanging in various classes for the past few years that the kids made. Alea’s is from when she was in Pre-Kindergarten in Honduras, and Breck made his for me when we moved to India. I’ve had them in all my classes since they were created, and thought I needed to make sure I scanned and saved them!

From Alea, 4 years old - "Daddy I love you this much" with spread arms
Alea’s picture is about a meter wide and resembles where her arms would be if she were stretching for a hug. Her entire class made them for Father’s Day (which is celebrated in March in Honduras).

From Breck, 7 years old - "Don't use a calculator to cheat (use your brian)" Love the creative spelling!

Breck’s was a sign he made one afternoon in Mumbai, when he came in and we were talking about knowing math facts versus using a calculator. He decided my students needed a warning sign, so he created one for them (with a creative spelling of “brain.” Maybe that was a shout out to his uncle!)

What else do you need?!

Child Beer and English for saleNot a fantastic photo by any sort of journalistic standards, but it is a great India shot.

In addition to the infamous “Child Beer” for sale at this Jaisalmer shop, this place also specializes in that ever-elusive “English” to go with their burgeoning wine and beer supplies.

Cheerio, little kiddies!

In the Navy

Sign along the highway extolling the virtues of the Indian navyYou can make the bad guys bleed

In the Navy

You will sweat in times of peace

In the Navy

As you sail the Indian Sea

In the Navy! In the Navy!

They want you, they want you, they want you as a new recruit…

(this is a signpost that we’ve passed for years on the way to the airport, and I finally got around to taking a picture of)


There has to be an explanation for this: Boutique Cum Snack BarUm, I think will pass on the that after-work drink. I wonder how this place ends up stocking ’boutique’ flavors – special diets? On second thought, I’m not quite that interested in finding out.

This wasn’t quite when I had in mind when people were talking about the new place in town to wet their whistle. I must’ve missed the memo that explained all this…

Oh – that explains it.

Here is the reason that road repairs take forever, explained in a sign at the Chennai (India) airportReally, I had a big long blog explanation all typed up, and just deliberately deleted it.

There really is no need for anything other than this sign, as the picture says everything that needs to be said.

Now you know why road repairs – here in India, and probably everywhere else in the world – take forever to finish up.

You’re welcome.

How good is your school?

So I’m back from a long weekend in the extreme India city of Varanasi, and instead of concentrating on posting pictures and the travelogue from that fascinating city (and finishing up the still-undone pages from our Jodhpur trip), I’m posting a few funny pictures. I did put some shots up on Facebook, so if you are my friend you can see them here.

But the topic of today’s post is schooling in India. While visiting Varanasi, I noticed that there are several different ‘levels’ of schooling available. Let’s look at them, shall we (and please note that this entire post is firmly tongue in cheek).

At the top of the heap, the "persnolity" developing ApexAcademy

At the very top of the heap is the Apex school, of course. Notice the emphasis on “Persnolity” development; extremely handy to perfect.

At the second tier, the Bright school

The second tier of learning is for the Bright kids – they may not be at the very top of the heap, but they’ve got some things going for them.

Standard Public School

And if you set your sights just a little bit lower, you can attend the Standard Public School. The horizons might be closer, but, you know, it is…standard.

Make your child indifferent

And, down at the bottom, I love this particular school. They are so very proud of their slogan – it is repeated on many signs around town. So now you know where all the slouch-shouldered, sullen Indian kids get their education.

Indifferent children of the world, unite!!

Because it is your own fault if they are taken…

Make sure that your shoes are not stolen by someoneThere’s no law that says signs have to make sense. On a recent temple visit, I snapped a picture of this warning sign by the shoe storage area. (FYI, whenever you enter any kind of Hindu temple, Jain chapel, Islamic mosque – basically any house of worship that is not Christian – you take off your shoes and leave them outside. This is a sign of humility, as well as an effective way to keep some of the street filth from being tracked in – which is why we absolutely take our shoes off when entering our house. You don’t want to track ANY of that stuff in. Shudder.)

In any case, we do know that – while rare – shoe thievery from temples does happen. It happened to someone from our school (who shall remain nameless), who wore his brand new fancy dancy dress shoes (to a funeral, no less!) and ended up having to walk back to the car in his socks. He was especially ticked because he had just bought them recently, but had put off wearing them much so as not to scuff or mar them. I’ll bet the shoe thief was thankful for that!

In any case, we’ve never had such bad luck, but I do find the sign interestingly amusing. I wonder what sort of karma would apply to someone who stole a worshiper’s shoes – what would he be reincarnated as?

I’m alaughing

Hot stuff, man.

Saw this at the Aquathon last week. And I know, I know, this probably is technically correct English, but it just isn’t something that, really, would ever be written this way.

Thanks, Eddy, for noting the issues I had with the original post for today (which has now disappeared into the bologsphere!)

Wouldn’t wearing a helmet be more practical?

Oh God!I understand the power of prayer: it makes people feel that they are taking whatever steps they can to control situations that are beyond their control. But man, not doing anything else really seems to defeat the purpose.

I read these stories about people who would rather ask for divine intervention instead of getting a blood transfusion, or those who think that chanting a mantra over and over again will be more effective than seeking (and following) medical advice, and I just shake my head.

Here in Bombay, we see a ton of people who have a helmet on their motorcycle, because the law demands it. Notice that I didn’t say ‘On their heads,’ because that would be a lie. They carry the helmets around on the handlebars or by their feet, rather than wearing them, just so they have something to show a police officer. I know it is Christmas time and God’s probably feeling pretty generous right about now, but don’t you think He has more important things to worry about then precautions you could be taking?

Anyways, long lecture about this license plate we saw in McLeod Ganj.

Which is worse?

Cleanliness in MumbaiWashing your car or urinating in public?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too, but apparently the city of Mumbai doesn’t agree with my assessment of the situation. We went downtown the other week and I was able to snap this picture of a ‘civic awareness’ sign.

While it is certainly interesting that a car wash sets you back about $20, and that feeding animals will ding you $10, the far more fascinating bit is that it is apparently worse to let a dog “go” in public than for a person to drop trou! Again, the priorities and heirarchy of concerns are fantastic.

I’ll jump on the bandwagon that an acquaintance of mine here in Bombay started. Actually, he’s not really an acquaintance yet, since we haven’t met in person, just electronically. He’s the dad of a student I teach, and we seem to share a lot of the same amusement at Indian quirks. In any case, he set up a Facebook album of Indian Street Signs that I hope you can see. I’ll post a few more of those that we’ve come across as well – although to be honest, I’m afraid we’ve gotten so used to them that it is hard to ‘notice’ how funny they are any more…