Thanks to my peeps for the interest and encouragement on the blog, I’ll see if I can keep it up. Also, because I think I have some readers who I haven’t talked to for a while, a bit of an update on what I’ve been doing and what I’m doing now.

I’m currently in New Delhi (and safe, though my thoughts go out to those in Mumbai or otherwise affected by the shocking attacks there) visiting and working a bit with my colleague and friend Conor Reynolds (who is here with his wife Rebecca). Conor is a fellow researcher at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability – on setting up a measurement campaign to measure the health- and climate-harming air pollutant emissions from the 3-wheeled auto-rickshaws that are an important part of the transportation system in Delhi and many other Asian cities. I’m helping out because I just spent 5 years studying air pollutant emissions and thinking about their impacts during my graduate studies (here’s a link to my research group if you’re interested in the more gory details…) and am excited about applying my experience and skills to such an interesting problem. Figuring out how to do urban transportation well is never simple, and in the context of a rapidly-developing and urbanizing country like India, it’s a huge puzzle. We’re trying to do our little part to at least figure out where all the missing pieces are…

The conference I attended in Bangkok and this project in Delhi are the work-related reasons that I’m in Asia, and what I’ve been focusing on for the past few weeks. But the main purpose of the trip was to get a little respite from work, or at least from the fairly single-minded focus that comes with graduate studies, and to get a break after the final slog through my dissertation work this spring/summer, the move to Vancouver, etc.

So, now I sit in Delhi and I’ve had some amazing experiences that I hope to write about in detail soon. I can’t at the moment, as I’m going to go for a bike ride through Dehli with my new friend Tak (Delhi-resident, generous host, fellow Berkeley to Pittsburgh transplant, and all around good guy). A few highlights: midnight walk through a Sufi shrine in Nizamuddin, late night (amazing) BBQ at a tire-repair slash kebab joint, a walk-about and visit to Humayun’s Tomb with my new friend Pete from UBC, open market snack foods, amazing chai and a rooftop Thanksgiving potluck with a International bunch of expats. Hmm, most of those involve food, don’t they… A few pics at the top, more will follow.

This weekend I head up North to Rishikesh (a mountain town on the Ganges river where the Beatles got their guru on in the sixties) and then to visit another Indian University. I’ll hopefully get a chance to write in more detail on some of the other stuff soon.

Tuesday night I’m supposed to be flying back to Bangkok to continue with my Southeast Asia travels and to really get into the non-work part of my travels. That is if I can get back into Bangkok

My exit from Bangkok was fairly dramatic. A rush to the Indian embassy to pick up my Visa, followed by an ‘exhilarating’ taxi ride with a pleasant, friendly old taxi driver who evidently both took my rush to make my flight seriously and has Formula 1 aspirations. I’ll just say that we tested the width of the road and the narrowness of the car (passing on every shoulder available), topped out at above 160 kph (100 mph) and when he pulled up the airport terminal (and I unclenched my fists from the upholstery) he looked back at me, beamed and giggled and put up his hands over his head in triumph and yelled, “CHAMPION!!!”

I was laughing all the way through airport security. I think it somehow prepared me for Delhi roads as well. If it doesn’t kill ya, it’ll make a good story…

Ok, I hope all are well and enjoying a nice holiday (for those in the US). I’ll post more soon. (Including some animal pics Adam and co.!)