Sunday, November 15, 2009


I'm finally feeling better after bringing back an unfortunate souvenir from India. Campylobacter. You supposedly get it from eating undercooked chicken, but I've been chicken-free since 1998, so who knows what happened...

One of the more interesting cities we visited was Chandigarh, which was planned out by Le Corbusier in the '50s after the Punjab's historic capital was partitioned over to Pakistan.

To check out the High Court, Assembly, and Secretariat buildings, we had to wait an hour for a signature from the Department of Tourism and another hour for permission from the Chief of Protocol. Funny...the electricity went out while we were sitting in a government office. The workers passed the time by suggesting KFC as a lunch spot and observing that Mexicanos look like Indians. "You have the Red Indians, do you not?"

The verdict...I like Le Corbusier's architecture as stand-alone modernist designs, but his master plan gave rise to a harsh, disconnected city that's tough on the pedestrian. Why are the major government buildings waaayyy to the north rather than a central location? Where are the sidewalks? Why must the neighborhoods have such wonderfully mechanical names like Sector 18 and Sector 22?

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