12.21 pass the salt

today we visited my mom's family in malia (pronounced 'maariya'), gujarat.

the road here from gandhidham where we are staying is nothing like the road we took yesterday. it's very developed and industrialized, with a multitude of trucks carrying goods across the province.

i ask the driver to stop and back up the car for a photo. when i get out of the car, i am in front of a mountain of white powder (funny enough, there is a sign out front that says: "gujarat coke ltd". no, it's not cocaine. it looks like snow but it's not snow either. it's salt. mounds of refined salt that comes from the salt flats we pass a few kms ahead. this area is a shallow tide region. when the shallow tide comes in, miles and miles of salt water are trapped by manufactured square plots. over a few days, the salt dries in the sun and is scraped away to be refined, finally ending up on the tables people across the southern part of the province.

out from nowhere, we see a tribe of indian bedouins leading their brightly dressed and laden camels down the roadside. they actually construct entire beds on top of the camels, capable of carrying up to six people on a journey! unike other folks who don't like to have their picture shot, they smiled as i insisted we stop to take pictures.

the family visit was pretty cool. i got to meet my mom's cousin, akbar (better known as 'biku'), his sons and their families. the littlest one was his granddaughter, unika (pronounced 'ooneeka'), who i got to spend the day playing with before sitting down to a traditional dinner. funny, there was no salt shaker at the dinner table.

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