Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 19: Dirty/Clean

Where to begin?

Hi, everyone. We apologize for disappearing for a month with no explanation. Sarah and I have both totally been neglecting the Internet these days. You can't blame us though. We've been wrapped up and enjoying our families, friends, and each other. You can imagine how nice it feels for us to be back home and we're enjoying every moment of it.

Now that we are both pretty much settled, we're hoping to rekindle our relationship with the Internet and our blog. We are going to try and catch up with the posts we've missed over the last month and then get back on track with posting once a week.

This week it's all me (Mary) and the next post will be all Sarah (you'll be able to check that out in the next couple of days).

So, we're back and we hope you are too.
We'd love to hear from you so leave us a comment below so we know who's reading! We've missed hearing from all of you over the last month.

Dirty and Clean (Mary)


While India is certainly full of beauty, there is absolutely no denying or arguing against the fact that India is one dirty place. With over a billion people and many environmental issues plaguing the country, India is in some serious trouble when it comes to the environment.

Black smokes pumps out of vehicles and fills the streets, leaving people literally blackened. I read that air pollution in many Indian cities has measured more than double the maximum safe level recommended by the WHO. The streets are a bad place to be, but are exactly where everybody is, selling their goods, eating, and living. Garbage is chucked nonchalantly onto the streets, animals are rummaging around eating the garbage and there seems to be a general lack of care for the cleanliness of the streets.

But the pollution on the streets does not compare to the waters. Pollution in India’s waters, especially the rivers, is possibly the biggest threat to public health. In Varanasi (or ‘Varanasty’ as our friend Javeed lovingly refers to it), where the Ganges River flows, the ‘dirty’ is ever present.

The Ganges, the holiest place for Hindus, is filthy. The Ganges is, ‘Mother’, to Hindus. She delivers happiness, salvation and is an intrinsic part of many devotees’ lives. They come to the river to pray, bathe, and even to die. This water is also sipped by some, which is incredible given the state the river is in.

Parts of the river are actually septic meaning that no dissolved oxygen exists. There are approximately 32 points of raw sewage in Varanasi alone, flowing directly into where people come to take their holy dips. I read that water that is safe to bathe in should have less than 500 faecal coliform bacteria (yes, we’re talking about shit particles now) per litre, but in the Ganges there are 1.5 million.

Clean up the Ganges, that’s what I say.

(And while this may seem like a bash India rant, it’s not. India’s a fantastic place to travel, it’s just not the cleanest)


Having spent the last leg of our trip in India dodging cow and dog shit on the roads, passing endless piles of smellllllllly trash and generally feeling pretty disgusting, it sure was nice to come home to a clean house, a clean bed and my neat freak of a father.

Calling my dad a ‘neat freak’ may actually be an understatement. He is an all-out machine when it comes to cleanliness and order. His motto is and if only you could hear him say this with his no bullshit face, ‘you see a mess, you clean it up!’. We live by this motto at our house.

The lawn is cut in perfect diagonal lines, the sinks are cleaned out after (almost) every use, beds are always made, cups and food are not left out and about, and the dishes after all meals and snacks are washed (by hand) immediately. Every cupboard, shelf and desk top is organized. Most often my dad can be found dusting, sweeping, and picking up dog hair and keeping the house spotless. We won’t talk about his cars at this point because really, that’s a WHOLE other story.

So tell us, are you a neat-freak or do you live on the wild side and let the mess accumulate a little?


Nikki August 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Since I'm sitting here looking at two very large piles of laundry on my floor, empty bottles to be cleaned, and general mess in every direction I'd have to say that we are the kind of family that is messy...definitely not neat freaks :)

Myles August 11, 2010 at 7:05 PM  

Welcome back!

I used to be a clean / neat freak to the extreme but I was forced to become one of the messy masses for fear I'd turn obsessive compulsive. Now, my clothes feel more at home on a floor than in a wardrobe.

Laura August 11, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

I remember thinking, when I move out I can't wait to not have to make my bed everyday or do the dishes right after a meal. Then when I did move out I realized that I do need to keeps things neat and tidy. I am definitely a neat freak. Not on the same level as my father but I am still a classified neat freak. I like to get into a made bed at night and I like to keep things neat and organized. All the years living with a neat freak have definitely rubbed off on me.

Charlene August 11, 2010 at 11:37 PM  

Mary I'd like to borrow your Dad. My goal in life is to be neat ~~ not a neat freak ~~ just much neater.
India sounds disgusting I've no idea how you & Ben could hae stayed so long on tour.
Thanks for the post look forward to the next.

** Hope to finally meet you Thurs. If not pop by when @ farm

Mary August 12, 2010 at 8:09 AM  

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

I am mostly neat and I love a little organization and a clean home.

However, my dad might tell you otherwise, like when I forget to clean my used cup.. or gulp... it takes me until lunch time to make my bed.

Renata August 13, 2010 at 4:25 AM  

Dear Mar !

Is that a picture of your dear house where we used to have sleep-overs and B-day parties ....please say yes !

Oh, nostalgia is the sweetest :-)


ps: India has nothing on my room, totally embarrassed !

Mary August 13, 2010 at 8:48 AM  

Renata, it's the same house!

Bodh Photography August 13, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

A) 1.5 million shit bacteria per litre in the Ganges eh? That's one of the few "fun facts" that actually made me want to gag when I visualized people bathing in it. Just because it's holy doesn't mean its healthy?

B) Every time we visit your place, Jake and I are always throughly impressed with your Dad's landscaping. The "lawn is cut in perfect diagonal lines" part made me go, "YESSSSS".

I'm 1/4 slob, 1/4 pack rat and 1/2 clean freak. Don't ask me how that works, but I often find they compete with each other ;)

Anonymous August 16, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

Total neat freak! =)

Lee-Anne August 16, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

^that was me! =)

About the Project

As a way to stay connected through our travels and beyond, A Perspective Project was initiated by the desire to master our cameras, and to be creative and more observant of the world around us.


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