This Is Not a Postcard

Tales of 2 people on 3 continents

Rikshaw Chatter

BEEP. beep beep             bee-bee-beep

      beep [BEEP] BeeP
beeP beeeeeeeeeeeep! b-bEEP beep

BEEP | beep | beep | beep b-b-BEEP


View from the backseat of a Bangalore rikshaw

The rikshaws sound like birds, chattering.

I’m here! Where are you?

I’m over here. Here! Are you over there? ‘Cause I’m here!

Yeah, I’m still here. Hi, I’m here! So, where are you again?

Their babble is no easier for me to decipher than that of the cardinal, wood thrush or carolina wren. And they talk even when no one is around to hear. We discovered this speeding along the highway at 3 o’clock in the morning from the airport


They are colored and colorful, mostly yellow. They migrate across the city in flocks, generally tending in the same direction, occasionally behaving highly erratically.

Bangalore is a chatty, buzzy, smokey, beep beep sort of city. James and I spent our first day there in a jetlag induced haze, wandering around the least urban of Bangalore spots: Lal Bagh Gardens. Lal Bagh is centuries old, with rock formations that are apparently 3 trillion years old.

{what does that mean?}

The excursion was recommended to us by a couch surfing host named Pipson, after he saw on our profile that we were self-declared “tree huggers”. I think he took that literally. “Ah, so you like hugging trees? Well, have I got a tree for you…”

We fell asleep on a lawn, where other respectable folks seemed to be napping as well. When we woke up, we were surrounded by dozens of bubbly families, out strolling in the gardens on a cool evening.

Little exotic touches (to our eyes, anyway): Signs that say “WAY TO” as in “WAY TO TOILETS” and “WAY TO DRINKING WATER.” Trash bins shaped like tree stumps. No, they don’t blend in. Yes, a nice gesture. Dogs messing with monkeys. Monkeys not giving dogs the time of day.

Everyone seemed to be startled and amazed by the monkeys. It wasn’t just us. In fact, we seemed to be a little less tense about the whole monkey encounter thing; we can safely assume that the locals know something that we don’t.

Monkey, mid thought

A few updates on staying in touch:

  • You can view more photos at our Flickr site, including others from Hong Kong and Bangalore;
  • Our Google voice number is on our Contact Us page. It now bounces to our cell phone here in India;
  • Don’t forget to request a real live postcard anytime. Multiple requests welcome!
  • News from James: “Everyone’s nice, the food’s great, and I seem to be retaining water. Love to you all.”


  Francoise wrote @

I think I know why they are a bit afraid of monkeys: they steal everything! Your lunch, your wallet, your camera anything left unattended for more than 3 seconds. We witnessed this first hand.

  houndsofappalachia wrote @

Amazing-so well written and interesting!!!! I’m loving the animal and nature comparisons–the jungle and monkeys from your first post and the flocks of birds to rickshaws in the city in this one. I like the undertones in them. Thanks so much for an opportunity to get to know this place.

  Cordelia Rojas wrote @

They have been known to steal infants and the second most senior politician in India was killed by a gang of them. They are cunning and often work in groups to get what they want.

I’d say admire from a SAFE distance.

I love your blog by the way 😉

  soniamarcus wrote @

Thanks for the monkey tips!

  Kortney wrote @

We saw some great monkeys in Costa Rica as well. They’re fascinating. One large male white faced capuchin did start to sneak up behind Matt tho, so I wouldn’t put it past them to snatch your stuff. I hope you are enjoying everything. I know I’m enjoying reading it (although I am behind and have lots of catching up to do). The blogs are great! Hope to hear from you soon. Postcards are always accepted! *hint hint* lol =)

ta ta for now!

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