blue blood sucking

May 17, 2010

I just watched a documentary on the relationship between a shorebird and a crab-like creature – the red knot and the horseshoe crab. The birds depend on the excess horseshoe crab eggs as fuel for their multi-day migration from the southern hemisphere to the arctic where they mate.

The horseshoe crab has a very interesting history – it is a very old creature and scientists, ecologists and medical researchers are very interested in it for various reasons. In particular, its miracle blue blood is of great interest to medical researchers and led to a disturbing scene (to me) in the documentary of a row of horseshoe crabs being bled. I couldn’t help thinking of the ethics behind this practice even though the blue blood is life-saving for humans. In fact, this catch-bleed-return policy is not without trouble; there is a 10% to 15% mortality rate.

The medical research and blood extraction is not the horseshoe crab’s worst problem. It was (and still is) over-harvested for use as bait for eel and conch traps. Millions of horseshoe crabs were harvested (easily since they crawl to the beach to lay their eggs) until the effects were seen on the red knot population that depends on them for food. Currently there is a moratorium in some states and the outlook seems promising, but the timing is critical – will the horseshoe crabs rebound before red knots go extinct?


drill baby drill

May 13, 2010

Imagine if John McCain was running things. Little disasters all over the place. Drill baby drill. When will we learn?

earth hour sucks

March 23, 2010

Earth hour sucks because:

  • people think that by turning off their lights for an hour they are now environmentalists.
  • people think that they have done their part for the environment and can slack off for the rest of the year.
  • people I know are planning a huge candlelight party with a large carni-BBQ with cold drinks and don’t understand why it’s ironic.
  • the popularity of Earth Hour has made it into a trendy meaningless fad.
  • I think I was correct about the impacts of token behaviour.
  • I heard someone lecture a person in India about how they should be more ‘green’ like us Canadians.

Yeah, Earth Hour has some good points like communicating as a symbol of the changes we can make. So, I’ll do it anyway since I’ll probably be asleep.

stars on the beach

February 23, 2010

One night in Goa, we went to the beach at eleven at night and stayed there until almost one o’clock just lying on some beach beds that we dragged onto the sand. Besides the roar of waves in almost pitch black darkness and the cool sea breeze, I was blown away by the sheer multitude of stars. You could clearly see the hazy mist of the Milky Way and the larger stars were quite low in the sky.

As an added bonus, besides the wonderful company and the peaceful drowsiness that the night beach air causes, we were treated to a wonderful display of shooting stars. It was quite a beautiful experience.

sea pebble

February 9, 2010

Today I had one of the best meals ever. We went to Sea Pebble in Dona Paula, Panaji. We had crab sukh, rava fried kingfish, papads stuffed with prawns, fried prawns and pomfret curry with rice. For dessert we had tender coconut souffle (which was really a panna cotta). All of this washed down with kingfisher beer and lime soda.

The view from this restaurant is absolutely breathtaking. You sit on the beach under a thatched palm roof overlooking the mouth of the Zuari river as it meets the Arabian sea. The food was incredible especially the papads and the pomfret curry. The view was beyond compare (at least for now).

aah goa

February 8, 2010

I had a really nice time last night at this beautiful restaurant on the Mandovi river. The tables are right on the water’s edge and the light breeze is so wonderful. This is Goa at its best – eating in a garden at the edge of a river late at night in the open air.

The pulao and fish was the best I have had here on this trip. The rest of the food was just okay but the ambiance more than made up for it – even if they served the food at 11 pm! Eating in a typical outdoor Goan garden is a wonderful time.

tender and sweet

February 8, 2010

Today we went on a trip to Curtorim to visit a friend. On the way there we had freshly squeezed sugar-cane juice with ginger and lime – unbelievably refreshing in the hot sun. The property we visited, on the edge of the Zuari river, had coconut, breadfruit, drum-stick, cashew and mango trees. After harvesting some coconuts (in search for tender ones) we tried our hand at husking and cutting them. The couple of tender ones we found were wonderfully sweet.

After many fun conversations, taking a bagful of unhusked coconuts as a parting gift, we left to go back home. We made a little side trip for lunch – bhel puri, pani puri, sev batata puri, ragda patties and onion bhajias. We also stopped for some tender coconuts and tadgola for dessert. Very stuffed right now, but heading for a post-wedding dinner in an hour or so.