Zentraedi
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The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:15 am

Well, this article has been making the rounds online :

WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictu...tos-chinese-netizen-reactions.html

Just looking at that puts the whole Commonwealth Games Fiasco into perspective.

Many of those pics are way beyond the pale, but having been to India in the past, sadly much of it doesn't surprise me. Some people claim that level of poor sanitation is caused simply by poverty. I'd question that as I've much more livable and sanitary conditions across parts of Africa, which are much poorer.

"It's their culture" is another excuse might be used to explain this, but I don't find that acceptable. Personally I find this on a level way beyond anything permissible in the rest of the modern world. Am I too prudish and western? How do some of you feel?
 
geekydude
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:45 am

Quoting Zentraedi (Thread starter):
WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

I am speechless.
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MD-90
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:01 am

The power of photojournalism. A truly sad situation.
 
Nimish
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:05 am

Jeez - this was disturbing - I wish the govt would do something to ensure that the bodies are fully burnt before being dumped into the Ganges!
Incredible India!
 
Superfly
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:07 am

Quoting Zentraedi (Thread starter):
WARNING: GRAPHIC, POTENTIALLY DISTURBING IMAGES

http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictu....html

I'm speechless.

Is this a prime example of renewable resources, sustainable living and not leaving a carbon footprint........?
Bring back the Concorde
 
MD-90
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:10 am

Quoting Nimish (Reply 3):
I wish the govt would do something to ensure that the bodies are fully burnt before being dumped into the Ganges!

It takes a lot of energy to fully cremate a human body. It's quite difficult to do without adding pressure to increase the heat.
 
Acheron
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:15 am

I think I won't be going to India for a while.

I'm aware every country has its very, very nasty side be it high murder rates, uncontrolled poverty, etc. ...but seriously...this is just a wee bit too much for me.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:46 am

Birds gnawing on entrails bursting forth from a badly bloated woman's abdomen...how lovely.

Natural processes are a bitch, eh?
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Springbok747
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:57 am

Absolutely disgusting. Can't imagine the kinds of diseases those people bathing in that filth will get.
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:23 am

Eek that has put me right off wanting to visit India.
 
oly720man
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:24 am

It would seem that poverty is the cause of so many bodies.

Sometimes, if a family cannot afford firewood for cremation, a half-burned corpse is thrown into the water. A verse from the Mahabharata promises, "If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honoured, in heaven."

http://www.zeenews.com/news598802.html#

(page 2)
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sw733
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:21 pm

Quoting Acheron (Reply 6):
I think I won't be going to India for a while.

The thing about India is, more than anywhere else in the world that I have ever been, it is a land of DEEP contrasts. Lots of new money next to some of the most incredible poverty on the planet. Some absolutely beautiful natural (and artificial) wonders next to...well, the things in these pictures. I have seen a body floating in the Ganges before...but I have also seen the beauty of India's natural wonders. It is still someplace I consider myself privileged to have visited, and continue to visit, but...it is just a very, very, very contrasted nation.
 
gosimeon
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:42 pm

Quoting oly720man (Reply 10):
It would seem that poverty is the cause of so many bodies.

Sometimes, if a family cannot afford firewood for cremation, a half-burned corpse is thrown into the water. A verse from the Mahabharata promises, "If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honoured, in heaven."

http://www.zeenews.com/news598802.html#

Wow. It's amazing how religious ritual can be so messed up.


Shocking photos. In a way, perhaps it shows a comfort (or acceptance) with death we cannot understand?

Horrible. I guess when you throw bodies in a river, this is always going to be the result.
 
comorin
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Quoting geekydude (Reply 1):
I am speechless.

You better be or you know who will be here to flame you  

The Ganges is the holiest of rivers and people bring bottles of Ganges holy water to sprinkle on stuff. Even if you don't cremate on the banks, disbursing ashes in the waters is considered good for the journey to the hereafter.

India, unfortunately, is one of the world's dirtiest countries. Homes are generally kept very clean, but everything is dumped outside. If you live there, your brain and eyes shut it out, and you watch what you step on. If you been away for while, your defenses are down and you end up dazed, muttering "The horror, the horror...".

Forget the F-16s, what the country needs is a million public toilets with public cleanliness enforced at the end of a gun.

China used to be a filthy place too in the rural areas, my Chinese friends tell me. I presume it has become a lot cleaner with prosperity, as it citizens take well to discipline.
 
PPVRA
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:50 pm

Was that a skull with eyeballs rolled back in it?   

All I can hope for is that India continue its reforms and this will sooner rather than later be history.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Emirates773ER
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:01 pm

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
The Ganges is the holiest of rivers and people bring bottles of Ganges holy water to sprinkle on stuff. Even if you don't cremate on the banks, disbursing ashes in the waters is considered good for the journey to the hereafter.

How can a sane person living in the west bring back a bottle of that river is beyond me.
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comorin
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:59 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):
All I can hope for is that India continue its reforms and this will sooner rather than later be history.

There are no grass roots social reformers left in India AFAIK. The prevailing thinking is that get 'rich quick' trickles down and solves all problems, and China seems to be the example.

An interesting parallel in NYC is when the subway cars were old and dingy, they were also dirty. When they were replaced with new shiny cars, people were careful to keep them clean.

In the West too, not too long ago, there was filth and open sewers everywhere (think Dickens' London). Rising prosperity after the Industrial Revolution brought cleanliness and sanitation. Hopefully this will happen in India too.
 
usflyer msp
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:11 pm

I visited Varanasi this March and I can definitely say it was one of the most interesting places I visited in India but also definitely the most vile. I could not believe that people bathed in that cauldron of filth and disease called the Ganges river. You could not take two steps without stepping in cow dung or seeing animal and human remains. All that said the Ghats are very unique and you def. know that you are in India. BTW, taking pictures on the burning ghats is considered very rude.
 
geekydude
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:48 am

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
You better be or you know who will be here to flame you

If flaming solves problems, then bring on the flame!  

Seriously though, I was just taken aback at how funerals are performed differently in different places. In China, for instance, most bodies are cremated and ashes put into an urn or box. This way there is less pressure to covert land into large cemeteries. Urbanization and population growth have already been taking a toll on the total acreage of arable land. Giving everyone a traditional coffin burial is just too impractical. Of course, there are exceptions made to ethnic minorities whose traditions or religious beliefs go against body cremation. Chinese Muslims can bury the dead the traditional way in a casket without cremating the body. The Tibetans, for instance, also perform their own unique way of burial. The so-called Tibetan Heavenly Funeral is done such a way that basically the body is cut to pieces, mixed with flour , and then fed to the vultures. The Tibetans believe that this way the dead can be taken to heaven by the vultures. To say that someone is to be buried underground is an big insult to them. Cremation is also performed in Tibet, but that's usually reserved to the high clergies.

Quoting Emirates773ER (Reply 15):
How can a sane person living in the west bring back a bottle of that river is beyond me.

Mystic oriental stuff appeals to certain people, that's all I can say, even though it's all BS if you allow me quote Penn and Teller.

Quoting comorin (Reply 16):
In the West too, not too long ago, there was filth and open sewers everywhere (think Dickens' London). Rising prosperity after the Industrial Revolution brought cleanliness and sanitation. Hopefully this will happen in India too.

There's a concept called the Environmental Kutznets Curve, which says that the environment quality of a country does not observe a linear relationship with the country's economic output. When you're in abject poverty, all you care is to have enough food and shelter. Therefore, development from this state is usual accompanied by a deterioration of the environment as the country moves from subsistence to industrialization which is typically very polluting in nature. Only when the quality of life is high enough and there's no imminent danger of starvation or diseases that people start to worry about the environment. As the living standard further improves, they will adopt more environmentally friendly but more expensive production techniques or simply shift dirty sectors to a foreign country.

So basically, yes, it's hopeful that a dirty country can have improved quality of the environment down the road, but that typically won't happen unless people's living standard is already substantially higher than the level under abject poverty. It will take time, and sometimes a long one.
FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
 
baroque
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:14 am

Quoting comorin (Reply 13):
Forget the F-16s, what the country needs is a million public toilets with public cleanliness enforced at the end of a gun.

There used to be a story about Gandhi and Kruschev basically towards that point.

India certainly does have problems. But if you can stay away from the sort of scenes in that link and away from the crippled beggars (even more difficult) India does have a great many positives. Trouble is the even greater number of people and a rather strange set of beliefs are crowding in on the good parts.

Makes you wonder if the 72 virgins method of getting to heaven might not be relatively harmless by comparison?????
 
lewis
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:13 am

Showed this to my friend who has been there. He told me that it is sort of like that but because this is a collection of images probably over a long period of time, it looks worse than it is. Still, he showed me pics of kids with Polio so severe that their knees would bend on the wrong side and to move they had to crawl or walk on all fours. They were told that although most of the diseases can be avoided through vaccination that is being offered, many people opt to get sick rather than getting immunized so as to help them with their begging, especially true for children. I am not sure if they also do it for religious reasons, the worse your time is in this life the better it will be after you die or something?

Quoting geekydude (Reply 18):
Only when the quality of life is high enough and there's no imminent danger of starvation or diseases that people start to worry about the environment.

Without taking care of the environment around you there is no way you can avoid imminent danger from disease.

[Edited 2010-10-29 20:19:30]
 
geekydude
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:55 am

Quoting lewis (Reply 21):
Without taking care of the environment around you there is no way you can avoid imminent danger from disease.

I was referring to mainly chronic diseases related to air and water pollution and malnutrition that do not kill you outright, at least not within a short time frame.

But I agree with you as well.
FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
 
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DocLightning
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:31 am

Quoting lewis (Reply 21):
They were told that although most of the diseases can be avoided through vaccination that is being offered, many people opt to get sick rather than getting immunized so as to help them with their begging, especially true for children. I am not sure if they also do it for religious reasons, the worse your time is in this life the better it will be after you die or something?

There are also a lot of Muslim Imams preaching that polio vaccination is a Western plot to sterilize kids.
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Kiwirob
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:25 am

I once had a discussion with one of my Indian colleagues about the squalor in India, she always denied it, she was always going on about how wonderful and modern India is, yesterday I showed her these photos, she went to the toilet and vomited.

I guess when you are high caste and come form a wealthy family you just don't notice the little people and the filth.
 
babybus
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:38 am

Jeez, that is the most sickening thing I have seen in the last 20 years. That's India off my desirable destination list.

I wonder was it like that when the British were looking after it?
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:30 pm

More disturbing than the bodies of corpses floating in the Ganges is the sight of mutilated children, some of them now adults, begging for a living. What else can you do when your hands have been chopped off? Still, India is a wonderful country and the above pics are much more the exception than the rule. The only off-putting thing I ever encountered was while walking the beach one day. An elderly woman walking in front of me suddenly stopped, lifted her sari, squatted and dumped on the beach. I was so taken aback I can't remember if she even bothered to cover it up or not , but I did resolve after that never to walk the beach barefoot.
 
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RJAF
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:52 pm

This is too much to bear! The Indian government has to obviously do something here and do it fast! I remember seeing 'Visit India' commercials on CNN a few years back and I promise you it was nothing like this.
Chance favors the prepared mind
 
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Aaron747
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:04 am

Quoting RJAF (Reply 27):
This is too much to bear! The Indian government has to obviously do something here and do it fast! I remember seeing 'Visit India' commercials on CNN a few years back and I promise you it was nothing like this

What is with the histrionics here? It is shocking, yes, but this is a fact of life for people around the world, and not just in India. Squalor and corpses abound are no unusual phenomenon in any impoverished area.
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babybus
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:57 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 28):
Squalor and corpses abound are no unusual phenomenon in any impoverished area.

Could you name some more countries like that, where corpses abound? I just want to put them on my avoid list too.  

I've been to some really poor places but I have never seen anything as disgusting as those photos. They don't raise any form of sympathy but pure disgust.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
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Aesma
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:30 pm

It's not culture and poverty but both at the same time. And I don't think it should be entirely changed, however installing modern crematoriums along the river could be a good idea.

About Africa, you don't need money to put people in the ground, if that's your culture.

About the releasing of body fluids and feces anywhere, I didn't know this until recently I read a book in which it appeared, I was clearly intrigued and disturbed, and that clearly has to change. Cow dung is not that worrying however.
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NoUFO
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:13 pm

Quoting babybus (Reply 29):
Could you name some more countries like that, where corpses abound? I just want to put them on my avoid list too.

You don't need to put India as a whole on your avoid-list. This is the situation in Varanasi first and foremost (to a lesser extend in other cities along river Ganges), and it is pretty much well-known actually. It is not that people *want* their deceased relatives to float down river Ganges, rotting and turning into dog or crow food. They cannot afford enough fire wood to properly cremate them. A 6-feet-under burial, however, is not what they anticipate as appropriate means to avoid reincarnation.

According to WHO, sanitation in Bangladesh and parts of Pakistan is even worse. As for seeing corpses, I'm sure you'll find them in the streets of Monrovia, Liberia.

Warning: viewers discretion advised!
http://www.vbs.tv/de-de/watch/the-vi...o-travel/the-vice-guide-to-liberia
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JL418
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:18 pm

Well, corpses floating in the Ganges aren't such a shocking news to me. Of course, seeing them is something different from hearing about it. What I was most shocked about were the images of people affected by devastating diseases, like the man involved in funerals and the elderly man. It reminded me in the most direct way that not everybody in the world has an NHS.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:08 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 23):
I guess when you are high caste and come form a wealthy family you just don't notice the little people and the filth.

Isn't it a pretty basic tenet that you don't sh!t where you eat, or bathe? I'm not trying to be coarse, but it seems like that would solve a lot of the problems of India's poor, especially along the Ganges.
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OA412
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:48 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 4):
Is this a prime example of renewable resources, sustainable living and not leaving a carbon footprint........?

No, it's a prime example of poverty and overcrowding gone haywire.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):
Was that a skull with eyeballs rolled back in it?  

Sure was. Scary stuff. I believe that another poster is right in that because this is a collection of images, the overall picture is far worse than it really is. That said, the situation is still very bad and will only get worse as India's population approaches 2 billion by 2050.
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comorin
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:20 am

Guys, its not that bad. This is sensationalist Mondo Cane stuff. Its a collection of images over the years.

There is still a lot of natural beauty in India. Granted, much of the area is semi-arid, and the topsoil is denuded, but it is big country with picturesque surprises, especially in the hills.

It is a deep and rich culture out there, and since we are all related in the end, it's worth a visit.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:38 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 33):
No, it's a prime example of poverty and overcrowding gone haywire.

I don't see any SUVs or McDonald's. These people aren't leaving a carbon footprint.
Looks like an ecotopia to me.....
Bring back the Concorde
 
Zentraedi
Topic Author
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:56 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 35):
I don't see any SUVs or McDonald's. These people aren't leaving a carbon footprint.
Looks like an ecotopia to me.....
 
Superfly
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:06 am

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 36):

That's not in the same part of India.
Also, that McDonald's doesn't have the evil Happy Meal with toys that caters to children.
Does that McDonald's even sale beef?
Bring back the Concorde
 
Springbok747
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:52 am

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 36):

That doesn't look like India..more like Pakistan.

But yes, India does have McDonalds..

http://www.mcdonaldsindia.com/
אני תומך בישראל
 
Kiwirob
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:24 am

It like the coke bottling plant some friends of mine saw, they were fittling the bottles with coke (like) syrup then topping them off with tap water and banging on a cap. After that my friends only drank coke from cans.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:06 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 39):
It like the coke bottling plant some friends of mine saw, they were fittling the bottles with coke (like) syrup then topping them off with tap water and banging on a cap. After that my friends only drank coke from cans.

What's so gross about that?
Bring back the Concorde
 
Zentraedi
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:51 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 40):
What's so gross about that?

Tap water in India will give you diarrhea. That's why it's often suggested that you only drink soft drinks or beer since they are supposed to have used purified water at the factory.

That's also why no one recommends bottled water in 3rd world countries,because it's too easy to put in tap water and make the cap look new.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Not So Beautiful Ganges River

Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:07 am

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 41):
Tap water in India will give you diarrhea. That's why it's often suggested that you only drink soft drinks or beer since they are supposed to have used purified water at the factory.

I didn't know he was talking about India.
In that case, yes that is gross.
Bring back the Concorde

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