Hey everybody, I made it. I have had such a hard time finding a good computer or cyber cafe. My trip has been- adventurous and crazy all at the same time. I will be trying to catch this journal up in the next coming days. I have taken many many pictures. Cows are everywhere. I am in awe.....at all I see and do here.
I am loving it. I have a cell phone number if anyone wants to call me 9665928837 . I don't know if you need a country code for India...but that is my cell number. You can call and say hi for 2 or 3 min. I
I love everyone. Thanks for your support. Love my daddy and love my Nizz.
Somehow this long...long....journal entry got deleted. I am not going to re-write it just now. So I will give a brief rehashing of what happened.
I arrived at the airport in Mumbai. I called my contact. The contact did not answer the phone nor was the contact at the airport. I spent 3 hours walking around the airport. I finally took a taxi to the contact's address. They had moved. I spent 3 hours until 4a.m. in the morning walking around the streets. I took 3 different taxis trying to get to a hotel, almost punched one out. I had a bad...bad....night. But the next day....I got in contact with my contact. They are the releatives of one of my good friends. They are a very sweet couple...I call them Auntie and Uncle. They have a god-daughter named Bala. I find out later that it was all a mis-communication. They helped me so much while getting used to India. It's all good in the neighborhood.
Be thankful. That is what I would advise anyone to do. Be so very thankful. We complain...we fuss....we turn the world upside down about some very little things. I have seen some poverty here that makes my eyes sweat.
My first day in Mumbai was spent wandering around the city streets. I spent my first thirty minutes of daylight being followed around by a young beggar. He was a little boy...about 7 years old. He asked me for some money by holding his hand out and saying something I did not understand...surely it had to do with some money. He was missing one tooth---typical for his age....but beyond that he looked to be a picture of health. Were it not for his ragged and dirty clothes you would not have known he was homeless. My mind goes directly to the litle boy in "Slumdog Millionaire."
The question comes to me....what do you do? I have done much research about how to deal with beggars in this country and not to romanticize it. I have heard different things. On one level I know that my $1 is not going to save this boy or anybody else, just like one meal I serve at a homeless shelter is not going to free people from the demons that are haunting them. These things are but triffles. Meaningless.
Will this person eat a meal....yes....will it do more harm that good....probably. I have been told by Indians to ignore these people. My heart fights the ideas. Then they go on to explain to me why. These are the arguements. First: Anyone who wants a job can get a job....there are many (and I find this to be true...I will explain later). Second: By giving people money you cause them to make more money than a working person/ this destroys the value of work. (a person may beg a British couple: who because of imperialism and white guilt may feel bad...they give 10 British pounds . This person has just made more money in one begging than another working Indian will all month. so yeah, sit , don't work, hold out your hand, the rewards are astounding, add some dust to your clothing or go grab a baby you may get more) Third: I was told to give money to charities if I want to give and Fourth: Not only will you be surrounded by beggars who will follow you once you give one cent....you will contribute to crime (from young beggars). So I had made up my mind that I would not be the stupid tourist do-gooder...trying to help but hurting all the way. I am not so simple minded.
I had made my mind up that I would not let my heart get in the way of reason. I do empathize people to well. So this boy follows me from the Gateway of India. He follows me and continues to ask for money. I cross the street several times over thinking that he will be too shy to actively follow me. That does not work. He is very handsome. He would make somebody a good son. Somebody should be taking care of him. He was breaking my heart. He smiled...that ....look at my humanity an\d please give me some money sympathy smile. I was at odds with myself. Would I give him money so that he would stop following me? No...that is selfish. It was so ironic because it would seem to be selfish too...to not want to give someone something of yours...but I knew that that was n ot what was going on. Things are always much more complex than they seem on the surface ...of course. So my stomach is growling. I have just left the hotel in search of some breakfast. Mind you, I have still not contacted Anita's aunt yet. So I am worried and feeling quite destitute myself. My stomach is growling. I hope to find something to eat that is familiar...that won't get my western, virginal stomach sick. But how could I have enough nerve to go into a place and get someting to eat with this boy following me.
I won't lie. It hurt. I was hungry. I want to do right. I want to do good. I want to be a stand up person. I want to do what is right but what is right is not always easy. And what is right is not always fair. He follows me for 15 blocks. He gets close then stands back at times. I keep saying no. But he sees the way I stop at resteraunts and attempt to read the menu from the outside....and how I smell the air....and I look hungry. I think to myself...what if he is hungry? How dare I actually overlook another human being...and a child at that. I am educated....I am this ....I have that.....I have all kinds of blessings and opportunities....He is destitute...he is helpless. How dare I eat! How DARE ME! Oh......I still don't know if I did the right thing. I could not eat. I could not give him money. I could not fall into a self righteous trap. I walked and walked hungry. He followed and followed. If I even so much as looked like I was about to dart into a resteraunt he was at my side reminding me that he was hungry too. I want to cry right now. I don't know if I did the right thing. I want to to do the socially progressive....right....thoughtful....reasonable...morally right thing....but If i did or not I do not know. I remember wondering then....if this was a spiritual test for me. I am lonely and hungry. He is lonely and hungry. Did God, as Sojourner Truth once said....expect me to "give a little of my half portion"? Still I do not know if I have failed. I know that I will tell my students about him. I will remind them of the blessings and opportunities. I might cry. I might in fact forever regret what I did or did not do that day. Be thankful.
That boy. That little kid finally realized that I was not going to give him any money. He went back to where he found me. I ate eggs and toast. I didn't like the toast. It was triangle shaped in production. It was hard and the jelly was overly tangy....not like the jelly I am used to. It was like a jolly rancher spread. But after all of that you know I picked up that triangle toast...I was going to eat it whether Iiked it or not. So anyhow....Poverty.
I must tell you all about poverty. I had not really seen poverty until I cam to Mumbai. I was told by people that you spend much of your first days crying in INdia. I spent much of the night before looking at people sleeping on the street. I mean face to the concrete. The streets are nasty. Animal and human crap....spit....old food...rats...bugs....unsanitary other things. It smells on the streets. I was actually scared to breath when I first stepped onto the streets. I thought I was going to get every fungus, microbe, ameoba, paracite, bacterium and virus known to man. I was in the roughest part of the city. It smelled like incense one min. Dog and cow crap and human crap the next. Old food. Discarded trash everywhere. Dust, dirt, grime. Oh it was too 3rd world for me. I kept thinking why doesn't someone clean that up. Get it. Why is it like this? D@mn this is too much!!! I might die if I breath. Smells everywhere. We don't know what smells are in the U.S. Every 6 feet brings a new smell here. NOt all of them are bad. Sometimes I smell food, curry, flowers, incense, ....good smells. But it is a mixed bag most of the time. But poverty permeates. It goes down and deep...like smells can.
Poverty here is a mix of circumstance, globalism, prejudice, caste/class system, ignorace, lack of imagination, and sometimes just not knowing what the F&CK to do. So in all that cab riding I did the night before, being driven in circles, so that the meter went up....in all of that I saw at 2:00 am to 4:00 am a whole city of homeless people. People with not so much as a pillow, blanket, towel over their head. They only had the clothes that they wore and the bare hard concrete. I wondered to myself what would have to happen to me for me to end up so destitute that all I had were my life and the hard bare concrete on which to lay my human body. I can't even begin to answer that question. The likely hood is that I am too blessed with too many people and too many options than that. Besides, my friend Shana always told me that I would always have a place on her floor or couch or whatever she had....a thing echoed by all my aunts as well.
But I did not blink in the cab. Maybe that is why he was able to keep driving me around. Maybe I was hoping that the more we drove , the less people i would see....somehow making it better. NOt the case. At one stop I saw a naked, pamperless baby with one leg proped up, sleep next to his/her mother. Oh man! Is there a God I thought to myself (hypothetically). I saw so many people that night....in the moring. Roaming into another day of nothingness. How do we allow ourselves as humans to allow this to happen around us? In the U.S. it is usually drug or insanity that puts someone outdoors...not that that makes it any better, but there is a reason. In India there is no reason....at all.
I also saw cripples. They stop at your window at the stop light. This one man made me ashamed of my health. I could not look at him. He had a twisted harm that appeared to come out of his back, over his shoulder and hung right in front of his face. I have never in my life seen anything like that. If that is polio...I don't know...thank God for the vaccine. He was twisted. I want to curse....but there are no words strong enough to express how upsetting ....crazy....insane....I can't find words ....in the English language to explain my feeling......It makes me want to shoot into outer space, kick somebodies *SS. Return, throw the sun, smash the moon, bust a grap, rip out Bush's (all the Bushs') cold hearts, smite the rich, blow up something. Dig a hole through the Earth to China, spin the world the opposite direction, like Superman....and in all of that rage....that energy....that love for humanity.....and hate for inhumanity....set the world right side up. I am too much the idealist...but somebody has got to sit the world right side up.....be thankful.
Yesterday Shawn took me to the market so that I could buy a salawar kameez (2 picece) outfit. I knew that I could not do it without him. In India you really need a native to shop, really, to get anything significant done. So we jumped on the motorbike and went to the market. When he gets around crowds of people he begins to act really businesslike. So I just follow his steps. He puts on these dark black glasses and the show begins. It's really all a facade because he is really very goofy, bordering on annoying. So before we can get inot the market good, I am stopped. By my own self, or by someone else I cannot say. But I stopped. This market woman was selling these beautiful decoractive fabrics, very large ones. I want to look but one finds quickly in any foreign market that the seller quickly recognizes the interst in your face...and now they are after you. And if you are not seasoned in this market business they will make you buy. Before you know it, they will start pulling things out, take things down, and make a big mess. When you see the chaos you have created you feel responsible to buy something. They know this...and you will buy something. When they do that: take down the first thing, before they can reach for another, I start to turn away as I say, "No, I am only looking", with a lifted hand, as if I will be gone for good if they don't stop....then they know to give me some space. Well, that is how it works. So I I know all of the traps.
Anyway, I start looking at fabrics. Before I know it I am sandwiched between this market woman and her sidekick, a skinny little man. They are both looking at me in the eyes, all in a frenzy. Both of them are like a chorus of well tuned birds. "900 only 900..." she says shaking the fabric she thinks has caught my eye. "You like...ok, ok....What you pay?....look....look....nice.....ok......800 (both of them chimming in) ...what you say...no...this is hand made....ok another color....you just look...I make a good price...for you ...no that is too low."
Shawn walks over and tells me not to pay more than RS 200. I think he is a trader to his people, but I know he is being my friend. He is on my side. So he walks away to let me handle business and he watches me from a distance. I stand there, the center of a frenzy for five min. listening to these two coaxing me to buy these overpriced articles...which I might add, are gorgeous. Now I have got them. I state my price. They say it is too low. I start to walk off. Before I get two steps away they have already bagged the merchandise. I walk away with a silk, king sized fabric and a beautiful Rajistani quilted wall decor thing, the size of a (3X5) rug. Both for RS 500. I think I am getting the hang of it. I know just the wall in Nizz's house that I will hang it on.
So anyhow, I follow him into several frabric stores. He says something in a language that I do not understand. He is a shrewd businessman. He is a Punjabi. I understand that this is how they are. We finally get to a store he thinks is suitable. Before I know it we are headed upstairs to a private "show room" It is a small space, packed with folded precut fabric. I used to always wonder how Indian women manage to match their outfits so perfectly. It is done for them already. This is something Somalians should do because they never match. I try not to laugh at my students but I swear, some of the things the Somalians put on just crack me up. So anyway, we are in this room, sitting on the floor. The lady gets the ladder and before I know it fabric is flying through the air. Pow....Pow...right in front iof me. 20...30...40...She just keeps going. She will pull them all off the wall if I do not stop her ...so I do. I sift through at least 70 fabrics. Oh my God! Each one is more beautiful than the next. I am overwhelmed by the beauty. The only real solution would be to rob them of several hundred of them because I can't seem to make my mind up and I cert ainly don't have enough money. But I didn't come to India to rob anyone. I tell myself I need to get just one. I need just one. Get focused. Shawn offers his opinion. He likes one that I have picked out because he says it goes with my skin. I have two. I can't decide. So I buy both. One is orange and pink. The other is green and brown. Now we are off looking for a tailor.
We go from place to place to find a tailor. We went to ten tailors. They are all busy. I almost want to give up but I keep following him. He darts into a tailor shop. He says something like "harib enoke dodi 4 days" The tailor says, "No." (They are too busy). D@mn! I lose my steam. Finally, he finds one. I am UP again!!!! Now I am HAPPY!!!! (I am smiling right now thinking of it). I have my measurments taken. I warn them of my hips. The girl finishes but I hol my leg up to have my thigh measured. They are pretty big thighs. She is puzzled. Apparently, they do not measure thighs. But she measures my thigh anyway and she tells me it is 23 inches. Her assistant does not write that down.
So in 4 days I will pick up both of my beautiful outfits. That is what I always wanted. I slept after we had lunch. Shawn went to a "veg" resteraunt and I went to another because I wanted chicken,. It was so good. I had chicken rora (spicy garlic and onions) with naan (bread). I was stuffed. I went to sleep. When I woke up I noticed Sean had left. His motorbike was gone, that is how I could tell when he was off. He likes to drink beer with white folks and Indian tourists at a bar down the street. He watches cricket. He tried to have a conversation about cricket one time and I told him we don't care about cricket in America because it is a gay sport. And besides that I don't even know that that looks like....it doesn't come on tv. So I decided to go to the beach. It is about 9pm now. get my rose incense and my earphones. I sit on the beach up until 3 am listening to the music. I sit loving the ocean and loving me and thinking about my life and someone.
This morning I went to the balcony as I have done each moring. I shouted into shawns open door "Shawn" (what kind of Indian has that name?) He says, "Yes" with his Indian and somewhat gayish accent. I am glad I get to say goodbye. He is still there. He was suppose to leave at 7 am. I didn't want anything so I went back into my room. Later he calls me from his balcony. Though we have never discussed it or anything but I guess ou t of mutual respecet we agreed to a type of formalness between us. We talk to our respective balconies. My words leap from my mouth through the air and over to his balcony. And his words jump from his mouth to my balcony. Sometimes making it, sometimes not. Some things are....lost in translation. But we communicate this way...early in the morning.....late at night. He is in his chair and I in mine. We never knocked on each others' door. So I do not know if he was messy in there as I am in here.
But it was 6:45 am then. It is 9:10 am now. He is gone. He went back to Mumbai to run his father's pharmecutical business. He gave me a hug before I left. He didn't ask for my contact info. Nor did I offer any. We had fun. He was the first Indian guy I had ever gotten to know or had a conversation with beyond the corny ones I see at the gas station. And I was the first Black American woman he had ever gotten to know. I feel like I knew him for a long time. He helped me so much. He was my friend for a brief period of time. When he rode off on his bike I shouted "Thank you," from my balcony. He threw up his hand and put on those black glasses.....and I went to handwash my clothes.
Today is a chill day. For the first time in my life I have learned how to relax. I usually can't get to sleep or sit my butt down anywhere. Everybody who knows me know about my endless list writing. I can't function without a list. I got to keep something to do, to stay busy. Well you can't do more than you can do in Goa. They don't open anything until 11 a.m. just in enough time to get breakfast. They close from 12:30 - 2:00 amd re-open from 2:00 - 4 or until 8pm. Why? Because of colonization. The Portuguese have this custom and the Goans have stuck to it. Today I am at a resteraunt eating chicken Tikka Kabobs and garlic bread. I will be on te Internet most of the day and staying dry. I also began my book called "Hunger." It is a collection of Asian short stories. I finished James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk" a night ago. I did not like it. I was disappointed in him. Baldwin impressed me so much with his other works that this fell short of the glory. It was too romanticized. This girl gets pregnant ...uneducated...with her artist boyfriend who is unemployed...and the whole community comes together to save him from jail and her from poverty and despair. The way the families accept this news of his jailing and her pregnancy does not ring true....to life...or as real. Contrived. It's like he wanted to create the Cosby Show in the ghetto or something. I was so distracted by this un-reality. I think Black people can write stories of stuggle that can end happily....but he did a bad job. I will read "To Be Young Black and Gifted" by Lorraine Hansbury next.
Oh yes, the Monsoon has come. I never knew what a monsoon was. I know now. It is a tone of rain for long periods of time. It rains pretty here. Not like in the states where rain is paired with thunder and lightening. The sun shines and rains at the same time. I like monsoons.
I have lost track of days. I usually know when it is Monday or Thursday. I don't anymore. LOL.
I left for Goa this morning. I caught a bus from Baga Beach to Calunguete. From Calunguete I went to Panjim. From Panjim I went to an areas called ....Vasco De ....something. People have been so kind to me. They have helped me out along the way. I have found that the best thing to do in India is to take it easy, relax, and watch what everyone is doing. It takes alot of patience to stay and explore and travel this country. The language barrier, the fact that you don't always know the procedure and must depend on strangers, trust strangers is a new and interesting feeling. It gives you a certain kind of vulnerability. In essence, it takes some guts. Free traveling, or backpacking is not for the weak at heart. I got to the train station early, on purpose....and eventually I had to go hunt for food. I have become very particular about where I eat. It is so teasing, because there is street food everywhere. Anthony Bourdain can't handle India....its food food and more food. I want to try many things I see, but I can't afford to have digestive problems. So I am picky. Now don't get me wrong. I have my father's stomach. He used to eat 3 day old Varsity hot dogs we had left over from a trip to Athens. So I know I ain't born punkish but I couldn't stand the idea of throwing my trip off cause I want to eat...lol. I am happy here.
There are so many wonderful things to say about india. I am in wonder constantly. What beautiful people they are. They are a very generous and kind people. They are innocent and maddening at the same time. I will write more about that later. But for now Iam leaving the comfort of Goa. It was not easy. Goa made me think of a new home. Goa embraced me. Goa. It was not easy to leave Goa. I already know that I am going to cry alot before I leave this country. A part of me dies when I visit a place and then I have to return.
The benefit is that ...I mean in returning...is that I will have new students, a new school year, I can kiss on my boyfriend, catch up with my friend, get them Martinis rolling again...and lay on that $2,300 sofa I just finished paying for. LOL. I miss my apartment. I miss many things but for now....I am loving India.
I am in Bangalore: I got here today. I got off the train and headed to a budget hotel. I am comfortable in this city. It is pretty big. It is busy. Boy do Indians like honking their horns. I have watched people who can't stop. No one might be in front of them but they honk anyways. Habit I guess. Funny to me. What happens when the horn breaks....does it become unbearable? I already bought my train ticket for Trichy, very south. I am going to see a huge temple. It is from the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Beautiful. It is in the center of a temple town. These people here are dark like AFricans. Very dark. Darker than me. Indians are Dark. LOL. I am going to see a Bollywood movie after I type this.
So I am in Bangalore. I got out early today. I learned how to ride the buses here. I rode the bus 31 to "The Bull Temple". The bull temple is a hindu temple dedicated to the cow. Then I went to the "Ganesh Temple". This is the temple dedicated to the elephant god Lord Ganesh: the remover of obstacles. I went into both temples. I put money on the tray which contains a small fire. You place your hands over the fire and rub your hands across your forehead. These are very ancient rituals. I think that I am interested in the historical and social creation of the Hindus. I see their faith as an attempt to live with God...in some spiritual world that is grounded in a very physical world. I like the way the two meet. I am very objective about it all. I learned a long time ago...in things of a spiritual nature...never to think that I have found "the answer"....I am only human...it is impossible. I can seek out different means to try to understand....but all things are constantly changing...and as I have come to understand ...the mind is always changing....this is why there are no absolutes....I don't know anything...probably never will....but I try to understand....I try to make meaning in a crazy world...where everybody already thinks that they know....
I take my shoes off at the entrance. Someone watches shoes at the entrance for a small fee. 5 cent or so. So I sit in the temples, I watch people approach the diety...housed in a shrine....and alter. I see them offer flowers, coconut, banana and smoke. They are lighthearted and serious....they have done this a million times. It is part of daily life. They stand, bow, rotate, sit, pray.....say things that I don't think were meant for me to understand anyway. I look. I watch. I rang the bell once. It was neat. I imagine it is a way to announce: "Hello, god I am here"....I guess. I don't know. But there was something special about ringing these bells because they are so old and so many people ring them or have rang them. I offer my little money on the tray. Sometimes the priest, dressed in white (like Gandhi) asks my name and says something I imagine is a prayer. A prayer is a prayer. I need all the prayers I can get. All the positive energy I can get. I am quiet...I am in awe. I am a guest who steps lightly. I like what i see. People trying to live with God. Now I am wondering how ritualistic religion translates in to action.....
I also went to the Ramakrishna Center. This is a very well known guru. RamaKrisha and Vivekenanda. I bought about 4 books on Enlightenment. They were very inexpensive. I am happy with my purchase. I can't wait to read them on the train tomorrow. I am searching for some ideas of God. That is why I am in India. One of the things that was revealed to me through my visit today and my conversation with my dad is that part of my journey in life...the majority of it ...is to be defined by my service. I have always done service but it has been sporadic....it has been organized.....it has not been a way of life. It needs to be a way of life. I am coming into a place in my life where my search for God is transformative....it is moving me beyond the questions....and to the answer: to actions...to god....to God....which is love....expressed through devotion and service.
In essence, I am not going to spend much time....reading...anymore....chanting anymore....thinking anymore....I don't need to memorize...recite....ritualize anything....I need to move into God action....love action...I aim to become the answer to my own question....."Where is God and what is the nature of God"
I am getting somewhere special with this thought.
Well, I am on my way to Trichy in a little while. I am trying my best to have a good day. I got caught up with this driver this morning. He wanted me to go sightseeing. He picked me up early this morning at around 9 a.m. He told me that he would take me around for an hour. He said that it would only cost about 20 rupees. That sounded too good to be true. It was. This fool took me around for four hours. He let me take 3 photos. He proceeded to take me to a whole bunch of stores. These stores were so expensive only a rich, European fool would have bought something from them. I mean, in the United States we have cheapter things. He showed me a scarf. The scarf was about $40 . US. Come on! Anybody who knows me knows that I would never wear a scarf for $40. So I told him I was tired. He did not want to drop me back off at my hotel. I told him that he better be glad that we are in India because if we were in the U.S. I would have beat him up. At this he giggled, until I flexed my arm muscle. He stopped laughing. Then I started laughing. It was kind of funny. Well, I learned a lesson. I will not allow anyone to take me on any sightseeing tours. That is why I buy that overpriced $30 tour book. I buy that book so that I don't have to buy tours. So he kind of ruined my day. I am really feeling the idea of getting on a plane and going back to Goa.
I am going to just take one day at a time. I can't let that get me down. I need to spend the next couple of days talking about how wonderful India is to me. I have so many things to write about including these animals. I am taken aback by the cows and animals. here.
So I arrive in Trichy. Trichy is a very nice little town in the furthest south aspect of India. I liked Trichy. These people are virtually Somalians and Ethiopian. They have very black features. Were it not for the straight hair I would think that they were negros. I am kind of not sure what to do right now. I am in the cyber cafe and the guy who owns it is blessing his shop. He is holding incense and saying some Tamili language prayers. I don't know if I should leave and get out of the way or just act like I don't see him. I guess this is a business so I will just keep typing. He was doing it in the front of the store before. This is the third time in 2 hours. Wow. Can you say devoted. I wonder what he is praying for....blessings...money....or just out of pure devotion. Well, I arrived in Trichy late at night. I got a rickshaw to drop me at a hotel. The workers were all sleep on the floor. I could see that from the glass window. People here sleep with so little comfort. When I got out of the train station I saw bodies laying all over the place. Apparently, many people sleep where they work. They don't have to pay rent. That is very interesting. Why pay rent huh...especially when you work 14 hour days. So I see all these bodies at 4 am in the morning when I walk out of the train station. I am tripped out. I mean like 40-60 people laying on the bare concrete knocked out. They are not worried about rape, robbery or anything. It is difficult for me to sleep out in the open,,,,H^LL even around strangers. Can't do it....never will. I would rather not sleep than be paranoid. I get to the window and tap on it. The guy in his sleepy slumber waves me away....but anybody who knows me knows that I am not taking no for an answer. I persist. I am not leaving. I want to sleep. I had a bed on the train but I can't sleep around strangers. But the people in the hotel 10 to be almost exact are laying on the bare floor. How do they do it. I need a mattress, I need a throw cover, I need a sheet, I need several pillows, and now that i am feeling the weight of my big hips, I need a pillow between my knees. I can't do it. Wow....simplicity. I never realized how complicated we westerns are. And many of my friends need more than that. Monique probably needs a de-humidifyer, and Aimee, a fan blowing directly on her, and Shana,,,,,a $4000 mattress (which she has) . And nizz has a $22 pillow shaped for the neck and head (I was there when he bought it)....wow. Finally, the manager gets up. He is pretty straight forward, as most businesses are...none of that fake smiley smiley....welcome.....we appreciate your business stuff. He and all of his staff look like "hurry up so we can go back to sleep" They open the door and he pulls out this huge big album sized book the size ofa small table. I have to fill this out in order to get a room. He even wants my address and phone number in the U.S. I want to be a sm@art@ass and ask him if he is every going to call it or go to my house...but I just fill it out anyway. Its simpler that way...just go along with things even if they are backwards....so I do. I go along with it. He gives me a key. I go into a room on the 8th floor. It is ugly. It is dingy and nasty. But it has a good view. A worker carries my bags up and sits them down. He closes the door. I am now relaxed. Then he busts back in 2 min. later. He wants to spray a perfume spray. Yeah, He knows it smalls old .....or ...he wants another tip....Not today buddy. LOL.
They have 24 hour room rental in most of India. That means 24 hours not 10am. like in the states. I like that. So I lay down after I open the windows and I go to sleep. By 5 am I hear horns...horns horns. ...as I said before Indian people like blowing their horns. I got up by 6 am and looked down at the commotion. I am right acrross from the central Bus station.. This area is teaming with life. In India there are Billions of small businesses. People are selling everything. People are moving....going going going. People everywhere. I have never seen anything like it except for New York. New York is controlled chaos though. This is not. This is wild. I see swarms of saris, red , yell, like a rainbow. I watch all the commotion, the busses moving nameless bodies. Rickshaws zooming here and there. People trying to avoid getting hit by the traffic. Circular traffic systems are everywhere. We don't really have that in the US. They can become very chaotic. I say a prayer everytime I cross the street "Dear God: Let me not get hit.....and If I do get hit....let it just be a bruise or let me toe get squished. Thank you...amen...ashe" LOL. I have not gotten hit yet....But I do have flashbacks of almost getting hit....when Aimee and I were in London. I looked the wrong way....they are driving on the "wrong" side of the street there and here.....Aimee jerked me back when I stepped out into ongoing traffic. The girl saved my life.....or legs. So I am getting better at crossing the road. I usually stand there for a obout a good 5 min. trying to understand the traffic pattern. I get ready for my day. Iam going to see these magnificent temples, the largest in India. Imagine a whole town built into cities of walls with temples. There are about 10 temples and surrounding walls. They look like mazes from an airial view. I am excited about this.
The first thing that I do is go to the Rockfort Temple. In the middle of Trichy there is temple sitting on a huge piece of stone. It is as high as Stone Mountain. It just juts out of the Earth and goes straight up. It is not a mountain. On top of it is a temple. It is ancient. I do what I usually do....go to the transportation center...and look for someone who looks western enough that they may speak English and may help me. I also noticed in Bangelore as well as in Trichy they have a different writing system. I am used to seeing Hindi...but apparently each city state has its own written language. Iam proud of the Indians for this. I am very pleased that they have their own developed writing stystem becasue "White folk" would have you believe that no one beyond the shade of beige does or ever did. They want us to believe that they are the only ones with written documents and therefore a valuable and documented history. I am very happy to find that Indians have many writing systems. Why Africans, beyond Ethiopians and Egyptians never had a writing system I do not know....but I am dissapointed in them for that. This is why Africa is such a mystery. The ancients cannot testify for themselves. We only rely on scholars (often white/ beyond Cheik Diop, who everyone thinks is crazy) to tell their histories and believe me something valuable, truly valuable was lost there. Whites will never tell history correctly because it underminds all of their causes.....follow that line.
So I notice a new writing system everywhere. They don't waste much time on Engllish. I ask and finally after 30 min. realize that I need to get on bus 1. The conductor usually tells me where to get off. I get off at a market area. I see this huge stone. I mean it makes me feel like a mouse...or a roach....I am so little. when I start to walk in I am taken aback by all the jewelry. Oh my God. Jewelrey everywhere. You know I am a fool for jewelry. I said I wasn't going to shop, but I did. Ibought 3 necklace sets, one of those bright gold earing and necklace sets the Indian ladies wear. The gold is so bright it hurts your eyes. I decide after buying too much stuff to go into a real Gold store. These stores have a huge staff. They are filled with all kinds of gold. I see and have read that most indians work for less than $710 dollars a year so how can they afford to buy this gold? People are working for like $2 a day. Those are the ones with employment. I just don't get it. I walk in and everyone stops and looks at me. There are like 100 people in here. They are looking like they are trying to bargin with the staff. I just want to see the biggest pieces. I don't wear gold, don't like it as a matter of fact. I just want to see how rediculous the bling gets. So I am still saying to myself, how do these people, and all ofthem look poor have the nerve to sit in here to buy some gold. Who needs gold....when they probably need a better pair of shoes....or a better sign for their store....or school fees for school....or a better home....or something...like a business or improvements to the important things of life. What the H%LL do you need a ring for. I am looking at these folks like they are crazy. not literaly but in my mind. If I lived in India I would never buy gold. But then I started thinking about "N$GGAS" You know what they say about black people,,,,,it crosses racial and geographical lines....the poor always want what they don't need....that makes sense. They say black people, those of us who are not "in the know" about what is important....have bad priorities....ie nigg#s. We are the ones who spend all our money on Jewelry/Gold and Cars and Cloths and value-less things. They do it in India too.....I guess as they say...there is nothing new under the sun. So let me get this right....I work for less than $710 and I buy a ring worth $200.......wow. Priorities.
So anyhow I finally get to a maze of a market to the rock temple. I buy some seed-like meditation beads. They will aid in my smoking cessation, take my mind off of it. I start by taking off my shoes and heading up will become a longer journey than thought. There are over 147 steps up to the temple top. When I say that they are steep steps they are. There are statues of Gods and paintings and architecture. I take many pictues. There are Hindus going up and coming down the steps. They are painted red and white. There are stopping places to rest. I am getting tired less than halfway up. I stop and buy some water and use the Indian toilet. I almost catch heat stroke. I then head on up. Now there isno shade. The ground / rock is burning my feet. It was like playing hot potatoe with my feet. Everyone else was fine. They have rough feet. I have been using my Pedi-egg diligently becasue I was not going to let my feet go just because I am traveling. Now I am thinking a couple layers of extra skin might not be so bad. But I also know that the Vietnamese who will do my pedicure when I return are going to secretly talk sh#t in Vietnamese about my rough feet and slap extra extra pink cream on my heels. ( I hate when they do that or ask "When last time you do pedicure?")
But my feet burn all the way up. Finally I get there. I don't go inside the inner sanctum....I don't want to do any rituals or watch. I stand on the outer partsof the temple and I look at a wonderful view. The whole town....the same way one looks down from a plane. Peace and tranquiltiy...but I know that down there is so much business. I can't seepeople, just still structures, no swaying saris, just pastelle concrete. Ilike it from here. I could live somewhere very high and look down at the world. I have always said that I believe Iwas a queen in a former life. Based on my mother's personality a.k.a. Queen Gwenevierre I probably was. As I am looking across, I see the temples. My next stop. They are beautiful. They look like a series of pyramids.
So I am on my way on Bus 1. I am going to Sringnam temple town. I ride and ride. Finally, I am there. It is gorgeous. I must look like a fool. I want a picture of the temple from 500 feet away 450 feet away 400 feet all theway to 50 feet and beyond. I want every angle I can get. The Hindus are some interesting people. I am still trying to understand so many things about them. There are priests walking around. I go into the first gates. I am disappointed to see that people have set up food stalls inside. How do you put businesses inside a holy place? But India is India. There are walls then another temple. There are 8 total. I can only go to the 6th one. That is ok. I am a member of ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) but that doesnot count becasue I am not an Indian Hindu. I am not actually a HIndu anyway....I like ISKON becasue people are friendly, no one tells me I am going to hell, no one tells me what to do,or asks me for any money. They chant, dance, light candles, believe in a happy version of God....and I eat Indian food there on Sunday. What is there not to like. That is as close to religion as I am going to get. So I am taken by a guide who charges me RS 10 to go to the roof so that I can see the golden dome temple,the most central one. I go on the top of one rooftop and take many pictures. it is beautiful. My pictues rival the ones in my tourbook. I love ancient things. I end up getting into a heated arguement with the guide because he tells me that I should pay RS 380 to go further into the temple, because only Hindus can go inside that far. I ask him how does he know that I am not a Hindu. He says "no you are a foreigner". I said so "are you telling me that Hinduism, and your gods are only for Indians?" He isstumped....his face shows frustration....I got him. He said no. I repeated my question...well how do you know that I am not a believer in Krishna or Vishnu...a devotee? He says something about a tourist....I said to him....I belong to ISKON....so can I go in. He says if you pay. Why I ask. He is mad now. "You pay or not?" he demands. "NO absolutely not!" I retort. "Why," he wants to know. "You want me to pay because I am not Indian....that is racism!" I say. He is livid now. "Ok how much will you pay." I told him I have seen all that I want to see. I told him I was not interested in a racist group of gods, religion or racist people like him. He starts saying some crap. I told him to go find some dumb Europeans that he can run that rap on . I wanted to slap him for ruining what was going well. Then I thought about it....this poor b*stard is just that....poor. He is trying to make a living. He wants my money and I don't want to give it up. Everybody knows I opperate on principal. I will die and go to h#ll based on a principal. So he didn't get his money and now he wants to trip!!!! Its all good in the neighborhood! I got my pictures....I got to see the blackest aspect of the Ancient Indus Valley Civilzations relics. Beautiful...simply beautiful....like the pyramids...beautiful.
Why am I so inquisitive right? Why do I have to know everything? Why do I have to try to get some kind of understanding...at least to understand the various perspectives any issue brings up? I will simply tell you that it is my father's doing. He gave birth to a thinker. I am most happy when I am thinking or writing.
Well my question at present is: What is the deal in India? Are we talking about womens' rights or property rights?
Ok....some Africans told me that women run India. They said that women have all the rights. I ask them to explain what they mean because I had always seen Indian women as subserviant and have a second class citizen status. The Africans say that women get everything. They are able to do what they want. They have special everything for women. So I begin observe what they are talking about. It is true....women have a seperate line in any place where there is a line: to pay for something, to buy a ticket, to register or do paperwork. There are "ladies only" counters everywhere around me. I often do not use them even though the line is always short. (I am listening to Lupe Fiasco's : "Superstar" right now). There are seats on the bus for ladies only. There are traincars for women only. There are special accomodations for women everywhere. I have not seen anyone be cruel to a woman. YOu might almost think that men here really have a great respect for women. They don't cat-call, they don't look--they lower their gaze, they don't wait till women walk by to look at their boot-tay, LOL. They don't show any outward signs of disrespect. They don't seem to even treat women like sex objects. They are perfect gentelemen. Wow! Perhaps the Africans are right. Women run $hit in India!!!! Further Investigation:.........
Indeed Indian men do treat women with respect, their women. Tourist get a different version of this. They save all their perversions for the European tourists. I would be included in this category. For us they have no respect. The respect does not transfer. I will explain later. I have heard stories that have been backed by others, no rummors.
So in India women seem to be treated well. Every woman is an auntie, like your mother, she is like your daughter. She is someone's daughter. She is to be treated right. Every man knows that these women...are mothers, sisters, daughters, family members....and will or already are someone's wife. WIFE. The idea that one must respect a wife...another man's property.....is I believe....the root of what seems on the surface to be respect.
The code of honor in India may be that men do not want their wife disrespected so they do not disrespect another man's wife/property. This is my thinking. Why? well....I don't get the same treatement. I am a woman...I just don't belong to Indian society. So it is not about women's rights. Yes, India has had a female prime-minister: twice over I believe. But respect does not transfer to outsiders so it is not about respecting women. There must be order in their very orderly society. Why seperate lines? Well maybe a man feels better when he knows that no other man will be pushing up close to his wife in line. No bumping or rubbing will happen. She is safe. His honor is safe. India and Pakistan are coutries that have been known to commit honor killings. It just happened in Atlanta. So no it is not about women's rights. It is about protecting men from other men. Men protecting their family honor and great names. It's just that simple. I love you, you are my daughter....but I will kill you butt if you do something that dishonors the name of the family.
Make you say Umh ummh ummh, and shake your head.
Let me go further. Society has given women what looks like special treatment but they are safeguards. They are cultural checkpoints. OK that is clear now. But next how does this translate to other women outside of India. I have had many Indian men in America come on to me. It happens all the time. I always wondered why. I have had more Indian men try to talk to me than black. Now one thing that I know about most Indians is that they are mostly from a closed society. They might like you but they are not going to marry you. So then you think as a woman: "What then is your interest?" When it comes to Indian men...it is 1/5 curiosity and 4/5 sex!
That is what I said. They believe that westerners have an open and giving sexuality with no limits. They have no chance of fullfilling any desire with their own women/ or so they believe. I never understood why people get married and cannot be their sexual selves with the one that they are with. What? That is crazy. I am no Dr. Ruth (Is she still around/alive?) but I know you should be who you really are sexually with the one you are with. So they don't like sex with their wives so us poor westerners are the target of their perversions. It kind of sucks.
There is no space for politeness here. Now first and foremost....my first interaction was with Mr. Singh. He never said anything directly to me. He is a very silly goofy guy. Friends and Friends....no other options. That was understood. But I do recall a conversation he started with me. He wanted to know if I had ever dated any Indian men. I told him no. I told him that I have had many men from India who own gas stations try to say something to me...but I never took that seriously. He asked me what kind of men I like. I told him Black of course. He was thrown by my answer. He directly asked me if I was not interested in Indian men. Was I curious. I told him matter of factly....I have little interest in anybody but black men. I don't. I think that black men are the most beautiful creatures on Earth. Nothing is more superior to me. He was very disapointed in this. Why he was invested in finding all this out...I can't say. Later, upon reflection...I think he may have been checking for his chances to "do something" with a western/black chic. NOt happening!!!! LOL. Funny. But no. LOL
Looking back, he would never have been so direct in his line of questioning with an Indian woman. He would have broken a social code. I have also watched Indian men , tongue dripping staring at scantily clad Euro women. They don't seem to blink. I can see the sexual fantacies running across their foreheads. In groups they sit and stare. What I wonder are they thinking? I am just as good a pervert as any so I can kind of gather where their minds are. Not polite. Myself, I have had at least 8 Indian men walk up to me and ask many questions. Are you alone? Where are you staying? Do you need a friend? Can we go to dinner? I see that hunger in their eyes. I came to India to see temples....to find something special....to return home to my own lover....this crap has irritated me. The respect does not transfer. Very interesting.
I am also aware that in Goa it is common place for Indian men to find drunk Euro women and slip something in their drink. These women are then taken to secluded areas. They are then either raped by one or many men. What am I saying: I am saying that their is a cultural code in India in which rape is not only planned it is accepted. If a woman has been chosen to be raped by someone.....it can happen. It is agreed on and it takes place. It is acceptable. A drunk woman....a woman considered lose....a woman who someone wants to victimize. It's wrong. It happens. Most go unreproted. The men conspire against a woman. This is co-signed secretly by society. It's unfortunate.
I have decided to take a break from solo travel for this reason. I just mean around India. I have seen the concern women have on my journey when they ask me : "You are traveling alone?" I thought they were weak and simple minded. They know what I did not know. I found the hotel staff in Bangelore acting shady at some point....saying lude things directly to me....and one lurking around my door all the time.
Strange world we live in........India is fabulous....sad...amazing....developing.....and strangely wonderful.
I am not lying to you when I tell you that I spent almost literarly 5 min. in Madras. Madras is also called Chennei. I did not like Madras. I can't tell you why. Well yes I can. I had a room, a hotel room that smelled like death. I had a hotel room that costed too much...was beyond my budget....but still nasty. I would not let a dog sleep there. Here is the story of how I spent 5 min. in Madras.
The first thing that I noticed when I got off the plane was that the heat was oppressive. I had been talking to a Eurpoean couple earlier. They would be in India for 6 weeks. They were from the UK. I met them in Trichy. We met again on our ride to Madras. Same train. They were going to New Delhi. I was supose to go on to Kolcutta. NOPE. Don't get me wrong. I ain't mad. I reported to them in awe that I had got robbed by a group of Indian transexuals on the train. Their train car was right behind mine. They were amused of course. They saw them too. There were a band of transexuals....men dressed as women. They get on the train and demand money from you. I had been told that they would beat you up if you didn't give the monney up. So I gave up RS 10. The guy was slapping his hands right in my face. I was sleep so it startled me. He had big hands like a man. He said something in his language but using that universal hand gesture...."put something here." So I did. I was not in the mood to fight. Anyhow I get out of the train station. I am swamped by people trying to get me into a taxi. I don't want to do anything but get my sense of direction together. I need to remember where I am and where I am going and the resources that I may later need. I want them to go away. For about 10 min. they keep bothering me. Finally I walk across the street. The 3 hotels that I have decided from my book to get a room at are full. I spend 10 min. telling this guy to get lost. He wants to take me to a hotel. He tells other drivers that are trying to take me to a hotel where to take me. He is short and I get tired of him. I motion for him to get lost. He doesn't. So I push him...a little hard. Sh*t I am black. You know how black people can get when they are hot. So finally I spend 30 min. trying to find a hotel. I do. It is a dump. I put my things down. I can't beleive humans would stay here. I go back to the train station. I book a train that leaves in 30 min. I haul A$$ to the next train station. I jump on. I am going back to Bangelore. Madras was all wrong for me. Why? I can't tell you but I had to go. That is how I spent 5 min. in Madras.
Ok, yesterday was payday! Now what do we do on the day after payday? We pay bills of course. So that is the focus of my day. I need to pay my $hit so Georgia Power and all the rest don't cut my services. Ain't that something. People think we just collect money in the U.S. Well I am preaching to the choir when I say, "No we don't; We pay bills." So that is what I am about today. I am going to pay about $2000 in bills. (thank God I finished paying for that sofa) LOL. That ain't funny though! I hate credit. They make you feel like macho man when you are real just a helpless little slug. That is why the U.S. has this huge credit crisis. Anyhow, I am paying bills. I t hought about it and one thing that has been interesting to me is the difference between the U.S. and India. There is a technology gap here something serious. NOw maybe I am being a bit arrogant by even using the U.S. as a standard but for me it is. I have no other point of reference. So, I go back to my former thought. We are in an information age, an information revolution. We went through the industrial revolution more th an 150 years ago. We have shot past most of the modern world. The only couple of countries that are producing and using technology to our level are really the europeans (but that is because they have access/ they are not really the creators or innovators) The Japanese, the Germans, the Chinese and the Koreans. Now forgive my ignorance if I have left anyone out. But it is mostly oriental asia that brings us what we need. Access is key. One must have the money to be able to access technolgy. I think that is exactly where India fails. People are too poor to keep up so they stay behind. I was telling Shawn that first week when we had a hot debate that I have now realized what it means to be living through the information revolution: in the U.S. because there is not one in India. He wanted to argue that India was at the top of its technology . I told him absolutely not: What is the standard? The standard as far as I am concerned is:
1. Do people own the technology? communication, phones, networks, software, laptops, PCs, hand devices, Internet Access, other capabilities, information sharing, useful options: recording, buying, commerce, billpay
2. Do people have the means, resources or money to have access to technology where-ever they are....or is this only available to the elite? Library computers, school computers, home computers, community centers, cyber cafes
3. Are people aware of the potential of the technology? Do they even know what they can do with it? Are people aware of buying, selling, trading, burning, sharing, online banking, gaming, ecommerce, research, networking, connecting, creating,
4. Are there outlets for people to use the technology to its greatest potential? Do most stores have websites, are most things listed on the web, is the information, complete information offered and usable to people in India?
5. Is there infastructure enough to support technology? communciation, servers, LAN, providers, wholesellers, distributers, technology markets
6. Is the use of technolgy vital to survival?
These are the standards by which I judge a society's value on technology.
I realized that I could not find a nice working computer early on. The service is shotty, the computer itself is outdated. The hardware is off brand and of little quality. The people who work with the technology are not really well versed. They are troubleshooting in the dark. Very interesting. I am not criticizing. I am merely taking an objective look at things here.
What does technology mean to me?
Technology is my everything. I think that I said that my first day in Mumbai was pure h$ll because I felt discoonnected from "the matrix". I needed information. I needed maps to orient me (mapquest), I needed blogs and chatrooms so that I could talk to some folk. I needed a web directory to tell me where to find what I wanted. I needed yellow pages to give me numbers so that I could make calls. I needed information information information. The internet was the solution to every problem I could have. I coudl get the who when what and why. I could find out what bus comes when and where to stand. I needed information. NOt haveing information made me feel deaf, dumb and blind. I was uselesss to myself. Thank God for the Lonely planet book, but guess what? They have an interactive website, with pictures....and you know how much I love pictures. So, Technology is information, information is power.
I buy my airplane tickets online
I share my photos and thoughts online
I communicate and send information on line
I mangage all my bills and accounts online
I check my bank and money situations online
I work out my student loans and apply for financial aid online
I apply for jobs online
I connect with my students, giving them assignments and syllabi online
I have taken graduate courses online
I fill out important forms and submit them online
I shop online
I buy sell and trade online
I steal/pirate music online
I conduct research online
I check the availability of things online
I order pizza online
I get clients for locks online
I read magazines online
I talk to people all over the world online
I check what time Six Flags opens online
I get coupons and specials online
I can make hotel reservations onine
I check menus before I go to a resteraunt
I mapquest and get directions before I head out somewhere
I do so so many things online. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I was not able to get online. This is a new world we live in....this information revolution...it has changed our lives. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not yet with us. Something to think about.
I had meant to write about this chic I met in Mumbai. I had forgot because I was on my way out of the city. But I thought of her just now. This girl was amazing to me. I always considered myself one of the wildest and untamable sisters that there are. I ain't scared of nothing...and no bod e.....lol. I will try almost anything once. Except drugs and obviously stupid stuff. But I am not a punk. I like to see stuff. I know when I was a little girl I would go and grab up animals and drag their butts back home with me. My mom would stand there with her mouth turned up and tell me "Drop it." She never did take an interest in wild animals. But I was always touching something...something as she would say ....."something that (I) ain't got no business" touching. I have always been curious. I want to know how things work. I want to know the why and how of everything. That is me. That is what makes me tick. It's what I live for. MY prime motivation.
So I met this black canadian chic. She was walking down the street in Mumbai. At the time the auntie had encouraged me to get out and see Mumbai on a day tour. This day tour was a super fast tour around the city. They rush you in and out of place within 15 min. Yeah, you get to see about 30 things...so it is really better than sitting around a street corner looking like a lost puppy but it is super fast. Well, the tour decides to go to a beach.Chapatti Beach. There is a pier. You walk out on the pier. You see other tourists on these super fast tours getting into boats. They all have life jackets on so they look like a group of oranges packed in bun. I look at the boat. I think of sea sickness. I think of the nasty water. NO thanks. I will skip this adventure. I am watching people seperate the trash as it washes upshore and back into the ocean. I see more than 1000 neat little piles of trash on the beach. This beach would have been beautiful. I think one drop of this water into a healthy body would result in death. Disgusting. Do I want to jump and in a boat and go out in it. NO thank you. I am straight on that. Not my idea of an adventure. Plus Nizz will take me row-boating if I want to get in a boat. As I said I pass. So I am sitting on a bench. I have two Indian men try to sit and talk. They are just curious but they don't speak a lick of English and you can only sit and look at someone for so long until you realize it is all in vain. So I am sitting there alone. I am a little disgrunttle. I think that these people are silly for taking someone into putrid water, like it is fun or something. It is hot of course. I am staring down at the cement. Then I look up a little and there is this black girl. I am like oh crap. "For Real"....she has to speak English. I have to talk to her. She was about my color, but she was one of those black folk with that red skin tone and green eyes. She had redish hair styled in an Afro. I said, "Hey!" "Excuse Me" She pleasantly stopped. She was looking real at home. She did not look like me. She looked like she had been in India forever. She stopped and I went over to her and told her that I had just got to India and did not know what to do or think. I asked her for advice. I really was more interested in her. I wanted to know what she was doing here. What made her come to India. Who was she with. I just wanted to know her. She said that she was a teacher. She was from Canada. She was West Indian...meaning from some Island. She was so interesting to me. She said that she had lived in India for two years. She had lived in Bangelore. She did computer science and business education. She said that she travels all over the world during the summer...she is a missionary. Now that threw me off but I was still interested in a woman who could just walk down the street like that....like she knows where she is. She said that she was on her way to Japan and then she was going to Israel. She would go back to Canada and during Christmas she was going to Baltimore to see her cousin. I was so impressed with all the places she had been. She had traveled all of India, and most of Asia and the middle east. She had even been to Dubai. oh and AFrica. Wow. I was so impressed. I want to know her. She amazed me. I have her contact information. I will make her a friend of mine. I already invited her to Atlanta for a visit. I forgot her name. But I have it in my information packet area. I will stay in contact with her. She was so interesting to me. I have never met a black chic like her. She was young too. Wow. I was impressed. Let's make a toast to "new friendships"!
I said that I was going to do justice to this topic. I have to talk about the animals in India. Indians are generally kind people. I like to call them innocent. They are particularly nice to animals. Africans treat animals like crap. Indians treat animals like family. I have not seen a scary dog yet. All the animals including the cows, dogs, chickens, goats, mules, oxen, bulls.....and I hear even the monkeys are treated extremely well.
When you treat animals well they behave differently. I am getting to see a new side of animals. They are not really trouble makers. They don't need to be caged. They have their own minds...they know what they want. They can exist independently of a rope or cage.
I am tickled by the animals here. I have seen dogs and cows that sit right up under each other...like friends. The cow is laying and the dog is laying either on him or right beside him. I have seen a pig who allows a black crow to sit on his back and sit on his head and eat a little of what he is eating. I have seen these white birds that stand next to the cow while he is eating grass. They stand right next to the cow and eat the flies that are getting on his nerves. Everywhere you see a pair of white birds and a cow. They are good friends. I have seen so many relationships between animals that I didn't know could exists. They are really funny to watch. I don't like pigs but I can still watch what they do and find humor in it. So I do alot of animal observation in India.
What I must say is that it was interesting to see free animals. I don't really understand what it means. But so far free means that they do not belong to anyone. They just exist. They can go where they like. They eat when they find food. Some people feed them. I have seen the most free animal in India as the cow. No one abuses them. NO one shows any agression towards the cows. People treat them very good. I heard that is because people worship cows here. I don't know. But the cows sometimes want to sit down. They sit down right in the middle of the street. I mean 20 or more of them will sit down in the street and no one is going to move them. You have to go around them. There are cows everywhere. They roam in small groups. They are down dirt roads, they are down city streets. They are in Mumbai. YOu can see a cow at the beach. YOu see cows walking in the market. You will see a cow crossing the street anywhere. Anywhere a person can go a cow can go. They are treated just like people. I have seen people give them food sometimes. They are everywhere. It takes some getting used to.
Now the dogs over here are funny. These dogs a trip. All the dogs adopt territory. Every house has a dog whether they like it or not. On each street each house has a dog that guards it. He guards it from other dogs. The dogs are like a mafia. There are more dogs than there are people. Thankfully, the dogs are all pretty cute. They are mutts but they don't look like it. They are not broke down looking. They are healthy. Now the funny thing is that most of the dogs have some affliction caused by some attack they have suffered. They either have part of their ear bit off, a short tail, a limp, a chewed foot or scuff marks on their face. These dogs are cute but as soon as another dog crosses over into the wrong territory...the other dog will light into his a$$ something serious. It is very funny to see a happy dog...who is waggin his tail and is very happy...turn into a scrappin, growling...fighting mad fighting machine because another dog just got too close to the perimeter. I like to watch this. This is my past time. I keep track of who is getting over on who...who is a punk....I have even provoked fights between dogs. I feel bad admitting it. But there is a dog named Sandy..because he was a beach dog. Sandy is very territorial. Sandy is orange and brown with brown eyes. Sandy is tough. He has a short tail and a nip on his ear. He is ruthless but cool. Across the street is a house dog. I don't know what his name is but he is white and brown. He has a very silly disposotion. He tends to stand and sit on a platform in front of his yard. If they put him outside he howls all day and night. It sounds like someone is killing him. He can't stand to be outside, or only for short periods of time. He probably does not like to be outside because the other dogs kick his butt. So he sits on the platform. It keeps him safe. Well, If I walk over there he will come down from the platform and run over to me and expect to be petted. I do this. He gets real excited and he starts running in circles and jumping and charging. He gets himself real worked up. He has a cute little curled tail. Very happy little thing. Well the other dogs don't like him. When he starts all this comotion...the other dogs...including Sandy ...they come out of their yards and start barking at him. He goes back to his platform...and from there he barks back. He never wants to fight. I think that is why they don't like him. So one day I distracted the dog. I just kept playing with him. I saw Sandy coming. Sandy was doing a sneak attack. I should have let the other dog know...but I wanted to see what was going to happen in a direct confrontation...so Sandy is on him. Sandy is real happy to have gotten so close. The growling begins. The other dog can't get on his platform because Sandy is so close. The little dog holds his own. You can tell he does not like to fight. It is over. Intersting. But the dogs here are full of personality.
In the morning at the beach...you can see 100 little dots on the sand. Dogs. There are beach dogs. Neighborhood dogs. Business dogs....street dogs....house dogs. Dogs everywhere. They all have a street code. There are even gangs. Organized crime. I have seen a group of 10 dogs kick one dogs butt. You know when something is going down because the dogs will be walking real fast...you see the victim-to-be trotting kind of fast...but scared to run....to cause a direct chase. They speed up and surround the poor ba$tard. Growling...yelping....it's rough. They all know who runs what area. There are alliances...groups of 4-10. At night when you go out ...you can see them roaming in packs. They really take over the city at night. It is so funny. They have thier own world here. They have a real society among themselves. Very interesting. oh yeah, i watched two dogs catch a big lizard for fun. Then they got into a fight because one dog would not let the other dog play with it.
Free animals are funny. I have yet to see monkeys. But I have heard that the monkeys steal. They are very people friendly . They like to be given food. I hope to see some monkeys. They say that the monkeys go into the jungles during monsoon season. Oh well. I love watching free animals.
I HAVE INCLUDED IN MY PHOTOS: PICTURES OF "SANDY" AND THE DOG THAT ALWAYS GETS BEAT UP
I understand that July is the time of "The Essence Festival." The Essence Festival is something that I look forward to. I believe next year I will finally go. You may be thinking, why haven't you already gone? I imagine that is a good question. But you should know that the idea of "Essence" ...and "Essence Woman" is something that I strive for. I do not feel that I have ever been truly worthy of showing up at the festival. Some people...their right of passage is when they become a debutante or cross over into AKA or something. For me...it has been to attend the "Essence Music Festival"....
But it really is so much more. I have not been worthy. In order for me to go to the Essence Festival...I have to be...a walking...talking...Essence Woman. "Essence" is the only magazine that I subscribe to. I love the articles. This magazine gives me positive images and ideas about myself as a black woman. It shows me my potential. Now I do have some issues with some things in the magazines...but we can pick and complain something to death...so I choose to see the best in "Essence". I love it. So you may ask me what is an "Essence Woman" ?
To me: An Essence Woman...
keeps all aspects of her life together: health, appearance, career, family, romance, spiritual, creativity, personal development....keeps it all balanced.
an essence woman takes care of her body, she goes to the gym, she works out regularly, she cares about how she looks, she plays sports, goes to a spa and makes her skin soft, she gets pedicures and massages, gets her nails done when she feels like it
an essence woman shops: when she shops she buys qualilty clothes. She is a competitive shopper, who knows what looks good on her body, she knows how to bring her own personal style into the things that she purchases. She knows how to accessorize, she knows how to look classy and sexy at the same time. She appears to be "workin with something special" when people see her....
an essence woman nurtures her emotional self. She makes herself happy and seeks others who help her to be happy. She knows what she likes and she gets what she wants. She has an opinion about what she thinks...what is important...she knows who her friends are...she keeps a peaceful energy around her, she does things that enrich her life.
She has friends and family that are supportive. she has girlfriends she can call up and do different things with. she has productive friendships with her male friends. She has good conversations over drinks. She can go to all kinds of gatherings and fit in. She is not affaid to try something new. She is adventurous, socially as well as adventurous in travel and new experiences. She is cultured. She will try different food. She knows a little about alot of things. She likes different music, wind, coffee, She likes and owns original artwork. She knows various kinds of art. She has a variety of outings: festival, art showings, music, poetry cafes...jazz, dance....lectures, book signings. She likes speeches, book signings. She is into finding out what is going on. Being on top of things.
She knows what a man is. She can keep the interest of a man. She can peak the interest of almost any man. She can make any man wish that he knew a woman like her, maybe to even hope that his daughter might be a woman like her. She knows how to make her man happy. She knows how to keep him interested...and keeps the love and dedication going. She makes him feel that he is special....that few women can be what she is to him.
An essence woman loves herself. Her home...car...career....work....life meaning....spiritual self....interests...everthing about her reflects a kind of maturity.....they are a testament that she loves herself. That she is pleased with herself. An essence woman creates a life that she is proud of.
So what I am saying is that I have accomplished so many things. I have created a life that I am very proud of. I have accomplished many goals in my life. I love myself. I love the life I am living and the life that I am continually working on...to improve...I love it. I love me. It feels good to say...I love me. I am happy. I have no complaints. Nothing I would change. I feel blessed to be able to say these things. That is why I have ...finally accepted that I am ready to go to the "Essence Festival" next year.
I am going to buy beautiful clothes for the trip. I am going to book a 5 star hotel. I am going to fly to New Orleans. I am going to rent a very nice luxury car. I am going to have plenty of money to shop. I am going to take lots of pictures. I am going to enjoy myself. I have worked hard. I am happy with who I have become.
I should say that I had some very dynamic women in my life that have helped me to become who I am. They nurtured me. Gave me their time. For that I am thankful.
I know that this is a strang topic...but I have to address it. I am sure all of the people who know me are like "d@mn she spelled that wrong" or "she left out a word" or "huh...what did that mean?"
Yes....I have a journalism/creative writing background
Yes...I have both a B.A. and a M.A. in English
Yes...I am an English lterature teacher and a writing coach....
Yes...Yes....Yes.....................................So you ask what is the deal with the low quality editing.......
Imma tell you why.....cause I can.....cause it is the summer....because I am off work.....and cause you know what I am sayin or tryin to say......
But seriously, it's kind of that stuff...but more than that....I need a dictionary to spell things right. I am not a walking talking spelling nymph.... I need to do spell check on Microsoft word. Basically, I need time to edit. Editing takes time. What happens with this journal is that I am downloading pictures while I am typing. It cost one dollar per hour on the net. It may take me two hours to write, download pics, and send emails. It will take me another hour to edit my work. So in short...I am multi-tasking; I am typing like 60 words per min.
I type super fast....I don't give myself a break enough to even correct what I know are obvious mistakes. I just type and leave it just like that. So forgive me. I am not illiterate. I know each and every mistake that is here, believe me, I do. I just don't care because I am typing super fast. I will go back at some point and edit everything. So for the meantime....just enjoy reading.....know that I know better. LOL.
If anybody wants to do a contest....you can see who finds the most errors. LOL.
There are more than 1,000 so far...just enjoy....ignore the editing/or lack of
Hey everyone....I am so delighted that you all are reading my journal. That makes me so happy...that I get to share my trip and my dream with you all. So I am in Goa right now. I left Bangalore and I came back to Goa. Here I have been renting a motorcycle for the past week or so. I have a yellow mortorcycle. I drive it everywhere. Some of you are like...."she is riding a motorcycle." Yes. I am. It is cost effective. I rent it for $3 a day. I have gotten real speedy. I tear the streets up. So I got a little routine going here. I get up...wash some clothes. Watch a little t.v. go get some lunch, drive around, go to the cyber cafe, and have dinner at the same spot every night. I have been eating hamburger and french fries for more than a week now. I never thought I would say this but "I am sick of Indian food." I want my hot wings!!!!! AND FRIESand PEPSI and SWEET TEA and RANCH DRESSING and GRITS!!!! I want some grits. Can somebody send me some grits in India please? PLEASE?
Sorry I was having a little melt down there. I would ...ok forget it...I didn't come here to write about the food I want.
So the monsoon...what is that? Well a monsoon is a rain that never stops. In America, I always believed that it could only rain so much. The sky's capacity for rain was limited. That is what I thought until i have experienced a monsoon. It can rain for a month straight without end. Hard to believe but I am seeing it. It rains continually here. The whole country is rained out. You can't predict when it is going to start or stop so just wear a rain coat or you will regret it. Even the cows don't like the rain. They go up under people's portches. So the rain stopped today. So today I am going to take lots of pretty pictures. I got a picture of the dog that always gets beat up. He was not very happy today. He is hurt. I looked at his leg. It looks like Sandy got hold of him. He has a one inch wound on his leg. Poor pooh! He is not happy right now. But I got both of their pictures. I will post it with the next batch of pictures tomorrow.
Well, I bought a ticket to Delhi. I am going to leave on July 16th. I flying Spicejet. I will be in Delhi for 4 days. From Delhi I am taking a 14 hour train to Varanasi (the Holy Hindu city). I will leave Varanasi and go to Khujaharo by bus. Khujaharo has the erotic temples...with those sexually explicit statues. I will leave there and go to Gwailor to see a fort. Then I will go to Fatpur Sikri to see some more architecture and sites. Then I will see the Big Mama Jamma of India: The Taj Mahal !!!!! Whoooooooohooooooo! Yes! That is located in Agra. After Agra, if time permits I will see Jaipur...which is in Rajistan. Rajistan is a state that is highly influenced by the arab culture....muslims.....and the Moguls of early india. Shah Jahan and many arab invaders have ruled over various parts of the state of Rajistan, northeast India. This is also the state with a vast dessert. After all of that I will go back to Delhi. I will catch a flight on July 30 to Mumbai. My friend Cierra has her Birthday on August 1st. So I will celebrate her birthday with her. I will go shopping on the 1st of the month as well. I will get on a plane on August 2nd and be on my way to America. The trip has been wonderful. I have had so many new experiences. I am thankful. I am happy. Wowwwwwww! This is what always said I wanted...and this is what I have been blessed to get. D@mn it feels good to get what you want in life!!!!
I had a really funny night at the beach last night. I found this spot named Curlies in Anjuna Beach area. It is a cool little spot. It is like a huge hut right off the beach. They play all kinds of wild music. There are tons of Russians and English people here. There are some Indians acting real western-like as well. I began the night by taking pictures. I ordered my food first and then I told the waiter that I was going to take some pictures and that I would be back in a min. So I went and took pictures. The beach was just beautiful. It is one of the most romantic places I have ever been. It reminds me of the night Nizz and I spent in Negril. We went to a beachfront resteraunt. It was so romantic. The breeze, the candles, the view.....and the food was wonderful. I had coconut fish and rice. The evening was perfect. And sitting across from this gorgeous, peaceful man...what could I want more? So this resteraunt reminds me of that night. (I can's spell resteraunt/ but I know it). So I am sporting my new ear-rings. They are very colorful and they match this pink shirt I keep finding myself wearing way too often. I think I look good....and I do. So I get back to the table and this fool has sat my food there. I think to myself what kind of stuff is this? The flies were having a fiesta on my food. I called him over and asked him if he "thought" he had brought out my food...cause I don't eat food that flies sit on. He took it back to the kitchen. I thought, "how retarded." As my daddy's folks would say, "Where they doin dat at?" So later he brings it out. I ordered a cheeseburger with fried onions. I look at the sandwhich. I am going to now name what I found in it. I see speared mayonaise....check (I like that); I see a huge hunk of cheese....check (that is perfect) ; I see fried onions (good, I ordered that) ; I see lettuce....(nice); no tomatoe (good cause I don't like them anyhow).....check....BUT THERE IS NO MEAT!!!! So I call homeboy over. He is a young, wild eyed, fast moving, curly haired, dark brown dude of about 22. He doesn't listen well. He reminds me of the UPS guy skits they did on MAD TV. He is walking away as you are talking to him. He is smiling to cover up the fact that no matter what you are saying, that he is not really listening and he is going to bring back something that sounded like what you said rather than what you said. LIke if you said, " I would like a coke please..." he would run off and come back with a single chicken wing. He is that kind of silly person. I watched him time and time again....bring food back to the kitchen from other tables. I knew he wasn't working with a full deck when I saw him take out a mixed/blended drink and then turn right back around and take it to the bar. How can you mess up a drink order. So I know he is disfunctional. It happens. Have we not all been to McDonalds and the person taking the order can't seem to get anything right? Of course we have. No matter how we break it down into syllables and say it real slow.....direct and to the point...they still mess it up. Well, if he was in the U.S. he would be employed by McDonalds and I think even they might just fire him. So I ask him: "Hey what do you think I ordered?" He looks at me with that stupid grin and says through a strong Indian accent very matter of factly, " a cheeseburger." At that I lift up the bun....and wait for his reaction. He looks at it , still smiling, not seeing anything wrong. Now I know he is not operating with a full deck. I said, "there is only chees." He shakes his head....."yes, a cheeseburger." I say to him very slowly....." cheese and burger makes a cheeseburger." He is not getting it. This fool really thinks that I ordered a cheese sandwhich. I tell him very directly...that I need..........wait for it...........ok.......wait for it...............a piece of meat............a burger. He is off....running to find me a burger. What a retard! I will remember to tell my students this story. It just goes to show that social darwinism is not a joke. It is in fact a very harsh and real reality. I wouldn't trust this guy to tie his own shoes. Some people are just more special than others. I have special students so it is not a phenomenon that I am not used to. Special people. Everyday special people....LOL. That is the polite word: special.
But the next thing is that this dog comes and sits beside me while I am eating. I ignore him. I am used to these "civilized dogs" that go to resteraunts and anywhere else they please. I even have seen dogs in nightclubs....I mean walking around the dj booth and all. They run things...I am telling you. So he is a golden lab kind of dog. He looks very pitiful in the face. He sits real polite like and just looks at me. I don't sense that he has enough guts to jump at my food so I ignore him. He sits and sits. About 15 min. go by. The next thing I know is I feel someone hit me on my left thigh/hip area. It is a little nudge. I am not sitting beside anyone and no one here knows me well enought to touch me right there. So I am like..."what...in the....h@ll?" I look down and there he is. He has taken his paw and nudged me like "excuse me....can I get some of that food....stop ignoring me." I start laughing. I have never seen a dog so smart. This was such a human gesture. I still can't believe that he did this. I am tripping out. So I ignore him again. I am nudged again. I look at him in the eyes. He does not blink. He seems to be pouring on this "sad dog look" Well over the course of my meal he continues to use his left paw to nudge me, like a push and little scratch...then he moves over to my other side and nudges me about 10 more times. I am laughing like h@ll. This dog beats all. So he wins in the end because I give him my leftovers. Do you know that as soon as he finished his last morsel...and could smell nothing else at my table....this king of beggars...politely stands up and walks over to a Russian woman who is smoking and eating at the same time. He goes over to her and sits down. I didn't watch for long but I assume that he will nudge her too. Funny. Funny. So I took his picture. I had to remember him. I am sure that Angela (my devoted dog loving friend) will love this story.
One thing that I think is interesting in India is the diversity. Each state has its own language. The satelite tv caters to this diversity of language. There are Indians, were it not for Hindi (the national language) or English (the global language)...that could not communicate with each other. I had no idea. There are hundreds of languages here. So you can only watch tv shows that are in your language.
LIke language, India is diverse in religion. They have several main religions here:
Hindu: temples dedicated to multiple gods, vegetarian, ritual based, flowers, coconuts, offerings, red dots, caste system, believe in reincarnation, practice yoga, seek out gurus (teachers)
Muslim: Islam, wear lots of clothes, burqua (eyes only), prayers 5 times daily, the adhan (call) to prayer which can be heard across the city; no pork, eat lots of meat (halal only)
Jain: similar to Hindus, more strict, do not eat onions, garlic, strict vegetarians, do not harm animals in any way. Some even wear nets over their faces and sweep before they walk so they don't kill insects (cannot tell them from Hindus)
Buddhist: Mostly north eastern areas, near China ; I did see some tibetan monks. They dress like the Dalai Lama, gold and red outfit. Do not believe in a caste system, they believe in reincarnation, seek out an enlightened master, goal is to reach enlightenment through meditation and reflection. Not focused on dieties, but on a more universal god spirit.
Sikh: Based in Punjab state, city Amritsar. They belong to the Golden Temple. The sikhs do not believe in the caste system. They believe in a universal God, that all people are equal, devotion to God is shown through humility. Iknow the least about these people. We have alot of them in the U.S. They are distinct (the men) because they wear turbans and have long beards. I believe that they have very long hair under the turban. The young boys wear a du-rag that is tied into a knot with a little ball of hair on top of their heads. They remind us of the "typical arab look" You cannot tell sikh women apart from the hindu women. They all wear saris.
So these are very brief descriptions of the different religions. It is amazing how they all live together. I have heard muslims say that they do not like hindus and visa versa. But I must say if there is a battle of religions in India, Hindus are winning. There seem to be more hindus in India. I think the larger population of muslims lives in the more northern areas of India. But so far, I see mostly hindu culture. I like the Hindus. They seem to be very free spirited. I personally got away from Islam because I felt like a prisoner. I don't need so many rules in life. I can't live like that. I remember when Lauren Hill came out with her Uncut album. I loved it. She has this particular l ine in there...."Get Free....Be who you are suppose to be.....get free....its freedom time now" You have to listen to the whole song...but she talked about confession. Letting the past go. Letting your history free you not enslave you. Getting free means redefining yourself...not listening to tradition and social norms....being who you want to be...being true to yourself...getting out of boxes. "I'll get out of all your boxes...superficial killer of freedom...you can't hold me in these chains....I'll get out..." Oh, I love that album. She touched my spirit. I was forever changed by those words. I am free. I feel good to be able to say that. I like free people around me. I love freedom. That is God's gift to man....but we seem to enjoy slavery... cause we enslave ourselves. But freedom is priceless...especially when you truely know what freedom is.
I don't even know where to begin. I will start with a snapshot:
Africans/ Nigerians/ Birthday Cake / Dancing/ African Stew/ Beer and Rum/ Erica/ Karaoke/ Club/Fun
I have been hanging out with a group of Nigerians in Goa. They have showed me around. There are many of them in Goa. So I make friends easily. That is understood I guess. I have to admit that I love AFrican people. My ex-husband as you all know was from AFrica and I have a special place in my world for all things African. I need Africans around me. I need to hear them speak thier language to each other. I need to be around them, talk to them, dialogue with them about what they think of "us" and the struggle. I feel like West Africans are a part of my life...somehow some way. So I feel comfortable with them, so naturally they were very receptive to me here in India. Nigerians all speak English/ rather than French like some Africans so that makes getting along all that much easier. So I have been hanging with them a little. It is a group similar to the ones in Mumbai. There are about 6 ladies and about the same number of guys but the different guys are always in the mix. So I get invited to a birthday party. I am excited about this.
I really enjoy the birthday party. I walk in and the men have taken over the dance floor. The funny thing is that most of the Nigerians are about my age or a little younger. They have come to India to create a chance. It is very difficult to get out of Africa and go somewhere else if you don't have alot of money or connections. So the Africans have realized that they can easily go to India and go to school and make the best of their resources there. So like I said before I was so surprised to find a whole group of Africans in India. I should not have been shocked. My friend Mike, from Nigeria told me that he used to live in Madras. He gave me some tips and pointers on India before I left. But the guys have taken over the dance floor. This party was thrown by a guy named Ineye (I knee yeah). It was his birthday. He had some drama going on a little cause he had just got back with his ex girlfriend of 2 years but the chic he used to get his mind off of the breakup was in full effect and wanted her presence known....DRAMA. He is the one with the white tie and black shirt on. So the guys are tearing up the dance floor. They are slipping and sliding on the floor because people have dripped bear there. A couple of times someone falls down. I try not to laugh but by this point I have had a couple of drinks myself and you know that I am going to laugh. I eat a bit of African strew which is basically like Indian Curry but without all of those spices. I am drinking Old Monk which is India's popular rum. I have been drinking that down a bit since I got rid of malaria. I have enjoyed my rum...probably have not lost much weight because of that....but anyway...I came to stop smoking and that is what I have done. I have been smoke free for I don't know how many days. I just bought a book I have back at home called Freedom : From Addiction by Deepak Chopra, who just happens to be an Indian and an eastern thought guru (friend of Oprah's too). But I am reading that book. I have lost track of the days since I quit but I am trying to prepare myself for the stress of work ....don't want a relapse. I worked real hard here. I told the Nigerians I quite so they would keep checking on me too. So the guys are dancing all of them. So wild that the women can't get in. We just sit on the side and watch the wild party go on. Then I meet Erica. Erica is from Maryland. Now you know how strange it must have been for me to meet a "black chic in India" (LOL).....at an African party....in the bushes...of Goa. It was funny. Ineye's house was made like a little castle with an open winding staircase that lead to a balcony that overlooked the living room so the place was real live. People upstairs and downstairs...and outside. I am not going to lie. Most of these Nigerians traffic drugs so they live pretty lavish here. They live 4 times better than the average Indian. So Erica is a social worker. She just finished her masters degree which had brought her to India. This is her 4th time in India. She is in love with one of the guys here. I never did talk to her dude because he was dancing all night. He did fall one time and I did laugh when he fell. So she and I hit it off. You will see a picture of me and her...she is lighter skiinned than me with a natural curlie cue hairstyle . She was super cool. She is a world traveler...and she said we might meet up. Now I got two black chics I have met in India. That was so cool. After the party everybody went to a place called Shamrock. I never liked Shamrock because they have a whole bunch of transvestites in there. And what is more disturbing is that alot of the men in there don't seem to mind dancing with a transvestite. I have not stomach for that sort of thing. I went to Shamrock once and I had to go within 5 min. cause I was disgusted. So this night was an African Takover. There wasn't room for anyone else, Indian , transvestite or otherwise. OH: Shamrock is not a gay club....It is a club that is known to cater to the wildest people in Goa: Drugs, drunks, prostitutes....etc. Its not nice but it is the truth. So we party like it is 2099. Erica and I decide we are going to sing lauren Hills "Sweetest Thing I Have Ever Known" ...boy was that terrible. It was funny terrible. This transvestite stepped in to help me sing...holding the bottom of the mike and everything....(closest one has ever been to me except the one that robbed me on the train) and this really loud mouth singing guy with big teeth who is I believe from Laos starts taking over Ericas mic. I am wasted so I know I sound bad...I don't know what Erica's excuse was. Maybe we weren't bad....maybe those two interveiners just wanted part of the hot action...I don't know....I had fun. We sang and sang.....LOL. I gave her a hug at the end of the night. I hope that she will become a friend. We exchanged information....I will call her when I get back. I like the idea of meeting "fierce" women who are not scared of the world. Those kind of people inspire me. So the party felt like a good bye party for me...and it definately was for Erica. She left for America the next day. What a chance meeting. LOL.
One thing that sucks about traveling is that you meet people and you have a great time. But then that times comes when you have to move on. You have to go back home. Though we like to say that we will stay in contact it often does not happen. But hopefully there are friendships that can survive distance...especially since we have technology on our side now-a-days. Let's hope...cause I met some really cool people. But I had to leave and go to Delhi. I didn't come here to sit through a monsoon or stay buzzed on the beach. The time had come.....So I took a taxi to the airport. I left Goa and headed for Delhi. I had not planned ot take any planes but the reality is that I just could not stomach the trains. They have too many beggars and just too much going on. Besides why sit on a train for 24 hours when I could take a flight in two hours. So I got on the flight. I ate a really crappy little chicken thing....yuk...the airlines are so desperate and cheap now. And they charged me for that too.
I was very prepared when I got off the plane in Delhi. I got my bags quickly and I went directly to a pre-paid taxi. They overcharge but I did not want to go through what I went through in Mumbai....taking me in circles and letting the meter go up. Forget that. I don't have time for the stupid games anymore. I am learning all of the tricks. I have also learned not to talk to anyone. Since arriving in Delhi I have been trying out the art of mean mugging. I wear dark shades so that they cannot see my eyes. This is really working on my behalf. I am looking like I might open up a can of whoop@ss at any moment. It is helpful. Otherwise I will be harrassed, especially being a single female traveler. They keep asking me..."Are you alone?" I don't like that. I told one guy today.....D@mn you Indians have the most questions....what is this.... "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" He said "Ok...no more questions...I quiet," throwing his hands up. "Good" I thought. Dag....why do people think that they can just subject you to all these questions...I am thinking ...uh....maybe you might pay for a meal....or taxi ride or a hotel stay since you are so entitled to information. They want to know my name...wher I am from....where I am going....If I need a tour....when I am leaving....If I am alone....when did I get here.....where is my hotel....how much did I pay.....what do I do for a living.....am I really from Africa.....is my hair real.....Good God. I need to just get a t=shirt made with all my information on it. I know one thing....the next place that I go I am going to get a t-shirt that says "DON'T BOTHER ME....I AIN'T BUYIN SH@T ! ! !" Everybody is trying to sell something in Delhi. You can't just walk down the street. You will have at least 6 people walking and asking questions before you get to the next block. I am going to try growling tomorrow. I won't say a word. I am going to just stop and stand in one spot and start a low growl and gradually get louder and see how they like that. They might run....literally, run...think I am crazyl....or maybe I should start rubbing my hands through my hair real fast and stuff some of it in my mouth......lol.....ok i am getting carried away but you have to find a way to deal with this stuff. But over all I like Delhi. I went directly to my hotel....called Hotel Rak International. It is a cool place. Pretty cool. It is in the middle of a crazy big wild bazaar.
The hotel has a resteraunt on the roof. The food is crap but the chai...tea is really good. I am going to have Anita officially teach me how to make chai when I get back. I make chai but it tastes nothing like this. I may be using the wrong brand or something else. This stuff is good. Chai is addicitive. Matter of fact as soon as I get off this computer I am going to get me some before I go to bed. Delhi is cool. Chai is wonderful.
Today I went to Old Delhi. I caught the train...the metro. I was going to try to buy a train ticket but I kept getting the run around....people telling me the wrong information. I decided to just go see what I want to see and worry about a train ticket later. So I went throught the New Delhi Train Station and acorss to the Metro Train. This train is a state of the art train. It is just like the Marta....actually better. They even say "Mind the Gap" when they open the doors. That is a London/British thing....it made me laugh when I heard it. So it took me a min. to figure out how to ride the train. They don't have many tourist friendly "How To" signs. I just stood back and waited to see what ever one else is doing. I keep going to the Men only lines. I had to go through a security check. They have alot of security checks in India. I was sent out of the mens line and into the women's line. So I am on the train headed to Chandi Chowk. I get off and I have no idea where I am going even though I have a map in my hands. I just follow the crowd. I end up in the right spot. I end up in Old Delhi at the Red Fort. The Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan was one bad man...he built alot of stuff ...great Indian monuments. I went into the fort. It was a little expensive compared to most of the other monuments. But I got in and took lots of pictures. This man had built a mosque....private palaces, public buldings, bath houses....all kinds of stuff. This is a massive structure. It is beautiful. It is a shell of its former self based on the information about what it was. This place was amazing. Imagine that...and one thing that I found out is that Indians know how to move water. I believe that the Indus Valley civilzation taught the Greeks and Romans everything that they know. There are many similarities...but whites want to say that the Greeks established the Indus Valley Civilization....opposite I believe. I come to find out that the Indus valey civilazation is older than the egyptian and allthe others. It is the oldest, most ancient. I am still researching this. But based on what I have been reading. ...I looks like so. After leaving the Red Fort I went to see where Ghandi was cremated. It is call RajGang. It is in the center of a park. It was a very special place. There was a buning fire in the place where he was cremated. Then I walked across the street to see the Ghandi Darshan....a museum of photos and documents from Ghandi's life. I read as much as I could. I saw the jeep that his body was taken to cremation in. I also saw the boat he rode in on his way to protest the salt tax placed by the British called the "Salt marches"....I really enjoyed this day. I bought a book about Ghandi for my students. I also bought a book of pictures about the Golden Triangle: Jaipur, Delhi and Agra. I know this will come in handy when it is time to do my presentation at school. I got alot done and learned alot today. I have more to write and explore about Ghandi, the Mahatama.
Aint' that something. Hillary Clinton is in India. I was just standing in front of the Taj Hotel where she was staying some weeks ago. I believe that India is some how making advances as a nation. The U.S. and the rest of the world are finally giving them a little respect. They are even part of the G-8 (+5) Summit. Now of course they are part of the +5. The +5 is kind of an insult when you think about it. It's like saying you are not invited to the birthday party but I will let you stand outside the window and look in when I blow out my birthday candles. HOw RUDE!!!!! But I think that they include them only so that they can "watch em good...(abe).." cause India "might do some thangs" (Only my dad will get that joke). So anyway. Hillary is here. She started in Mumbai and has moved on to Delhi, where I am. I wonder what she thinks of India. She gets 5 star everything so she will never really see the "real India."
It has taken me some time to get used to India's security. I find it very strange. Anytime you go into a religious place: temple, mosque or any public building including the train station you have to go through security. The interesting thing is that the security is not security at all. They put these big hollow squares in the way, I guess they are suppose to be metal detectors. So people walk through them. It is big, black and wooden with one button on the side. Sometimes there are two beside each other. Well people actually walk through them. But there is no consistency. I have watched people walk around them....even I do now. No one is manning them. Usually a guard is standing within 5 feet of it but not really checking anything. There are military police and guards all over the place. They carry gun, big ones....but I said to myself if that security is anythign like the metal/bomb detectors....they probably don't even have bullets in them...not loaded or can't fire. I even saw one of the metal detectors with a severed wire..it was not plugged in. I am tripped out by the fact that they have sand bag dugouts everywhere. They will take sandbags and pile them up like they are in Afghanistan....in a corner...somewhere as if they are on the battlefield....I mean they got sandbag duggouts in the train station, in front of religious centers, everywhere! Looks like a war zone. Strange to me. I want to ask them....when is the last time sand stopped a bullet? I guess to them it looks good though! Looks like somebody is trying to do something to keep a job to me. Do you know how many deadly weapons there are....a sandbag ain't sh@t!!!!
Grenade Launchers, Hand held grenades, hollow tip bullets, bombs with shrapnal, chemical bombs, all kinds of stuff.......a sandbag defense....give me a break.....they would be better off just checkin folks for real. Set up different layers of security. But hey I am just a teacher....what do I know about fighting terrorism!
But one thing that I am concerned about here in India is the fact that they don't have good infastructure. I witnessed in live action much on the news. They had a bridge that fell down...a big one. So they decide to make a big show out of it , this was in Delhi, before I got here, and they had tv cameras showing their "rescue efforts." Now the bridge fell at 5:30 in the morning , killing 3 people. It really messed the area up...especially traffic. So they want to show how great the rescue efforts are going....so they have all the news people on the scene.....So they pull about 5 huge cranes up to the area...they start their efforts to "get it right"....Well d@mn if by 11 a.m. (right before snack) one crane break, places tons of extra weight on the others....h@ll ....let me get to the point....when the dust settled 300 workers were running for their lives, 5 cranes had flipped over and one had broke and the bridge was back where they found it....broke and crushing somebody. Well, If there was somebody who had survived they were definately dead now!!!!!! Man.....so let me say....I don't walk under overpasses and bridges in India. Won't do it.
I went to the National Museum of India. This was a very nice facility. I took advantage of the recorded tour. This museum was one of the highlights of my trip. I really wanted to see ancient art and relics. I saw so many things. Luckily they allowed me to take pictues. I have more than 100 pictures. I tried to read as much as I could but ...you know how that goes. I stayed as long as I could. I stayed to closing.
On Monday, a day when alot of things are closed I had a very full day. I traveled to Chowri Bazaar, Jama Masjid, The Mandi House (cultural and arts society), ISKON, and the Lotus Temple and The Crafts Museum.
So to begin the day, I got up and out around 8 a.m. I went to the rooftop resteraunt and ordered chai and toast with honey. I like the combination. I put my headphones on and listend to my music. I never knew how grouded my music keeps me. When I get off a bit...I listen to my music. It is the only thing that is familiar to me here...but I look down over the rooftops...I can see nothing but buildings from there. I am overwhelmed and overjoyed at the posibilities. After that I head out. I grab my camera and I am off. I head to Jama Masjid. This is the largest mosque in India. It is a very popular tourist site. The white folks don't want to dress appropriately so they have to wear polkadot robes. They are wearing shorts!!! LOL. So I get there by auto rickshaw and I am excited. Jama Masjid is located in the middle of Chowr Bazaar and an all Muslim neighborhood. It has a different feeling about it. I have been looking at picture of it for a long time. I walk up, pay RS 200 for my camera and get to shooting pictures. I have not been to mosque in a long time so it was interesting. I have some thoughts about back in the day. I leave there satisfied. I decided to get lunch before I leave the area. I see a bunch of men eating a hodgepodge of food. I want to try it. I placed a picture of it on the net. It was good. It had potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bread balls, spicy sauces and green sauce. It tasted better than it looked. It was very spicy. I could taste the middle eastern influence in the food. Next I go to the crafts museum. The crafts museum was a really cool place. They have real artist working and selling there. The place is basically a museum but it is designed to be tourist friendly. It kind of packages India with a bow. It is fairly large place. I looked around, inside and outside. Much of it looks like a village. They even have performers and live dispays during tourist season. Towards the back they have various types of Indian homes in terms of design. I liked this because I was wondering about the diversity of home dwellings. I know what the cities look like but I have not been to the rural areas. Well, they are quite diverse. I took lots of photos of them. Next I went to ISKON. I was taken aback by how large the temple was. It was massive. I don't really like what I saw of ISKON . It had a Disney World feel about it. That turned me off. I went to something called the Vedic Expo. They took the idea from Chuckie Cheese to have talking statues, narration and light and sound shows! Dreadful.....Simply dreadfull! Sri Prabupad...would stir out of his grave if he saw it. I got scared when I went into one of the room (you had to go from room to room) and there was a demon thing standing there and the lights started flashing....reminded me to much of how Christians tell folks they are going to h@ll. The idea was to take a physical journey into Krishna consciousness (Americanized Hinduism) . YOu go from room to room and learn about the various aspects of the religion. I told dude I was done....ready to leave. So I left and had a vegetarian lunch at Govindas. The food was pretty good. Lately, my stomach has been doing ok. No sickness. After that I went on to see the Lotus Temple. The Lotus Temple is run by the Bahai faith. I think if I ever had kids I would introduce them to Bahai's Faith. This is a belief that there is truth in many forms of worship and religion. So they embrace all religions. I am cool with that. Their temple looks like a big lotus.....really grand.....it is white and huge. Beautiful. I went to see it and I have photos. I will visit it again when I get back to Delhi. Next I went to the Mandi House to see a cultural performance. I saw a very old woman who was a dancer. She was like 90 years old. She was doing a dance performance from Rajistan. She had tons of Jewelry on. She had 1000 bells on her legs. Very loud. She stomped and moved her arms as she said "Dagga da da da....dagy de da do da....diggy da diggy da da ....do da da" I don't know what that is but it sounded good. She went with the music and moved her arms to accent her do das and diggy das. I liked it. I stayed for a couple of performances. I enjoyed it. It makes me really want to focus on taking classical indian dance when I return. I am going to take Bharata Natayam classes. I love this dance form. So that was my day. I went home tired and fullfilled. A busy day in India. I said I would conquer Delhi is 4 days and I am well on my way.
I can't believe it. I have been in India for 51 days! Wow. Well I am on my way to Varanasi. I was just doing some internet research because I wanted to see where I would be staying. I have been roughing it since I got here. I am getting a little tired of the heat and the rigamaroll....so I want a little luxury at this point. I am traveling budget-midrange......there are low low levels of budget here. If you have levels for budget say 1,2, 3, 4, 5....and 1 would be the cheapest...like what they call backpacking...just laying down on something...no toilet in the room, public shower, or dormitory rooms with strangers. I am a 4. I am almost in midrange pricing value for hotels. It doesn't make much sense to you if you don't know what I mean....but ok here is an example.
I am looking forward to staying in a place with more luxury ....I bought a tour for $300. It is called
I go to Varanasi (holy hindu city) To bathe in the Ganges River, visit the Durga temple, take a boat tour at dawn and watch the aarti (candles floating on water) ceremony and look at the ghats (holy devotional places) along the river
I go to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, The Agra Fort and Fatpur Sikri
I go to Jaipur to see Hawa Mahal and City Palace and then back to Delhi for 2 days before I fly to Mumbai.
In Mumbai I will stay for 3 days and shop till I drop then get on a plane and come back home......
Here are the links to my hotels. They should be cool.
pool......air conditioning.....a little luxury...alot of luxury for India....LOL.
I had a rough night on the train. It is loud and I can't really sleep around strangers. I woke up at 7. am. I see a whole bunch of people looking at me...so I was tripped out. I guess they got up earlier (with the sun) and were bored so they are looking at me sleep....LOL
Anyway. We arrive at the train station. I get off the train. I am trying to orient myself and get prepared for the stares and the touts (harrassing @ss taxi drivers/or anybody selling something). I start looking around for the driver that is suppose to be waiting for me. I go to several areas in the small train station but I do not see him. I am determined that he is going to come and get me one way or the other cause d@mit I paid for it! Patience is a virtue. I am accosted by at least 10 men...."where are you going....you take taxi....come with me....which hotel" I keep telling them that I am fine and that I have a driver coming. One of them tells a lie: "OH no madam....those tours they cheat you....they say driver come and no driver show up....come with me madam I take you for 500 RS" ...He was lying. They make sure that they pic you up because the hotel wants the voucher that you have. And not only that, if you take a taxi to their hotel, they have to pay for it when you get there if they don't send a driver, which cuts into their bottom line. I start getting irritated because I have drawn a crowd. I suddenly find myself in the middle of a group of men...about 15 and they are all staring at me. I don't really have a problem with staring itself. I get irritated with it because people don't give an indication of what they are thinking. And for me I am uncomfortable when I see someone staring and I can't tell what they are thinking. I don't know if they are watching me trying to measure out my weakness, to see if they can rob or attack me. I don't know if they are thinking "I want to take you hostage." I don't know if they hate me because I don't belong here. I don't know if they are imagining filthy things about me. I don't know if they have a healthy curiosity. I would rather they look from a distance and be thoughtful about how long they look. I have had some people burn holes through my @ss cause they stare so hard and long. I mean it is really d@mn creepy. Seriously. I get so unconfortable sometimes that I smile and keep waving and saying hello so much until they get uncomfortable too and leave the area because it is drawing attention to them. They don't like being the center of so much attention....see how it feels .....
So anyhow I am dealing with that....20 men in my face. Finally I spot the driver. I rush out of there. I head to the hotel. I ride in a nice air conditioned car, first for that. I get out and check in. I am taken to a delightful room. It is nicely and modernly decorated. I love the air conditioning. I never thought that I would say that. I usually hate it but I have been so hot for so long. I take a shower and chill out for a bit. i am determined to see everything that I can see in one day. Luckily as I am about to head out the travel agent dude stops me and asks me where I am going. I tell you one thing....you don't realize how paranoid we are as a society until you travel out of the United States. We are so on guard. We watch everybody and we are always trying to figure out what they have up their sleeve. We find it difficult to give people the benefit of the doubt. That is jus thow we are. So I let him know upfront that he was not going to be selling me any overpriced tours. He turned out to be pretty cool. He offered me a driver for two days, 2 boat trips down the Ganges River, and 6 other sights in a tour. He said 1500 at first. I broke him down to 200. He immediately called the driver. The driver took me to several places.
Benares Hindu University Temple:
The Monkey Temple
Mother India Temple
Muslim/Silk Weaving District
Varanasi has a very well funded Hindu university called Benares University. it was beautiful. I was impressed. I have not been impressed with much in India I might add. There they had a temple. It was beautiful. I went inside. I bought some flower and stuff for the diety. I went inside and walked around the diety and stood next to the priest. He placed my flowers at the foot of the diety. I stood there watching people for a min. I said my own little prayer to God about keeping my addictions away from me and I left. I took some great pictures in there. Next I went to the Monkey Temple. I was really looking forward to this. I love monkeys. They are excciting to me. I can't tell you how many hours I have spent watching monkeys on the animal channel or national geographic. I love them. I always wanted one. Funny thing is that I have never actually been around them except ones in a cage at a zoo. When I got there I was kind of scared. I didn't know how big they would be. I was not sure what kind they were. I did not know if they were really people friendly. I creeped in, very much on guard. There was a big wall surrounding this park like area. There were fenses up which rally served no purpose, since monkeys jump, climb and crawl. I spotted one as soon as I got in. They were pretty small monkeys. Probably about one and a half feet tall sitting down on the ground. Of course their legs and arms would make them taller if they were standing but most of them were sitting. They were blondish brown. They all had green eyes. They looked very human. I just watched to see if they paid any attention to me before I went further. They paid me no attention so I started walking. I see more than 100 monkeys in any various direction. They are climing on trees, swinging, playing, running, chasing, sleeping , sitting. They are doing everything. There are some of various ages. The babies were really cute. They looked so human to me. The way that they look at you and stuff is amazing. The older ones were not paying me any attention at all. The young ones would come close and look some. I started laughing when I watched two of them diving from a tree into a pool of water. They would dive in creating a big splash. Next they would run real fast back to the top of the tree and dive again. They were having a good time. I liked to watch them. I watched the monkeys for a long time. I went to the temple to see what was going on. I was really interested in the monkeys. So I did not stay long. I went back to the monkeys. I decided that I might approach a little baby and get his attention and see what he does. So one of them was sitting by the fense minding his own business. I kind of bent down and looked at him in the face and made a little noise. He looked at me and immediately he got excited, eyes bucked and starts yelping...and opened his mouth and started running toward my ankle and I moved back, since I was prepared to run....and he came forward and back, forward and back, like he wanted to bite but was scared. I got away from him. he was crazy. He was little so I could have punted his @ss if I had to. So I tried to connect with another one....same way....I got the same reaction. I asked a man near me about it...and he told me that if you approach them they get upset. Now that is funny because that is a double standard...they approach people and that is ok. They will walk up and go in your pocket or swing on your bag or take something out of your hand. I realized that I was messing up becuase I was so direct to them. When they see my eyes looking so intently at them they are startled. They think that I am about to be agressive. But like I said, they were babies, really little, couldn't have done much to me. I really enjoyed the monkeys. I will go to a monkey temple in Jaipur as well. I won't approach any monkeys though.
Next I went to the the Muslim silk center. They guy showed me the looms for the silk material. It was really neat. The machines looked antique. He had a room full. Then he took me to a room where they were doing embroidery. I thought they were lying when they said that the work is done by hand. I was like "yeah right"....but they actually sit there for hours getting these designs on the saris. I guess when a country is overpopulated like India you can pay someone to sit and sew bead s and embroidery for nothing. Next i went to a drafting area where they chart out the designs. Man...it was so neat. Then I went to the Mother India temple. It was just a cultural center where they have a big reconstruction of India on the ground done in plaster and painted. They were selling post cards and stuff. I bought some. Next I went to the Durga temple. It is a temple covered in Red ochre.....its red. i bought an Olm necklace and a Durga necklace for 50 cent, and an offering for the goddess. I don't really like buying this stuff, but I feel bad as a tourist because I am not a hindu and I am all in the middle of their stuff. So I buy something to support the people around the temple. I think that they appreciate that more than a bunch of tourist stomping in and snapping pictures and getting the h@ll on. So that is what I do. So Durga is a white female looking Goddess with 8 arms. she rides on a lion. She is fierce. She is a more friendly version of the Goddess Kali (the one that I am very fond of). So I leave there. I take a break, go get dinner, and head to the Aarti ceremony at 6pm. (sunset).
The aarti ceremony is the highlight of the trip. It is a nightly hindu ceremony. Everybody comes to watch from boats or land. I am taking a boat. On the boat is just me, the driver, and another tourist from Spain. We sit beside each other. He tells me that his is in the banking industry. He works in Madrid. He has a strong accent. He is really cool right off the bat. He looks kind of Italian, white but with a twist. He is very comfortable with black people and he is easy to have a conversation with. We talk while we wait for the driver to take us down the river. He works in risk /management /control or sometihng like that. He said he majored in Finance and Has an MBA in Business (stock market stuff)....so he talked about America's credit crisis some. So we head down the river and it is lovely. I am hassled by a little boy. He wants me to buy his candle/flower/bowl for the aarti. I buy it. I will save it for later. So we are going down the river. The Ghats are beautuful. The sun is goving down so there is this amazing glow over the area. I am taking pictures like crazy . There are bunches of boats doing the same thing. The river Ganges is teaming with people. I love what I see. It is breathtaking. next we kind of dock in front of the most important ghat of all. we are tied to other boats so that we can watch the aarti celebration. People, including me light their candles and set them adrift. The whole ceremony was just beautiful. There are thousands of people watching the ceremony. I have a perfect view from the boat. The priests who are dressed in bright orange each stand at an alter and begin lighting candles while someone on a loudspeaker chants sanskrit. There are candles and smoke and they are all doing the same movements at the same time. The ceremony gets more intense and more intense. It is just beautiful. Then I have this little baby. He is like 1 and a half foot tall so I guess he is about 2 years old. He speaks a little English. He climbs over several boats, since we are all tied together, and he comes up to me of all people and he says you take and holds out the bowl of flowers to me. I tell him that I already had one. He repeats take. I smile at him and shake my head no. He leaves and tries some other people. By the time the Spanish dude and me are having a real good conversation, about 45 min. later, here comes the baby again. He says take and holds out his other hand for money. He is so cute. "Very good, take" he says. He made my heart smile. The first kid I ever kind of liked happend to be an indian baby that can't speak english who is trying to sell me flowers on a boat....wow......so at that I start going through my purse. He immediately sat the flowers down on my lap. I pulled out a bill of Rs 5 and placed them in his flowerbowl an d handed it back to him. He looked confused for a min. but soon I watched him turn around and with his back to me, take his little hand and stuff the folded money in his little pocket. He was about to sell that bowl of flowers....(again). He climbed over a couple of boats but I was forgot about him once the conversation got started good again. After the Aarti celebration we headed back to the boarding point. Somebody said, "Your driver is there" and the driver waved me up. I started up the steps. When I thought about telling the Spanish guy goodbye and I looked back, he was gone. I enjoyed the conversation and I enjoyed watching the aarti on the Ganges. What a marvelous night.
I got up this morning at 5 am. i was on my way to watch people bathe in the Ganges River. The Hindus believe thta the Ganges river is very holy. The city of Varanasi is the largest Hindu pilgrimage cite in India. They come here to see the ghats, which are owned by the maharajas of old and new (leaders/rulers of kingdoms). These ghats have been passed down through generations. A ghat is basically made like an amphitheatre. It has a big building on the riverfront which is about 3 or 4 stories tall. Then it has concrete steps leading all the way down to the river. The whole front of the Ganges River in Varanasi is lined with ghats. Some are more popular than others. Hindus also believe that if your body is cremated at the bank of the Ganges you will be released from the endless cycle of rebirth and have eternal peace after your death. So there are two cremation sites. You can see them because there is fire and lots of smoke. You can even see the bodies covered in gold or white cloth waiting to be burried. They do not allow pictures of this part of course. So there are great times to see hindus at the river. They bathe in the river at dawn and they do a river ceremony with candles at dusk. This ceremony is called aarti. They place a candle in the middle of a bunch of flower petals in a bowl and send the lighted candle to float on the river. It is like sending off a prayer or wish. So during this ceremony you can see hundreds of floating candles. The part that I knew nothing about was the rites that the priests/monks perform. This was very interesting. Alot of smoke and fire involved. It as one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
So to start off, I got up at 5 am this morning. My driver came to pick me up. He said, "Morning" and shook his head from side to side the way that Indians do. I got in and we were off. I followed him through the winding labrinth to the opening of the ghats. We went through many winding streets. I could never find this by myself. We left from Assi Ghat, dedicated to Shiva Lindum" (black penis), and I got into the boat. I had the same boat guy as the night before when I watched the aarti ceremony. This morning I was on the boat with a chic from San Diego, California and her friend from Dublin, Ireland (strange combo). They were pretty friendly. I had a great conversation with them....they rubbed me the right way...and I admit that few white folks do. They were cool. I don't know why but I have always got along pretty well with white men, moreso than white women. He and I talked more. So the sun is barely up. The ghats are sprinkled with people who are coming for an early morning bath. When I say bath , I literarlly mean bath. People almost get naked when they get in the water. The men have loincloths, once wet, will reveal everything....they are not ashamed. The ladies get in with their sari. They try to be very conservative about it. They even bring soap and a change of clothes. So I am watching people do rituals. Some of them hold little brass pots and pour water over their heads and let it flow back into the river while they pray aloud. It is very interesting. You can see the devotion with which they do this. While I don't know how powerful all the rituals are....i do think it is wonderful that people have the idea of God on their minds throughout their day. It is part of life for them. I think that is admirable. So we go down the river ....I see so many people trickling out. The sun is sparkling on the river and the buildings are glowing. The ghats are teaming with life. I even see the monkeys come out and leap from building to building. They are a very wild bunch. We go up the river and I see a temple that has melted into the water. Then I see some children doing yoga. Their master is on a microphone, somewhere that I can't see him. He is saying something, like a chant. With each new sentence the kids dressed in orange do a new yoga pose. I know a little bit about yoga and I can see that they have not been formally trained and are just going through the motions. (I took some formal classes for about 6 months and took an intensive course in Jamaica at the Yoga Center in Negril). They are like me; they are roughing it...more than me though. They are staying at a hostel (the ones with the dorm beds). I can't do that. They have 3 weeks to explore India. They have done as many cities as I have. But the Irish guys friend (an Indian) is having a huge wedding in Kashmir. So he is going to stay with them when he gets there. Both the bride and grooms parents are all doctors.....so it is going to be nice. We talked about our experiences in India, what we would do different if we come again and the surprises that "the book" doesn't tell you about. I really enjoyed the ride down the Ganges river. I like the vibe there. I am not a Hindu but I get it. Also, this man with a store boat....that is what I call it....sold me a brass urn so that I could save some water from the Ganges River. So I scooped up some water and I am bringing it home. I will always have a bit of the river with me. I have checked out of my hotel and I am on my way to Agra at 4pm. I am looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal. I even bought myself a pillow. I am ready for the rough train ride. Taj Mahal here I come...........wehhhhhhhh hewwwwwwww!
My train does not arrive at the station until 6pm. It was nerve recking. I don't speak Hindu so I can't follow the announcements. I stand near the Chief of operations office at the train station. He invites me in to sit in the air conditioning, trying to make me feel comforatable. I sat for a while but a whole bunch his staff kept coming in and inquiring about me. I have learned to read body language and movements along with facial expressions enough to get the jist of what someone is saying in a conversation. So I sat for a little while and then went back out to the platform to wait for my train. Finally the train comes. I am so relieved. Now I am on my way to Agra.
I am on an overnight train. It happens not to be an express train. That means that it will take a much longer time to get to the destination point because the train stops at each and every stop. I end up with a window seat. The guy across from me is a white dude from New Zealand. Now I have met a lot of Euros but I have never met this one. New Zealand. He outstretches his hand immediately, recognizing me as a fellow westerner. I shake his hand. I am always a bit surprised when Euros are so directly friendly because they are white and I keep associating them with the white Amerians,,,,and we know how they act. But these Euros are pretty friendly to everybody. They are not so directly racist. I would say that they are pretty open. I usually let my guard down some when I realize that someone white is a euro.....now I have not forgotten about thier potential for evil cause we all know that Christopher Columbus and colonization and Imperialism happened ...Lest we forget....and Like my mama Susie says...."humph ......girl....white folks steal too...." LOL. So I am not naive to their potential to be underhanded...they are just friendlier is all I am saying.
So he introduces himself and he gets right to talking. Before I talk to people I have to get an idea of where they are coming from. i want to get New Zealand straight first. I am trying to picture where it is in my minds' eye on the globe. "Ah hah, It is near Australia...kind of...its and island...." I check with him that I am right. He says "Yes, that is it." So now I am trying to figure out what exactly he is...British....euro mutt or what. He says that New Zealand was a British colony. I remember that. Next I ask him if he and the Australians are the same people. He says that they kind of are....both British colonies and both have similar accents. He admits that the Australians are a bit rugged and corse, while New Zealanders are more sophisticated. I could agree to that. He also tells me that they only have birds none of the wildlife that Australia has. So he shares alot of things with me about New Zealand. So now I learned about New Zealand. We talked about India. I think he was a rich kid with no plans in life because he could have only been about 25 years old and he had spent most of his young adulthood traveling around the world. He had been to India 4 times, Japan, Uzbekastan, Kausicstan, Germany, UK, Scottland, Wales, Korea, Loas, Phillipines, China, U.S.A, Canada and so many more. Out of all the U.S. he liked Maine........"who goes to maine...?" But he has so many other places that he has been....I forgot...but alot. I was jealous. He was fairly attractive for a white dude....probably because he had really curly blond hair, would have been a fro combed out. He wore Indian baggy pants and looked real hippie. He talked to me for a long time and bought me some chai (tea) every so often when the chai wallahs came around.
Now I had one Hindu dude looking at me....kept looking at me...real hungry like. He was making me mad. It is kind of a lustful look. I hate when men who are not anywhere near my standards look at me and think that they have a chance,....that I would actually entertain them. It iritates. me. So I see him looking and he keeps staring. I finallly throw my hands up and say what? "What?" "What do you want? What are you looking at? D@mn?" As you can see it is time for me to go home cause my patience is short now. I end up sleeping at an angle so that he cannot stare at me. But in the morning when I get up he is sitting directly towards my direction....and he is staring real hard. I am pissed now. So I do some hand jestures like puting circles or gogles over my eyes and I make hand movements toward my neck like cutting.....meaning stop or kill it. I say aloud "Stop staring....its rude. " He just looks real blank....later I notice him doing it again. I get real loud and I start doing hand movements for him to come over to me. He understands English some, I can tell. He comes over....looking real satisfied with himself like he has finally got the attention that he has been working so hard for. Jokes on you buddy...cause it ain't what you want. When he comes over I stand up....I say to him using crazy eyes, loud voice and wild hand movments...very aggressive...."WHAT DO YOU WANT.....WHAT ....WHAT IS IT.....YOU JUST KEEP LOOKING AND LOOKING AND YOU ARE MAKING ME UNCOMFORATABLE. WHAT DO YOU WANT ....WHAT IS IT......STOP IT.......YOU ARE IRRITATING ME. !!!!" He is really thrown off. He starts to retreat...but I keep walking forward flalling my arms demanding something...an answer whether he understands English or not...." He puts his hands up , runs the other dirction, and says sorry sorry .....backing up. Needless to say, he does not look at me again for the rest of the trip. I find this kind of staring by men very offensive. They would not do this to Indian women. They would not dare. They have too much respect for them to do that. It would not be tolerated. The fact is that they just know better. I am not going to tolerate it either. That is that.
So anyhow, I am on the train. I go to sleep. I eat some food on the train. We arrive in Agra train station at 8 am in the morning. I had a really good night sleep. I had my pillow and I slept comforatably. I get off the train and I have decided that I am going to take a tour that is offered all around Agra. The trip is the perfect price and just the amount that I want to pay. So I find my driver. He has been waiting for me since 5:45 am, the time when my train was suppose to arrive. I am very happy to see him. He as Lawanda written on a sign. I laugh....they picked my middle name for some reason. I like Lawanda better than Sherica though. So I am off to the hotel. I I end up at Taj Home Stay. It is a very nice hotel. They have chocolate wood furniture like the kind I have at home. The room is very comforatable. It is close to what I am used to. I am so happy. The room is very spacious. So I put my things down and I head back to the train station after a shower. I am going to take that trip. I can't wait to see the Taj Mahal.
I get to the train station at 10 am. There are all kinds of touts trying to tell me that I should take thier tour becuse the one I want to take is canceled or it's too expensive. I have learned at this point not to listen to anyone. They like to lie. They lie like dogs. So I keep it moving. I buy the ticket and sit for the other people to arrive. I pay 1700 rupees for a tour of The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatepur Sikri. I am so excited. Now Agra is hot. I noticed that a huge bridge, under which water used to flow, had no water under it. According to the news Uttar Pradesh (this state) is suffering from a serious drought. It is about to become a desert. I mean it is really hot here. I come to find out later that the temperature is in the 100s. I had no idea because the weather temperature is displayed in degrees Celcius, and I am too lazy to convert the temperature into Farenheit. So it is hot.
We start off on a bus. We visit Agra Fort first. Our tour guide is a really old guy. He announces very proudly that he is 88 years old. Based on his dentistry...I believe him. He is a really nice man. He speaks a cute version of English...that I just barely understand....the kind where it registers 5 minutes later. LOL. So he shows our small group of 6 around. The other people on the tour with me are two young guys about 20, from Delhi on a day trip and a family of three. A quiet father, a calm mother and a pampered princess daughter. They are from Sringnam, North India. They are obviously wealthy people. I can just tell. Homegirl proceeds to complain throughout the trip. She is the queen of the domain....alpha female type. Amazingly she does not get on my nerves. So she snaps a couple of pictures for me and I do the same for her. But at the Fort I learned alot about the rulers of that time. I come to understand the legacy of Shah Jahan and his son Augzerbaud who ends up enslaving his father and taking over his thrown,,,,and Akbar the Great...and so many others. I come to find out that most of these rulers brought with them from Iran and Afghanistan and Turkey ....a great cultural heritage that has influenced India so much. So much of what we think of as Indian is actually from arab culture. The jewelry and so much more. The rugs, the architecture....the clothes....decor....many things including the food. Arabl culture. So the only true Indian Culture comes from South India, which I kind of knew already...sort of....now all the pieces are coming together. So Hinduism, saris, and vegetarians are directly linked to Indus Valley Civilization. Islam, much architecture and styles of dressing like Salawar Kameez is from Arab culture. I mean you can kind of see the direct difference when you compare North India from South India. Now I have become more curious about my girl Anita. Anita is from Pakistan but i am wondering if her family is of Arab descent, or Punjabi (in India). She is Muslim....I will ask her some stuff when I get back.
So Agra Fort is amazing. Sha Jahan is a bad man. He was a powerful ruler. He built so many things. Well I got to sit where he sat at Agra Fort. I sat on his throw. It is made out of Marble. The whole palace is made out of Marble. They brought all this marble from Jaipur. Jaipur is the differnce between Atlanta and Augusta. That is amazing. I have not seen so much marble in my whole life. India has marble like we have red clay in Georgia. Indians even put marble on their front porch. Now who in America do you know who can afford to do that? So we leave the Fort and Head to The Taj Mahol. Our guide tells us about the symetry and the mathematics and how long it takes to build it. It takes 22 years of people working around the clock. 22,000 people worked to complete the Taj Mahal. OMG. When I walked past the gates and looked at it ....it was as if the Heavens had opened up and the angels started singing. Wow. It is crazy beautiful. I have never ever seen anything so beautiful. It is huge. Oh lord. "Lordd, I don died and gone ta heabun (heaven)" The Color Purple
I stand there for a long time taking it in. I start taking pictures. Then a guy comes up and offers to give me an instant professional shot in front of the Taj Mahol. He shows me his album. He has shot pictures of Will Smith and Bill Gates and many more. I let him take my picture. I end up with two. Next I walk down the sidewalks through the garden leading to it. I sit down on the grass under a tree. There is an old woman who goes and lays down under a tree next to me. Her sari is pretty. She is old and hot. I think she went to sleep. So i sit there and I start thinking about love as I am looking at the Taj Mahal. The taj Mahal is a symbol of love. Shah Jahan built this whole structure to hold the body of his dead wife. He loved her so much that he had them build this to keep the memory of her alive in all peoples minds for years to come. Now it has become one of the Seven Wonders of the world. Wow. I am thinking to myself. Will anyone ever love me so much that they would do such a thing....(if they had the means)? I really think about that. I am puzzled by that. How could you love someone so much that your outward expression would be something as magnificent as the Taj Mahal. I think to myself, "I want that kind of love." I do.
I collect my photos from the photographer, snap some more pictures of the Taj Mahol and i am on my way to Fatpur Sikri, another Fort and Town built by the Jahan family, by Akbar the Great.
But before we get on our one hour journey to Fatpur Sikri, we need to get lunch. I really want to buy a small marble mini taj mahol to sit where the rest of my "world collection" is. I can't find a good price. They think I am stupid. I know the value of money. This guy wants to sell me one for $6. Yeah right. I will buy one for $2. A big one, not a little one. I will get it in Mumbai when I go shopping. I will probably get one in a glass case. So anyhow, we go to lunch. We have lunch at the tourist center which is sponsored by the state. I paid 1700 for the tour including the admission prices. The Indians pay 400. Wow. Talk about discrimination. I did announce to the guy that I was Indiand when he came to collect the 1700 but he did not believe me. So we enter the small dining area. The prices are really set for westerners so the Delhi boys don't eat. The Indian Princess decides that she does not like the Jasmine smell in the resteraunt and wants them to set up her food in the loby. Her parents follow what she says and decide to go with her. I thought it smelled wonderful. I decide to eat in there alone because they have air conditioning and I am about to have a heat stroke. India is hotter than Africa. I mean it is really hot. I thought I could take it cause I am from Georgia. But this heat makes it hard to breath. I feel like i am sitting in an oven...seriously. So I sit there and wait for my food.
There are two young guys who look like extras in a bollywood movie, black shades and all. There is a fat middle aged guy who is drinking beer, and another guy sitting across from him. Now I want you to get the story right so you have to picture the placement of people so you can see how the fight is going to go down. The two young guys are sitting accross from each other. They are friends. The fat guy is sitting accross from the other guy who is drinking beer. Two seperate tables. I am at a table facing all of them, so I can see it go down. So dude asks me in English why the family does not want to eat in the resteraunt. I tell him because it smells like flowers (which to me is a good smell compared to everythign else I am smelling in India). He gets up and shows me where the smell is coming from. Well, some dumb@ss had the bright idea of puting a bathroom, refresher thing on the wall in the resterant. I thought it was incense. It is a thing that you push after you lay a load. So the fat guy goes over to the thing on the wall and decides that he is going to demonstrate how the place smells like Jasmine. This thing is situated on the wall right above where the two bollywood guys are sitting. He pushes the thing. A whole stream of Jasmine spray shoots directly into the plate of the cuter bollywood guy. He starts shouting something in his language, obviously mad. The waiter of the place sees this and starts shouting at the fat guy. The fat guy starts shouting at the waiter. You can see that the fat guy is a regular customer, a drunk and a trouble maker. The waiter has a short fuse with him. The waiter and the fat guy shout at each other. The fat guy goes over to the waiter and starts getting in his face and yelling. The cute bollywood guy goes over to calm the fat man down. The waiter won't back down. I imagine he is saying something like..."why do you have to come in here and do stuff all the time....why don't you leave..." I imagine the other guy was trying to explain himself or tell the waiter "Make me leave....why don't you make me leave" This whole thing is getting very animated. I am sitting there with my little vase and waiting plate at my table. I am thinking d@mn, all that cause he asked me a question.
Hold on, cause it is just getting started. So my tour guide sees this and he comes inside. He starts tussling with the fat guy trying to get him off the cute bollywood guy cause he is shouting on him now. So the young bollywood guy is yelling now. He was trying to keep the peace at first. He says in English something about Indians should respect Indians and him being disrespectful. So these two are going back and fourth. The guy that was sitting at the table is looking just like me. Now the other bollywood guy (the friend of the other) gets up and charges over there to put and end to it. He gets loud which makes the fat guy turn on him. So the two friends go back and forth trying to stop the fight, switching places in holding the fat guy or each other back from fighting. Now you know how Americans are: I am like "D@mn somebody swing " enough with all the shouting. So we have the waiter, the fat guy, the two bollywood guys, and the tour guide all tussling in a circle. Yelling, taking turns insulting the drunk fat guy. It is hillarious, like the three stoogies, funny. I am holding in my laugh because the action is still going down. Finally, I think it is over. Everybody goes back where they came from. I think itis over. The waiter shouts one last insult to the fat guy, who is sitting back at his table. The waiter then comes over to me and says "Sorry madam, this guy can't handle even a little bit of beer. " Then he walks away. At that point the fat guy shouts something back, then the waiter retorts, which causes the fat guy to charge across the room. When he does this the two bollywood guys jump up. They are on him. They start tussling again. This time the not so cute bollywood guy takes off his glasses. "uuuh oh" I think. That is like when a sister starts removing her earrings. Somebody is bout to have a bad day. Next thing is that the fat guy is getting real loud. The bollywood guy is obviously tired of him. He has Jasmine rice, and I dont' mean the Indian brand of Jasmine rice, he literally has Jasmine oil in his food. So they tussle over to my table and the bollywood guy yanks fat dude up by his shirt. I immediately kick my chair back and get out of the way. I know it is going down now. The fat guy motions to the guy who is still sitting quietly at his table still drinking to come over and help him fight. The guy just throws his hand down at him, dismissively. I laugh at that. He looks over at me and smiles. I get it. He is thinking I don't have time for this fool. So now the tour guide and the waiter take them out of the resteraunt. I can see throuigh the glass very clearly. I get up and go stand so I can see the first blow. Now usually I don't like violoence, but this sh@t is funny. It is cartoonish. So they are really tussling now. Well bollywood guy 1 lets go of bollywood guy 2 and lets the fat dude have it. Bollywood guy throws a swing now that he realizes his friend has moved out of his way. He misses. The fat guy throws his hands around to punch but he slaps around like a girl. So bollywood guy throws the next blow and lands it right on the guys jaw. Now it is on. The drunk guy cant' beleive he got hit. He starts trying to fight but he can't. The other guy takes full advantage of him. He pounds about 6 good ones till the guy falls down. They pull him off. But fat dude wants some. He realizes he has been knocked down and he is really ready to fight , or so he thinks. They try to hold both of them back. But when they see how stupid the fat guy is behaving, they let the both of them go at it. Man, bollywood guy pulverized him. He kicked his but all up and down the area. I was in there dying laughing. It was too funny. I could see the expression on his face everytime a blow landed. it was too funny. He was so drunk. oh my god. I was dying laughing. comical. By this point bollywood dude is tired. He puts his shades back on and starts to leave. They leave. The rest of them scrape what is left of the fat dude off the ground. Once he gets up, he acts like he has not been beat up. He starts collecint ( I can't even trype right now cause I am lauging so hard, people are lookign at me cause I am cracking up) .....ok so he starts collecting his stuff that has come out of his pockets as he was being beat around. Oh god. So he collects his things and comes back into the resteraunt. He goes and tries to finish the rest of his beer (like he needs more). I am thinking," Dude you just got beat up, you might want to stop while you are ahead." But he is shuffling his clothes, trying to get himself together. He is about to leave. He stops at my table (note: I am trying to hold back my laughter) and proceeds to tell me: "I was just showing the smell....and he wants to fight me....why he want to fight me?" Note: For the record: "He does not want to fight you...he already beat you up!!!!!!" I wanted to say that but I don't know this guy...I just say..." It's ok. Don't worry about it.....no problem. it is ok. " He says "ok ok" and leaves. Now everyone is gone. The waiter brings my vegetable fried rice. I can't eat cause I am cracking up. That is the funniest sh@t I have seen in a long time. I needed that laugh. I think it was just for me. It was too funny. I will never forget it. MannnnNnnnnnnn!!!!!
Anyway, I enjoyed the tour. We went to Fatpur Sikri and saw the beautiful fort. It was amazing. Akbar had 3 wives: one christian, one muslim, and one hindu. He gave the Hindu one the big palace.
I am typing this one the day after. So It is 2pm and I am leaving Agra. I am catching a 4pm train to Jaipur. But this morning I was so irritated with my breakfast. Do you know I had to go into the Kitchen at the hotel and cook my own eggs. I sat down to a continental breakfast: Eggs, toast, fresh fruit, and tea. They thought I said I wanted creamed eggs when I said scrambled eggs. This is a new hotel so the cook is not experienced. YOu will find in India people prefer cheap help compared to experienced help. They will have a brick layer cook your food. So they have never heard of scrambled eggs. How? I don't know. They bring out a bowl of yellow and white goooook. I am like what is this? The guy says to me proudly, creamed eggs. it looked like Oatmeal or porridge that I see the euros eat. I said "Eggs?" "Yes, creamed fried eggs".....These fools put cream (milk based stuff) and a ton of butter in a mix with eggs and cooked it. "What in the world?" I said. He ran and got the cook. The cook had never heard of scrambled eggs. Indians eat rice and bread and vegetable stuff for breakfast but if you are dealing with tourist you should know what western people eat too. He doesn't. I use my plate to show him how to cook it. I get my spook and who him imaginary style cracking the eggs and stirring and pouring in the pan and stiring more. He is baffled. The cook motions for me to come to the kitchen. I do this gladdly cause I am not eating Creamed eggs. I go into the kitchen and he hands me two eggs. I grab everything I need including salt and pepper. He lights the fire and places oil in the pan. I stir the eggs in a bowl, add my salt and pepper and pour it into the pan. He is amazed as I stir how fluffy the eggs are. He only knows how to make omletts or flat fried eggs. I remove the eggs and place them on a plat and politely walk back to my table and wait for the tea to come as I eat. He comes out to the table and says "Thank you madam"....I laugh to myself. I just taught this guy at my hotel how to cook scrambled eggs and he is a cook!!!!!! LOL. Wow....Incredible India. !!!!!!!
So I caught the train to Jaipur. Of course the train was late. I spent some time on the train trying to ignore the guy sitting across from me. I tell you these men are so horny. It gets on my last nerve. But I got to the train station and I am realizing that I am getting tired now. They had not prepared for me to come to the hotel so I had a rough night since they barely had a room for me. IN the morning they made it up to me. I got a nicer room and they sent me on a tour for the afternoon and included dinner and breakfast. So I am happy.
I spent the afternoon washing my clothes, relaxing. I had lunch at the rooftop resteraunt. I sat with a British guy. He was very naive about traveling. He was asking me about all the places that I had been. He knew right off that I was American. Then I ended up chatting with three French chics. They were real cool. Why can't we deport some white folks and import some Euros? I like them much better. H@ll let's replace all the whites with Russians. That would make me happy. Now those are some real deal people. Today I took a tour around the city with a driver, saw the Hawa Mahol and some other stuff. My hotel has got some live entertainment, dumming. I enjoy the evening of drumming on the rooftop at the resteraunt with a group of Euros. We sit around and drink rum all night and talk about random things. . (A Morrocan chic, Belgians and Spaniards) So tonight I am drinking rum and thinking of someone........I am enjoying Rajistan. It is beautiful!!!
I arrived safe and sound from Jaipur. I took it easy in Jaipur. I had a little luxury. I saw the Hawa Mahal and drove around a bit. I spent the evening chilling with some Euros. I caught my train back to Delhi. There are some stories that I have left out of this journal......nothing major just strange instances..........like the Nigerian in Delhi that wanted to help me import the jewelry I have in mind....but really wanted to see if I was cool transporting narcotics......or the sikh I got into an argument with today.....or the guard at the Trichy temple who did some obscene things to a cow.....or the strange conversations I have had with some Indians. I tell you. I have had some experiences in India. I am leaving for Mumbai tomorrow. I am looking forward to going home. I had eggs this morning and I chatted with my Nizz most of today. I uploaded more pictures and i sent some emails out. I have missed people and I got things to do and catching up and so much more......and I do believe that I am headed towards a different me in many ways.........that is on several levels so see if you can read between the lines.......I have chllled in Delhi. They had a flood on Monday, but hopefully it won't rain and I will spend my last 3 days in India shopping.
This is to all of my friends and acquaintences: Note: WARNING: IF YOU DID NOT CHECK OUT MY BLOG OR PICTURES OR WHATEVER.....OVER THE COURSE OF THIS TRIP DON'T EXPECT NO SOUVIINEERS or GIFTS !!!!
LOL l.......I am just joking.....no actually, I am serious......LOL
It is now December. We are approaching Christmas. Wow. Those 60 days changed my life forever. I am still reeling. I have yet to process all that I saw and learned from India. Wow. wow.
I am proud of myself for being fearless and daring to live boldly. It is a mix of guts, balls, and insanity that makes me trek the globe alone and undaunted. I think back on my days of walking through the gang infested shanty towns of Kingston Jamaica, a place that intimidates most native Jamaicans. I think of how I boldly walked like sweet bambi down dangerous streets....I think of all the chaos I cause in my own little way...and I am thankful that God looks out for children and fools. I am a mix of both. LOL.
Today I leave for Costa Rica. I am going to take yet another adventure. My life is all that I would like it to be. This is a new experience. I hope that you all will follow my journal in Costa Rica.
Day by day I grow stronger, smarter and richer. To those who love me for who I am and allow me to love you...for it all I am truely thankful. Meymoona --- no regrets.