ok, I know you want pictures, but for now all I got for ya are two missives I wrote to my gal pals in Eugene. Maybe some fine day I'll have enough time to transcribe my hand-written travel-journal!
India = too many words to describe any old way.
Ugh, I just tried to copy and paste and it's in one vomitous chunk, rather than all the lovely paragraphs I contrive in email. Ah well.
hi!! Just a quickie....I think it's still New Year's Day here. It's either been one looong day or one loooong night, and it doesn't matter which, because I'm here safe and sound and it is INCREDIBLE!!! It's pretty weird to be here in the space of only a day's worth of travel. It's everything you think India would be and then some. I'm either on the verge of tears or giggles or outright whooping laughter. I kind of freaked out on the plane a bit, so the worst of that is over (at least for the moment). Our hosts are soooo so sweet. We are living in a very spacious place. I love the house. The windows are all open. There is a kitchen garden on the roof. There are all kinds of edible and ornamentals in the yard. I watched cows and dogs roam around on the streets this morning. My roommate is Sugar Fisk - tell Ariana, because I think she's the one who said that Sugar is involved in the local permaculture scene. Sugar is one of the teachers for our workshop. She is great, I liked her immediately. Last night (or whatever) at the airport, it was sooo crowded. It being New Year's and all. Sridar (our host) and his friend Raju picked me up and we wound our way to Sridar's through a maze of streets, people honking horns constantly, but like beep beep, not HOOOONK BEEEP BEEEP....motorscooters and autos (taxis, like golf carts, three wheels) careened all over the road, it was a madcap carnival ride I tell you. This morning Shrimathi (Sridar's wife) walked with us through the neighborhood. We were given free sticky sweet rice in honor of a guru or a god - served in a banana leaf bowl....a little further on Shrimathi bought us each a coconut. In a few deft strokes with a machete, the man in charge had severed the top and stuck a straw in for us to drink the milk. Shrimathi says it's best to drink on an empty stomach....very cleansing. REALLY YUMMY. When we finished the milk, we gave the nuts back to the man for further flaying. He split them open and served us the meat...tender, like fillets of fish, not tough (these were young coconuts). Then we walked to the seashore, not too far, and stood in the warm Bay of Bengal for quite some time, chatting. We walked on, and back and forth, and through the neighborhood again. We eat all the time, but it's not heavy, and I feel so good. I'm barefoot. All the time. Tonight we went to an amazing concert. I can't remember the names of all the instruments, but I pretty much cried (at least inside) throughought. Esteemed muscians, studying for their whole lives of course. No malaria here...Sridar says it is only near 'good water', not standing water, that they congregate. The bad mosquitos, that is. So even though they landed on me without impunity, I'm sure I'm just fine. I also smashed my toe last night (last night? whenever..it was dark anyway...) on the ledge leading up to our room from the bathroom. The bathrooms are all tiled since you basically sluice yourself in the room and it's easier to just wash it all down (I love it)...so the bathrooms are drop-down. I didn't realize that on my way out. Peeled my toenail back but good (my big toe's neighbor) - but, it doesn't hurt, and I poured tea tree oil on it, and soaked it in the salt water at the sea today. All is well. I better sign off. We're rising at 5am tomorrow; Shrimathi wants to take us to a very old and large temple in the morning, and we're game. She asked if she should arrange for a driver (they employ a driver, a night watchman, a couple of house maids and a cook...it's one big happy family...but not ostentatious in the least). Okay, uh...sure! The prayers are sung aloud three (or maybe more?) times a day over the loudspeaker...it's beautiful (Jacque you were right!). Sugar said she was trying to picture that broadcast over suburban Eugene or Cottage Grove (she lived in Cottage Grove!!).
Hmmmm...I think it's still thursday here. If it's friday there, I hope the pour went well. If not, I hope it goes well! I think India is twelve hours 'ahead' of Oregon. Sooooo....it's a quarter to three in the afternoon as I write. On thursday. Ummm...wait. Maybe it's friday. Wow! I hope I don't miss the workshop, I can't seem to keep it all straight. So fuck it, I won't :) Thanks for the note. Yeah, it is REALLY WEIRD to be here, besides the fact that it's less than a day's worth of travel to transverse the globe like that. Trippy. Today we woke up early (I was up at 3am, so I tried to meditate, and I did some stretches) and went to a temple about a half hour away...yeah, we hired the driver! Crazy! But it's the norm for this family. The family doesn't put on airs or anything. Anyway...we went to the temple and the sun rose while we were there, and they gave us little flower bouquets for our hair, and dark blood red turmeric for bindis (spot in your forehead), pongal (sweet rice)...it was really nice, but yeah you know...so different! It was a really old temple (4,000 years), but very unassuming. Not one of the really ornate over the top ones. That'll come later I'm sure. I wish I had taken a picture of a grasshopper we saw in the yard yesterday, perched on an eggplant. Shrimuthi (pronounced like 'shri mutti') has planted lots of food around - there are over 80 varieties of spinach here (in India, not in the garden). There's a neem tree, too. It's a great pesticide. I used neem oil last year for the chard that was struggling with leaf minors. I think it helped.....Shrimuthi and Shridar (her husband) explained how they use the neem leaves for a good manure (manure is another way of saying 'mulch'). Oh so the grasshopper....brilliant yellow, red, and blue. I mean - uh, wow. And big. The bugs are big, yes they are, but so far I have not seen any big hair eight-leggers. Last night outside before the concert we saw some bees...did I mention the bigness of bugs....these were black and irridescent, I thought they were beetles. HUGE The mosquitoes are pretty healthy, too. This afternoon we hit the markets! Sugar and I shopped for textiles (I went a little ape shit, Sugar was a bit more restrained...how does she do that??). Later we'll go to a tailor. I need to email Camille for her recommendation on that. Clothes shopping - way more fun this way. At least so far. The materials are wonderful, I bought enough to make several tops and a couple pair of pants, for about $16.00. I have no idea what to expect in the way of tailoring costs, but I'm sure it's going to be eminently reasonable :) I bought a buttload of fruit for a huge chilled bowl later. Shrimuthi fixed us a pretty hefty breakfast this morning, around 9 or maybe 10am. I'm still full, but I am craving some juicy fruits. I think we're going out later for more shopping. Sugar packed even lighter than I - she needs a good pair of sandals. I can't wait to see what she buys...also what she commissions a tailor to make. Sugar is petite, but fiery, and animated (yeah, despite her restraint!). So I think that the outfit she has planned will look super cute and funky on her.
sooooo...so far, no diarrhea from either end, and the jetlag is just about out of my system too. I haven't needed a nap yet today.