Saturday, February 28, 2009

one more time around

Good morning! It's a quarter of ten here in Tamil Nadu. Here is your Inside India tip for the day:

If you don't have a converter for your American -electrical device of choice- simply insert a non-conducting instrument (like a ballpoint pen) into the topmost part of the plug and push up until you feel or hear a click. Then plug in your -electrical thing- and it should work. I tried this yesterday with my camera battery recharger. I don't even think the top plug thingy was disabled, I just plugged in my charger and it worked. Don't try it if you're not willing to risk frying out whatever it is you're plugging in though. I've heard other people having great success with this low-tech method of modification.

Yesterday I wrote of renting a cycle, yeah? It's a dream. Soooo much cooler (not to mention swifter) than walking. There is an ingenious little mechanism attached to the rear bracket that, when engaged, will circle the back tire and lock it. Cool! The rental cost (since I know you're all interested in comparisons) is Rs 25 per day, which amounts to .50 or $15.00 a month.

There is a running list in my head of nifty things to tell you all about this place I'm parking my sweaty self in for awhile and I should write them down as they happen and occur to me...maybe I'll do that once I'm situated in my new little home. I'll be staying in Prayatna community at Dimitri's House for Rs 190/day (about four dollars). There is a small community kitchen too, so that's nice. I've yet to see it.

Here the City is arranged in communities, which can be more or less involved with each other and each other's lives....from communal meals to pretty much just being neighbors with a common craft or something. There are so many communities, and many guest houses - some communities have no guest houses. This ain't no tourist attraction, but Auroville is a place where guests are welcome to come and stay for a short or long time.

If you want to live in Auroville, you can apply and go through a process. You are a Newcomer for a period of one year and after that you can be an official Member. Or you can stay on indefinitely as a guest. I plan on moseying around for awhile and checking out different communities...I feel much more able and free now that I have my own transportation.

This afternoon I'm going with Catherine to Johnny's. I'm buying Catherine's purple Ladybird bike, and Johnny 'is Auroville', says Saraswati. Apparently he's a right character! An Australian who has lived here since time immemorial, in the forest just over there and dons a lungi (an Indian man's short wrap, like a skirt, normal attire for farmers especially) and turban. Like a fish to water, it sounds like.

So I guess Johnny hosts an open house every sunday, with all sorts of folk and food. I'll bring along a pineapple and a huge pack of dates. Wanna know how much that costs? The pineapple is Rs 15 (remember that 50 rupees is an American dollar) and this big-ass pack of dates...and I do mean about a dollar.

I'm looking forward to seeing what-all goes on at Johnny's. After today I'll not have a regular internet connection...I'll need to pay for it at the Solar Cafe, so my time on the web will be much more infrequent and limited. But I'll let you all know what's up as I can. In the meantime, here are some retro pictures from the Buddha Smiles School outside of Vellore, where we did the permaculture and natural building course:

The concrete portion of the school. It needs to be concrete in order for the government to recognize it as a proper school. Our Night Watchman, Tata, is in the foreground. He's a character too.....he's called Tata, which means 'old man' basically. There are many Tata things here...brand names and such. I think his given name is Swami.

Here's a view from atop the ridge, just to the east of the school. You can see the palapas (bamboo and thatch tents...where that rat lives and ate my backpack....) to the left in a double row, and the cob school house with the red tiled roof.

A couple of shots at dusk. The colors are so washed out in the photos...the sunsets are quite brilliant. The sun is a huge huge thing and really deep orange. (oops I just viewed my blog and it looks like I reposted some images here. gah.)

This is the cob structure that we scraped and rennovated, since the termites have been eating it for the last three years. Hopefully I'll be able to post pics of some of the interior and mosaics that we created, when I'm hooked up again with the 'net.

Here's Tata again, sitting on the porch of the Office.

Here he is once more. I love how his face shifts. He's carrying water down to the cow shed.

Ok that's it for now.....'til sooner, or later....

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