Thursday, August 2, 2012

rest day!

hey, it's not MY fault that the second day here just happens to be a rest day! i woke up super early again, so i just tooted around until breakfast was ready, enjoyed it immensely since in a few days i won't be treated to a free all you can eat brekky anymore, then i went for a loooong walk.

my plan was, to walk to and from the shala every day, until i realized how far it was. so i've been taking an autorickshaw nearly everywhere i go, since my hotel is pretty far out of the way. i have tried SO HARD to pay attention to the route, so i could walk it if i really wanted to. problem is, they take a different route every time! i keep trying to remember the landmarks and the turns... go right at the elephant statue, make a left at the gas station (except sometimes he goes right), go by the tent city and the guys selling baby swings, go really far down a road with paintings on the walls... oy.

so i just decided to walk. and leave a trail of bread crumbs. just kidding, there are way too many roaming animals who would eat my bread crumbs immediately! i went for a long time up the road my hotel is on, passed over a train track, while the train steamed by (cool!), the sun was just up so the light was beautiful, but also started to get really hot really fast as they sky was pretty clear and blue here for a change. i was sweating pretty quickly since i was wearing long pants, 3/4 length sleeve shirt, and a shawl. soon it was time for school i guess, as lots of uniformed school kids started walking by me. all the girls smiled and giggled and waved "hi" and one even asked "what your name?", I guess she was practicing her english. so cute!

i got to a main part of the city, i think, that i sort of recognized, with lots of peeps milling about, preparing food stalls, having coffee, avoiding traffic, watching me go by(?!), i think i hit a decent little shopping district, but it was way too early and hardly anything was open, which is ok, i know where to go in the future.

i felt something wet on my heel at one point, so i looked up. bird poo? water drop? nothing up there to drop on me. cow poo? i looked back at where i had stepped and the only thing there was a big ol' dead rat. i totally just stepped on it, exploded it's guts right out onto my shoe and foot. super! the weird thing is, my thought was just, "oh well!" and i picked up a piece of newspaper floating by and wiped off the guts. whatcha gonna do?!

i walked farther, got out of town a bit, went off on a tangent because the buildings looked really colourful and beautiful and i wanted to explore it and take some pics. it was like a different world in there. streets all crowded and in rows, uphill, like san fransisco. balconies and laundry hanging and lots of cooking going on, like italy. every house a different bright colour, sort of reminiscent of newfoundland, except maybe more like wonderland.

everyone was out, and i was clearly being noticed. i don't think many white peeps wander into these parts. everyone was busy, cleaning, cooking, sending kids off to school, sweeping, hanging laundry, washing up... amazing! every door had beautiful chalk artwork outside.

everyone was dressed colourfully and well. i think it must have been a well off part of town. there were nice looking goats tied up, chickens doing chickeny things, signs above doors saying "graphic artist" and such, a coffee bar, a temple being built. and then there was this one lovely lady with a basket of flowers on her head.

she came up to me, and showed me her flowers, which smelled unreal, so i said ok. she cut off a piece of flower garland and pinned it into my hair. we had no way to communicate so i held out my open hands to ask "how much?". she smiled and laughed unable to answer so i pulled out 10 rupees and said "ok?" she looked very happy and said ok, even though this is only 20 cents canadian. i had no idea if i gave her way too much or way too little. it was a nice interaction though. and my head smelled fragrant for the rest of my walk!

anyhoo, i eventually found my way back to the hotel, two and a half hours later, hot and tired, but fragrant and filled with happiness and wonder at all of the new sights and sounds and smells. i will post more pics later, and am also making a short video of some of my favourite moments from my first few days here. tomorrow morning i have led primary series at the shala at 6am, then chanting at 1030am then philosophy and sanskrit at 4pm. A busy day ahead!

Namaste :)

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