Another Day in the Phil Zone

Trip Start Nov 27, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's been a very un/eventful couple of days in Pushkar.  It's warm, beautiful, lots of great shopping, lots of great food, interesting conversations, hot showers (!), a couple of amazing hikes... I can see how a person could get stuck here for a while.  But it's true- I'm a little bored.  I ran into the same Frenchman at my favorite dining spot again today- he's been traveling for months and also leaves Pushkar tomorrow.  We had breakfast together and talked for a couple of hours as the sun started warming... Then, of course, he went to do yoga and I went to shop.  The silver store where I was yesterday is temporarily closed, though, so I thought I'd stop off here.  Anyway, let's see.  What's happened?

Yesterday, I woke up early and scaled the hill to Savriti temple, which is a temple devoted to one of Brahma's wives.  It was a heck of a climb, and there were breathtaking views on the way up (both because I was panting and because it was gorgeous)... I'm only a little sore today, which is surprising.  Anyway, got up there, and what would you think would greet you at a hilltop temple?  Why, trance music, of course.  There's a kid named Ganesh who runs the joint up there, I guess, and spends his day making friends with the travellers that march up the hill. You can get a cup of hot chai and watch him feed and then chase off the monkeys when they start toppling the few wicker chairs that sit on the cliff down the side and out of sight forever.  He's a happy kid, seems he's taken some lessons from the monkeys himself the way he bounds around the hillside.  There was a European couple and one other woman up there when I got there, not having left as early as I intended, and we all hung out for a couple of hours, listening to the trance music, drinking tooth-shatteringly sweet masala chai, and watching Ganesh and the monkeys.  It was the definition of chill, and agreed by all that there was no reason to hurry down.

Oh, there have been a couple of things I intended to jot down, things that happened that were really funny or strange...

I went to Kunal's friend's home where we had tea, of course, and some conversation entirely translated by Kunal (this was still in Delhi).  We were chatting, and laughing some, and sitting in the one room that makes their home (I'm sitting on the end of the bed next to Kunal; a family friend is sitting up by the head of the bed; Hababi, the man of the house- a teacher- is sitting in the one chair, and his wife is standing about seven feet away from the bed at the stove, making chai).  It was lovely, and they of course are very generous, and smiling people.. and we're joking, and I'm a smart ass... Anyway, at one point Hababi asks me (via Kunal) "What is the most beautiful thing in the US?" and me, being a joker- and an asshole- I swing two thumbs inward at myself with the goofiest grin and started laughing.  It fell like an anvil for a few seconds until the joke was conveyed... Ah, well.  I laughed about it then and I'm still giggling.  I'm sure they are too.  Let's see, what else has happened...  Oh, I'm trying this time (vs. last, when I really didn't try at all, for whatever reason) to learn a tiny bit of Hindi- at least as much as I know in Thai, that's my goal.  So I'm trying to remember "Thank you", which I now have, and it turned into me saying, for the first ten or so times.... "umm.  ..GODDAMMIT.  Shit!  Shit.  OH! ..Dahanya Bad."  Which I'm not sure is a whole lot better than just sticking to "Thank you".  There have been a few other rich ones... Oh, once, during conversation with Kunal about his friend's wedding and the situation, I say "You're kidding me!", just as a sort of manner of speech, and he stops what he's saying, looks straight at me, deadpanned, and says,  "No. Andrea, I am not kidding you."  Oh.. There have been a few other gems.  Can't think of them right now, and if only I could write about them instantly when they happened...

OK- back to Pushkar.  I bought some kids some chapatis two days ago, which was a huge mistake at first (I was then hit up by every kid here.  Word of a sucker travels fast.) but I've stuck to my guns after that; no more chapatis until I leave.  One girl was trying to get me to buy an entire bag of flour.  I'm sure there are plenty of tourists that oblige, and her family's restaurant is better off for it.  Sucks to be so cold, but there are realities out there.  There are ways to give- and that's not one of them.  I've been walking all around the lake, which is lovely, and found the post office which is right next to the bus station.  Not a huge feat, but I was pretty proud of myself.  I like walking around and looking at stuff (seriously great shopping here, and my thought is that I can leave stuff in Delhi while i go east and south and then just bring it on the plane back with me- don't have to carry it around) but, as is usual, I walk around until I can't stand the "Madam- you come my shop?" or "Chapati hello good morning?  Chapati hello good morning?"  (a personal favorite, to be counted on at all times of day), or get deafened by a sadhu beggar shaking his metal pot loudly like - RIGHT - in my face and screaming "HELLO!"  It really doesn't do much for me.  So I pretty much walk around, eat, have some tea, find a place to sit for a while until I have been approached twenty or so times by people trying to separate me from my money one way or the other, then duck in to an internet shop (like now) or go back to my room and work up the strength and tolerance to do it again.  I've got a bunch of NPR podcasts on my iPod and a little plug in speaker thing (which unfortunately doesn't actually charge, bummer) which has been a relaxing afternoon retreat.

I wonder if folks will figure it out, that if you don't yell at them, they may be more apt to browse and buy than if you are yelling, nay, screaming at them.  I have been wondering this for at least ten years.  I wonder when I'll stop wondering.  I also wonder about the guys that operate the parcel shops- the places where you go to pay through the nose to get someone to wrap your package for you (I have been saved from the ripoff by Kunal in Delhi, last time, wow, what a difference when you look at your weight measurement and call them to task on what they are charging you...) Anyway, sidebar.  I wonder about those guys- you're just cruising down the street, maybe holding a bottle of water and your bag, and they yell, "Package sending? Madam! Package?!  PACKAGE SENDING!"  like I'm going to go, you know what, YES.  I am going to send all this shit that I am carrying- my passport, my money, my water bottle, my Purell, and my camera- I am going to send this shit somewhere RIGHT NOW.  Thank you.  Had you not yelled out at me, repeatedly, and with force, I would not have realized what a pain in the ass it is to carry this stupid bag around.  While you're at it- why don't you take my shoes and stick them in the package, too.  I'm in Pushkar, after all, among all these dredheads, and you know- who needs shoes

Well, I am going to go check out the silver shop, see if the guy is back (Papu).  I have plans to have dinner with the French guy (David) at 7:00.  Maybe I'll be up later than the 9pm that i have gone to bed since I got here!  It's easier to be out and about with someone else after sunset- not for safety's sake, but because there's typically less people yelling at you to buy something if you are not alone, and plus there's someone else to deflect it. 

OK, then, on that note- Happy Journey!  Back to Delhi tomorrow for the wedding... I'll write from there, and I'll take LOTS of photos.

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