On our way to Darjeeling

Trip Start Sep 28, 2008
Trip End Oct 12, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hello all..... spent yesterday at a planetarium whose greatest thing was providing us a respite from the heat and crowds... it 'looked' like a planetarium but was more like a slide show on one side of the wall. Still, it was a relief to get someplace cool. While waiting, I was able to talk to some Indians... one woman who was quite talkative and friendly who said she'd been in some Bollywood films as an actor and dancer. Very pretty, newly married at 18, a "love marriage," and lives, of course with his family. Her husband did not say anything. She asked very direct questions and was totally perplexed at the concept of divorce. Difficult for me to explain as well. She said they do not have sex before marriage in her country.... hmmm. And while she is very forward thinking, is was out of the question in her mind to pursue her education and she wanted to be a 'housewife.' It was obvious that she could not see herself in any other role although she does not want children any time soon. Her father was Indian, her mother Thai, and she grew up in an orphange. Very interesting, articulate young woman.

Spoke with some men.. the men tend to smile after they've stared, the women who are more middle class are friendlier. The men were students, one a mechanical engineeringing student. One came up and asked me to take him to America.. the men sitting with me said he was 'psycho' and laughed. This was a nice place to sit and talk with people: on the steps of the planetarium with greenery and a fountain. Clearly these were more well to do Indians. It cost us 30 rupees to go inside which is less than 1 American dollar.

And if I didn't mention it, i met a woman from Switizerland who was with her guru.... skinny man in loin cloth, long  hair, friendly. She said she's been here for 5 months and was now looking with new eyes... asked me if i was spiritual. Had a very good conversation with her. She had the whole Indian garb on and the red painted hairline showing she had been to temple.

I met a woman who introduced herself as Christian and told me how we were all one in Christ no matter where we lived..... all these conversations have been the best thing.... getting to know people. Gabes little bit of Hindi has helped a lot and people light up when he speaks to them. The children.... beautiful, so happy to see us.

I did manage to go into a shop where the owner was just beside himself with pride to have us there and show us his goods. I think had we not got out when we did, we'd still be there looking at things. He sold shawls, scarfs, really beautiful. It would be nice to purchase things but just like in Turkey, they hassle you so much that its not even fun to look!

And then there's goats in the streets, the motorcyclist with animal skins hanging across the back, the upside down chickens on the handlebars, the dogs, the people walking with baskets and who knows what on their heads.... most are happy to get their pic taken and it breaks down any barriers when i show them the picture. That's when they really smile.

It is such a gift to be here. However, it is not a place where you want to stay for long.... just far too exhausting. Darjeeling will be a nice change as it should be much cooler and that will be welcomed even if its raining. Does not matter. I have my poncho.  Until the next time... namaste.
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