Tuesday, January 30, 2007

jiggety jog

did anyone else'smom ever say that? "home again, home again, jiggetyjog"....my mom always said it upon arrival to the garage....

so here i am! i had a great trip home...no problems like i feared, every flight was on time, my bags arrived safely...no problem!

it's good to be home in my house, nice to be snuggling with my sweetie and my dog....

thanks everybody for reading my blog and writing me emails! i think i might continue blogging, so if you wanna keep reading, then please do!

see ya!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

leaving today

well, today i am leaving. i am a little sad, but my heart is racing with anticipation of returning home.

i also tend to have high anxiety about something going wrong at the airport. like my name not even being registered as a passenger or something, even though i have confirmed my flight twice. i have anxiety about being stuck in frankfurt, or munich, or my bags getting lost or something like that which guess is normal, but i hate feeling this way. oh, if my bags got lost i would be VERY UPSET. but i will put my name and address on them in fingernail polish (ha!) since they are black, and hope for the best.

so today i am meeting arnab for lunch and then i am doing some last minute present buying and then packing and eating. shower and taxi to airport and that is that.

so! in case anyone feels better knowing, i am flying lufthansa from delhi to frankfurt, frankfurt to munich, munich to charlotte. the last flight is LH #428. i have a sneaking suspicion this is going to change as i think i will be on US Air instead of LH. we'll see.

so, i'm hoping ot be up at barley's tuesday after work to see people and have a delicious firewater beer...and then perhaps opening of the bags that night??? you are welcome to join me! in fact, please do!

see ya in the USA! woo hoo!



today is my last full day here. i leave tomorrow night around 11:30pm to go to the airport. i am feeling a little sad. i was beginning to think i am not terribly excited about coming back to india. but then, i started reading this book called "shantaram" and my mind did a complete reverse. this is an excellent book, people, and for those of you who like a good story, you must get it.

this book is so good at describing the thing about india that i like the most. the author puts in in these terms...india is all about the heart, and indians are quick to love. this is so very true and wonderful and beautiful. and when i was reminded of this i looked around, and i felt it. despite the jerks on the train, despite the dirt everywhere, despite the absolute insanity...indians are all about the heart.

i ran into a friend of mine i amde on my last trip and i had chai with him. maybe i told you this in my last post...but after having chai, he told me i was now his best best BEST friend. this is what i mean by indians being quick to love. this is such a sweet notion for a 24 yr old man...in the US would this happen? no way!

i got som henna done yesterday on my hands and feet for my trip home. i love the feet but the hands are a little cheesy. i got black henna vs the natural red henna. then i bought some henna to bring home with me for a ladie's night henna party. i realized that the black henna is actually hair dye!! very funny...now i am feeling a little embarrassed byt this hair dye covering my hands. when indians see it, they are probably rolling their eyes and laughing at my naive tourist self.

i have been talking to some interesting foreigners here at the restaraunt in delhi. i met a black woman form nyc last nigh and it was really interesting to see her talking to indians. she is here buying stuff to sell at street fairs. hmm...maybe an idea for me?? anyway, i also chatted with an intersting british lady this AM and also and australian man who was having some trouble with a tour operator here who he was actually planning on SUING. i think he is wasting his energy, but whatever. in india, you must have the capability to just cut your losses sometimes or else you will drive yourself nuts. this is NOT the western world. and if you get caught in one of their money scams, you just lose money. i think you need to be smart enough to not get involved in the 1st place.

today i am going shopping. i have a list of gifts to buys and i am excited. then tomorrow i meet up with arnab, my indian friend from myspace. we talked on the phone yesterday and he had the most proper british english with the indian lilt, it was delightful. he and i are having lunch. i also will meet up with hema from the jewelry school to talk about what she might like to try to teach at penland. i am going to try and hook her up with a teaching job there sometime. either for traditional jewelry techniques or traditional embroidery techniques. i hope it works out and they want her to teach because then she can come visit and stay with me and i can show her around!!!!

so...that's the agenda. i'm feeling like my eyes need to drink everything in before i go. my mouth needs to eat delicious meals, and i need to relish the two days i have left. i am SO EXCITED to come home, though! so much fun things to do there....though i am also remembering all the busy work i have to take care of such as booking hotels for craft fairs, getting my booth in order, ordering electricty for the craft fairs, ordering materials to make jewelry, blah blah blah....i will put off those thoughts for a few more days, though.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

republic day


well, today is "twenty-sixth jan".....republic day! everything in delhi is closed....so what to do?

there is a huge parade, closing off almost all the sity's major roads, impossible to get anywhere other than where you are. on the way to paharganj this morning from the train station we had to speed in order to make it through. we had to go through many police checkpoints, but they did not search us. i am safely here at the "yes sir!" guest house.

the train ride was...ummm...interesting, and NOT interesting, both. at first, i was all alone n my compartment area. except i had a friendly mouse that actually came up on the seat next to me, causing me to jump! i wish it would have crawled in my lap and snuggled, but i scared it off with ym scream. then at night came a group of 4 young women, each carring a type of cloth bag. they had some paint on their foreheads extending down to their noses. different than normal. i asked about the bags and was told they are "bead bags". hmm, still i was unsure. and THEN, they started clapping an dsinging together. it became apparen that they were HAre Krisna's...VERY interesting. they were on their way to a har krisna festival in pune. they had some intersting snacks, and i asked what they were. immediaitely, i had a plate of said snacks for myself to try. it was some roti's (flatbread), some papadam (crispy masala flat bread) and what looked like crisco. so, i dipped the roti in the crisco only to find it was exactly like cake icing, very sweet. the roti had some veggies in it and was absolutely delicious. i told them so, and one girl leaned over and said, "it tastes so good because it is an offering to krisna!" i raised my eyebrows and smiled. then they kept offering me more and more and i had to refuse!!!

i woke up to find new people in the compartment. i was sleeping n the top berth, so i climbed down and sat in the seat next to mine as some guy was sitting in my seat. i thought, no biggie, he's in my seat, i'll sit in his. the woman across from me gave me the MEANEST look, and her husband leaned over and said "someone is sitting there." i looked at the guy next to me and said "well, he is sitting in my seat." mind you, there was PLENTY of room on the bench for all of us. so i asked the guy, "where is your seat?" and he says "i have no seat". meaning, he is riding the train for free. so these jerks across from me were mad at me for sitting on the bench when this guy didn't even have a ticket! the whole rest of the trop (over 24 hours) these 2 people gave me mean looks, didn't talk to me, were rude...ugh!!! and the dude without a ticket...he STARED at me the whole time, i mean...the WHOLE time. i would be reading and inadvertently look up, and he'd be staring at me. i caught him trying to look up my skirt on the sly one time, prentending he was asleep. hope he liked looking at the pants i had on underneath my skirt. then another guy came and joined the group and he stared at me too! it was awful. these indians are like 12 yr olds when it comes to women...they are so immature it is ridiculous! finally after a sleepless night last night, around 3am i got up and moved all my stuff to a diferent place just to get away from the bad vibes.

but now i am here...not sure what to do today because of the holiday. i guess i will go see if i can see the parade, but you know how it is with parades, esp if you are short like i am. but on the tv, the announcer said this parade is unlike a parade the WORLD has ever seen. sounds tempting, doesn't it???

then tomorrow i will go shopping and please...lord help my gluttony tomorrow. i know it is sick, i know it.


Sunday, January 21, 2007


well, no worries, friends.

the blogger website has been causing me much frustration these past few days and i just couldn't dign on no matter what! SOOOOOOOO frustrating and annoying.

but all is fine. i am ready to come home. i actually tried to change my ticket but i couldn't. so...2 more days here, 2 days on the train, 2 days in delhi, then i am back. wow, i am REALLY looking forward to coming home!

the beach is fine. kora and i moved north up the coast to colva beach. there are tons of indian tourists here which makes for a nice change in flavor. they are very funny in their beach behavior. they will all hang out near the ocean, like 500+ of them, and be screaming with delight about he waves. them men all strip down to their brown underwear and the women (some) get in the water fully clothed. it is very intersting to see piles upon piles of shoes on the beach, guarded by some grand mother.

it has been good to connect with kora. we have had lots to talk about and it is really nice to be able to share observations with someone.

interstingly enough, at our hotel, someone scratched in the concrete walkway "lisa has big tits". we find this hilarious. who cares if lisa's tits are big? i would think it is more interesting if they are "nice" or "saggy" or something. plus, sis a foreigner do this, or did an indian? every time i walk over it i laugh.

kora was drying her long sleeve button shirt in varanasi out the hotel window. she went away to eat and came back to find that the monkeys had removed every single button from her shirt, including the cuffs! this also makes me laugh every time i think about it.

i am having trouble sleeping...for the last 5 days or so. waking up in the middle of the night totally redy to get up. this sucks.

i have been trying all kinds of fish dishes. last night i had red snapper, which is actually a fresh water fish. it was grilled wit lemon jouice, garlic and butter and was delicious. also very $$, about $10US. but it was my fancy dinner. i had some mackerel curry which was interesting, and a tuna fish sandwhich with the crusts cut off. other than that i have been sticking to my porridge. well, we did get an ice cream cone, the kind that comes prepackaged that we used to have when we were kids...the best thing was that at the bottom of the cone they had put a raisin to keep the ice cream from leaking out. what a good idea! and it tasted really good with the vanilla ice cream!

i am spending most of my time embroidering. it is turning out very nicely. i think today i am going to hunt down one of the rabari tribal women who sells stuff and see if someone can show me how to sew in the miroras like they do. i don't have a mirror with me, (i do in delhi), but i can use a shell or somethign for practice. i hope to find someone! i find i actually really enjoy this embroidery, and i am glad i have it for my 41 hour train ride coming up and also my 20-some-odd hours i will have flying home.

a pop-up ad keeps coming on my screen for indian arranged marriages. how interesting.

well, folks, that's about it for now. all is well, i am just anxious to gt home and back to real life and family, friends, and love!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

so...i've remembered a few things:
i saw a crow steal a fish from the beach today where the fish was laying out to dry...a big fish, and the crow flew FAST with this fish in his mouth. i liked it!

on my bus yesterday there was a sign delcaring "NO SPITING!" i was very glad to see this, as i believe that spite can be a very bad thing. and i didn't feel anyone being spiteful, so apparently the sign worked.

also i have learned that the saree can be worn in many different ways. poor worker women wear it tucked up in between their legs, with the tops part tucked in the back over their shoulder. then you can also wear it with the long part going over your shoulder in the front, or coming over your shoulder in the back. you can also wear it pleated at the waist many times, or wrapped around more for less pleats. i have been trying to pay attention to this sarre style...i wish i knew more about what each one meant, as certainly it all has meaning. i do know that red sarees are for marriage, white is for widow in mourning...

kora arrived this afternoon, just after i started worrying about her. we chatted and found we have been both having similar thoughts about traveling, how we want to travel, and what we are thinking about while traveling...interesting. i asked her to read the Alchemist and tell me what she thinks and i look forward to having a small book discussion. Jamie would now be calling me a REAL nerd! so be it. this is one of kora's photographs, she is a great photographer. check her out at www.kora.com this is a house burning out in fairview one time when she was home visiting. dern....

i've been shopping, of course, and feeling guilty about shopping here. i just like it so much! part of me thinks i should open some kind of small import store just so i can come to india and shop! the fabrics, the colors, the sparkles, the craft industry here are all so compelling...

i also had one of the most deliious meals of my trip today for lunch. it was called Chilli Calamari. Holy shit, this was good...it even had cooked green peppers in it whihc i usuallu do not like, but also had onions, calamari, tomatoes, whole green chilis (which i ate whole! no problem!) and a delightful rich brown sauce. i had two roti with it and a kingfisher beer. fantastic!!!!

ok, off to see what's for dinner! hard to beat that lunch, i might play it safe with the toasted cheese...
see ya!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007



well, things are settling down in my head. i have gotten to a place where i am not feeling antsy about doing nothing. this is unusual for me. every thing i do is an event: bathrrom, eating, laying in the sn, buying soap, reading, washing my hair...this is good. ths is the mental state i need to be in so that when i come hom i can hav eal this empty room in my head to organize everything that will be happening there. a fresh start, mentally...

today i was a bit sunburnt so i went to the capital of Goa, margao, about an hour away by bus. I was a little nervous because i have never takn a local public bus before. but it was realy easy and very enjoyable as i had a window seat and the breeze was delightful and the views were interesting. i went to margao spcifically to find embroidery thread, needle, cloth and round holder-thingy, so instead of reading i can try out some embroidery and see if i like it. s, i got off the bus in margao, found the market, and one of the 1st shops i found ws fo rembroidery. very pleasing. i bought 3 different colors of thread, and some blue cloth to sew on. i am happy. i just sat over my late lunch of cheese sandwich and drew a design i can follow. next i just will transfr the design and start and see what ahppens. i need some scissors though.

i saw some ows hanging out i th field with a bunch of egrets. the rice paddies are dry right now but they are still beautiful in that they are very organized looking. there is some lovely foliage here, som flowers suddenly pop out of nowhere and shock you with their elegance. others are small and you have to look for them but they are pleasing whn you discover them hiding. i saw that there is a rubber plantation and spice farm down the road a bit and i wonder if me and koa might not just go check it out.

kora has her motorcycle liscnse and you can rent motorcycles here. maybe we can take a ride down the road. would be nice. she comes tomorrow at some point in time. i will wait for her on the beach, i've given her directions on how to find me.

i'm eading this book about realizing your destiny. it is written very beautifully, but i am wondrng if the beautiful writing is tricking m nto thinking this book is really saying something. it is called "the alchemist" by paulo coelho. has anyone read it? what did you think? i am thinking this is for people who don't nkow what the hell they are doing in life. i am not very lost, if lost at all.

i met these russians yesterday who wer great. a guy and girlfriend we talked about america, how they cannot get a visa to come. maybe 3000 people apply and only 10 get visas. but they were describign the traffic rules in russia, sounds like the traffic here, meaning there are no rules...they said a friend of theirs was in the USA, rented a car and was driving down the highway. they missed their turn, so as one would do in russia, they simply put on their hazzard lights and began backing up down the highway. and suddenly, another car came up behind them, going in the proper direction...and WHAM! ran right into the russians. so the americans called the police to report the accident, told them that the russians were driving in reverse down the highway. then the polie came up to the russians' car, laughing, and said that those people who hit them were crazy! they said you were in reverse on the highway! and the russians got off for nothing. maybe this is not funny to you, but hearing this story from the russians i met was hilarious!

last night i had some difficulty going to sleep, but i learned that i am able to create my own movie for myself if i just lay there and relax long enough without frustration entering in. it was really nice. finally i drifted off and tehn the rude people who just moved in next to me came in about 1am (i was sleeping around 9:30) and were laughing and talking and shouting, drunk or stnoed i don;t know. i was so pissed. this beach is supposed to be laid back and chill, not frigging party central. i kept "sh-ing" them and i think this morign they laughed at me like i was a nerd, btu who cares? they probably woke up about 100 people around in the surroundng huts an dhosues, both indian and tourist, and i think it's rude. oh well.

i had all this big meanngful stuff to say that i've been thinking abut, and now it is gone. i'll have to start taking notes on my thoughts. my memory is shot...not fair! too early!

see ya!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

settling in

well, it is very nice here at the beach. i am settling in and learning to ignore the tourists i don't like and enjoying some that i have been talking to. i have explored a bit and found that the beach the next cove over is absolutely FABULOUS, unbelievably pretty, quiet, few people....and expensive. so...i cannot go there. i am reminding myself that i am still amidst some incredible beauty, so what if it's a little touristy....still not like any american beach, still less people. except maybe at hunting island...

i have now read 3 books in 4 days. wow, that's alot of reading, but what else is there to do? eat? bathe? swim? lay in the sun? drink chai? have a kingfisher beer? i'm doing all of these things.

i also got some more henna on my hands today and the 16 yr old that did it did a sloppy job. right after she left, another young girl whom i met the other day came along and gave me the evil eye for getting the henna done by someone else. she examined it and said it was not as good as she would have done and i agreed, and she basically said "i told you so". these young girls are here for the tourist season. they walk up and down the beach selling crappy jewelry and doing henna. they come from all over india. i am not exactly sure what the situtation is, but i have a feeling their parents send them off to come make money and then they return home with the booty at the end of 6-8 months. or they send it home, i dunno. but little Anita today told me she has to pay off the local police in addition to getting a permit and i have a feeling there is someone else taking part of the money as well. these girls are so young and so sweet, it is sad to see. but they could have worse things happen i guess, and who knows, the bad things may be happening at night, i have no idea. but i try to buy a little something and let them do the henna because why not?

there is one woman here who insisits on sunbathing topless. it pisses me off. in every guide book they tell you to NOT do this, as it offends the locals. and it does! she swaggers around like some kind of hot tamale and i HATE her for being so rude and uncaring. if she needs to do that, she can do it at home. plus, she has TOTAL fake boobs which are disgusting to look at. and they are very veiny...i just don't like her or her thoughtlessness. oh, she has a thong bikini too. might as well just get naked, i say!

i really am enjoying the goan food. to day i had chicken cafreal (pronounced ca-free-ull) which is the chicken i liked so much last time...the sauce is made with coriander leaves and it is like a thick gravy. served over rice. delicious! and again i had the fish vindaloo and i learned that it is shark that i am eating. i tried the tuna steak and it was not at all like the tuna i know at home and frankly had me a bit worried about getting sick because it was so fishy. but i have not gotten sick, i think it just was gross. also i enjoyed a delightful grilled cheese sandwich yesterday with some kind of tasty mayo and french fries indian style and a type of cole slaw. everything is just a little different than at home, and it is delightful to discover how they manage to make it just not quite the same!

ipod and camera still not working. we won't discuss this any more.

i am loving the mosquito net, it is very peaceful to lay under at night. last night the electricity went out (again) and i had some candles that i lit and had under the net with me for reading. it was lovely. very cozy. a bit warm when falling alseep but chilly in the morning. my little favorite blankie is perfect for the weather and my best friend here. (i must say that this room is WAY nice than mine...just so you know...my bed is on the floor and does not look nearly as stylish as this!)

so i am wondering if tomorrow i might not be able to take a bus and go check out this huge fleamarket in anjuna. i don't know, but i am about to ask. the internet place i am currently at also acts as a travel agent. how convenient!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

good morning


well, not much going on here at the beach.

it is not quite noon here. so far the highlight of my day has been fixing up my lovely new long fingernails...and watching dog behavior on the beach.

my coco hut is in the small courtyard of other coco huts. about 10 in all. in the middle is this open expanse of sand which is swept hourly and the fallen leaves are collected in a basket by the sweeper lady. very clean area. there are a mama dog, a daddy dog, and 3 puppies that live in this courtyard and are "taken care" of by the people that own the cocohuts. the daddy dog has no tail. i met him this morning and we immediately became friends. he tried to bite the strap of my bag several tiems and followed me happily over to my restaraunt. but...lo and behold...the restaraunt is the territory of 2 other dogs who are not his friends. as soon as he crossed over into their territory the 2 dogs ran up and growled and barked ferociously at him. he tried to say he was nice, i could tell, but then finally he gave in and got mad at them too. the snarling looks were so viscious!! it was very funny! then when i left the restaraunt he joined up with me again and gaily bounced along side of me on my way back to my hut. it made me feel really good!

also i remembered my skin cure-all: coconut oil. it is fabulous! i liberally applied some to my burnt legs and arms last night before bed and this morning my burn is almost gone! i am very happy. for those of you who have never tried this, you must go get some pure coconut oil from the health food store. (in the cooking section) it is "hard" and white when it is cold, but as soon as you put it on your hands it will melt and become clear. i heard on NPR that this is the best oil for your skin. plus it is all natural. it does not smell as strong as the coconut versions of lotion or sunscreen, it has a subtle gentle smell that goes away quickly. indian coconut oil has a slight smoky scent to it which i find delightful and very indian. so, i am happy to have remembered this, and i hope some of you will go out and try some for your dry skin this winter. i sound like an advertisement, don't i? :)

i read a whole book yesterday, called "how NOT to survive at IIT". (indian institute of technology)...it was a little delight, as it was popular indian fiction and i also learned alot about how the education system works in certain ways. IIT accepts 300 students per year and there are over 3,500 that apply. the results of the entrance exam came out about a week or so ago and it was all over the news. this is the most prestigious university in india. apparently students applying study for the entrance exam for over TWO years. a certificate from this school ensures that you get a job, either in india or preferably in the US technology sector.

well, that's it for now. off to the beach to sit under the umbrella!


Saturday, January 13, 2007



here i am in goa, after a long, but fine train ride. palolem beach is gorgeous! but all the europeans in their skimpy man bikinis are NOT! the guide book called this a very laid back beach...perfect for chilling out. but only if you are trying to not be in india. there are so many westerners here and i am not real psyched about it.

i am not sure what to do. on my last trip i enjoyed the beach so much as i was able to make friends with the people that ran the beach side resaraunt and such...this place has way too many westerners for the indians to care about making friends. plus, i liked how the restaraunts would play indian music last time and here they are playing western techno pop which i hate anyway...

so i am debating about hopping on a bus and going back up the beach a bit to colva beach where i stayed last time. much more peaceful and enjoyable....but is it still? or have we westerners just taken over these spots and ruined them? i feel guilty...and a bit sad about it.

also, the 1st thing i did after calling jamie when i got here this morning was to go buy some sunscreen. i liberally lathered myself with it, and went and laid in the sun for about 1.5 hours. guess what? it didn't work. i am burnt!!! and pissed! so now i have to stay out of the sun for at least 2 days. i can still lay on the beach under an umbrella, but c'mon! i took precautions....to no avail.

the other very sad thing is that my water bottle came open in my bag. as of now, my camera and my ipod are not working. my fingers are crossed and i am trying not to stress about it, but that would mean i have lost all my pictures, and i do not want that to be the case. plus, abuot $1000 of great equipment over a DUMB accident! i even had them in a protective case, which got water in it and didn't leak out because it was ummm..."protective".

not to be a sorry sack here, but also i am feeling lonely and honestly a little bored. in 2.5 weeks, i have read 5 books...none of them small. so...la la la...what to do? i am going to try to go find something to do such as some needlepoint or something like that as that is all i can think of to keep my fingers busy. i am missing jamie, as the beach would be a great place for us to hang out and do nothing together. but right now...this doing nothing by myself is kinda boring.

kora is talking about coming to join me, i am waiting to hear back from her about that. it would be good, so we'll see.

on the positive side, i just had a most delicious fish vindaloo, quite spicy and rich. also for breakfast i enjoyed some fruit porridge with banana, watermelon, oranges, and papaya. very good.

i saw a flock of fruit bats the other night which was interesting. they are vry graceful, yet also totally bumbling! maybe about 100 of them. there are lots of puppies here at the beach, hopefully none of their mothers will eat them. though this young indian girl today told me they do that because they have to for the other pups. like eating the runt i guess...i dunno.

also there are some wild boar here, and they are always good for a laugh! little curly tails wagging around incessantly and fat stomachs hanging almost to the ground!

and my room has a comfy bed on the floor and a lovely mosquito net, which is quite romantic...and helpful!

and a cold bucket bath feels delightful at the beach!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

S. O. S. L. O. W....

god! this thing take forever here! talk about having patience, this computer is trying mine!!!

This pic is of a woman in the Rabari tribe here near Bhuj. this outfit is what she wears everyday! she did all the embroidery herself!! google "rabari embroidery" if you want to see more....but i went to a rabari village yesterday..even the children dress like this!!!Below is a pic of a little boy's shirt-top..i know it's small, but that's what i can do here on this computer...

before i forget, would someone please tell john byrd that he will be getting quite a nice package from me upon my return, and he should be grateful for all my hard work in collecting for him. i have received many stares in wonderment as i stoop to pick up empty match boxes on the street for him, as basically it looks like i am collecting garbage. i just want to say this because i need some reinforcement that i am doing a good job for him.

today i found a good breakfast place, i have been not real happy with the food options here...but i had some delightful porridge again today, my fave! then i walked around...it was quite nice. saw some old temples that got messed up in the quake and were fenced off...but it was right by the lake and was really interesting. then i found myself in the rich neighborhood, obviously, and found a nice little park. i went in and relaxed and read my book.

i am reading a book on maharajas, and lo and behold, today i went in this palace, and there was a pic of the maharaja in my book! gaekwad is his name! thanks, terry, for the book, it is fabulous! this palace i went into today was killer as well. it is just so BIG and this one was creepy because it is now inhabited by doves and parrots! and the cooing noises in this huge place were weird....but lovely because it just made it seem so OLD. i took tons of pics, but the best are of the decaying animals the rajah had shot...very creepy!!!

ok, so i saw today something i cannot believe. cover your eyes if you do not want to read on....i saw a mother dog....EATING her dead puppy! i am not kidding you. i was shocked, as i did not think dogs did this. but yes, i can tell you for a fact, that they do. i kinda wanted to take a picture, then i thought it just might be bad if i did. so i didn't. SHOCKING!!!!

i've only seen two camels, and did not get a pic of any. and another sad thing for me...i have seen NO ELEPHANTS. i love the elephant! why have i not seen one?

i keep thinking of things i want to write when i am not here and am too lazy to take notes. but one of these that i am remembering is about safety. indians are so proud of their country, and they want tourists to come and enjoy it. it is very bad for indians if somethign bad happens to tourists. they take this personally. so this is partly why i feel safe. i also feel safe because indians for the most part are generous in nature. yes they will hassle you and they want your money, but this is different than their generous nature i believe. the smiles and the curiosity and the genuine "wanting-to-know-about-you" is completely different than america. i know there are always some bad eggs, but when in a smaller town like bhuj (which has 150, 000 people or as indians would write it 1,50,000 note the comma) the friendliness and care is readily apparent. my guide yesterday on the vilage tour was so kind to me as well...just a nice friendly man, bharat.

today i bought some needle work from this guy in the main bazaar, wich i s small, and he took me to his house in the village by rickshaw. there his father, mother, blind sister, and other brother were just doing their regular stuff. i trusted this kid because i know that all these pople saw me leave the bazaar, they knew he was selling this stuff, they probably know where he lives. and on the way into the village, everyone smiled and waved at me so friendly, and i tell you...if i never came out, there would be lots of uproar. so i was not worried. it may sound worrisome to you, but it is not the same as if i went to some random guy's house in new york city...it is very different. and plus, it was really cool to see this guy's house and absolutely unbelievable collection of kutchchh needle work. oh my god! thousands of pieces of embroidery work (just piled up!! filling these tiny rooms of this tiny little house!), taking millions of hours to make, it was incredible...(and $$$)...and by the way, the area i am in "kutch" is spelled "kutchchh" in india. don't ask about all the letters, because i do not know. must be some kind of pronunciation that eludes me.

i am biding my time now before i go get back on the train to ahmedabad. once in ahmedabad, i will sleep, then get back up and go back to the train station to make sure i have once again gotten a seat on the train i am supposed to be on tomorrow because i am on the waiting list again. i have no idea how this all works, but the guy at the station seemed to think it owuld not be a problem. i do not know if that is because he doesn't care if i get on the train i want, or if it because he is fixing it so i will get on. we'll see.

so this train if i am on it takes about 24 hours...so it'll be a few days before i write again!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


this computer is so slow that i am afraid to write a long blog.

suffice it to say that my visit to the villages was wonderful. my driver was fantastic, but i did not see a silver making village. oh well. can't have it all.

i did indeed feel ill yesterday so today i have not eaten as i was afraid of having the poopies while on the road out to the villages. now i am back and am going to hunt something mild down.

i bought the most incredible scarf, holy moly, they die the threads before they weave it. absolutely amazing, i mean REALLY amazing...how they make it all line up i will never know even though i saw him weaving a sari like this.

anyway, all i swell, glad to be going to goa soon....


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

in bhuj


i made it to bhuj. it is lovely here in the desert.

they had a major earthquake her in 2001 and many buildings ere damaged beyond repair and also they lost about 10% of the population! it is very obvious that there has been an earthquake. this morning i went to an old palace, the aina mahal, whihc was severely damaged....so very sad. (the 1st pic is before the quake, the 2nd pic is after the earthquake...what it looks like now...) this place was unbelievably beautiful and fancy! they still have many of the original items from the palace, and wow!! i was really glad i paid the rs30 to take pics. i mean, the bed had solid gold legs!!!! (see left) the blue tiles on the floor were amazing and then...there as a handmade tapestry that went all the way around like wainscoting, absolutely gorgeous. the pcs are good.

then i came out and all these little boys begged me to come see their temple, so i went. it was a temple above ground, but you went down these tiny stairs and the god was underground in this cool little room. then we came back up and they took e to another secret underground temple. it was fun! they were really happy to show me!

i made arrangements to go see 5 different native (adivasi) villages tomorrow. i will see block printing, embroidery, shibori (fancy tie dye) and silver working/jewelry! i leave at 8am ad come back at 5pm. i am sooo excited that it was so simple to get this together. plus, i get to go around in an AMBASSADOR!!!!!!

so today i will do some shopping, holy cow, and take it easy as i slept like shit last night on the train. a;ll i can say about that is that 1st class is no different than 3AC...not worth it, and 3AC is not worth is either, so from now on i am going in the Sleeper class. where the windows open.

i feel a little stomach rumbly, so i am outta here. my hotel is kinda far from here and i have to take a rickshaw. so...until tomorrow~!

take care my friends!

Monday, January 8, 2007

hitting the wall

i woke up this morning and realized i have hit the travel wall. this means...after i go to bhuj and then come back to ahmedabad, i am going to the BEACH for the rest of my trip.

i was looking through the guide book and the train schedule and trying to figure out how the hell i was going to do all this stuff in the 3 weeks i have left. and finally i realized, it just isn't worth all the travel, when i am on HOLIDAY and it should be RELAXING (somewhat).

so...as most of you know, i always need to talk such decisions over. i knew there was an english speaking tourist down the hall from me, so i went and knocked on his door and told him that i needed to talk over my travel plans and would he listen and give me advice. he did. he was a young 20 something from ireland who has been traveling all over the world fo 11.5 months now. i told him my dilemma....travel far, many trains, lots of stress....or do i just say what the fuck and go to the beach. he said beach, and then i knew i was thinking correctly. it's like, if he had said to go travel non-stop, i still would have known i needed to go to the beach. (ya ya, poor me, i know...)

so! no backwater boat adventures for me! instead it will be a hut no the beach with sand floors, a cuving ocean view with palm trees and delightful fresh fish and lemon soda water. i already booked the tickets, there is no turning back.

i feel this weird responsibility to do as much as i can, to see as much of india as possible, but the fact is that this is a huge country. if i went to kerala like i had planned, i would have something like a 75 hour train ride back to delhi. this is like THREE DAYS on the train. wouldn't that time be better spent relaxing? i think so! i feel good about my sojourn to nainital, and i am excited to go to bhuj tonight. but i am also very relieved to know the rest of my time is planned.

buying train tickets can be a real pain. i have learned you have to book ahead...or else you get the waiting list! i am on the waiting list for tonight, but the guy at the DFM VIP section (whatever that stands for!!!) said i am now confirmed, but i have to come back tonight at 8pm and wait in line AGAIN to get a new ticket. THEN when i return from bhuj, i have to come back and wait in another line to get my ticket to goa confirmed. damn, this line waiting sucks! and when i say it sucks, i friggin mean it!

i had a very good time at the flea market yesterday. i was the ONLY white person there and they were thrilled to see me. for one, i was THERE, for two, i have MONEY!! i bought a cotton sari for rs30 and i also bought a used salwaar kameez that is very comfortable, just like pajamas. i pad rs50 for it, and apparently the woman was VERY happy with that price, meaning i should have paid half what i paid. but what the hell....either $1.25 or $.50....not that much different to me! i did see some other things i liked, but the people priced themselves out! they think i have no idea, and then they ask WAAY too much, like more than in the US, and therefore, i know i can never get them down to what is appropriate. therefore, they don't get anything!

i am in the state of gujarat now. the language here is gujarati, and the writing is totally different than hindi and not as many people speak english. bargaining with the women at the flea market was a real challenge! but money talk is universal, now isn't it? the good thing is that the rickshaws here use their meters, so it is easy to tell how much you have to pay and there is no bargaining for that at least.

bhuj should be interesting...i'll let you know. for the rest of the day i am going to go to gandhi's ashram and i am going to SEWA like i said yesterday. then back to the hotel to wash up, then back once again to the frigging train station. awesome.

hope all is well in nc!

Sunday, January 7, 2007


ahmedebad....ah, i am not sure what to say. this is a bustling city...with not so much going on for me.

after a delightful train ride last night with some very interesting fellow travelers, i arrived here this morning. i especially liked my fellow traveler mahesh, a businessman who sold oil products...cooking oil products that is. i learned that in india they use different kinds of cooking oil depending on where you live. coconut, peanut, cotton, castor, etc...he was very nice and smiley and friendly, he invited me back to his house to meet his family and had me talk to his 11 yr old daughter on the cell phone! she exclaimed "i CANNOT understand a word you are saying!!!" funny, because other than that, i had no idea what SHE was saying!

i also met these odd ladies who were traveling to mt. abu for meditation retreat. they wore all white. one of them tried to convert me. i argued with her. she said plants have no soul, and i disagreed. she did say that animals have a soul though. finally i got her off my back after she asked me how i thought the world was created and i told her i was okay with not knowing.
on the train we passed cotton fields, rice paddies, mustard fields, castor bean fields....i saw a VERY FUNNY monkey running alongside the train with his very long tail curled u p in the air...it was hilarious and cartoonish!

so...my lecture yesterday went GREAT! everyone listened and took notes and asked questions! they were so sweet and attractive and friendly. mostly young women in their early 20's but there were a few men who were interested in the technical things i discussed. then after we had lunch which was fun and then me and hema and some other ladies went shopping! very funny. but i got to ride in hema's car which was fascinating and we went to the fancy stores in delhi where the rich people shop. it was the same $$$ as in the US, no WAY! but an exciting thing about the lecture is that they paid me rs3500, almost $100 US!! a very nice and welcome treat!!!!

then, i took the new metro home to paharganj. it was VERY fancy, way fancier than NYC, i imagine it is like europe! it has this computerized reader that you just SHOW your token to, amazing. and it was very clean and everyone was very quiet and well-behaved, quite different than being in traffic in delhi!

so now i am in ahmedabad, thinking i could just get a train to bhuj. but no. i have to wait until tomorrow at midnight and still i am #1 on the waiting list. the man said for me to come back tomorrow and try for the emergency ticket. i am not sure what happens if i do not get on the train, do i lose my money??? i will have to ask.

so, while here i will go to the sunday flea market, i will have dinner at this place on the roof where they have lighting with candles only, i MIGHT go visit ghandi's ashram, though i have already done that. i remember it being very peaceful (shanti) so i might go back, i haven't decided. i am also thinking since i have to be here tomorrow as well that i will go back to SEWA (self employed women's assoc) and check it out again. i'll let you know. ahmedebad is just not quite my cup of tea i must say.

as i sit here i feel like i am moving moving swaying....and i think it is that i do not have my land legs back after being on the train. very odd feeling, but ok.

well, off to ravivari, the flea market!
love you,

Saturday, January 6, 2007

outta here

hey everybody!

i don't have much time as i have to go catch the train, but my lectuer went GREAT and it was great fun and a wonderful day!

now i am of to catch the rajdhani express train to ahmedebad, then i will hop on another train to bhuj, on the west coast...to go check out all the fine needlework and such that i love so much!

so...until later, take care and hope everyone is doing great!


Thursday, January 4, 2007

hanging in delhi

well, glad to report there is not much going on!

i am getting a little cold so i feel a bit achy, tired, and sniffly so i am just taking it easy.

kora did show up this morning, knocking at my door, and it has been fun to see her in delhi. we went to the jain bird hospital, one of my favorite places. it is very sweet to see the jains taking care of all the birds. (the jains are a religious group who believe in harming no one or no thing, very lovely.) we saw a couple of hawks, some parrots, parakeets, pigeons (both "pets" and wild), and some crows. i lvoe crows, they are so sassy. the hawks just looked pissed. this place has been in my mind ever since i saw it last, and it was good to go back. while we were there, two young boys brought in a sick bird and they looked very proud of themselves.

then we went and checked out the jama masjid, a huge muslim temple. we didn't go inside though because we had cameras and it cost rs300 to go inside with a camera. it was a beautiful building though. the grounds were still quite messy and stinky due to the large number of goats and devotees that were there last week. umm, i am wondering if this pic has been seriously photoshopped, though, as the temple is actually quite dirtier and messier looking than is appears here. maybe just all the people are covering up the squalor that is there in real life.

then we went on over to connaught place, the area that was designed and developed byt he british. not much happening there for us today, but i wanted to show kora where to go shopping, as she was a little jealous of the lovely clothes i bought there last week, just as i thought she would be. (i am sure she would deny this, however.)

i must report that my fingrnails are still growing quite nicely. for those of you who don't know, i have been an active nail-biter my whole life, and this is the 1st time my nails have been long enough to paint with a color! it is very exciting for me, so i went and bought some sparkly pink polish yesterday to help show them off. very nice.

i bought a train ticket to ahmedebad today, am looking forward to going there because it is the connection city to bhuj, my final destination on this leg of the trip. bhuj is very far away, after a 15 hour train ride, i have about 8 hrs more on the bus. but it will be worth it to go see all the lovely hanidcrafts being made in the villages. i am excited! i have been there beofre, but i feel this time as a grown-up and someone working in the crafts field it will be much more of an enriching experience for me. we'll see.

see ya!
best to all,

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

cars, clothing, bathroom

hi! back in delhi, the bus ride went very well. i love having my ipod! i've been getting into some bluegrass for some reason!

so let's talk a little bit about indian cars. TaTa is the main indian car manufacturer. They also make trucks. tata cars come in all sizes, but the compact mini ones are most popular. they look a little cheap to me, though. then there is the maruti suzuki. the Swift (pictured) is my favorite, as they have a new car out. it kinda looks like a cross between a VW bug (the new kind) and a Cooper mini. I love it! it has 4 doors and a great shape and the colors are good. it is very small also. the taxis are small vans. very small vans and they are painted black and yellow in delhi. then....the royal AMBASSADOR! this is my most favorite car EVER and if i could import one i certainly would. they are very british, rounded on the nose, quite regal in a mini-car way. but of course, as anywhere, there are SUVs. the fanciest one is called a Scorpion! because it is evil and will run you right down! and the people that drive these SUVs are rich, very rich, and they do not care about you if you are on foot, as that means you are a lowlife.

clothing: if you like acid washed jeans, you will fit right in here in india! not only that, but member's only jackets are still in style here! they also have jeans with big buckle-like things on the back pockets, or perhaps on the side pockets. and if you like to wear your jeans high at the waist, you will also fit right in. perhaps you have a random number on your t-shirt. perhaps you have a funny saying that does not make sense. but more to the point, indian fashion is now similar to the fashion we had in 1983. awful!! and they think they are being so western! if they only knew, they would be so embarrassed! i must say it is clearly different on this trip because SO many more women are wearing jeans and pants. i find it a little sad, because the salwaar kameez is so attractive and feminine, as well as the sari, of course. but india is moving onto new times, and the fashion and clothing style certainly reflects this.

bathroom! everyone's favorite topic, or at least mine! (as many of you know, i am quite the scatologist...) i have been using both kinds of toilets: the western kind, which we have at home and the squatty toilet (left). the western toilets have these flimsy toilet seats, so one must beware when sitting that it does not slide off the toilet bowl. plus, the toilet seats are very dirty, no one ever washed them, so i avoid sitting anyway. the squatty toilets have a urinal shaped bowl in the floor with two foot rests next to it. you stand on the foot rests, squat, and do your business. i must say that #2 comes out much better in this position! with a squatty toilet, you throw a small bucket of water down the hole to flush. if you have gone ALOT, you might need to throw 2 or 3 buckets down the hole to flush.

now comes the fun part...wiping! so with both kinds of toilets, there is a spigot about 6inches form the floor and always there is a small bucket. it is always plastic and has a handle like a measuring cup. so you fill the small bucket with water and pour it on your private parts. if you have only gone #1, this is easy. i do not know how indians do it, but this is what i do....if i go #1, i pour from the front, and clean the area with my hand. i have a hanky i brought with me whihc i use soley for patting dry after this procedure. voila! done, as long as the water has not run down your leg. if a #2 has been expelled, then i pour the water from the backside, making sure not to get my clothing wet. I pour with my right hand, and then, literally, wipe with my left. this can be kind of gross, but it is also interesting. for this procedure, i might have to pour 2-3 cups of water in order to make sure everything is clean, depending on wha has happened. then again, with my hanky, i pat dry. then i get my clothes bak in order and wash my hands with soap and water and go on with things.

i do not know how indians do this. certainly i will eventually meet someone whom i can ask. i just haven't met that person yet. the thing that most concerns me is...how do they dry off? or do they pour all this water on themselves and then walk around wet all day?

the other thing is that i do not htink it is true abou tthe left hand vs right hand thing. i see people eating with both hands all the time! i will also ask about this though.

i know all that was a bit personal, but i think some of you have been wondering. so there you go!

today i am off to the post office, then back here in the main bazaar (Paraganj) to wait for kora to arrive. i am eager to take her shopping and to the bird hospital at the Jain temple.

later taters!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


well, i forgot to tell a cat story i heard. i did not witness this, but i heard it from those 2 british men i had breakfast with last week.

they were staying at this hotel, and every day this man would come with a bag of chicken bones for the cats. he would dump the bag in a pile and these fat cats would come and start gnawing on the bones. then...one day, a big fat RAT joined the cats in eating the chicken bones, and the cats didn't even care, they were all happily chomping away together! apparently the same rat joined the brits in their hotel room as well! nice company!



asheville's elevation: around 2000ft

nainital's elevation: around 6500 ft

my horse ride elevation: around 7900 ft

just in case you are interested......

january 2, 2007

halloo! your country, madame?

well, nainital is looking up. just in time because i return to delhgi in the morning. i am taking the chance on another bus. well, there really is no other option, anyway! so i leave tonight at 9 pm and the tour guy SWORE to me we will be in delhi by 6am. i asked "no stop...start...stop...start?" he said "no no, staright through!" i'm not sure if i believe him....but we'll see. indians are very good at telling you what you want to hear.

so yesterday was fun! i hung out and relaxed, read my book on the balcony of my hotel. walked down the street to buy my bus ticket and found the frenchies having lunch. so i joined them, and it was a delight to speak to some westerners after feeling so lonely for a day or so. we had fun converstaions about what america is really like. it is interesting to hear the other world view of america. sad, really. they were really nice and funny and it was a good chat.

then i went for a boat ride in the lake, which wasn't exactly thrilling, but the views were nice. i felt like i had to do it as part of being a tourist here, you know.

then i went and got a day member ship to the nainital boating club. this si the british architecture place i was telling you about before. it was so cool! it felt so royal in there! i drank a beer and read my book. it got cold so i joined some indians near the fire and we had good conversations about america (again) and about india and the differences. the man i mainly talked to , mr. sah, was a retired english professor at the local university. i also met the chemistry professor who was younger and very nice as well. of course we got on the subkect of dating, and mr. sah asked me if i have sex with my boyfriends!!! i do not think he was coming on to me or anything, i think he has heard that all american girls are whores, and he wanted to know what was what. i told him no, i have never had sex. really, i was only bending the truth. i felt there was no way i could explain to him how things work and have him understand. it got complicated and i veered away from that topic.

people also have trouble when finding out i am a jeweler (sonaar). they think this must make me very rich. or they think i import/export. it is just unheard of almost for a woman to make the jewelry herself. but whatever.

so i had a great night's sleep, although i feel i am fighting a cold, probabvly due to the horrible bus ride and messed up sleeping i had going on. my new hotel was fantastic, worth the splurge on money just to be warm. and it was fascnating to watch indian tv morning news. i loved it!

i found out that there is all this fog in delhi whihc is messing up the trains and planes. i thought miss kora manheimer's flight might be affected and indeed it has been. she is running a day late, which is fine because i am too. i am looking forward to talking to another native english speaking person. already i am back in halted english communication mode. "My country U.S.A...india!! i love!! 3rd time india!!!"

so this morning i went and had a delightful breakfast by the lake...scrabled eggs on toast with french fries and chai. then as i was walking back to the hotel i was accosted by a man with pics f his horse ride tour. rs 500. so i said okay, come get me in 15 minutes. off wen went up to te top of the mountain where i saw many lovely views. i hopped on my horse and he hopped on his and we were off! it was wonderful! i mean, the views were frigging amazing! i could see so far as the weather to day is lovely and the sky is perfectly blue. i found out i am not exactly in the himalayas, but in the kumao mountains which are technically the foothills of the himalayas. he said we are at 7500 ft??? but i am no good with such measurements and i could have misunderstood him. i will google it for next time and let you know. but my horse was very nice and very used to the path. we went to 4 different look out spots and it was awesome and well worth the money. then i got dropped off and walked back down to nainital on this road where i got to go by all the local's houses and it was fun peeking inside and seeing their yards and stuff. i got some great pics! totally amazng views, really!!!! and it was delightfully warm in the sun!

so i am going to take it easy the rest of the day. read my book...drink some chai or perhaps some nescafe! ha! the nescafe actually tastes very good...it is the unpastuerized milk. i am remembering about being patient in india, about taking things as they come, about beng willing to just do nothing and appreciate it. these are all lessons i often forget in real life, so perhaps the more i learn them here, the more they will carry over to my real life. do you think? i hate the phrase "be in the moment" but here, that is actually what i am learning to do.

so, until tomorrow my friends!
hey, and thanks to those who have emailed, keep 'em coming...it helps me feel connected and i need it! thanks!

Monday, January 1, 2007

new year's day


well, yesterday was pretty much a washout. i left this here computer center and went outside for a stroll and realized that there were THOUSANDS of indian tourists ehre for new years. way more that i first thought. but i am not kidding, there were THOUSANDS. this made it very difficult to have a pleasant stroll. too many vendors selling cheap crap made in china, old sweaters, silly trinkets....people crushing each other to walk along the alke, the traffic was INSANE on these tiny streets, noisy with honking and just plain old being rude. pedestrians do nto have the right of way here. i broke down at one point and gave the evil eye to some young pranksters on a motor bike. i felt bad but i was fed up.

so i went to my room and got under the covers and read. slept. i slept til 10:30pm. then went out and got an egg omelette sanwich which i love and some chai, watched the revelers dancing in the streets, and went back to bed. i tried to sleep but the disco music from the hotel nearby was so loud it prevented me from sleeping. of course at midnight the indian fireworks went off...they sound BIG like bombs, really, but the light show was a bit disappointing. they danced and partied til well after 2am. the muysic was good thouhg..i know if i was in another frame of mind and had some folks with me it would have been very fun to go dancing, but as it was, i wasn't allowed.

so i felt a little bit sorry for myself and also lonely.

this morning i got up and was determined to get the hell out of the shithole i stayed in last night. i mean, i had to ask them for clean sheets and pillow cases becasue mine were NASTY!!! they were embarrassed that i asked, but i do not care. they are just trying to make money and don't care how. my new hotel is very nie and i am happy. everything is very clean and the blankets look good and the bed is comfy. i sat on the balcony earlier in the sun and warmed up as my clothes dried on the railing. this very nice sikh man runs the place, he is very friendly. but i am paying out the ass for this, and cannot do so anymore, so i will leave nainital tomorrow. it just isn't as peaceful (shanti) as i was hoping, and i feel more comfortable in delhi if you can imagine that!

it has been lovely to see the mountains and all, and later today i will take a boat ride and go up on the chair lift thinger but then i will pretty much be done with nainital. indian tourist spots SUCK is all i have to say. i'd rather be in a hot-ass desert village where no one has ever seen a white person before.

so...off to eat some lunch and then take part as tourista.
happy new year!