Sunday, March 21, 2010

once again...time has passes since our last post and so many amazing things have happened. we have been to the Golden Temple, had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, learned how to cook Tibetan momos, hiked to the top of a mountain, had many monkey encounters, and swam in the ganga...

so much so much so much...everyday is just so amazing here and things just seem to get better and better. we both agreed the The Golden Temple in Amritsar was a huge highlight of the trip. We spent three nights sleeping in the free dorm there with many other backpackers experiencing the wonders of the Temple. We ate at what Luke called "the mess hall" for almost every meal. this was an experience that is quite hard to explain. there is a large hall that serves free food to an estimated 60,000-80,000 pilgrams a day! everything is volunteer based and it is amazing how smoothly things run. people are there every step of the way. you sit on the floor in rows as people walk by with buckets of yummy yummy food and slop it in scoopfulls onto your plate...when you have had your fill there is an assembly line of people to take your plates away and wash them for the next person. it is really quite an amazing operation they have there and it runs seemed that the Golden Temple was always bustling.

ahh so many more stories to tell...we can't wait to share them all when we are back. we are both looking forward to erich and erin meeting us here next week!

lots of love
luke and rose

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holi Mt Abuuuu

Hello Hello-
we have been on the run so much we have been so neglectful of this poor little blog. we have so much to share but will pick the best of the best for right now!

Yesterday we experienced Holi, the festival of color, India's largest festival! It was quite an experience. We headed for the hills for this one because we heard it was something that you want to experience for the first time on a smaller scale. We found ourselves in a lovely hill station called Mt Abu in Rajasthan. there were tons of Abu's... The night before Holi large fires were lit throughout the town and as we were observing one of these very fires we were happily greeted by and indian man and his wife who asked us to join him in their walk around the fire. the idea is to remove your shoes and walk once around the fire to "burn" away your sorrows. it was a lovely thing to be part of but the REAL celebration of Holi took place the next day. During holi peeps run around throwing colored powder and water at each other. they particularly like to smear you in the face. we set out early looking to pick a fight and were invited to join a drum circle sitting outside a holy hindu temple. the lead singer was playing a small instrument that we call the box-harpsi-piano. everyone was singing and immediately when we sat they covered our heads, face and all, in color! we sat and enjoyed the music. holi men, pardon the pun, were sitting with us. long beards, long hair, and rose and our german friend felt they were stuck out because i fit in. we enjoyed running around the small city being playful and greeted by many benevolent people playing holi.

by the end of the event we were covered. our clothes were ruined and we were feeling great. we got a few beers and hung out on the roof of our hotel where our room was. after some time we realized we were being robbed. MONKEYS!!! they got our last orange and even tried to make a meal of my beloved earplug. i was tee'd off to say the least (actually it was amazing and i was able to check off "monkey experience" on my "India to do" list) they got a bit aggressive and chased us out of the room when we tried to enter. I came to the rescue with a plastic chair and we locked the windows tight from there on out!!

we are now in the beautiful (yet touristy) town on Udiapur. We will be here for 2 nights then off we go on our much anticipated adventure NORTH! We will be in Amritsar basking in the beauty of the Golden Temple come this time Friday!

Lots and lots of love

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

we are in gokarna which is a town on the coast in the state of karnatika. it is so amazing! we are finally out of tourist-land and in the real deal. i mean, there is tourist-land feeling everywhere, but here less of a western feeling to it and more like inidans come here. we are staying in the town which is a destination for pilgrims. there was a festival going on that ended yesterday. it was pretty amazing to walk the streets during the bustling time of celebration. we walked down a path that took us by a temple on a cliff where holy men and women were just sitting and enjoying the day. close to there is a place where water comes out that is known to have healing powers! past that and up some very steep steps is another very old and deserted temple. from here you can look down and see the town and the ocean and miles of palm trees. it is pretty beautiful. up here it is dry and desert feeling. then you continue on and end up walked down a little trail that pops out onto a beach where there are little huts that are cafes and everyone is relaxing and trying to stay out of the heat. right now we are at one of those little place and ate some great food. they have a computer so i am writing between swimming and relaxing and eating wonderful indian food! we have decided that we are going to just work our way down the coast and maybe not head inland yet towards mysore. it is a long long bus ride to mysore at this point and i don't think either of us is up for it. tomorrow we will hit the road again and head south with a town called Udupi in mind. i think we will be able to make it there. i have been feeling the changes happening as we spend more time here. a few days ago, i bought scissors and later that night in the dingiest hotel room we have stayed in yet, cut off a lot of my hair. it felt freeing to do this! i have been plagued by bug bites and a bit of a sweat-rash. my body is definitely still adjusting to these surroundings. it is all wonderful though and as luke put it this morning when the itching got me a little frustrated "Rose, would you rather be here (we were sitting on the rooftop restaurant of the hotel we are staying in where you can see down into the town through shady palm trees) with some bug bites and a rash, or getting ready to go to work at anthropologie right now?!" that made me smile and reminded me that this is what it is all about, the unexpected things that come at you when you surrender to the world and give yourself over to whatever comes your way!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kord of La Dies

Today was 'the Lord of the Flies' After reading Dharma Bums during a walk on the beach, Rose and I spotted monkeys, a kingfisher bird, and a pig struggling to stay afloat where the river meets the ocean. We watched until a small woman tried to cross the current to help. I climbed down from the lashed bridge and got to the pig. The shells were very sharp under my feet and I was being careful not to be cut by the hooves of the boar as she struggled out of fright from my presence. I took my rosary off and gave it to Rose, my shirt also which I wrapped around the torso of the beast. The small woman went to get help from some locals who, after time, came out in their dugout canoe to help with the rescue. It was an amazing feeling in my chest to have lifted, with much of my strength, that beast from the water, first resting its chest on the edge of the boat then wrapping my arm around its backside and rearing it onto the boat. She didn't move much on the ride to shore but once I swore she outstretched her muzzle toward the water to drown herself. We were quickly at shore where I likewise lifted her from the boat to shore and dragged her a short distance. She was dead before I let go. The following few minutes we watched a convulsing pig spit blog from its nostrils. She looked diseased with a large quarter-sized rotting hole in the back of her hind leg. I am glad my finger had not slipped in there as I had lifter her from the water.
As we walked back to the hut I thought it funny that people were lazily strolling the sands and I had just pulled a dying pig from the ocean only to watch squirts of blood and sea water leave its face. I laughed at the question we had been asked by a quiet, friendly couple before we left for our walk ' want some chai? '

Sunday, February 14, 2010

some things we have learned so far...

-local town buses are better than taxis (more fun!)

-only 1 chai a day

-horn honks are not rude, they are actually a polite way of letting you know to watch out

-there is no such thing a personal space here. when indians stand in a line they are literally back to chest.

-asking personal questions is not taboo! i think 9 times out of 10 the first question anyone asks luke is if i am his wife. today when i was waiting for food the man who worked there asked me what my job was, how much i made, if i liked it, how long i had been here, where i was going....all in probably 2 minutes.

-malai koftha makes a good breakfast

just a quick list! so much more to come

Friday, February 12, 2010

hello hello from Gao's capital city, Panjim. We decided to venture off the tourist beach and start our journey south towards kerala with many stops along the way. on our way in search of a taxi out of town, we were picked up (after almost being run over) by a local bus. it was quite an experience. the driver stopped inches away from luke and leaned his head out the window to ask if we wanted to get on! of course we did!! the bus was a whopping 18 cents, compaired to a taxi that wanted to charge us $7! As soon as we stepped on, we were greatful we had turned down our taxi. the bus was blasting amazing india music and there was a boy who sat by the door and opened and closed it anytime we stopped for someone, closing it again with a string. over the head of the driver was a shrine equipped with blinking lights and chains of yellow and orange flowers. it was something else, a bit hard to explain. we decided that we prefered this way of travel much more than the taxi and took a second bus on to panjim. after about a half hour in the panjim bus station trying to decide where we wanted to head to next we decided to throw out (not really) our 97 lbs. lonely planet book and just hop our way down the coast, experiencing everyday india as it comes at us instead of planning in typical tourist fashion. so here we are now with a little room on a street that feels a bit like europe and all the time in the world ahead of us!

miss you all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One week in...

We are in Goa, a small state best known for its sweet beaches, which it has, and its westernized night life. We have enjoyed our relaxing days on the beach and our meals at the local restaurants owned by not so local individuals; each time facing the water of the Arabian sea or the live band. Today we rented a scooter and only dumped it twice, once in the sand and the other when we tried to off road it to avoid a car. The trip is incredibly stimulating. Most nights we are mentally exhausted from the processing that is taking place due to the megaloads of new experiences. Delhi was a bust. I loved it, Rose wasn't so sure, but when three days produced black chunks from my lungs we decided the pollution was unbearable and left. The 39 hour train ride that followed brought us to our current location. We planned to be on the move tomorrow but were just informed by a fellow hut sleeping neighbor, L, a late, middle aged germany man, that there is a 24 hour festival starting tonight and travel might be impossible. The train ride, believably, was great. We saw much of the country side, while there was sunlight, and witnessed the way many indians live; out of huts. Huts of plastic, huts of tin, huts of green, tall reeds they grow, dry then bunch together for a roof, walls, and one can imagine, their bedding. Plots are designated to dry the collected cow patties that are formed into personal pan pizzas for cooking purposes. Cows are everywhere; the road, the beaches, the huts, the intersections, blimey everywhere. So are the stray dogs!!!!

We tried to upload some photos but are having difficulties. Maybe at the next internet cafe we will have better luck!!!!