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Published: September 9th 2009
I felt like I ate the wrong mushroom and grew to be a giant, but rested like a baby anyway
So much to see, So little time...story of my life
Our last day in Delhi at this end of the trip was open to whatever we would like to do. I decided to go along with one group to a Sikh temple; apparently the largest in India aside from the Golden Temple in Amristar. This was AMAZING. I was given a cloth to cover my head, removed my shoes and walked through a small foot bath to cleanse my feet before entering. I recognized this place from National Gegraphic. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib opened up in an enourmous rectangle with a huge bathing area in the middle. This was mainly for the men and a small area was reserved (covered) for women. One of the guides, Laura, and I went in. We were looking at the enormous catfish in the water when a beautiful Indian woman dressed in a vibrant fusia saree came in. She had a red bindi and stripe up her hair part, a large gold nose ring and a stunning smile. She grinned ear to ear and motioned for us to bathe. We declined and, taking no offense, she proceeded with no hesitation . I
The chai-wallah came by every 10 minutes after 6 am. I could get used to this! Only 5 rupees (about 10 cents)
felt pretty honored to be in such a place and time that I could witness her spiritual practices.
After touring the rest of the temple and watching the men play music, burn insence and people meditate, our small group ventured over to the nearby Catholic church. The same beautiful woman from the Sikh temple was there with her child! We smiled at one another, touching and slightly bowing our foreheads towards one another. I am in India.
We ate at a recommended Dhaba (small food vendor/restaurant) and headed back to the hotel. I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend, Mano there! We met when he came to Tulane several months ago. He rode a bus for 6 hours to hang out for 5 then headed back on the same bus. Talk about dedication! We got a rickshaw along with one other student, Will, and went to Delhi Hott to check out the shopping. It was great to witness Mano's first experience in Delhi with white people. He was definitely shocked. I am so greatful for his willingness to come visit!
The time passed quickly and, before I knew it, we were headed for the train station.
A delicious treat from the street vendors; veggies wrapped in a dough steamed (or fried) to perfection. Kinda like a pot sticker, but doughier...gonna go get some right after this :)
We drew quite the crowd; people gathered around us, staring, as we played speed and killed time til the train came. Just 20 minutes late, we loaded and settled in at 10:30 pm for a 13 hour ride to our next destination. The rocking of the train lulled me to the best sleep I've gotten so far! We were fortunate to ride first class, where you get your own bed. Anything less and you're sharing one bed with several other people. I was a little fearful of Delhi Belly and popped a few pepto, praying I wouldn't be squatting over the hole all night. There was absolutely nothing pleasant about that experience. Fortunately, my prayers were answered...no Delhi Belly for me. Others were not so lucky.
Once to our drop-off point, we loaded up in mini-vans for the 3 hour ride to Dharamsala, a town with a large Tibetan refugee population. The ride was awesome...only three or four near misses of head-ons. No prob 😊 Monkeys, dogs and cows are everywhere here, going and doing as they please. I cannot explain how beautiful our main destination is. Hugged all around by the foothills of the
This was my view as I did my devotionals this morning. What a gift.
Himilayas our lodgings are on the side of a hill. Fog hovers around almost all day, the air is clear and the people are so kind. We are staying just a few hundred yards from the Dalai Lama's temple (he'll be here the 15,16, and 17) and are greeted everywhere by the monks. Waking up this morning, I could hear them doing their morning prayers and mantras. The most common being, "Ohm mana peme ohm", I think it is a general prayer/blessing of love, compassion and understanding. I attended a morning meditation followed by breakfast. At 9 am, I met my learning partner, Choetso. She is a refugee, having made the 18 to 20 day journey from Tibet (on foot) to escape Chinese tyranny. I'm a bit humbled. Her english is fantastic for only 2 years of study and my main purpose here is to help her learn and practice english. This is such a pleasure! She took me to the Tibetan museum and explained the history of Chinese oppression as well as a little of her personal story. I am so honored that she would share this all patiently and with no dismay that I have so many questions
about the state of Tibet.
I am doing my best to document my adventures through blogging and journalling. I am also trying a new method; video. This is quite the task as I try to be conscious of spiritual beliefs, culturally sensitive and compliant with everyone's wishes. I truly know nothing about filming and have no idea how I am going to condense all of my amateur footage into a coherant and significant film. Regardless, I am already so glad I made the purchase. This trip (as all others) is one I NEVER want to forget.
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