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March 15, 2007

I’ve been cramming too much into the last few days with not enough time to feel a part of any place I visit.

I’ve noticed pretty much from the beginning that the voice that comes out in these posts is a fairly narrow one. It goes about as deep as my senses and pretty much stops there. My experience is changing as I go, and I think that, in order for me to continue getting anything out of this, I’m going to have to sink down into a different place when I write. Thing is, I’ve never done that in public.

I only have a few minutes in this Internet/copy/printing house. So, I’ll probably stick with the observations for now.

Rajasthan is the desert part of India. Camels on sand dunes and stone forts rising out of nowhere. Intense colors punctuating a brown and green landscape. Men in white shirts and sarong-type skirt things with brilliantly colored turbans. Camels put to work pulling carts from the marble quarries. Trucks everywhere. Big, loud, brightly painted trucks with intricate designs and dangly things and baubles hanging all over the cockpit. Trucks with sacks of stuff and men riding on top of the stuff, blasting down the road, black smoke pouring from the tailpipe. They almost all have something painted on the back like “Horn Please”, or “Blow Horn”, “Sound Horn OK”. Since everyone wants to drive in the middle of the road, blaring your horn is the preferred way to let the driver know that you need to get by.

Yesterday, on the way to Pushkar, there was a traffic jam caused by about fifty monkeys. Sitting. In the road.

Watched the sun set over the lake in Pushkar, while sitting at one of the fifty-six ghats. So beautiful, as the evening turned cool and incense wafted through the air. There was chanting and singing and holy men praying and families tossing rose petals into the holy water. The flowers, rice, coconuts, and color are offered to God in hopes that prayers will be answered. Then the holy man asks for a donation and everyone is happy, except for the skeptic. At some point, maybe I’ll write about how I navigate this terrain, If I can come to a place of understanding for myself.

The ghats circle the lake, with buildings circling the ghats. They’ve been there for hundreds of years and were built by the Rajahs who each had their own special ghat. It’s disconcerting to me and not a little annoying that, behind the ghats, ringing the lake as well, one layer back, are shops of all kinds and the same annoying taunts that interrupt every step at every other touristed site. While I fully appreciate that this is a very poor country and people need to make a living where they can, I would love to be able to visit a beautiful place like Pushkar without constantly having to say “no”. I don’t like walking down the street not making eye contact or responding when someone says “hello”. I need room in brain for something other than responding to sales pitches.

I’m finding my frustrations with India to be on the increase. There are so many things that folks do that just isn’t in anyone’s interest. I know we all do that, but, folks… turn your lights on when you drive at night! When you see an entire family of five on a scooter on the highway, maybe give them more than three inches of room. Stop complaining about the mess as you drop your cup on the ground. Think about maybe NOT taking a shit right next to the ancient temple. Maybe move down the road just a bit. It’s confounding and maddening at times.

I have to run and I feel rather disconnected to this process right now. I need to evaluate how and where this site is fitting into my intentions for this trip. It’s been a lot of fun and I so appreciate the positive responses, but I’m finding myself distracted by it.

Hmm… we’ll see where it leads.

Peace, y’all.


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One Comment
  1. Michele permalink

    I’ll chime in as one who loves hearing about your trip-even the frustrations. Through your observations I get to feel I’m traveling a little bit too. And of course I’d never turn away your going deeper, sinking in, letting your word smithing open your experience to you, and to us.

    On a selfish note, I’m having a lonely day in SF and it is nice to read your words and feel connected to you.

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