Saturday, June 30, 2007
That is where the mayhem ensued. First it was a yoga instructor (who in NO way looks like a yoga instructor from the West), Ravi, showed me around to some Department of India Tourist Office. He says, "I want no money, just to practice my English." (Me--a little dubious at this time.) All I wanted to know was how to get to N block of Connaught Place to find the Internet Cafe described in my Rough Guide. Oh no no no, at the "Dept Office" I was worked on for about half an hour about taking a private car tour of Old Delhi. Finally finding some guts, I stood up and walked out. I don't like the thought of having a timetable today--I just want to relax!
I had at least 5 other people wanting to take me to random places--travel agencies mostly. These middlemen get paid quite a commission I assume for bringing in the little white girls. Frustrated and annoyed beyond words, I snuck away from one dude and dove into a rather new, clean little drink bar. I sat down and was graciously greeted by a very nice female in about 10 seconds. I had a raspberry tea and was grateful for the relative peace. Then I met Abdul...
He's a travel agent (and didn't try to sell me too much, actually!) He was very nice and has a brother who lives in the U.S. We talked for a bit and it was fun. These are the moments I have heard others describe after their trips to India. It's not always the centuries' old monuments that create vivid memories, rather it's the conversations and the people that can shape one's visit (for good or bad).
After chatting for a bit, he invited me to his friend's shop for Kashmiri tea. I decided to accept this offer and I had some of the best tea I've ever had. His friend has a small shop selling Kashmiri items--pashminas, scarves, carpets and the like. We sat on the floor, discussed yoga, religion and India. The owner of the shop is a yogi and Reiki master who encompassed all the attributes one might assume when thinking of an Indian yogi. He talked very much about how we are all ONE and religions should not define us or build barriers, rather how we should accept each other, meditate and open our third eyes to the wonder that is our world. I had to smile (and buy a pashmina) for the nice talk, great tea, and lifetime memory.
As I walked back to my hotel, I was again accosted by at least three more men trying to get me to go here and there and everywhere. Everyone wants me to do this and that and take this taxi here and take this rickshaw there! Leave me be!!!!!
I've not been taking very many pictures, primarily because I haven't done very much. When I was with Mrs. G yeterday I did take a few and I will be taking many many more once my tour actually starts. Last night I planned my two days in Bombay, which begin tomorrow afternoon. For the rest of the afternoon, I am not quite sure what I want to do. It is much hotter and sunnier today and I just feel exhausted, frustrated and worn down. I still have so much time here and I don't want to burn out too quickly. I may just stick around this area of town until this evening. I'm not too worried about seeing the sites in Delhi because in just a few weeks I will be back here as part of my trip with a guide and A/C car--so today I will rest, get ready for dinner, and do some pranayam in the room. Because as my new friend stated earlier, "meditation and breath work will calm you down. It will cool you down as well. No one likes to be all hot and bothered!"
Friday, June 29, 2007
I strolled down the block to Connaught Place and the Palika Bazaar. It's an underground flea market basically where I was pounced upon like a baby rabbitt by a puma. Everyone wanted the little white girl to come in and buy saris, punjabi suits, pashminas, trinkets, suitcases, scarves, shawls, cd players, cds, and everything else you could ever imagine! Though I am NOT a haggler and hate the thought of hurting anyone's feelings ever (yeah, I know I need to get over that), I successfully bought a good, large suitcase for about $50. I also splurged and bought myself two more light-weight tops for a whopping $10 total!
Brought the suitcase and new treats back to the hotel and then freshened up a bit. After thanking God for air conditioning, I had to make my way back to Palika Bazaar and meet Mrs. G. One of my biggest aspirations before coming to India was to see and be in Hindu temples. Well, my dream came true on the very first day! We went to a temple together, honoring Krishna. It was beautiful. The colors, the architecture, the paintings--everything was exquisite! Hanuman, Ganesh and Shiv were also represented. And though I am not Hindu, I was allowed inside. It's always moving to see people praying even if it is not in the way I pray. Next she showed me the President's Palace, India Gate and the Lodi Gardens. (It was at Lodi Gardens that my camera battery died.) We had lunch together, which was fantastic, and talked about everything under the sun. It was really wonderful! She also invited me to dinner tomorrow evening, so I will be seeing her again!
It has been a wonderful day so far, but now I think I will take a nap!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I have made it to the hotel and now I am ready for a shower! A shower, some yoga and a nice Tylenol PM to help lull me off to sleep. Tomorrow is a big day--I get to meet G's mom!
Monday, June 25, 2007
As my hours come to an end here and my journey begins, I cannot help but see all the blessings I have in my life. I almost always focus on the less-than-pleasant aspects of life, but today I am overwhelmingly grateful for the love and support and friendship of so many. I wouldn't be where I am now without each of them. And for that, I thank all of you.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
THEN...I check the status of my nice, new, fancy digital camera (also travelling UPS) and they attempted delivery today, but didn't have the correct apartment number. So they will deliver it tomorrow here to work. Well, let's just keep our fingers crossed.
So the next time the question "What can brown do for you?" is posed, I will have a carefully chosen response.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
I went with the Canon Powershot SD1000. It's got 7.1 megapix, 3X Optical Zoom, 4X Digital Zoom and is a lot smaller than my previous camera. I'm happy with the choice and should have it by the end of the week. Now I just have to learn how to use the darn thing!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I haven't been to a Major League baseball game in a few years. The last time was in Atlanta (BOO!!) I haven't been to a Cincinnati Reds game since they played in Riverfront Stadium and I was about 7 years old. Of course I have very little memory of what the ballpark looked like then, but it was weird how the scents and the sounds were just the same. It reminded me of the good times with my dad. We would go to Riverfront Stadium for an afternoon game--my dad had Sunday afternoons off work back then. Grab a hot dog and enjoy the game! Although I rarely talk about my dad and if I do it's usually to gripe, I have to give him complete credit for my sports IQ and my love of the game.
I called my dad from the stands only to get his voicemail. Sometimes the nostalgia overcomes my anxiety...this was one of those times. It felt too wrong to be sitting in a place where he would KILL to be and not acknowledge him. Another one of those times was my first visit to Notre Dame Stadium. Those are his teams...those are the teams I grew up cheering for even though I had no idea what was going on! In a perfect world, my dad would be here (sober) and we'd be having the time of our lives.
I left in the bottom of the 6th inning because it was getting dark and I was warned not to patrol the streets of downtown Cincinnati alone and after dark. The Reds were down 7-6, but I have a good feeling. I hope they win this one for Dad...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
"You are a fine glass of wine. You are sophisticated and refined, but also complicated and hard to deal with. Not everyone loves you, but those who do swear that you are the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of these days the people that matter will understand you. Until then, you will be sitting on your throne as the distinguished product that not everyone has the taste to appreciate."
I haven't been back to Cincinnati for several years--I think the last time was Christmas 1999. (Geez, I am feeling old!)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
ND's head coach, Charlie Weis also announced last week that it is a 3-way tie for the starting QB position this fall. Evan Sharpley is a junior who has waited his turn behind Brady Quinn and probably deserves a shot. Demetrius Jones and Jimmy Clausen are the next two who I don't know much about. Jimmy Clausen was the top athlete to come out of high school (in football) last year, but how he will compete with college players, I'm not too sure yet. I think he still needs some meat on his bones.
Everyone knows that ND is in serious need of a facelift after last season's embarrassment against LSU and USC. They are up to 14 recruits for the 2008 season already, which is great--but I don't count on anything unti that LOI is signed and faxed in. Defense needs help and hopefully they are getting it. And though Brady Quinn may have been a bit overrated, he still ran that team and that offense well, in my opinion.
Also read in the same magazine that there may be a connection between women eating red meat and breast cancer. It seems that if a woman eats 2-3 servings of red meat daily (which yes, is a lot), she is twice as likely to develop breast cancer. Scary thought! Yet another reason why I should continue pursuing the vegetarian lifestyle!
It was one of those vacations that despite it's rather short length, I felt like I'd been gone for a long time. I definitely enjoyed leaving Columbia for a bit and leaving my worries in my apartment. Although I was with my friends almost continuously, I did have the opportunity to take a step back and look at my life from a bit of a distance and really think about things. Seems like it's easier to do when I am not in Columbia--at home or at work. I was really thinking about how my priorities have changed over the past few months and how different a person I've become. (Probably due to my priorities changing.)
My mind was inundated with thoughts of being grateful and being PRESENT! I knew that a weekend like this, with these two people, is very unlikely to ever happen again. I knew that I had to savor the laughter and the moments of connection that let you know your friendship is real. I'm so glad I had the chance to do this and have as much fun as we did: samba-ish dancing, drinking Mojitos, discovering secluded beaches, exploring the rainforest (and getting rained on while there!), and laughing so hard we cried.
These are the moments I will rely on when in India and Boston, when the times of loneliness overwhelm my soul.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
AHMEDABAD, India (AP) -- Those ubiquitous ringtones have reached the forests of western India, where leopards are answering their call.
So far six leopards that have strayed too close to villages have been lured into traps by ringtones playing the calls of roosters, goats and cows, said H.S. Singh, chief conservation research officer in the state of Gujarat.
"Now instead of using live bait, sounds of animals have been downloaded as ringtones on mobiles, which are attached to speakers kept behind cages and then played at regular intervals," Singh said Tuesday.
"The leopard drawn by the sound is an unsuspecting victim," Singh said, adding that the trick only worked at night. All the leopards were later released unharmed in forests away from the villages, Singh said.
Thousands of leopards roam the Indian countryside, but continued loss of habitat has forced them into more frequent contact with villagers, resulting in the deaths of both humans and leopards.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Friday, June 1, 2007
If God had meant for me to bend like that, she said, I would have been born in India. Impossible yoga position but she likes to have goals that no one else can imagine, so they'll shut up about how they understand exactly what she's going through.