The men of India
Trip Start Jan 08, 2007
14Trip End Mar 03, 2007
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1. brief summary of the past few days
2. Males in India
1. I ended up spending 5 days in Udaipur, the longest i've stayed anywhere. Admittedly, its quiet had something to do with a rather insulated guesthouse / tourist area. When I'd go out to get Indian food, I found myself once again in mayhem-though not as chaotic as some.
While in Udaipur, an Icelandic guy I met in the guest house and I went horseback riding for four hours. The horses were uh...spirited to say the least. Mine was 3 years old, kept trying to bolt, and bucked like crazy whenever we cantered. Finally, I had the guide trade horses with me. The fact that I said I had ridden a bit -18 years ago(!) led them to believe I should break in their very green horse. Once on a calmer horse, I could enjoy the day and the countryside scenery.
On another day, I went in on a van rental with 5 others. Together, we represented 6 different countries, mine being the most shameful of the lot. We went to Ranakpur to see a gorgeous Jain temple. Then, in Kumbalgarh, we say an enormous fort. In my life, I've never seen so many forts.
Yesterday, I walked from the center of town to an old palace set high on a hill. It was a 3 hr roundtrip which became much longer. The fastest way between two points may be a straight line, but this is rarely possible-I blame myself for this as much as India. En route to the palace I:
a. stopped to laugh at a sign that said "ear/nose pierce no pain." Uh...well they were right, and now my nose is pierced. Then I had tea with them.
b. stopped to have more tea /biscuits on the way back and got invited to hang out by a family. They wanted me to come by for dinner, but I declined saying I was leaving that evening. Nice of them though.
2. The Men
When the late James Brown sang, " This is a man's world", he was truly talking about India. Men spit, urinate , defecate (though there's a govt program trying to curtail public defecation) and go where they please. In villages, women wake up early to use the bathroom / wash up.
On buses, women suffer though I got lucky today cause the bus got a flat, so I didn't have to dehydrate myself to survive the trip.
Staring. Well, this is mostly just annoying, but in a city like where I am now (Ahmedabad), there's no peace, so it's really annoying. Imagine if everyone you saw on the street stared at you (and held it for hours on the bus) or said "hello hello what is your good name". Now imagine that the street has the amount of people you'd find at 5:15pm in Manhatten times 3 with more honking , more vehicles, and more pollution. I knew I was in trouble today upon arrival when I saw NO other westerners-a sure recipe for staring. Often I am a one woman parade with cheering as I go. I don't feel in any danger, however.
Indian cities are hard to take. I'm sure there are some amazing things to see in Ahmedabad, but I'll have to read about them because I'm leaving here at 6 a.m on a plane for the south.
I've seen wonderful things in Rajasthan. It's been a place of both chaos and calm. The next time I visit India, I will try not to have as much city time. It's hard the first time though; you feel such "go see everything" pressure. I plan to slow down as I move on to Kerala.