20 June 2009
It is of 2 little girls who swarmed us the moment our camels set us down in Jaisalmer, the fabled sandcastle city in Rasjasthan. They begged for money, barrettes, make-up - they even snatched the hairtie off of my wrist. If you didn't give in they began to sing - LOUDLY. And terribly, like little desert hijras (Eunuchs who also sing until you pay them.)
I bought bangles from this woman in Jaisalmer - she complimented me lavishly even though I was oozing sweat and wearing a lumberjack shirt. It's expensive to keep that baby in eyeliner.
This little guy approached us in Jaisalmer and asked if we wanted to see a magic show. Normally I never give money to children, but come on. This was great.
A Tibetan monk spinning prayer wheels at the Dalai Lama'a residence-in-exile in Dharamsala. While I am definitely a strong supporter of Tibet and the plight of its people I think it is important for the West not to over-cuddlify (yes, I made that up) the religion of Tenzin Gyatso himself. There were problems pre-1950, no one denies that. But let's give them the chance to fix them. This was a beautiful, peaceful place
Tibetan prayer flags strung in the trees of McLeod Ganj. The farther into the Himalayas you go the more Tibetan and Burmese faces you see.
A man reflecting at the Golden Temple, in Amritsar. I respect Sikhism so much - it is an egalitarian, casteless religion that is a breath of fresh air from some of the archaic classism in Hinduism and the mysogyny of Islam in India. Sikh Gurudwaras are a really welcoming place - and they feed you!
The chaos of labrynthine Old Delhi, as seen from the back of a cycle rickshaw.
Men strolling across the vast plaza at the Jama Masjid in Delhi. This was commission by the same king who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort in Agra, so the style is very similar.
This old fellow sold me some peanuts in Rishikesh and posed very seriously when I asked him if I could take a photo. I love everything about this.
Ganga Aarti (evening Ganges prayer) in Rishikesh. The huge statue is of Shiva - a sexy, meat eating, tiger slaying god with millions of incarnations. I can still hear the chanting if I close my eyes.
In Goa everything changes - it was a Portuguese colony for 500 years and locals are proud of it. It is pre-dominantly Catholic, and the people have curly hair, biblical names and they dress differently. This is Mama Mary, half deaf and eccentric as hell, buying her day's supply of fish from the fish-wallah (Note the hungry cat circling - she made a huge racket.) When I saw this, I thought of the old feminist saying "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" and I was like "Hey! Maybe they do!"
A sar-clad woman strolls the shore at sunset, Anjuna Beach.
This photo was taken in an Isreali cafe in Arambol, Goa. I loved that little pup! Unfortunately, looking at this photo nearly makes me sick as this is the place that gave me dysentry. :(
Everyone gets sick in India, and often it is not from Indian food.
An old couple fishing from their cornicle boat in the river that runs through Hampi. We took a ride in one, and the driver spun us around like a Tilt-a-Whirl.
This old woman is a temple guardian - we gave her a donation and she gave us a tikka mark.
Women washing clothes on the banks of the Hampi River. They were all smiley and waving in the other shots I got of them, but I managed to take one where they relaxed.
OMFG. This is the cutest puppy I have ever seen. This was taken as we rested at a temple located on a huge hill, inhabited by ganga smoking sadhus. Note his little red collar with tiny bells!
Perfume vendor in Mysore - he and his brother charmed us so much that we agreed to buy some essential oils and incense.
Typical South Indian meal, eaten with your hands and served on banana leaves. This was delicious - and less than 2 bucks for both of us.
These guys were splashing, joking and playing in the water in Kerala. Wayyyy more fun way to take a bath than in the West.
The eyeliner is thought to protect small kids in a belief that it makes them ugly and the gods will not want them. I think it makes them look like adorable little glam rockers.
Also in Kerala, where a boat can provide a good living.
A few things to note: the monkey, the "Beware of Monkeys" sign behind me and that fact that I am holding a stick while I eat with my right hand. The moment you put that stick down, the monkey attacks you for your food. I am clearly not impressed.
Tea pickers at a Tata tea plantation in Munnar.
Pretty much the greatest feeling that exists. This right here.
Each day, twice a day, men have to carry these golden animal and God statues to different locations in the temple. Shiva and Parvati are placed in the same room at night so that they can have 'alone' time.
This was just weird.
Those kids above are also with this family - this was taken on Holi in Mamallapuram. On Holi people splash water and coloured powders on each other and drink epic amounts of bhang lassi (pot milkshakes) and get gonzo. We eventually backed slowly away from these people, and they just kept dancing and laughing. Creepy.