Monday, July 28, 2008

journal entry: june 8, 2008

Today we started on  a five day trek into the hills.  We left the farm at 7:00am.  It was pouring down rain, but we left anyway.  I was slightly concerned about mud slides, but Negiji assured us all we would be fine.  As we began on the bus the land and view was more of what we had previously seen coming into Derha Dun from Delhi.  Quickly the topography changed from flat plains to large hill/mountains.  There was no gradual shift.  BAM!  We were in the hills.  It was beautiful.  I was completely mesmerized and awe struck by the sudden new sights and drastic difference of the land.  Since it was so rainy, we did have several rough patches.  Twice we had to get off the bus and walk, through the must and rock for safety reasons (and to make the bus lighter and more manuervable for going over the obstacle).  The second time was quite a production.  There was a large traffic jam on both sides.  We waited for it to be cleared/our turn for about 4 hours.  It really gave us a good sense of what locals deal with on a daily basis.

When it was finally our turn, or should I say when we realized there was no line, the dudes got off the bus and actually picked up a car so the bus could pass through.  I was quite impressed.  Usually displays of physical strength are not that impressive to me, but this was pretty awesome.  I was very much impressed.  I clapped.  This too is yoga (joke for India friends reading this).  They then stood in the way of traffic so our bus could get its turn.  We all cheered, we had sent a collective Om for good luck.  Apparently those things work.  We didn't stop for lunch to try to make up some time.  We mostly snacked for a few hours.  Fun, but still left us hungry.  

The land and view outside my window was astonishing.  The trip didn't even seem all that long because we could watch out the window.  It was like watching a documentary, but with heat, wind, and bouncing included.  During the trip Pavlos pointed out various different plants and told me their families.  I was surprised to see succulents and agave  along the road.  Pavlos also explained about the different crops and agricultural methods used.  It appeared that most were growing potato and rice right now, although the rice fields are supposedly used for millet in the fall/winter.  The layout of the fields were terraced into the side of the hills, and their shape often followed the topography of the land.  The layout and shape were just as organic as the crops themselves.  

About an hour away from where we were to stop for the night, we took a side adventure to a hilltop temple.  The bus had to park at the base of the village and we walked through the town.  The people looked at us with the same wonderment and curiosity that we probably looked at them with.  I greeted most of the women we passed, who seemed delighted and greeted me back.  I smiled and nodded at most of the men and children.  I tend to scared kids here... whatever.  Seriously they get really upset when I try to say hello.  The nod to the men was more of me trying to figure out my place in the culture.  I still feel uncomfortable.  I need to be patient though.  A week is not really to truly become acclimated.  My limited interaction with the women made me feel really wonderful.  Smiles on both party's faces.  Smiles transcend cultural differences.  They transcend time, space, race, class, gender, etc.  In my corner of the universe, smiles make the world go round.  Funny... people used to tell me that was money... how utterly mistaken they were.  Upon reaching the shrine, I was thrilled by all the statues I could interpret and recognize.  The shrine/temple was devoted to Shiva, Pavariti, and Ganesha.  I'm honored to have been in such a beautiful and auspicious place.  Respectfully we didn't take pictures in the shrine, but I did take a ton outside.  Next to the current main site, there stood a large linga amongst some ruins.  Columbia suggested it was probably the original temple.  I went up to the linga and circumvented it out of respect.  Later I found out I did it in the wrong direction... I may be in India, but I'm still me.  Whoops.  I truly did try my best.  

Once we finally reached our guest house for the night, we were all utterly exhausted.  It seems crazy that we began this adventure at the farm the same day.  After about an hour of shooting the shit, we finally got to eat at 10:00pm.  I passed out immediately after.

No comments: