Fri, Jan 18.
Again we woke at 530 to begin a walk about town before the sun rises. Lakuma calls this our ‘exotic hour’ of the day.
We walked down the block from the hotel and stopped at a gas station. And as we arrived, these two open air produce trucks pulled up and we all hopped aboard and had a wild ride around the city to the daily produce market. Quite an exhilarating way to start the day!
The market was maybe the most hecticness we have experienced yet – a labyrinth of narrow walkways with people bustling through carrying hundreds of pounds on their heads. I have become something of a border collie for our senior group. Every time someone strays or falls too far behind I give em a kick in the butt and smash their camera until they beg for mercy to rejoin the group. Just kidding. But seriously.
After this we retuned to the hotel in a little motorized rickshaw where we squeezed 8 people in each! Hearty breakfast was consumed, as we all prepared for our longest bus ride of the trip. 8 hrs bebe. We stopped once at a fishing village, and once when we saw a carnival on the side of the road that is the remnants of the Pongal festival that just doesn’t seem to ever end. But for most of the time, it was mile after mile of agricultural fields. Rice for everrrrrr.
Feeling a little delirious from the long drive, but also refreshed after my daily dip in the hotel pool… Currently in Thanjavur.
One thing I would like to note is that on the bus Lakuma explains many Indian customs to us. It is a very superstitious culture where, for example, money must be exchanged with your right hand. She also states the name of many places or festivals or things we see along the way. I very much appreciate this, and if Lakuma didnt do this I would have no idea what was going on. But god knows that none of us whities will ever remember what exactly everything is named and even if on the off chance we do remember, there is absolutely NO chance in hell we will ever be able to spell it.
*pardon my vent* but there is this one woman who insists on asking how you spell EVERYTHING. So Lakuma goes through and says V for Vietnam, I for India, G for Gary, H for Harry, A for Alpha, R for rabbit, etc etc for whatever she is spelling. And then, once she has finally finished, this women asks Lakuma to repeat it!!!
Oy vey. Meanwhile this other woman, who is quite an aggressive photo taker and likes to get really close to whatever she is capturing, kept complaining that everything Lakuma pointed out was on the left side today, but she was sitting on the right. She is from Minnesota and says ‘oh dear’ after just about anything she sees or hears. But that’s fine.
If anything, today I would like to acknowledge my newfound appreciation for my family and how pleasant they are during family road trips. Even more so, I would like to acknowledge my fellow Sloves in India with me for being so competent and patient. They are true role models – and who would’ve ever thought I would use Sloves and Patience in the same sentence?!