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Ellen: overwhelmed in India

September 14, 2010

Roller coaster of culture.

We went to the Albert Hall museum and had a pretty terrible time. Six of us paid admission to a museum where we were the exhibit. A man asked for a picture with me at the very beginning, and he was harmless, but that was nothing. Herds of middle school boys followed us around, surrounding each of us individually as we looked at the books and pottery and the mummy. They would just stand staring at me while I stared at the art. Remember, Indians have no personal space either, so they are fine with getting as close too you and close to each other so you are trapped. We told them to stop, but that really didn’t help. And in the end I felt bad, because it was like I was a disturbance to the other patrons of the museum because the boys were making a scene. When really, every else probably loved it and they will be telling their friends all week that they saw white people at the museum (while showing the pictures they took of us on their cell phones). So, that experience didn’t go so well, and I’m really glad that it’s over.

The afternoon made up for it though because it was the parade in honor on Ganesh’s Birthday—the hindu god, remover of obstacles, with the elephant head. Six girls on the program live in a big apartment near the temple, so we watch the procession from their balcony. We watched for four hours—the crowds (crowds doesn’t do it justice; we probably saw a million people in that amount of time), the decorated trucks, the ladoo (the sweet that every eats on Ganesh’s birthday), bands, fire breathers, ladoo, elephants, dancers, giant pink replicas of ganesh and ladoo ladoo ladoo!!

And then we went on the Ferris wheel that could never exist in the US because their was nothing holding you in, and it went about 45 mph. It was awesome.

What a weekend.

Rooftop adventure #5:
Last night, Sam and I visited our friends’ apartment building and they were having dinner so we went on the roof. It was an awesome view of Jaipur at night, and its a huge roof. I went over to one corner and found that it was already occupied…by monkies. Indian monkies are not the cute cuddly creatures you imagine them to be. They are the animal that you AVOID. Cows are no big deal. Dogs: fine. Camels, cool. Elephants chill.  MONKIES = NO WAY. 6 feet away from me. I have no idea what kept me from running screaming but I got Sam’s attention and we got the hell off the roof. I am only now realizing how terrifying that experience was…

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