Monday, December 25, 2006

hello, goodbye

It is our last day in Kudle Beach, the day after Christmas. For Christmas our friend Murali, a wonderful painter from Kerala, came up to celebrate with us (also his birthday -- Christmas Eve). Here is a bit of an introduction:

I anm realy happy say greetings to you from my land. Hope 2 meet u all person soon
till then goodbye
love and regards

that from Murali to all of you...
it is a bittersweet day here... we will miss the sunbathing cows, the mewling eagles, the salty salty sea, the little girls who sell flower garlands on the beach, the international babies, all of them, the peole who twirl balls on strings, the black-and-white dog that sits behind us when we watch the sunset, the green bird that sits on the telephone wire along the path, the baby buffalo, the black and red butterflies, the red rocks, Pushpar Baba, and the Italian Baby Bird. Soon you all will here about all of these things...
the sweet part is coming home and seeing all of you! and also, of course, the cats... (sara jane, please tell vern and vera that we will see them soon!)

and MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL! We spent Christmas swimming, climbing on rocks, eating fish curry, playing with the black dog and her pups, and sitting on the beach to watch the orange-gold-pink-purple sunset... finally eating curd with honey from clay pots and hearing Murali tell the story of the elephant and the tailor, a famous Keralan tale, well known to all schoolchildren. AND we spent the day thinking of all of you...

Aaron sends greetings and love -- he is too blissed out to type any more.


(Tomorrow morning we take a train to Goa, fly from there to Delhi (Spicejet), and then on Thursday fly from Delhi home (Virgin).)


Saturday, December 16, 2006

go go gokarna

ok hello everyone! here are promised pix. i think. boy is it hard to upload pictures from india...

ok, that's all you get this time. it takes soooo long. next time you get another one... there are a lot of nice pix -- when i get home i will upload the motherload!

we have landed in gokarna. it was quite a journey... i got sick (as i am told, it is a rite of passage here -- the junior woodchuck guide, aka lonely planet, says it happens to 70% of travelers. but yuck!) for a couple of days and so didn't see much of thrissur, where we were last, tho aaron's wonderful friend murali and his wife radhika were wonderful to us, put us up and fed me lime tea and coconut water and rice water, the local cures for, uh, what ailed me...

ANYway. right now i am typing this from a grass hut on the beach. this has got to be the most laid back place i have ever been. ever. i am too relaxed to even hit the shift key. kudle beach is a cove on the arabian sea, surrounded by coconut groves. the ubiquitous holy cows wander the beach here, along with the ubiquitous dogs and lots of little crabs. the water is warm and super salty, so you can float and float. at night the stars are so bright they're loud, as aaron says. we are staying in a grove of coconut palms... the whole place is basically a grove of coconut palms. there is a part of the beach that is all lined with big red volcanic rocks, very soft and porous. the dirt is very red here, and there are birds you've only dreamed of... electric blue kingfishers, and birds i have no idea the name of. little green woodpeckers, white storky wading birds, ginormous butterflies. we also have a little gecko in our room who eats the mosquitos.

we will stay here till we return to delhi to fly home on the 28th. can you blame us?

Friday, December 08, 2006

banana trees, coffee bushes, orange trees, avocado trees

hello from Kodaikanal!

It is very beautiful here, with all of the above-mentioned trees blossoming up and down the mountain, plus groves of coconut trees everywhere.

Also, here is a link to where we were in Vrindavan:
Our wonderful friend Robyn Beeche took the lovely pictures on the site. We were there for the SRI RADHARAMAN SEVA SAPTAHA.... there should be lots of pix there.

I have posted a picture at random above. I can't tell what I'm posting from this computer!

OK, now I have figured it out. Here is us at the Taj, Agra Fort, Aaron drawing our friends Prakash & Lakshmi's kids, a traditional dancer at Gambhira, and a Haridwar tree shrine:

Wait, cancel that. This super-slow computer has crapped out, so you'll have to wait for the rest of the photos... maybe there will be a better connection in Madurai, where we're headed next.

Hi Ya'll, Kodaikanal is really nice, i've got a cold and am becoming a major exporter of mucus. no market yet but i'm ready. we'll be getting out of here in a couple of days and heading for the beach where i'm sure my nose will forget about me and have some fun. my brain is not so limber right now so i'll hand the mike over to G-Luv MC:

Poor MC double-A dawg... I am going to take him back to the room and put him to bed soon. When we left NYC, I had a cold which I passed on to him; I'm much better now but he is not yet. India is much colder than I thought! Many blankets at night and jackets in the morning & eve. Luckily, Kodai is full of eucalyptus, so we are going to eucalyptus-steam his nose into submission.

LOVE and Namaste,
G & A

Sunday, December 03, 2006

more monkeys, R & R

Greetings, Radhe Radhe, Hari Hari, etc......
We are still in Vrindavan -- Aaron picked up the cold I got shortly before leaving the States, so we decided to burrow in here for a little while to gather ourselves for more travel! Vrindavan is really quite pleasant, peaceful, beautiful. And Jai Singh Ghera, the palace ashram where we're staying, is a bit of heaven. There's a big festival on at the moment, so every day we're treated to classical dance, or music, or theater... yesterday also with showers of rose petals and all kinds of prasad (sweets which are first offered to the god, and then to the people). People are wonderfully sweet here, and we go to the temple a couple of times a day to listen to services, which consist of chanting, singing and harmonium, sitar, cymbals, and drums. Usually a woman in a beautiful sari gets up to dance at some point... and at some point the pandits open the curtains in front of the altar, ring bells, and make offerings to the Krishna & Radha shrine. We have seen the Krishna/Radha story reenacted about 80 times in the last week, in every form imaginable, featuring boys in drag and/or folk singers, dancers, middle-aged men with shawls on their heads, etc., etc.... there is so much joy in the worship here, it's lovely to witness. We were reflecting yesterday how amazing it is that this one story is really the central character of this town -- I mean if we've seen/heard it 80 times in the last week, how many times have the people who live here seen/heard it! It loses nothing in the re-telling, though -- in fact it gets richer and richer. The prayer goes on non-stop here. Today several people are sending prayers toward my mother Ellen, who is having surgery back home. So not only everyone who loves her nearby, but several people in a small town in India, are sending her all of our thoughts and prayers.

Last night Aaron and I visited with a wonderful family at the ashram -- Prakash and his wife Lakshmi and their three kids. They made us feel so welcome in their home, and Lakshmi gave me a bindi and some of the red powder that women use in the parts in their hair to show that they are married. She showed us how Aaron has to put it on my hair once, and then I can do it thereafter. This should make traveling around public places here a little easier for me! Aaron did portraits of one of the kids (he had done a portrait of the oldest one three years ago, the last time he was in India) -- they were really wonderful to us. Prakash runs the ashram here, and Lakshmi teaches school in a town about 30 km away.

Aaron is feeling better today, and the last remnants of my cold are going away too, so whenever it seems that my mom is stable and so on, we will make the trek southward to Kodaikanal, a hill station in the mountains in Tamil Nadu.

Hopefully today I can download the zillions of photos from my camera and post some of them here...

love to all,