Got Married, Went to India

more on the getting married part later.

it was pretty great.

now… all that is in my mind, in my ears, lungs, and on my skin,

is India.

Ryan and I are blogging and posting pictures on our “Walkabouts” blog… http://www.sarahandrion.wordpress.com

I will throw up words on this blog as well (pictures later, most likely). the keyboards tend towards decrepit, the power comes and goes, and the connections are slow, so the same words may appear in emails and on both blogs every now and then.

we’ve been in Varanasi, India for 2 days now,
ancient, ancient city on the banks of the Sacred Ganges river
no words to describe it but i’ll try anyway
took a 13 or 15? hour train ride from New Dehli, splurged for 2AC, (second class air conditioned… thank gawd).  two berths, one up, one down, tiny reading lights and a window to watch the country pass by… crumbling concrete city at first, ancient buildings with new construction rising from decay thats simply been pushed aside, cell phones and horsedrawn carts and lower caste people sweeping the streets all the time, staving off the constantly accumulating drifts of garbage and shit…
the smells of curry, spices, incense dominate,
sometimes they comingle with the smell of excrement, sometimes all you smell is shit… but soon the incense and food smells return
people everywhere, sleeping on the sidewalks and medians
city giving way to rice paddies and open fields
humid grey skies and tiny compounds of red brick with wash drying and a water buffalo tethered in front of each door
brightly colored saris here and there across the landscape, women working in the fields, chai wallas walking thru the train hollering CHAI, CHAI,
revolving passengers sharing our cabin,
sleep, then watch out the window, then read, then sleep again
finally, Varanasi,
ancient, crumbling palaces crowding the shore of the river
(some now homes to the poor, some still the property of the rich, monkeys walking the rooflines and lizards sunning themselves on the walls)
giant stone steps leading right into the water, called ghats,
each neighborhood has its own ghat
where women and men wash brightly colored clothing and bathe next to sacred cows wading
(yes, there really are sweet faced sacred cows EVERYWHERE, even in the midst of the terrifying, exhilarating traffic jams we’ve richocheted thru on bicycle and autorickshaws)
next to children swimming and doing cannonballs into the river next to sewage draining next to old men praying and young men making offerings of japuti (bread) to the river next to bodies burning (24 7, at specified “burning ghats”). ceremonies are held on the ghats every night to honor the river, tiny candles in leaf boats set sail on the fetid, sacred water that will cleanse you of all your sins.
we took early morning and evening boat rides up and down the river yesterday, saw all of this magic from the perspective of the water
at twilight, there were kites along the entire cityline, flown in the giant, quiet, beautiful sky, lifted higher by the gusts of heat from the crematoriums and burning ghats
we eat well, get lost, get found, brush off scam artists and count out rupees for rickshaw drivers and those persistent children who persuade us to buy their postcards or leaf-boats filled with flowers and tiny handmade candles
in love with, in awe of, inspired and overwhelmed and entranced by india.
tiny alleys filled with people, cows, motorbikes, set into the walls of the alleys, which are really yesterday’s roads, are tiny rooms and halls in which people are living, selling silks and japuti and chai made in worn out pots over tiny fires of dried dung or propane, music and government propaganda pumping from street speakers, soldiers lounging on benches with rifles and no particular appearence of lawfulness, children in school uniforms being ferried to class in bicycle rickshaw schoolbuses and clinging to their parents on flying motorbikes, goats EVERYWHERE, and you all know how i love that.
it is hotter than hell, and humid as all get out
we are grateful for every moment, and we splurge for AC when we can. the power cuts out every few hours, we miss the dog and i see her resemblance in half the animals we meet (cows, goats, lizards…)
we think of you all, the people we love,
everywhere we go
we wish we could share these moments with you in all the vividness they ocur for us

Namaste

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Filed under India, International travel

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