Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back from a weekend with J. Love is grand when it doesn't kill you.

The first real day in Nepal, we ate breakfast in an open porch overlooking the street. Streets are narrow, unpaved, dirty and clogged with people, animals, bicycles, scooters, cars, etc. We were spotted by beggars and guys selling stuff. The guys selling stuff are everywhere. They try to sell you postcards, malas, carved thingys like elephants and buddhas, jewelry, etc. They are VERY persistent. We weren't hip to the bargaining thing so we dodged and feinted, to try to get rid of them. They latched on to Charles, a big tall African American guy and would not leave him alone.

The beggars lead with their missing limb, hand, leg, whatever. If they are blind, someone pushes their face into view. Sometimes, people are so bent over they walk in half. Girls with babies on their hips carry empty baby bottles and wave them in your face. The kids are dirty and ragged, they will pluck at you, at your clothes, hands and gesture to their mouths and stomachs. They say 'ma,ma' for rupees, for candy. I have a permanent hole in my psyche where a lot of those memories are now, like a sharp smack to the face. We live like kings and queens. Our little group was grateful for toilet paper, toilets, air conditioners. And water purifiers. Ok, I won't go there but coming back here, I have so much to process, our greed and heartlessness. Ok, my greed and heartlessness. To avoid the beggars, don't look at them. Put up a little wall around yourself. I did give a few rupees to some. But the need is vast...

I bought a white Tara thanka. It is beautiful. She has eyes in her hands and feet and one in her forehead. She has compassion for everything.

Water buffalo are really big. And there really are cows everywhere in India. Krishna rode a cow, I guess, so they are sacred. I'd like to get that gig.

I still tear up when I think about Obama.


Valerie Loveland said...

When I sold vintage clothes, I was so bad at the bargaining part of things.

beth coyote said...

totally, in India, you insult them if you DON'T bargain. I almost said, HOW MUCH??? buying groceries yesterday. Well, food is dang expensive.