Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Moving on, and Celebrating!

Wednesday, Nov. 6, election day in the US, and we are on pins and needles. No Internet since yesterday morning, nerve -wracking!

We started our day with a rousing game of cricket at the camp, playing with the camp staff! Cricket is really the National game of India, thanks to the Brits, and it was great to get some exercise before setting off on our journey, and fun to learn a little about that game.

In the nearby village of Abhaneri we lurched to a halt when we saw a potter working with a wheel on the side of the road. He was making tiny pots and bowls and even let Michele work the wheel for awhile.

And we stopped again to watch some architectural stone carvers work with stencils and small, sharp chisels to make intricate designs on stone beams.
We visited a 900 year old "step well", an amazing structure that will soon become a World Heritage Site, but now sits unnoticed in this hidden-away village. It was built to secure a water-system for a maharaja, with astonishing deep triangular step stones locking the 4 support walls into place.

We also visited an old Hindu Temple with lovely stone carvings, nearly all defaced by Muslims centuries ago.

Now we are taking a long, scenic drive to Agra and the Taj Mahal ( tomottow) . Krish has been regaling us with stories of Shah Jehan and the Mughals. Very relaxed. And today my cold is gone!

I never tire of looking at rural India, with so much vibrant life happening along the edges of the road: people bathing with buckets and rags, cows, goats, wild pigs, water buffalo sauntering around and crossing leisurely through traffic. Women in bright colored saris dot the fields, flailing at the earth with ancient-looking hand tools. Others kneel near the highway shaping cow-patties into flattened disks like frisbees and lining them up along any concrete or asphalt surface to dry in the sun for use as fuel.

Truckloads of people go by, all crammed in like sardines. Women with shining brass pails bring water to the animals. Stray dogs sleep through the day, seemingly wherever they fall. I think dogs lives are hard. We see people sleeping on bench-like beds outside their shelters, and children running naked. No need for diapers here!

Later: just checked onto another pretty fancy hotel. Just heard that Obama was re-elected! We are so relieved. Big dinner here tonite and we'll be celebrating, then Taj at sunrise in the morning. This is all a dream-come-true, only better than I dreamed it!

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