Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eight Things

Morning. Ooty,India . 2240 meters above sea level. A spider web of shadows cling to a folded window curtain. A Spattering of flattened mosquito corpses adorn the cool adobe wall. There’s an off center photo hung a bit too high for anyone to easily view without a step ladder. Standing on the balls of my feet, I see the man in the image is meditating upon a granite slab amongst a sea of coffee fields. Not a bad place to be. Accented English slips beneath the hallway door – breakfast time. Talk of tea and destinations, past and future. I slump back in bed for a few moments more – I saw my first wild elephant yesterday and it was more than I could have asked for.

There are 8 good, bad and ugly things that I have learned since I touching down on the tarmac just one week ago:

1 – Similar to the European way of nodding one’s head up and down to signify the answer ‘yes’ or side to side for ‘no,’ in India the wobble of one’s head while conversing can mean one of three things: yes, no, maybe. I still don’t really get it, so maybe I really didn’t learn anything here.

2 – Never, ever smile at a monkey. In monkey speak this means ‘bring it on!’ That for me is going to be a tough one for sure. I mean, how do you not smile at a monkey?!

3 – No matter where one finds themselves in the world, the crows will be waiting. Ghastly creatures, these oil slicked nuisances’ favorite game is to shrilly caw their Nevermore prose just outside my morning window. And it seems that they are larger here than their stateside cousins. Their call carries with such strong contrast compared to lilting twitters of the morning keets. They sound like an overweight Armenian man with a mouthful of sandwich who just stubbed his big toe on the way back to therefrigerator. I am convinced that these feathered demons have been sent from the blackest realm of Hell just to poke at the resting soles of all mankind. Crows are truly the douche bags of the bird world.

4 – Natural Oils are an absolute miracle. For example: water lily extract is a natural mosquito repellent. Goodbye Deet! And sandalwood is a fantastic cure for aching muscles, treating mosquito bites (if you forgot to use the water lily), healing the inevitable cuts & scrapes, and apparently damaged tendons. It was recommended to me our ‘oil salesman’ that I apply this sandalwood to my sprained ankle to accelerate the healing. I applied the miracle oil to the sprain and within minutes I had full mobility. My foot has never smelled better!
5 – Common barnyard animals will eat just about anything. Just yesterday morning we watched with disgusted intrigue as a chicken pecked at a dead rat. And every day we are truly amazed as bovine graze happily on piles of street trash.

6 – There are a lot of goddamned people here. I’m pretty sure that every square inch of this country is currently occupied.

7 – I’m convinced that all cars, trucks and busses cannot operate without a working horn. If it’s on the road, it needs a horn. Preferably, the blaring kind. Horns like the wobble of the head can signify many things. Such as: I’m passing you, get the hell out of the way! Or, I’m going around a blind corner at an alarming rate, get the hell out of my way! Or, what there’s a cow in the road, get the hell out of the way! Or, I’m running this traffic light, get the hell out of my way! Or, Hi friend how have you been, get the hell out of my way! I approached two men that were repairing an auto rickshaw in the street that apparently wouldn’t start, I asked them if the horn was broken. They didn’t find it nearly as amusing as I did.

8 – India has the best coffee in the world. Yes that’s right Seattle, I’ll say it again – India has the best freaking coffee in the world. I don’t know how they do it without fancy cappa-frappa-soy mocha-steamer machines or by selling thirty-five different varieties of travel mugs or those special Starbucks artist cd samplers – but somehow they manage. Maybe it’s because they focus on the experience of sharing the beverage as opposed to swilling it down by the pint like recluse junkies. And I suppose the fact that it’s grown, roasted and ground about a kilometer away has a bit to do with it too.

Well, my internet cafe bill is racking up, time to cut this thing loose. I leave you with some photos of the day...enjoy!

I call it, "Freerange Chicken pecks at rat before a dung wall." Catchy? Yeah, probably.

Rickshaw Down!

A craftsman hammers out chain links in Mysore.

Roadside tattoo anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh India, how I miss thee.

    Dude, I'm here in Austin Texas (film festival) and I just got my REI dividend, and guess who's on the cover of the 20% off coupon!

    I was flipping through stuff and I saw "Dan H." and I thought to myself, hey wait a minute, I know a Dan H. Lookin' good man!