Once again it has been way too long and once again there is lots of news and anecdotes. Overall I would have to say we are really enjoying life in India.
Last week I went on a shopping day with the 'girls' , which was so great. I have really missed having a day out. Jenni is a New Zealander who is new to the ashram. She will be here for 6 months and we have heaps in common (except for the fact that she hates shopping) we are already becoming good friends. Jay Kim is a Korean girl who lives in Delhi and volunteers a couple of days a week at the Ashram. Jay is a riot! she knows all the ins and outs of getting around Delhi and finding a bargain.
Our first stop of the day was this great shopping complex full of tailors and racks of denim fabric. I never would have found this place on my own. So it turns out you can have a pair of jeans tailor made with your design and choice of denim for $10. Wishing I packed my favorite falling apart jeans now. Jay ordered a great looking denim jacket... can't wait to see what it turns out like. We visited three other markets that day culminating in lunch at the Oz cafe... not by choice, only because we couldn't get a table a the Big Chill. My favorite Delhi market is Sarojini Nagar and I love it even more now that I know how cheap things really are. So as Jenni shouted lunch my day out cost $15 including 2 tops, cool tye dyed pants and a bag. Jay taught me how to never pay more than 100RS ($2.50) per item.
Delhi is really starting to feel like home, we are finding our way around without a street directory now and the Delhi Metro is as familiar as Sydney trains. Even auto-rickshaws drivers are proving less of a challenge to pay a reasonable fare. We are not so familiar with the crazy jam-packed buses yet but finally took the plunge and caught the bus from the end of the metro line to the ashram. It cost 25 cents each for the trip. You board the bus through the rear door in India and the ticket seller sits in a seat by the door. Jay was with us on our first trip and quickly ejected a couple of guys out of the seats designated for women. The trip back Jay did the same again and about half way through the trip I glanced away from the window and was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of people jammed into the aisle. I felt a little claustrophobic and was wondering how we were going to get to the front door when we got to our stop. Thankfully a bunch of people unloaded before our stop. The other morning I saw a bus so packed that people where hanging out the door causing the bus to travel with an awkward lean. There were even people hanging off the grill on the back window, I assume they are not expected to buy a ticket.
I have missed a lot of ashram life lately, but the highlight story goes to a Tibetan guy who was a little unusual. Pia gave him a glass of coke which caused large worms about a foot long to come out of his mouth. he then kept one wrapped up in his blanket.
There was another unusual character that came to us after he had been on a trip and had failed to take his medication for some mental illness. Basically he forgot who he was. So at the ashram he caused all sorts of trouble such as turning on all the oxygen cylinders and setting off a fire extinguisher and spraying white foam about the ashram. He would also visit the volunteer bathroom in the middle of the night and then freak out the volunteers. He even left a present on the floor... so we are back to locking the door now. Sam and I where doing some school work under a tree one day and he walked up to us and dumped his rubbish on Sam's work... you have to laugh. Anyway his family, after scouring Delhi for a couple of weeks, showed up and reclaimed him.
As for Jonny and his foot amputation... so he was admitted to hospital but they wouldn't do his operation until his blood sugars where lower. So they starved him for days and then would give him two pieces of bread. Yesterday as we were leaving the ashram Jonny suddenly rolled up in a cycle rickshaw with all his gear and his walking frame. We were all surprised... he had discharged himself and looked very happy to be back at the ashram. Unfortunately for him he was shipped back there that afternoon.
okies ...please keep in touch, would so love to hear from you!