We have just returned from 4 days at the ashram which was as good as ever. Spring has truly sprung and all the flowers in the ashram are in full bloom and made for some great photo ops. Sam had a great time helping out with the construction of a second story on the clinic. Hunter and I helped out with the beading of several key rings which will be sold at markets and to other interested buyers. Sam also played his first game of cricket Indian style with a couple of boys from the ashram and the surrounding neighbourhood. While Sam was playing cricket Hunter and I made small talk with a Rhajastani herdsmen who wanted me to show him how to take photographs. I was more than happy to show him as I was finally able to get some shots of the camera shy Rhajastani women with their amazing horn bangles that cover their entire arms (I will upload the pics shortly).
We also made a trip with all the ashram volunteers to the family house which was fun. We all squeezed into the car together and on the way we got stuck in traffic (like you do everywhere in India) however on this particular occasion we found ourselves crushed in gridlock between buses, rickshaws, cars and two elephants. That's right, squeezed between our car and the one in the next lane (if you can call it a lane) were two elephants which Sam reached out and patted their leathery skin.
In my last post I wrote about some of the little quirks I have come across in India and for memories sake I am going to add a few more. The first is about escalators; I hear you wonder how can there be anything unusual associated with escalators... well I have noticed a couple of things actually. The first is that for a country that does not worry too much about road rules, seat belts or the wearing of motorbike helmets they seem to insist that the utmost care is taken on the deadly escalators. I had not noticed this right away until Sam pointed it out to me. We were in a shopping mall when Sam said as we approached an escalator "watch this" he then proceeded to briskly climb the escalator (like you do), which caused a security guard to freak out and yell at him to stop and stand still...hilarious. Needless to say he has done this a number of times for a laugh and I must admit I find it amusing. It was then that I noticed there is a security guard manning every escalator in that particular shopping centre. The other thing about escalators is that I have noticed that many of the Indian women are petrified of them; especially the getting on and off. On one particular occasion as we approached an escalator we were behind a family of three and as they were getting on the escalator the woman freaked out and got left behind. We waited patiently for her to attempt to get on but in the end we stepped past and made our way down to the lower floor. When we alighted she was still standing at the top of the escalator and her husband was waiting not to patiently for her to descend. We tried our best not to stare but we had to see if she was going to make it down or not. Before long her husband walked to the other end of the shopping centre to the 'up' escalator and went to get her... I think they caught the lift down...not sure how she coped with that as it was one of the glass ones.
This next quirk is one you probably have to experience to appreciate. Last week we came down from our apartment to our waiting car to find our driver frantically trying to repair his horn, which probably died from overuse. He seemed quite troubled by the fact that it didn't work. Now, I don't know about you but if my cars horn broke it would be months before I would even notice. But here I think a broken horn would make a driver feel somewhat impotent. We had a few stops to make that day and when we got back in the car after our first errand he proudly demonstrated the fixed horn.
I know this post has been short, but better short than not at all. We have five days left in India and I hate to think that this is my last post as there is so much more to share but we are finding that our days and nights are pretty much booked solid until we leave.
See you very soon!