Saturday, May 24, 2008
Today it has been one week since we arrived in India. If I thought 2 days seemed like a long time a week has been a lifetime. I feel that I am now acclimated to India. I have adjusted to the time difference and the heat(as much as humanly possible), and I know somewhat about the cost of things, at least how much for a bottle of water and a rickshaw ride. Varanasi has been my favorite city so far. A little less chaotic and a lot holier. One thing that I thought was pretty cool and I read some of the others mentioned it is that our clothes are washed in the Ganges. Hindus travel from all over the world to take a dip here and recieve it's blessings, so I feel a little blessed wearing clothes washed there. One of the most intereseting things that I have seen here is the burning ghat. In our society death is hidden and not talked. Here it is open and visible. Cremations are conducted daily on the riverbank. If someone had told me that we would see people being cremated here I'm not sure how I would have felt about it. But seeing it here in it's cultural context I do not find it morbid or gross or scary. It seems to be just a part of life. Moving onto other things, I have enjoyed Varanasi because we have visited many religious sites here, which was the point of our visit. My favorite one by far has been the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. It was like stepping into another world, so peaceful, quiet and beautiful. The artwork was amazing, partly because of the vibrant colors and partly because of the tremendous amount of it in the one temple. I still have not figured out how the make sculptures out of butter, which were also painted brightly and beautifully. I was thrilled to find out that we will be going to many more places like that. Tomorrow we are leaving Varanasi, I will be sad to leave but excited to move on to the other cities. Until then!!