5:14:00 AM

Alright so yesterday our group took a day trip to Bobbili...yes, that is the name of a real place. While we were there we passed through this village to get to a sort of instrument factory…factory really isn’t the right word but the kids from the village followed us there and we couldn’t help but take our pictures with them, they were darling...

As part of the Bobbili trip we hit up a war memorial, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and then headed to see some puja being performed at this fort. Hard as I try, I cannot take anybody seriously when they talk about ancient forts because all I can think about is the hundreds of forts we made to play in as kids. They say fort and think of this, I say fort and think of a bamboo pole with a sheet draped over it.

A little while back when we were in Rajahmundry I went to a few Jain temples and talked to some pretty amazing people…I guess they typically don’t let people take pictures but they told me I could…which was pretty sick, and the temples were gorgeous.

Okay, so there’s this festival going on right now…Dussehra…it’s for the Goddess Durga and it’s a pretty big deal. It’s a ten day festival and all the kids get out of school for it. Sometime last week a pack of rickshaw drivers swarmed the neighborhood going door to door and asking for donations for Dussehra… due to the fact that we often feel ripped off by the rickshaw drivers we may have been a little unnecessarily hostile. Imagine a group of cab drivers showing up on your doorstep and asking for donations for some god’s birthday…kind of sounds made up. But it was cute; they looked like a group of boy scouts or Christmas carolers just walking around in their uniforms asking for money. I’ll admit I didn’t think it was legit but when Dussehra came around they started setting up lights all over the street and a temporary temple/tent thing by their rickshaw stand…So this picture is proof that not all the rickshaw drivers want to rip us off and the donation money did indeed go to Dussehra. I don’t know why I think it’s so cute that the little rickshaw driving community came together for the festival, but I do.

Siesta. What more can I say. This is just a random picture completely unrelated to festivals and temples and what not. Every day the women in our program house all lay on the floor and take a solid 2 hour nap…I just had to take a picture.

This is our group at the train station in Rajahmundry. We were all oddly amused by the fact that “abandoned” was printed on the wall…it became less funny when a couple girls in our group were legitimately separated from us and almost missed the train. I thought it would have been funny if they’d taken a picture by the wall while they were lost but no such luck.

Alright, now we’re back to Bobbili. While we were there we went through the village where the kids from the first picture live to get to this place. It was just a huge, open, one story building with maybe 6 or 7 guys sitting around without their shirts on, carving these instruments. I sort of felt like we were imposing on something, and taking creepy pictures of people at work might make you feel like the ultimate tourist but it was pretty sweet.

Last but not least was the Dussehra dancing. We got to the hotel ballroom and quickly realized that we were under dressed…everyone was in crazy saris, dancing around with thick, painted drum sticks. As soon as we got in and got our own sticks these little old ladies grabbed us and made it their goal to teach us to dance with the sticks…which we did. The dancing went on till about 4 am…which is way past the typical Indian bed time, but I’ve quickly realized that festivals are the exception to just about every Indian rule.

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  1. Mal...That is so cool that you are in India. What a unique educational experience you are having!!! Lucky lucky girl. Keep us updated. The pictures are great, and your words even more meaningful to us back home. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the journey. All the best!