Monday, May 5, 2008

Let's get wrapped, eh?

There is nothing like standing in a small back room in some random indian department store having five women poking and tucking and pinning you and all the while speaking in rapid Tamil as though you could somehow understand that. In the end, you come out in some stiff, cotton wrap thing feeling like a salad wrap and looking nothing like the other women wearing saris around you. Then, the produce a comb from somewhere and start messing with the carefully braided hair you spent so long getting off your sweaty forhead. Of course, they have to put a dot on your forehead. Then they decide the dot is not enough, so they get out the red powder and spear it above a jewel that, placed right between your eye brows, already itches like mad friggin furry. To top it off, as you sit there being combed and told you look like a doll (you don't, by the way, you look like a giant in elf-land) an elevator full of thirty men is standing on the foor right in front of you. No one gets on, no one gets off, they just hold open the door and stare at you until Sydney shoos them away (oh, don't worry, they'll be back. Like I said, you're the main attraction in the zoo). What I'm I'm trying to say is, I bought a sari today and made the mistake of letting them wrap me. Tomorrow we are going back to get henna on our hands. Which will probably be an adventure as well.
Four of us went to a mosque last night. Rickshaws are not made for large american, but three usually fit tightly. The fourth had to sprawl accross out knees. When we got there, we were not allowed inside (no women's section) but since none of us whipped out a camera they decided we were respectful so they let us go into the saint shrine right next to it. A very nice woman with few teeth gave us sugar (and the ants that were crawling all over us loved it!) and a tiny cup of holy water which we drank after praying it wouldn't give us dysentary. Then the priest-ish dude whipped out a bunch of peacock feathers and fanned us around the face with them. On our way out the night watchman told us he would pray for us...if we give him some money. The rickshaw ride back was the highlight though. After a very nice woman helped us find a rickshaw I wanted to give her some rupees since she was homeless, so as I was getting into the good old money belt she pointed at me and was saying something. As we drove away I asked Natalie what she said. Apparently she thought I was pregnant. Nice. Then when our driver noticed that we were laughing when he turned sharply or stopped suddenly, he started doing it on purpose. He took us the long way home and stopped to talk to several people who poked their heads in to see us and laugh. As we passed through a slum a pile of metal dishes came flying into the street. We ran over them and our driver explained "fighting, fighting". We did make it home, it was pretty wild
I guess I should explain that we are no where near the village yet. We are in Chennai and will be until Wednesday when we take the first available train to Coimbatore. A couple of days there and we head to Chavadipudur which is our home base for the next few weeks. I haven't started any research yet, but I am working out the bathroom situation and I figure one step at a time, baby.
I ate a full meal today. My mouth still kind of hurts. It's like lighting your mouth on fire with every bite. Take that Los Hermanos.
I'll post pictures when I can, I never remember to take my camera. Syd is better at the whole photo thing. I"ll get some on here asap. Meanwhile, I'm gonna take my salwar camiza and go to a Tamil love movie. The lead actor has a mullet in the poster. Heck yeah baby, heck ya.

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