Highlights of India north and south, part two

Chinese fishing nets only in the south in Kerala. Spectacular sites. An ancient fishing practice still used today for business and feeding the people from nature.
Textures of luxurious and lustrous silks, pashmina, linen, yak, camel, cotton, and Kashmir and the mixes and blends. Oh and the colours … Paisley and pattern, simple and complex, hand woven and needle work embellishment, .. Khadi, unique one of a kind, or mass produced. Billowing outside shops, worn on ladies in grand fashion, folded in flat plastic bags and stacked on shelves, hundreds deep.
Shiny black cormorants perched solo on top of stick or bamboo poles in water lakes and rivers. Snowy white egrets in green rice paddy fields or perched on lily pads. Great herons soaring over. Small exotic birds flitting in the trees, branch to branch, flower to flower. Owls, bats, crows, vultures, Eagles flying, sitting, hunting, watching. Tweeting, twirping, chirping, squalking, hooting, cawing and howling. Waking us to early morning echoes in the jungle trees.  
Men’s long and short skirts out of white cotton with coloured woven trims and tied at the waist. Sometimes in plaids and colours. Perhaps cooler in the heat in the south. Riding bicycles. Walking along roadways. Working in the fields, tending flocks and fishing in boats. Bathing in the river.  
Two wheeled bicycles and motorcycles on roadways, no room for a road shoulder here! TukTuk weaving in and out of traffic and giving way to 4 wheeled vehicles. Cars give way to trucks. Trucks to large buses. The constant honk honk indicating a pass, left or right side, look out on busy roads .. No traffic lights, or not many … Pedestrians give way to vehicles. No rules of the road for drivers. Have your wits about you. Driving is a skill and we appreciate our driver.
Authentic spicy, delicious, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian tasty delights. Dosa, biryanis, garlic chutney, pappadams, curries, tandoor roasted vegetables. Menus with interesting name of drinks and foods, exotic and fun. Sometimes the language translation makes me chuckle. Spices we ate … masala, biryani, saffron, vindaloo.  
Merely a counter and window on the street for wine and beer purchases. Sometimes down an alley, no place to park .. 

Pharmacy, the same, with inexpensive cures for sale . 
Camel shoes, curly toes and bright colours, at local markets. Vendors will bargain for “best price”, “special price for you”! The women on our northern trip sitting on the floor in a doorway at a fabulous Trident hotel … Trying on and purchasing many bangles of colour and sparkle. 
 The silk scarf extravaganza in a hotel store where the vendor sat cross legged in a sea of silken colour and soft texture pulling more and more scarves from somewhere and all of us clutching to our chests our favourite one, two, three …. Lol. Some 70 scarves bought that night, all silk multicolour with contrasting cotton thread design.
Walking by countless, endless small fires on the sidewalks in Delhi .. For keeping warm and cooking, some for homeless, some for business purposes. Filling the air with scent. Other smells in Delhi, I can still recall the burning in my nostrils even from weeks ago. My clothes in my suitcase have a strong smell of India as I pack to come home.  
Men peeing against wall, on side of roads, our front of homes and businesses … At first it seems so odd. We get used to the sight. Strong odour of urine reaches our noses as we walk through old Delhi. I spy a sign indicating “no urinating on this wall”.  
Palm and coconut tree leaves are just so big and bright!  
Children treated us like deity, and famous, …they want their pictures taken with us…. Even adults often asked if we would pose for pictures with one or more of the members of a couple or group.  They took keen interest in our story, where we are from …. Etc.
Camels are enormous animals up close, and when we had a ride on the sand dunes, it seemed to take forever to get up… Very difficult to maintain balance.  

I would say that was true of all of the India experience … Maintaining a sense of balance and presence was important and required mindfulness, breathing and acceptance.  
Namaste to family and friends, 

Pamela on route home from India, the first time.

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