Namaste (hello) from India!
We went to a local village where we got to meet the people and see how each member of the village contributes to the whole. We were able to see the women making the rope being made out of coconut fibers (one woman did it by hand and gave it to me as a gift!) The grandmothers of the village were absolutely beautiful; more so because of how wise they looked/were. One was over 85 and still sitting on the ground weaving palm frons between her knees. I love seeing the elderly in these countries: I can’t imagine what they have seen over the course of their lifetimes! The women I met today were here when India was still colonized, when Ghandi successfully overcame the British peacefully, when independence was declared in 1947 and India became a democracy. It blows my mind and I just wish I could sit for hours with them, speak their language, and be able to know what they know.
[we wrote telling her the pic came thru and she added more info!] Oh yay!!! I’m so so so glad you got these and my heart is SO happy that the picture came through! This dear little neni was so dear (that’s what I call her in my head because that was the part of my heart that was touched: the spot reserved only for my ‘old folks home’ friends like Bob and Lalone, and my dear dear nenis in Hungary). She is Christian (as evident by her dress) and the gold in her ears…? It’s her dowry Mom! They are locked on and only to be removed by her children when she passes on for her funeral. It touched my heart as I saw her…smiling at us as he [the guide] pointed out the earrings and explained that rich people have solid gold and hers was a thin, thin layer of gold filled with wax for weight. Mom, these little nenis touched my heart so much. …I just felt like I connected with them one on one, not as one of the group… … I love love to connect with the people even if I can’t understand their language… I think these nenis recognized it and the entire time they were holding my hand or touching my chin, giving me soft kisses on the cheek or gentle hugs. Mom, I felt so honored to have been able to connect with them. Like I said, they touched my heart so much. I love India. Yes, I can say that after one day: all it took was meeting these nenis and their families in the little village today. I’m just so grateful Kara was there and caught a picture of all that I was feeling. It’s my favorite picture so far too. Wish you were here with my whole heart. You would have loved those nenis too–… I’m changed inside and out already and it’s only been one day in India!…
Namaste (hello) from India!
Ok, so first day down in India! 😀 My goodness, I had the most wonderful day!!! We were lucky enough to be on one of the neatest trips for a “first-day-in-India” experience!
After the face-to-face immigration process this morning and the ship was cleared to disembark, Kara and I made our way to the gangway on the 5th deck. When we went through the doors we looked at the dock and there was a HUGE welcoming party there to meet us. Probably about 14 drummers and 5 dancers with huge decorations balanced on their heads (not sure how to describe them), along with about 6-8 women putting the welcome symbol on our foreheads–made out of some kind of liquid. It was the perfect start to our India experience.
We then got on our coach and made our way to the fishing boats. They had it decorated for us and we had the most relaxing ride up the Indian backwaters! We even got funny little hats for free to protect us from the sun. 🙂 We got to see the HUGE Chinese fishing nets of Kochi/Cochin (look up google images!) and see an “island” that is an island 6 months of the year during monsoon season and a peninsula the other 6 months. Kochi is one of the top, if not the top, modern city in India (education, medical care, etc. is very good). It is beautiful: so lush green and coconut trees EVERYWHERE.
We also watched crab catching, net fishing, all the uses of the coconuts, and I even ate the meat out of some kind of shell that they roast in the fire. It was an incredibly cultural experience and I loved every minute of it.
We then went to a nicer place where we ate Indian cuisine (the prawns were my favorite!) and watched a performance by a group of high school age girls. They were so beautiful and their make-up incredible. Kara was chosen to sit in the center of the performers. We then had one of the COOLEST experiences! Kara and I got into a auto-rickshaw/tuk tuk. It was absolutely wild! Like a roller-coaster, we were flying down the road in these tiny, tiny put-put 3 wheeled vehicles 🙂 I can’t wait for you to see our pictures! They cracked a joke today that in America we drive on the right side of the road, England on the left, and India on both. It was SO true!!! Kara and I were smiling the ENTIRE time, it was a blast and a total rush lol! 🙂
Anyways, we went to the first cathedral in India (built in 1516) and then to the fish market. Beautiful sights and the familiar feel of vendors surrounding you trying to sell their wares. Wasn’t quite as intense as Ghana, but it was enough to make me laugh the entire time and Kara and I tried to make our way back to the coach. They’re so nice (like Ghana), just extremely persistent and the personal bubble here is very small (like almost every place we’ve been to on this voyage 🙂 ).
Anyways, we’re back on the ship and so grateful, again, for our “home” here on the MV Explorer. It certainly helps the culture shock 😉 I’m so very excited to get to north India and experience a completely different India. I am so blessed to be here and have these experiences: life is oh-so-good!
Love you family! Wish you were here with everything in me!