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Friday, March 23, 2018

Adventures in India - Part 12 (Who needs a Stinking Factory?)

Dear Family and Friends,

When I think of making products, I naturally think of a factory with machines and warehouses.  

India has factories, machines and warehouses, but we were really intrigued to find that some things are done at a grass roots level.  

Here are few we were fortunate enough to witness:

Making bricks:

This fella mixes water with the red clay to make the right consistency of mud.  He then fills the molds.  

The bricks formed in these molds are dried in the sun and then fired in an oven made of bricks.

Making rope:

This guy is putting the fiber that is on the outside of coconuts into this shredder.

The fibers that are created are twined together using the contraption pictured below.  The man, in the red checked shirt, turned the crank as the other man kept a taught hold on the fiber, creating rope.  

Here is one of our travel companions giving it a try.

Below is a bed made of rope.  I don't know how common this type of bed is, but I found it very interesting.

I also found it interesting that things we toss in the garbage here, is used to create something new.  This rope is very strong and durable.

As our bus was leaving this demonstration, I noticed another family also making rope.  

Roasting cashews:

This is what cashew nuts look like right from the tree.

One lady is roasting the nuts and the other lady is cracking them open.

This third lady packages them up and sells them along the roadside.

The neat thing to me, is that all of these things were done outside.  No big factory or machinery used.  

I found all of this very interesting.

Next post I will share about our elephants.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Adventures in India - Part 11 (Produce Markets)

Dear Family and Friends,

We were riding down the road, saw a market and our tour guide had the bus driver pull over so we could have a look around.

It was such an awesome experience.

Here is a lady selling bananas by the stalk.

Beautifully arranged betel leaves.

I'm not sure if these are black eye peas, if they aren't they are definitely closely related.

This lady is selling peanuts.

These ladies are selling banana leaves.  In this part of the world they can be used at plates for a meal. 

I think this lady is selling tamarind.

This lady has a stall, selling onions, potatoes and green peppers.

Chuck was out early one morning at another produce market.  Here are some of his pictures.

I love this banana street picture.

Chuck said this man is filling the large white bags with chili peppers.  The peppers will be sold wholesale to market vendors.

Another market view.

There is so much beautiful produce in India.  Good thing they can grow a lot of food, they certainly have a lot of mouths to feed.  

Looking back at these pictures makes me want to go to our market here in Cuenca and cook!  What has gotten into me???


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Adventures in India - Part 10 (Entrepreneurs)

Dear Family and Friends,

We are in southern India for our second tour.  I have decided to post about topics for the second half of our tour, instead of day by day posts.

My first topic is entrepreneurs we saw in southern India.

Bringing in the fish.  These fishermen look pretty pleased with the days catch.

This guy makes pottery.

Here is a lady making some type of drink in her stand along side the highway.

Streetside cooks.  

Then there were the motorcycle vendors.  Selling things from their moto.

This guy sells honey.  I don't think you can get much fresher than buying comb and all.

This guy is selling clothing, towels and other items from his motorcycle.

And this guy has a full supply of any size pot you would need for your kitchen.  I was amazed at what people sold from motorcycles.

We saw tons of women selling flowers.  

Lots of people selling beads also.

But, my friends, this is my favorite entrepreneur.

Man with a fortune telling parrot.

Below is the star of the show.  I notice he also has a guinea pig in the box, not sure what it does.

The customer pays and then the parrot pulls cards from the stack until he gets to the customers fortune or until he gets tired. (who knows?)

Here is one of our tour mates reading her fortune.  

Next time I will share about our fun trip at a produce market.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Adventures in India - Part 9 (Sunrise on the Ganges)

Dear Family and Friends,

We had to set our alarms for 4:30 am so that we could load on to the tour bus and be at the Ganges river to witness the sunrise.  After the wonderful experience from the evening before, no one wanted to miss it.

We walked the same route through the city to get to our boat, which was waiting for us on shore.

We were rowed out into the river while it was still dark.  

The cremations were continuing to take place nearby.

As the sky became pre-dawn pink, looking at the city of Varanasi from the boat was beautiful.

The clouds became a bright salmon color and the birds started to flurry about.

People started to drop bread crumbs in the river to feed them.

Finally, after much anticipation, a big round orange sun appeared, creeping up on the horizon.

After the sun came up a little more it was the beginning of a new day on the holy Ganges river.

This man is starting his day of washing clothes.

Our tour guide, who is Hindu, seemed to be really into this experience.  Actually, we all were.

Here is Chuck, with his Ecuadorian alpaca printed sweater, watching the sun rise in India.  

Many people were showing up to bathe in the Ganges.  We spent about two hours on the river and then our visit was over.  I really hated for it to end.

Our tour of northern India came to a close.  We flew back to Delhi, said goodbye to our new friends and to our wonderful tour guide.  The following morning they flew back home and we returned to the airport to fly to southern India to take another Gate1 tour.  

I will start sharing about that part of India in the next post.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Adventures in India - Part 8 (Varanasi - evening at the Ganges River)

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a great experience in Varanasi.  We were able to witness one of the city's most wonderful scenes...evening prayers on the sacred Ganges river.  Along with the Taj Mahal, the evening prayers and morning sunrise on the Ganges is a must see when visiting India.

Our tour bus could not take us all the way to the Ganges ghats (steps.)  He let us off and we had a good walk through a small part of the city leading to the ceremonial steps.

Even though it was dark, some photos of this walking street turned out okay.  

One really nice thing about India is the beautiful material available.  

It wasn't just us tourists who appreciated the colorful store fronts.

As we got close to the steps of the Ganges, people were already getting ready for the evening service.

Our guide led us out on the beach of the river and we got in a boat.  This was probably a good idea because it was so crowded with people on shore that he would probably have lost some of us.

Once in the boat, we were rowed to the spot where evening prayers are said.  There were hundreds of boats besides ours.  Thousands of people were on shore behind the ceremony.  This is a big deal that takes place every evening in Varanasi.

After the spiritual experience of the ceremony, our guide passed out tiny candles and we took a minute to look into ourselves and then set them to float away on the river.  It was an amazing experience.

Before going back to shore, we were taken to one of the places where bodies are cremated on the Ganges.  This river is considered very sacred by the Hindu and having your remains cremated here is an honor.  Our tour guide told us that there are cremations going on around the clock.  Some people, who know their time has come, will travel to Varanasi to die just so they can be cremated here.

We didn't get too close out of respect for the families.  There were four or five bodies being cremated while we were there.

The whole experience was very spiritual.  It gave me a renewed sense of being mortal.  This is definitely the place to come if you want to experience the spiritual India.

Next post I will share about experiencing the sun rise on the Ganges, also a very spiritual experience.