Friday, April 11, 2003

Man it's hot!

I mean REALLY hot. But I'm leaving soon for cooler climes so all is well. Last night was supposed to be a farewell party for all of us leaving, bt it didn't really go according to plan....

I met Dieter and cristoph in the chai shop in the market, and they were drinking Bhang Lassi. Now I'm still not 100% sure what is in this bhang lassi; one guy told me it was the leaves of the cannabis plant that aren't used in the making of charras, but another told me that it's a different, but similar, plant. Either way, this concoction they were drinking was like thick green paste and tasted very bitter. In other words it looked lethal.

After a chai, went to Sunset cafe for dinner. During dinner, Christoph started to look a little stone, and then a lot stoned. He started moving in slow motion and lost the ability to speak, preffering just to sit and smile as he looked at us all through slitted eyes. Then he threw up....... and I think, based on the belgian being spoken, he soiled himself at the same time..... something like "kak hir koffel" or something..... oh dear..... Then he went green and had to be taken home where he continued to pull a major whitey for the rest of the night.... poor boy. :)

So, we were in the paper again! A photo and article about our procession. I wasn't in it though, so it was somewhat lacking..... ;)

Have i mentioned the cows yet? As you may already know, cows are holy in india. This becomes apparant as soon as you arrive, as cows are everywhere in the cities and towns, blocking the roads and generally just ignoring everyone completely. And they're BIG! And not just cows, about 50% are bulls..... and they all have big horns......
Anyway, the point I was going to make isn't about how they look, it's about how they are treated. Because they are considered so Holy, Devout hindus see it as part of their commitment to their faith to make a show of revering and showing their care and concern for the cows. In temples you will see donation boxes for the "Cow Fund - striving to give food and shelter to cows nationwide", and on windows you see stickers proclaiming "Save the Cow!". Now this is very well, and in england we are equally guilty of being obsessed with the welfare of animals, but what strike me here is the complete lack of any equivalent kind of concern for the many 1000's of human beings without food or shelter. Basically the cow's life is considered infinitely more important than that of the lower caste humans. So anyway, I just thought I'd share that with you.

The other day I was sat having a drink with an indian guy from next door called "Mulchan". Mulchan is a real character. He's had Polio, and his legs are useless, so he zooms about the place on his hands with his legs crossed in front of him. He always wants to chat, but very rarely have I had a conversation with him when one sentence is related to the last. They usually go something like:

"Hey, how are you?",
"This mango tree",
"is it?",
"yes, good idea",
"what is?",

or something similar. Anyway, this day I had a conversation that I actually udnerstood, and it went like this: I was saying that I'd been to Bombay, and he commented that it's a very beautiful city. I said yeah, the city centre is beautiful, but the miles of slums that most of the population live in are pretty grim. Yes, he agreed, they are very bad. They leave plastic and rubbish everywhere, and then they eat the plastic and get sick and sometimes die. Images of starving children reduced to eating plastic filled my mind and I lamented with him "Oh, that's terrible! Why do they eat the plastic?".. "Because people leave it everywhere" he said. I started to sense i was missing something here.... "people eat the plastic becasue it's lying around?" I ask. "No not people, cows!" he exclaimed. How stupid of me, to think that his concern might be for people! Doh! :o

Just read in the paper today that the Singaporen deputy Prime minister is telling Singaporeans that SARS may be around forever! Well there's optimism for you! Typical of the singaporean government to be too honest for fear of making promises it cant keep. Always predict the worst appears to be their motto.... Oh well, I hope they're wrong.

BTW, if you want to hear about the situation in bagdad from a slightly different angle, read this:

news story

ok, thats about enogh for today. enjoy. :)

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