Krishna’s birthday was my first foray into festive India. Despite the forcast for rain, cold, and more rain, I wandered down the hill away from Landour into the “big” city of Mussoorie. It was there, in front of the temple, that I saw the marching band warming up. They were in a festive mood- some wearing plastic bags on their heads to stay dry as they practiced their tunes. I continued down the hill to find a good vantage point from which to view the parade, and ran into a few friends.  The day progressed, and just as the sun came out, the parade swallowed us up.  I was pulled into the festivities to dance with a man dressed like the monkey god Hanuman.  Let my India parade dancing tenure begin!  Here are some of my favorite images from the day.   The images depicting me were taking by my friend Lily.

I walked into my room in Landour.  The price was right- approximately $13 USD a day, including all meals and frequent chai.  Perfect.  Well, almost perfect.  The musty moldy funk that permeated my room was not, in itself, off putting.  The giant hole under my bathroom door that was big enough for mice to crawl through (and which mice actually did crawl through while I was there) was tolerable.  The thing that daunted me the most was the shower.  Or the lack thereof.  Welome to the bucket o’ shower.  I grimaced at its sight, but wasn’t going to let it interfere with my image of myself as a person who can rough it.  I don’t need luxury- buck o’ shower is fine for me.  Much to my amazement, it was.  Most days the water was warm- somtimes even hot.  Pouring a cup of steamy water down your back on a cool monsoon morning- well dare I say- might be as nice as most any shower I have had at home.  I am convert.

Shortly after I arrived in India, I ditched my bags at Hazel’s pad (I am a paying guest in Hazel’s home in Mumbai), and headed for the mountains. Musssoorie is in the northern state of Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalaya.  Just outside Mussoorie is an even smaller town by the name of Landour that has a tiny language school with a big reputation: The Landour Langauge School.  It was there that I began to lean a very small amount of Hindi.  I can read, but I sound like I am in the first grade, sounding out words as I equate the Devanagari characters to their sounds.  Once the word has been sounded out, chances are I have no idea what it means- because my vocabulary is miniscule.   Still, it was great fun.  Next time, I will have to stay longer to get my Hindi working on the streets.

The Ubiquitous Mussoorie Monkey

Mumbai is, for now, my home. It is a city full of energy, life and contrasts. It’s traffic make makes the street of Manhattan look like a drive through the burbs. It has blue chip galleries and people selling fish off the streets (quite literally- a fish vendor this morning didn’t have a big enough chopping block so the fish was actually on the road being cut).  The photo to the left was taken a few days into my journey. The motorcycles depicted are Domino’s delivery vehicles.  Yes, Domino’s delivers in Mumbai!