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India

On cows, bazaars, and being hit by tuk tuks

At the Sardar Bazaar in Jodhpur, the street is a crazy, pulsating mass of auto rickshaws, scooters, bicycles, and cars, all beeping or ringing to make their way through the sea of people. In stark contrast to this frenzy of activity are the slow-moving cows that leisurely wander around without a care. Some plop themselves right in the street to rest from the massive effort of walking from one side of the road to the other. Rather than shoo it out of the way, however, the vehicles simply go around them. Ah, to be a cow in India…

The market is chaotic, at best. This particular market appears to be as much for the locals as for the random tourists because locals make up the vast majority of the swarm. Being obviously a tourist, you attract a lot of attention here, mostly from the children who follow you around in hopes of a pen, a treat, or some spare rupees. These things are nothing to us, but sadly, giving in to the temptation of relinquishing any of these items invites still more children and soon you will be surrounded and vulnerable. So, I harden my heart knowing that I can do my part in other ways…but it’s tough to ignore children who are clearly in need. At one point, I found myself approached by a couple of bedraggled kids with their hands outstretched and as I stepped backwards to move away from them, I was sideswiped by a tuk tuk (auto rickshaw). It wasn’t enough to knock me completely off my feet, but enough to jar my shoulder painfully and feel the after effects in my morning yoga practice. The children looked at me like I was absolutely stark-raving mad. Like, what’s that crazy white woman doing walking backwards into a tuk tuk?

Despite my occasional distaste for markets such as this one, I am always fascinated by how utterly alive they are with activity. There is something here, good and bad, for all of your senses. The things I especially enjoy, however, are watching the locals—women in their brightly colored saris, men in their dhotis and turbans, and the elderly calmly watching you watching them. This, and the spices. The spices! When you near the area where fresh fruits and vegetables are being sold, you are bathed in a misty cloud of turmeric, fenugreek, aniseed, coriander…the list goes on and on. India is spice heaven and its cuisine reflects this. I must write more on the food later…but for now all I can say is that while I’ve been here I’ve been adhering to a vegetarian diet simply because the meatless choices here are so plentiful and delicious. I am eating well…

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About colleen finn

Colleen Finn is a globe trotting, sight seeing, day tripping, frequent flying traveler with a penchant for voluntourism.

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