Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

India (Day…um…4?)

   I gotz my groove back!  Today was fantastic!  Not even a hint of feeling crummy like I have been feeling.  It's amazing how one day I can hardly walk and the next day I walk for hours and hours.  No complaints though!

   I found out this morning that I didn't have my tickets for the field programs for today and tomorrow which either means I didn't get in, or there was a processing error and I'll get the ticket for tomorrow sometime this evening.  It didn't matter as much for today because I was a total goof and got the time wrong.  I showed up at 10:10 when the trip left at 10:00.  (I thought it was at 10:30.)  I had been thinking about skipping it anyway, so I think it was just my subconscious making the decision for me.  haha

   I spent the rest of the morning relaxing and eating free lunch on the boat.  :0)  I had planned to go out on my own, but I met a group who were going where I wanted to go so I decided to tag a long.  Our final destination was a place called Jew Town (yes, that is quite possibly the best name EVER) but we took our time getting there.
 

Lots of people took pictures of our boat as we went past.  :0)




 We took the water taxi to what we thought was Jew Town but turned out to be somewhere else.  Unfazed, we shopped there for quite a while.  I was excited to get a beautiful red sari after some unintentional awesome bargaining.  It was originally $60 so I kept trying to walk away until it was down to $35 and I really had to buy it then.  It's funny how bargaining works.  I really was leaving the store and not trying to make a deal at all.  But I'm not complaining!  

  In our wanderings, we found a store one of the girls had been to previously to buy some sultan pants.  She was going on and on about how amazing these pants were and I didn't quite understand until I tried on the pair I bought just now.  THey are like heaven!  The guys at the store were SO nice!  Some of the girls bought some pants and then we asked to see his other store that he had just opened.  We walked a block or two and came to another store filled with beautiful things.  Some of the girls bought some bedspreads and things and then we hung out with the guys for a while.  It was SO much fun!  One of the guys, Muhammad, was really into earthquakes so we had a lot to talk about.  I told him about the website where all earthquakes within the last week were displayed and he was really excited.  Nerd bond!  haha  We ended up taking a bunch of group photos and swapping e-mail addresses!  I love how shopping here ends up as an awesome social experience!

  From the guy's new store, I somehow knew where we were!  Go me and my improving sense of direction!  IT was right near the Chinese fishing nets, so I led our group over there to we could see those and shop some more.  

   We started heading to Jew Town, but since we didn't know where that was, we were just kind of walking.  Finally we stopped and asked someone where it was, and it was too far so we took a rickshaw.  So much fun!  All four of us somehow squeezed into it and we were off on a very exciting ride to Jew Town. 



   The shopping in Jew Town was also really good.  I split off from the group part way through because I was wearing out and I still wanted to get to the synagogue.  I expected to be nervous being on my own, but I actually felt just fine.  I found the synagogue by asking around a little and headed inside.  
   I was really excited to meet the lady who took my ticket.  SHe is the only Jewish woman of childbearing age left in the area.  She has been under enormous pressure to marry her second cousins to keep the line going, but like a boss, she refused because they are not her type.  I guess she has a reputation as  being quite a grump but she seemed nice as long as people were nice and respectful to her.  I wanted to tell her that I thought she was awesome for standing up for herself, but felt that was SO not my place.  So I just smiled.  


   The synagogue was very old, dating back to the 1300-1500's (part of it was older and part of it was rebuilt).  It was very peaceful and beautifully decorated.  There were no cameras allowed, so I did my best to memorize every detail.  I'm not religious, but it was still pretty meaningful to come to this place.  The state we are in in India has always accepted people of any religion.  It was nice to think that there was at least one place in the world where Jews were welcomed.  
  
 The acceptance of all religions is still very apparent today.  The state is known as "Gods own Country" because everyone here is deeply religious, going to pray at their place of worship at least once a day.  Most people are either Hindu, Muslim, or Christian or even from mixed families.  Even though people are very religious, there is really no tensions between the different religions.  From what I have seen, this state is a good role model for the rest of the world. 

   I took a rickshaw back to the water taxi with only one stop at a store so the driver could get a point.  The taxi and rickshaw drivers get points for every person they bring to a store and I think they can exchange enough points for money.  As a result, most taxi or rickshaw drivers will try to take you to many different stores you aren't actually interested in going.  It's not really a big deal though.  If you insist they keep driving, they usually will.  I just walked through the store because I had time and what the heck.  :0)
  
 I was afraid I wasn't going to have an easy time getting back to the ship because the driver and I had a lot of trouble understanding each other.  I was pretty sure we had the same idea of where I wanted to go, but I wasn't sure.  I decided to just hope for the best and it turned out well.  He drove past the water taxi stop, but I spotted it and had him stop just in time.  He wanted more money than we agreed upon, but I knew he already overcharged me so I said no.  We thanked each other anyway and I headed off to the water taxi.  That was a little confusing also, but I managed to figure out how to buy my ticket (after first getting in the "men only" line) and got on the next boat.
  

 The last bit of walking form the water taxi to the ship seemed miles and miles even though it just a few hundred yards.  I was SO happy to get back into air conditioning and lay down on my bed.  I feel like I definitely earned my right to go to bed at 8:00 tonight!  What an awesome day!  

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