On to Jaipur and Jojawar

The journey from Varanasi to Jaipur was interrupted by a late connection in Delhi so it was a scramble getting from the international terminal to the domestic terminal and then on to Jaipur but due to lots of late flights I made it and helped a fellow traveler in the process so all was good. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once in Jaipur we went from palace to palace and then to a small occupation by a tribal family near the Amber Fort.  The valley was beautiful and there was a small shrine on top of low hill we hiked up to and visited with the priest.  He was pretty busy doing laundry and putting out items for Shiva so we didn't stay long. But you can drop him a line on Facebook.

Seeing such opulence was a jarring contrast to the poverty we saw in Bhopal and elsewhere in India.  The lavish details in the palaces was jarring when you looked just outside the gates at the common people.  Little care was taken, for the most part, of the general population during the millennia with the exception of a few forward thinkers who realized that keeping the average family happy would aid in stabilizing the governing.  Sadly, that kind of thinking has been rare here or elsewhere in the world.



After a bumpy start on my own in Agra,

 namely heavy fog obliterating my view of the Taj, I made it back to Delhi and on to Varanasi.


This is one of the rivers, the most venerated, that ones ashes can be put into.  I would not suggest being cremated here though, it is a bit primitive.  There are many funny things like the water buffalo who are driven to the river but not allowed into it (not sure why except they would probably swim to the other side and run away) but they hang out all day with the laundry people and bathers who come to cleanse their souls in the river.  Other things that go into the river and the bodies that are not burned of children under three, pregnant mother and those with leperosy.  They are tied with stones and the bodies are transported to the middle of the river where they are put in by the family.  Fortunately there are fish to do the clean up.  The sewage from the city also flows into the river, don’t know how much cleaning up they do beforehand, and all kinds of trash as well as manure from the cows that hasn't been made into fuel patties.  Soooo, not the kind of place you might want to be taking a dip and a drink!


The city is known for making brocaded silk and silk/pashmina wool scarves and wraps.  They are really quite beautiful.  There is an evening celebration of putting the river to sleep that is quite the performance! The deeply religious people of Varanasi honor all of their gods in beautiful ways at nearly every hour of the day.
Tomorrow I am off to Jaipur, where many textiles are made and many of the buildings are of pink stone so it is often called the “pink city”.  It is amazing how many people are in these cities!  I don’t think I have been in one that was less than 4 Million people yet.  The trash and stench from the habit of peeing in corners everywhere is frequently overwhelming.  A bit of peppermint under the nose works wonderfully well so I dab it on before I go out.

A few moments inside the USS Arizona Memorial

Being a kid born in the mid-50's, the bombing of Pearl Harbor was part of my parents lives but it didn't weigh on me except as some nebulous catalyst that brought the US into WWII. Going to Pearl Harbor and hearing the story, seeing the film, walking into the memorial, all hit home in a way that I never would have suspected. It is a beautiful memorial with a thoughtful and contemplative design. If you are ever in Honolulu you might take a short time to see this monument and to pay your respects. By the way, the USS Bowfin submarine is waaaay cool! Pair USS Arizona Memorial

USS Bowfin