Monday, December 19, 2011
Pushkar, day 2; kites and a sunset
The morning began the same as the morning before, with breakfast on the roof, except this time we came from beds instead of a bus. Made a big difference! It was still another cold night, though, and the warmth of the morning sun felt good. It was fun to look out at the busy rooftops and peek into local affairs. Some were making food while others were enjoying theirs. A woman sewed while perhaps her husband or maybe her father sat a talked. And, of course, kids flew kites form rooftops, everywhere. There was so much life on the rooftops, I loved it!
Today, after another late lunch on the rooftop, we decided we would hike up another narrow ridge, on the opposite side of the city from yesterday's climb, that's supposed to be a good spot to see the sunset.
While the girls got ready, I went around, documenting the hotel. It was quite a fun space to be in. A bit run down, but still felt fresh, an easy place to breathe. Carlos and I were in the "A Collection of Great Dance Songs" room, which is, oddly, one of the only Pink Floyd albums that I don't know!
On our way through Pushkar, we passed a couple of guys selling kites to kids, so we thought it would be fun to get a few to carry up the hill. 1 rupees for a kite was the best deal in India, and we didn't even haggle! It was 15 rupees more for the string, but we still made off for about 25¢ per kite.
I don't know if the kids had binoculars or just a seventh sense for kites (you do know we have six senses, right?) but they were on us like a swarm of bees before we made it even 100 meters up the hill. It ended up being a good thing because we had no idea how to tie the strings to the frames but the kids had them together in seconds. That also meant the kites were pretty much out of our hands from that moment on! We watched as one kid would carry the kite a little ways down the steep slope and toss it up while the other kid would methodically tug on it, jerking it up and up, until it was high in the dusty, cloudless air.
After a while, we debated with them until they understood we should at least have a turn, since we bought the darn things, and they handed over the strings. I think I had mine for about five seconds before it began plummeting, and Carlos may have lasted a few seconds longer but not much more. They quickly grabbed the reins back from us, and, tugging away, got the kites back up to elevation. They eventually brought the kites back in and we tried ourselves to get them to fly but we were hopeless. I had a new appreciation for the kites I'd seen speckling the Indian sky since my time in Aurangabad. There's a yearly kite tournament approaching, so I think people are beginning to practice for it.
A little board, we turned our backs on the kids for about as long as I'd been able to hold the kite up, and when I looked back, three of them were running down the slope, through the scattered cactus, towards their village with my kite! There was literally a trail of dust behind them like the Roadrunner in Looney Tunes. A bit annoyed that I'd just been stolen from, I had to laugh at the sight of them, running for their lives for a 1 rupee kite. I was even going to give them the thing, it wasn't like it was any use to me anyway! In my mind, I sent out the intention that I had given it to which ever one had it, just in case the debt might come back to him in another way.
We made it up to the Gayatri Temple, which also seemed like a café (dunno, didn't go inside) and sat along the wall with the other travelers who'd made their way up. Even with the sun almost gone, it was still really hot. In the gritty sky, the sun dimmed to a bright orange sphere, then slowly turned red, and slipped into the haze before ever even touching the horizon.
Back down, at the bottom of the hill, we were swarmed again by kids begging us to buy them a snack. I wasn't very charmed with their manners, but eventually caved and bought a package of crackers, My plan was to portion them out fairly, but before I had a chance to, two boys tried to grab them from me and proceeded to crush them into crumbs, before all the others came rushing in to get a hand on them. I let go, scared of losing an arm, and the boys made off with them. I was really disgusted at how selfish they were to the point that I felt it in my stomach. When the others starting crying for me to buy more, I didn't really care! One older girl grabbed my arm as I tried to leave and I hauled her a block down the dirt street before I had to swing her around, five feet off the ground, like a helicopter to get her to let go! Some of the men on the street gave me a strange look, but what the hell? What are they doing allowing their kids to act like this?
In the market on the way back to the Pink Floyd, we sat with some Israelis and Indians in wicker seats around a little fire in the street. It started off nice, but I had a bit of a strange vibe. The others seemed fine, so sat it out until they were tired and we walked back to the hotel.