Here's a few odds and ends that might be interesting.
I am writing my blog on our little computer. We have about 2 hours of battery life and Eli and I share it. It is not always a sure thing that we'll get a place to recharge. Then – whenever we can bear to stand in line in a sweltering hot hallway here - we upload what we've written. Time on the computer is strictly monitored so we don't have time to do much in the way of e-mail....I always make it first priority to try to send a short note to Chris and Leo and to use our zip drive to post what we have written. Then if there is time we will check e-mail, facebook, etc......mostly not time for that sort of thing.
Laundry and clothing: by hand and up to the roof top to dry. I brought only one pair of pants and I have to say – it's been over a week – a very hot, sweaty and grimy week – but tonight when I decided to wash them, it was only for the principle of the thing – they still don't look or feel dirty. So now I'll bet you'd like to know “what kind of amazing pants are those?!” Well, at the expense of sounding like a Prana advertisement I have to say they are Prana cargo pants, the kind made out of tech fabric. The have leg bottoms that zip off....so in Cochin which is more relaxed I could wear them as capris and here (where you even have to wear a swimming dress to swim) – I am wearing them in the long version. They look good with a western top or under a Kirta. I wish the cargo pockets zipped instead of snapped. And I wish there was a snap at the bottom to hike them up a little for walking in dirty or muddy areas – I just used a couple of safety pins to do the trick. Other than that they are brilliant. So there's my ad – maybe Prana will pick it up and give me a free doo-dad.
Money & Shopping: Cochin lodging was very pricey by India standards – 1750 rupees per night ($37) But here at Amritapuri it is 150 ruppees - about $3.- and that includes food. You can buy more western food for a little more – another dollar or so. But how boring would that be?!
There are so many beautiful fabrics and jewelry and ayurvedic products and on and on – all of them very inexpensive - but the problem is you have to carry what you buy. It is no easy thing to find a post office that is trustworthy or to find packing materials......it's really quite a daunting prospect to me at this point. So shopping is naturally limited by “you buy it – you carry it.” This definitely works in favor of moderation!
What I did in the last 24 hours:
at 9 am I ate my South Indian breakfast of very spicy curried dahl and rice with some very weak milk and rice water. Sounds bad – tastes wonderful.
9:30 – started standing in line for the “Amrita Internet.”
11:00 – did some laundry and walked around with Eli and did some study (trying to do 1 – 2 hours of study of the materials from Paul every day.....could be way too ambitious – we'll see how it goes.
1:00 – ate lunch – pretty much the same as breakfast just different flavors.
2 pm – bought a latte' – did Seva – laundry work.
4 pm – practiced Yoga Asana
5:30 – 6:30 – meditation
6:30 = 7 – did “my own” meditation. I have a commitment to meditate twice a day using the technique from Paul (I'll just call it Entering the Heart Studies from here on out) and I find that with all the beautiful chanting and music going on here at almost all time, I have to slip away to a somewhat quieter place to focus on my “own” meditation technique).
7:30 – dinner – as above
8:30 – Strolling around with Eli & people watching (there are mostly Indians and also tons of people from every country of the globe);
10 pm – reading and eventually lights out – Eli and I are trading off reading Autobiography of a Yogi & The biography of Ammachi. Eli is also reading Three Cups of Tea.
Couldn't sleep until maybe midnight or 1 am because so much music and chanting on account of Ammachi was still doing darshan - receiving in people with blessings and a hug) until well after midnight.
4:50 am – 6 am– up and at'em to listen to the monks and nuns chanting the 108 and the 1000 names of the Divine Mother in the temple – monks in one temple , nuns in another.
6 am - Chai
6:30 – 7:30 - meditation on the shore of the Arabian sea as the sun rises.
7:30 – 9:30 - Seva (work at the ashram) – I peeled mountains of ginger, cubed bushels of tomatoes and cukes.......working side by side with people who kept correcting my cube sizes in various languages I didn't understand.
9:30 – waiting in line again – this time to get an appointment with a Jyotish named Mohanji. Stayed tuned and I'll tell you all about it if we actually get an appointment. No guarantees.
After the line wiating, Eli and I plan to go into the jungle – no kidding – to find a little village with a little thatched hut where legend has it there is an Internet service that is fast and cheap – and if luck is with us we will upload this blog.