Saturday, January 07, 2006

lost in the marketplace, bucket baths...

Ah, so many little details that I'd like to write about but often I am drawn away from this document by the lure of Mysore. Today is my first day off from practice so you are saved from my far too detailed documentation of that asana and this asana.

Due to the lack of practice, I elected to run off into the city last night and allow myself to do a bit of aimless wandering. Actually, I thought that going to the cinema might be a nice cultural experience. I hear that seeing movies here is quite interactive with the audience clapping, shouting at the screen and oooing and ahhing throughout. But due to leaving Gokulum a bit late, the auto drivers convinced me I'd be better to go another time so I could watch the movie from the beginning. As an alternative I simply when down to KR Circle in the city to wander, and that I did.

It only took me about 10 minutes in the market place before I was utterly lost, which was the object, and found myself walking down back alleys and finding adult only stores. Now, before I paint the wrong picture, these "adult only" stores were simply bars. I've yet to find anything overly seedy in Mysore. So, I walked through these back alleys and on a few of the main market streets until about 10:00. I did stumble into Ashok's Books and picked up an Indian pressing of Svoboda's Aghora III which is pretty cool. It's appears to be the same save the publisher imprint and the fact that there’s a note saying it’s only for distribution on the Indian Subcontinent. I'm quickly making my way through Aghora II so this will come in handy. Ashok's has a ton of interesting books, but I don't want to load myself with books until I have a better idea of what I'll be carting back to the states.

I think I found myself in front of the Palace gates, which were lit up beautifully. I then began walking back towards K.R. Circle, turned a corner and found Rashinkar's Emporium, which is a store everyone here has referred me to. I walked in and ran into another shala student, M. The owner was closing up but gave me his card and M and I decided to share an auto back to Gokulum and check if the Green Leaf was still serving dinner. We got there just in time to order and sat and talked as we ate. It's very easy to stumble upon other westerners here and start up conversations. At the least you have yoga in common with them and can talk shop. I'm pretty fond of the Green Leaf at this point and my dinner last night only heightened its draw. They've a samosa chat that's just incredible. It's your standard samosa smashed and covered with yogurt, carrots and these spicy crunchy nuggets. I can see it becoming my standard dinner fare. It's light enough that it won't mess with my practice in the morning, yet tasty as hell. I'm getting hungry just typing about it.

Anyways, M and I walked back into Gokulum proper and I made my way up the hill towards the flat. Friday night, 11 pm and Gokulum appears to be fast asleep. My long walk up the hill was silent save the fact that I was verbally harassed by a few dogs. I got in and read for a while before falling off to sleep. It was a late night by yogi standards.

This morning I woke to Liz' cell phone going off. She seems to get as many phone calls here as she did back home! :) I did some pranayama and meditation and then got dressed and headed to Kalidasa road to take care of some business. I went to Cafe Coffee Day and had a latte and a slice of quiche. Cafe Coffee Day is the most western joint in Mysore (that I've found) and though I try to stay away from it, the draw of a latte is sometimes too great. The quiche was horrible btw. I wrote out a few postcards and then returned to the flat to let Savita in. I'm currently chilling out on the couch, listening to Boards of Canada and enjoying the cool breeze blowing through the flat. This afternoon I'm going to go back to Rashikar's and order a few items. I also need to pick up a mat. I am sweating so much during practice that I really need one. My jump throughs are more slide throughs than anything else.

There's also rumor of meeting up with some folks later. Tomorrow, Sunday, is another led practice that begins for me at 6:30. I think I'll be staying in this evening and reading so that I'm properly rested. Oh, and the fact that I'm about to go take an Indian bucket bath reminds me that I want to write about that briefly.

The Indian bucket bath is just shear brilliance. There are two things to keep in mind while considering this; the first is that it doesn't get too cold here. This is winter in Mysore and we're toping out in the 80's. The other thing to consider is that there are very few western type showers here and if you do have one the chances are that there will be little, if any, water pressure. So when you've got hot water but no water pressure the best way to wash is to fill up a bucket. You can get buckets everywhere here. There are even men that walk through the streets with carts selling buckets of every size. The process is this: fill up the bucket with water and get it to a temperature you enjoy, use a small mug to pour water all over yourself, add your favorite soap (I brought Dr. Bronners peppermint!) and then rinse. Now, this would suck if it were cold out, but being nice and warm here its really pleasant. I actually find it more enjoyable than a western shower. I'm pretty much sold on the bucket bath.

Speaking of which, now is the time for that joy.
All the best from Mysore, ~G

1 comment:

divine.eye said...

aww, man! i was hoping u'd actually bumped into some seedy places so i could go track 'em down and explore 'em! ;0) nice to see u @ the green hotel this a.m. i did find a store that sells sexy thong underwear and even G strings somewhere on that main shopping strip in downtown w/lots of clothes & stuff whose name i don't know. i was pretty excited when i saw the stuff.