Friday, August 29, 2014

5 + 5 = 10

I have about a million things I could write about, but I decided just to give you a list of 10 interesting things about our city!

1. It is known as the most holy city of Hinduism. Because of this, travelers from all over India and all over the world come here to "find themselves."
2. It is located right on the River Ganges (Ganga), which is known as the most holy river. Ironically, it is also known as the dirtiest river, possibly in the world. I have not touched a drop of it, and do not ever desire to!
3. Animals run free here, more than any other city or country I have ever seen. We have: monkeys, cows, donkeys, pigs, horses, water buffalo, mice, goats, chickens, peacocks, snakes, etc. And those are just the wild, free-roaming animals! We also on occasion (depending on the holiday) have elephants and camels.
4. The power is out for most of the day, almost every day. I'd say that, on average, we have power 5-8 hours in a 24 hour period. We are fortunate enough to have an inverter, which stores power while the electricity is on, so when it is off we can run a few fans and lights. However, many people in our city do not have inverters. Because of this, many people sleep outside at night during the hot and rainy seasons (April-September).
5. Public transportation is the norm for most people. In our city, you can ride a cycle rickshaw, a private auto rickshaw, or a shared auto rickshaw. We can get from one end of our city to the other end of our city (around an hour drive) for about a dollar.
6. Foreigners (western, white people) come to our city for a spiritual experience, but most end up spending much of their time in coffee/chai shops hanging out with other foreigners!
7. Because our city is thought to be so holy (though, I assure you, it is not), people here celebrate pretty much every holiday and festival possible. I used to ask people, "is this a major holiday?" but I've stopped doing that because the answer is always, "yes!"
8. Our city is also the desired destination of the dead. Yes, if you die, it is the greatest city from which to be thrown into the sacred river. Before we came here, we were told that our city is "the place that people go to die."
9. It is a city of 1.4 million people, but until recently many of the roads were unpaved, and to my knowledge there are not stop lights in the city. And that term "city" is being used quite loosely. You would definitely not think "city" if you were here!
10. It is said that it is the longest continuously inhabited city in the world. And I think some of the buildings are originals!

Thanks for visiting!