Sunday, February 22, 2009

What are these men doing with that horse?

10 hours into a backbreaking bus ride--on the "good" road, the one from Khajuraho (pics) to Veranasi is so gruesome that we flew the 200 miles the next day--we arrived at the outskirts of Khajuraho and the hotel with the worst service in India. Lunch and check in took two hours, and involved a rousing game of magical supplies: some rooms missed soap, most towels, and some, like mine, any semblance of sheets. As the hotel manager explained so nicely "beds don't come with sheet, we have blanket", scratchy, dirty, moldy blankets that had a few decades on the newish building. After 30 years of traveling, I'm fairly hardcore and quite a few others like the Canadian couple who go hitchhiking in Tanzania even more so, but after near mutiny everyone was at the bus 20 minutes early the next day to get the ef out of there.
Khajuraho's main and only attraction are the famous 10th to 14th century Tantric temples......with their very explicit depictions of the 85 or so positions in the Kamasutra......and a few that Vatsayayana had never even heard off. Some friezes are very embellished. Indian girls must be so disappointed on their weeding night after seeing this:The quality of the work is astounding, and unlike other temples and churches, it's not a bit or relief work here and there, the entire temples are covered from the foundation stones to the roof. Many or most reliefs are actually showing normal life as well or better than Egyptian hieroglyphs, and don't make you go "Done that"..."haven't done that"..."should try that"..."WTF? How on earth do you do THAT?!?".

This one also shows up in Dumbo.The temples that didn't quite make the UN world heritage list are still in full swing and worshipers streamed in for the evening puja.
This being M.P., the temples obviously close at dusk, so we were back on the streets in the half-block of downtown and in the middle of the most annoying touts I've encountered since Marrakech. At one point, a few of us bumped into each other and compared our following. I shared first place for five pushing, shoving and come-my-store-good-bargains yelling youths. Funnily, the best way to escape was going into stores who's owners did their best to keep them out so they could cheat on the commission.

In an amazing show of chutzpah, after pissing me off for the best part of an hour and not heeding a single "fuck off", the most obnoxious "student" tried to charge me 100Rs for the "tour of the city".

Weirdly, this oversold, unfriendly, and overrun town also offered an amazing revue of Indian folk dances at night. Touristy, yes, but the singer and dancers were really really good. Of course, no such event is complete without an elderly German making a complete idiot of himself by repeatedly leaping out of his chair into a prone position in the aisle, moaning audibly from the shock reveberating from his arthritic knees hitting the concrete, to capture the "perfect" shot with a $50 POS camera and no flash.

2 comments:

Wanna Reading said...

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paul said...

Brings back terrible memories of the bad road up to Khajuraho, I was pretty sure my arse was going to fall off when I stood up at the end.
Well worth it though.