Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Wow! It's been a while since we posted! Indian computers/internet have not been our friends for the past couple weeks.

When we last left you, we were headed for Ahmedabad, a city in the western state of Gujarat. We reached Ahmedabad from Hampi after three nights either on a train or a bus. It was a long trip.

Ahmedabad was our first north Indian city and the change from south to north was quite the culture shock (at least for me). The city was bustling with people, noisy rickshaws and the streets were crammed to the brim with markets and stands. We visited several historical and folk museums and Ghandi's ashram.

Ahmedabad's polluted river divides the city in half. Slums line the river banks and people sift through the trash looking for useful things. This boy is on a raft and is using his flip flops for paddles.

We left Ahmedabad for Bhuj on an overnight bus. Bhuj is the capital of the region of Kutch. Kutch is known for its traditionally made handicrafts such as embroidery, hand block printed fabric, and weaving. Bhuj was an awesome town with narrow streets that were packed tightly with stores selling textiles, textile trimmings and interspersed throughout were tailors who would make clothes with the textiles you just bought.

We took a rickshaw tour that took us through some villages were tribal people still live and produce their handicrafts as a way to sustain themselves. We were invited into many homes and shown many beautiful pieces of work and unfortunately, we could not buy everything that we saw.

This family of brothers runs a woven shawl business. They are the 15th generation of their family to carry on the craft. Weaving is traditionally passed down father to son, while embroidery is passed down mother to daughter.

Uh oh. Truck tipped over. Many of the men in the villages work as truck drivers or farm hands while the women stay at home to embroider.

We had the opportunity to visit two different festivals while in Kutch. At the first, we stopped there for a lunch break. Here, all the different tribal people had gathered together under a large colorful tent to honor the monkey-god Hanuman. There were tables along the sides of the tent serving foods of the traditional Thali meal. We definitely stood out and people cleared way for us to sit on the ground as they watched us eat the delicious food with our hands. Afterwards, we went to the temple to make our offering in exchange for the food that we were given.

Our second festival was in the village of Kera, just 20 km south of Bhuj. We have no idea what the festival was for, but we do know that there was wrestling involved. There were tons of people crowded into the clearing in front of the temple. Since we were the only white people there, we turned heads wherever we went. Everyone wanted us to sit by them like we were the popular kids at lunch. We ended up being pulled in two different directions: Andy went with the men and the women took hold of me. Andy had a front row seat to the wrestling and was able to take pictures while bidis (small cigarettes) were passed around. I sat above with a bunch of women and quickly made friends with some girls who asked me many questions and talked a lot about clothes and make-up. They admired my fair skin, but thought that I should use cream because my forehead had broken out in acne.

Men stood on top of buildings and even in the trees for a good view.

Our ride back from the festival was certainly in interesting one. We took a share jeep (basically the same as taxi that just takes a lot more people) back to Bhuj because it was cheaper and faster than a bus. We climbed in and the jeep was already reasonably full. Or so we thought. A couple stops later, a large group of about ten people tried (and did) climb into the back of the jeep with us. This brought our jeeps capacity to a total of no less than 26 people. To say the least, we got to know our seat mates very well.

Hybrid motorcycle and lorry.

We ran into a farmer on of our tours and he brought us to his 70 acre farm with orchards of mangoes, chickoos, lychee and pomegranate.

Camel. Gujarat was the first place we saw camels pulling carts down the streets.


  1. I get dusty and gritty reading your posts. Almost like being there. With the super star status you are getting used to, I know it will be different when you get home so if you like I can call over a bunch of friends and stare and talk about you.

  2. How blessed you both are to have this life experience. You will never forget nor regret it.

  3. This is great. Following you on the blog. Looks like you are having a good time.

    Don & Barbara Carruth