Friday, February 13, 2004
YOU SAY PO-TAY-TOE
I SAY PO-TAH-TOE
I must have had five gallons of water yesterday and not much food -- advice from the Man in the US for getting rid of a cold -- but it seems to have worked. The long day was spent in Rm. 13 at the Kaveri Lodge, where I turned off the fan (it fans the cold), talked to the MiUS, read from a great book of essays called No Full Stops in India by India-born British journalist Mark Tully, tried to study Kannada (it's all evaporated), did some napping/drooling and researched going to Bandipur Wildlife Reserve during our days off next week. Apparently some notorious bandit has resurfaced and is kidnapping people at the park again; he's pissed off because four of his cohorts are about to be executed. I read that they are making preparations to hang them -- there hasn't been a hanging in this area in decades -- and they are being very careful because if they don't croak the authorities are not given a second chance to off them. I wonder what George Ryan would think of that (is he in prison yet?)... In any case the park is out...... Back to yesterday..... I did come out of my hole for a late, lite lunch across the street at Auntie's. She was out but Uncle was there in his white dhoti and bare chest and Brahmin thread and clefted chin, and it was easier to tell him "Sakoo" (enough) than it is to tell Auntie, who loves to heap on the food. More on her place in an upcoming blog. Suffice to say, 30 rupees, no wait, EXCELLENT South Indian thali (meals) that seems to get better every day, and eating with Indians in an Indian kitchen while watching Indian soaps.... later in the day Prashanth brought me some *tablets* from the pharmacist, and said "Take two after eating and before sleep." I have no idea what they were -- it's like my own little taste of the 1960's -- but they seem to have worked. I did sleep thru yoga which seems to be a good thing as Bindi says the line was out the door at 4:45 (there were led primary series practices at 5:15 and 6:30). Apparently there were so many people in the later group they were practicing in the foyer!
I woke up with aching teeth -- why do colds do that to me here, but not at home? -- and met Bindi and Miss Y for Indian breakfast at Green Leaf, a sparking clean new "hotel" (cafe) in Gokulam with great service and great food, low prices and very few westerners. It's where we met Manju and Lino for breakfast. Afterwords we went back to the girls' place and talked about whether we were going to join Lino for a scooter excursion / swimming in the Kaveri River. I wasn't gonna go because I was exhausted and what kind of idiot goes swimming while recovering from a cold. But just then Geetha's mom (mother of Amy's nursing student friend) brought over some wonderful homemade iddly, and suddenly I wasn't so tired.
We had four scooters and one motorcycle (ie eight mods and two rockers) and followed Lino to the countryside and some English estate where we met a posh Brit named Rupert (of course) who dissed Pattabhi Jois / ashtanga yoga before launching into the history of the place --- apparently it's a plum by-product of colonialism / the defeat of the Tipu Sultan. Whatever. It was beautiful and out of my league and they let us go out in back where some went swimming while others, wearing all black Indian dress, sat on a rock and hid from the sun and read Debonair magazine (which, as Bindi points out, is both blatantly sexist AND feminist -- and contained a great interview with Marilyn Manson). Afterwords we went to a lovely riverside restaurant, Hotel Mayura or someting, run by the KTRSC, or Karnataka tourism board. Bindi had a UB Export -- try one, I recommend it -- which raised one or two pairs of eyebrows (our new hobby -- to raise eyebrows among anoerexic/holier-than-thou yoga students who have given up sugar/fruit/wheat/TV/eating/cerveza fria/showering/newspapers ["I don't want to know what's going on in the world"]/you-name-it.....HELLO?! It's called *moderation*). Diatribe finished....
After using the bathroom at the place I asked one of the gentleman for a card, as they have guest houses and, like Lino says, it's close to Mysore yet far enough away to seem like a vacation from our very long vacation. The guy seemed confus-ed so I repeated, "card, card" and made a small square with my fingers. "Yes yes," he said, doing that little South Indian head tilt. He disappeared into the kitchen and came out several minutes later smiling and bearing......... a stainless steel dish of.............curd.