I’ve been a tourist for the past few days I’m here one more day and I’m ready to return to PUne , “home”to delve into my studies. I’ve enjoyed seeing the sights, visiting the amazing Mysore Palace (why there isn’t a costume drama BBc miniseries about this I have NO idea- Hollywood friends get on it!), the temples etc. But I have to admit I miss the reason I come to INdia, to study , to learn.
I’m staying in a bed and breakfast sort of family style. I’ve never experienced this before. Foreign tourists come and go for one night or two nights on their way to traveling/doing the rest of India in various stages – shock, love, disgust, doing doing doing, plain ignorance about how things work–I have no idea. But A really nice DAnish family with two teenage girls I spent the day on a bicycle tour through SRiangapatnam Island. It was lovely wandering through th rice fileds on a bike, our tour guid STephen, a self-titled Yorkshire man giving us the lowdown in a witty way.
The houses on the island have been there for more than 500 years, small huts of mud with woven roofs perfectly ventilated with cow dung “painted” in the entry way – a natural insect repellent. It is on this island that four wars were fought British against the Muslim ruler, TIpo Sultan. Because Napolean wasn’t able to arrive as promised to help Tipu, the battle was lost. Interestingly, the British commander Cornwallis fought here just after having being taken down by the Colonies. 1776! Interestingly, Napoleon had his sights set on the USA when he moved his weary troops through the heat of Vera Cruz only to be pushed back by a bunch of scrappy but far more equipped Mexican army what we called Cinco de Mayo, Independence which as nothing to do with Mexican Independence. I think we think it’s independence because it would have been the loss of our independence had he succeeded and true to point we look at events through our little myopic lens of self-preservation. If Napoleon had had his way India and America might have been parler-ing Francais.
We saw the jaggery factory – another similarity with Mexico. jaggery is Piloncillo a natural process of cane sugar once used all the time but now most cane is sent to be refined into white sugar- hello diabetes.
One of our last stops was in front of a tree and as per Stephen’s style we were challenged to guess the type of tree. I made two wrong guesses and then looked more intently at the leave shape and shouted out Bodhi tree! The sacred tree that Buddha mediated under…well not this one but this type of tree.