Day 3 – final day in Amritsar
It is cold and wet. Apparently it is snowing in the mountains. This is not the India I have experienced in the past in October/November. I don’t want to go outside yet, but India.
Posts are usually about yesterday written today. This one is a bit of a mess in that respect as the story was yesterday but the weather and rain is today. Even I can’t follow, so do your best.
Tonight I catch an overnight train to Jaipur. In class 2AC (2nd class, air conditioned) you are given bed linen. It hadn’t ever occurred to me that someone somewhere was washing it all.
Yesterday (blog subject day) it was threatening and forecast to rain so I didn’t want to venture too far. I headed off in a random direction following my nose.
As I crossed a railway bridge I noticed steam coming from a building and decided to investigate. I am not sure that if you wandered and looked through a window in a factory in Straya that you would be excitedly invited in.
So this is where they wash the train linen! I was given the guided tour (it wasn’t very big and all one room 😉) and people posed for photos (over) enthusiastically.
Tonight I will think of these people as I am rocked to sleep
Do you ever tire of your job? I might start a “be thankful” theme because for a lot of people here and likely many other countries, life is tough.
He is smashing small electronic motors and solenoids to recover the copper wire. I can’t imagine how much work is involved for not a lot of money. But I do love the photo.
Not doing it quite so tough and I wonder how many clocks he gets to fix/sell. Unintended art.
Eventually a storm came through and I took refuge under an awning where there were a few food and chai stalls.
Bought a yummy chai and while I was waiting the chai wala next door started some good natured, broken English banter that his chai was better.
Thats him in the background. I love this sort of play so it was back and forth and I asked him for a small sample so I could decide who was #1.
They were actually very different and truth be told I liked the first one better, it had obvious anise seeds in it. But diplomacy ruled and I said they were both very good.
Then it got weird. I paid R10 for my chai and looked for the other guy to pay him, even though I think it was complementary. He wasn’t there. A kid was running the stall so I started to wander off.
A Sikh man from behind a counter shouts to me that I haven’t paid.
I often find Sikh men a bit intimidating. The turban, the beard, they are often big men. I wonder if this is a look they have embraced and enhanced over time, a warrior thing.
Of course I wander back and of course original guy isn’t there. Of course I am happy to pay. But he says R50 which is outrageous for chai. I couldn’t tell if he was taking the piss or not. There was some amusement amongst the now interested locals when he would say stuff in Punjabi.
I kept smiling and playing with him trying to work out what was going on. Happy to pay but it was odd.
Then a misunderstanding was cleared up. He was saying R15 not R50. Indians often say a P for an F and pipteen and pipty…well it confused me me, but I am pretty deaf.
It dawned on me that the chai I paid for was likely R15 too so I went and gave them another R5. I think they were too polite to say anything.
Back to the other guy and I figured he was teasing me so I offered him the R5 coin. He laughed. So I went the other way and offered him a R500 note for R15. I think he laughed, but he waved me to go.
I didn’t look back.
Different chai wala
It wasn’t fun with the weather and shops dont have verandahs so I retreated to the hotel for a while.
The rain eased in the evening, I decided to go back to the Golden Temple and I am glad I did.
Fewer people (because it started raining again) meant it was easier to talk to the guards – they aren’t really, more helpers – and I found out that photos are OK except inside the temple.
It was beautiful during the day, and it is more so at night.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned they feed 40,000+ people per day. I wanted to eat, check out the food production and help. Again, I was given a guided tour.
About 50 people were sitting chopping onions, peeling garlic and ginger.
Whereas at the gurudwara in Delhi they made rotis by hand, here they had several machines. Unfortunately they were just finishing for the day so I didn’t get to see it in action for long. But they put flour in one end and rotis come out the other. Not quite as good as hand made but an incredible process.
They are then brushed with ghee before being served.
Of course with 40,000 meals there are 120,000 items to wash (plate, bowl spoon). This needs to be efficient and it was. I rolled up my sleeves for a while to help. Everyone is a volunteer, so I gave a little back for my meal.
My first attempt at video editing on a phone 😛
It is time to pack and brave the outdoors. Next update from Jaipur.
And the exciting possibility of going to the Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of humanity. I didn’t realise it is on now.