Friday, April 23, 2010

sikh hospitality and a little respite in amritsar india

we made it up to amritsar in the indian state of punjab, and i gotta say it's been a huge relief.

populated primarily by sikhs, it's a whole different world from the other states we've visited. this is the first place we've been where everyone smiles at us when we pass and not just because they're getting ready to ask for money or to try to sell us something at triple the actual value. they just smile and wave as they drive by. they just smile and shake our hands as we walk by. and they never ask us for anything. 

it's the first place we couchsurfed in india, and what a place. our host mr. singh owns a farm and has converted the 300 year haveli in the middle of the property into a sort of rural boutique hotel. he farms, raises animals, and breeds horses there. if there are open rooms, he offers them to couchsurfers. if the rooms are full, he offers bunks to couchsurfers. if the bunks are full, he offers camping to the couchsurfers. it's been fairly quiet since we've been here, the only guests being us and couchsurfer from slovenia who has been bicycling around the world for 4 years, so we ended up with a big air-conditioned room. did i mention the restaurant and swimming pool?

reshma, one of the staffers here, is particularly outgoing despite knowing only about 6 words of english. she gave us the grand tour of the nearby village in which she lived, and during which we were served tea by nearly everyone we encountered. sweet.

a nice little building in reshma's nearby village

dajan the slovenian couchsurfer and i listening to the water buffalos making the weird sounds that water buffalos make.

wherever we go, we draw a crowd.

dajan, reshma's sister, reshma and i at reshma's sister's house in the village.