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India Trip Notes

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5-05-11 - Preparing to leave Tiru so I can come back.

It's Thursday. I leave on Monday for Chennai where I'll drop off my big pack with lovely Manasi and family and maybe another one if I can't get everything in it and then it's off on the night train to Tricher in Kerala with the little zip-off pack to see some stuff in my final weeks here.

Yesterday had Kerala food at architect Biju's home with his perfect wife, sweet boys, and Gita through whom all I've met has come. Food so good - side dishes to mix with the red (brown) rice. If I'm here again I've got to tell Dhanam it's red rice or I'll make it myself. After lunch, chat, nap, tea walked into the countryside through wet and dry fields and irrigation troughs, past people sifting and bagging truckloads of rice on a deserted cement road, and not just cows but big black is beautiful rugged water (as in the Marines of bovines) buffalo with their sumi circle horns - and they don't have to scrounge through the trash out here to eat. Good view of the mountain here as in god is good.

Visited a Spanish artist, Giyatri Gumez, in her pole and thatch home in an enclave of such, banana trees, palm trees, Mango, a kiln where she teaches local kids, a deep stone well fifteen feet across with stone steps leading up and out as usual. I pointed that excellent ingredient out to Gita and she said yes, but if you fell in you'd have to get to the side where the steps are. She's returning to the SF Zen Center in mid June. I suggested she learn to swim at the nearby YMCA.

Walking back through a woods by a lake all in the possession of the water company, I thought I've been in a city, even here in my apartment on the edge, too much. Need to get out some. It felt like a remote spot in Mexico out there. No motorcycles and trash and cement. But back at my Tiru home they brought me food, I finalized the day's upload, went to Guru Internet a few minutes away and spent an hour, back to on the roof to coast in a drizzle and wind. To my Netbook Howie got in a yard sale from an old man whose kids hoped he'd use it, So small, such a powerful battery So perfect. This is my cave like Ramana's on the mountain.

Want to come back - I guess. An Internet biz wants to rent the roof for the tourist season September through February. Darn. The Tibetan body worker will return to the downstairs apartment and that sounds good but it could be better. Gita, Biju, and I have been brainstorming about how to use this place so as to keep my apartment and furnishings - and the roof - and use the downstairs apartment. This is such a good location. I tell Dhanam a small biz here would be better than renting but she needs help. This area needs a laundry. That could go in the downstairs apartment - with a washer and a few big sinks out back. Filter coffee and tea on the roof where we could put in a partial thatch overhang.

And goodies - chocolate and sweets of a type you can't get around here. Gita says the crowd that comes here in the season is fairly health conscious. We could have some heartier snacks that some like me prefer but I know that crowd - even though it's strong on European and Russian. I helped get the Tassajara kitchen going and ran the dining room for four years and was host at Greens for the first two and I've run ZC kitchens and a little semi-health food store. Everybody loves sweets or near-sweets. Sugar, honey etc, chocolate, and caffeine - throw in some flour, eggs, and dairy. It's like being a dope dealer. You don't have to convince anyone.

We'll see. Gita, Biju, and I are meeting again here at five, maybe start talking to Dhanam. Dhanam is key. She's the boss here and the word for her is industrious and you can't say that about everyone here or in any tropical place. She's usually sewing, cooking, doing laundry or her little package biz, going to her "duty" as policewoman. If she can grok this it can fly.

And then I could be here again and get through another pile of work on people's memories of Suzuki Roshi and his lectures. Tiru's been good for that, that and state of no-mind.

We're on a small street an arrow's flight from the Ramanashram. No open sewers, minimal trash picked up every morning. The post office is across the street down fifty feet. Further down a few stores  for food and Kashmir cloth. Lots of people go by. In the season, this place is like the Santa Fe of Southern India.

Wonder if and if so how this is going to work out.

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