Friday, February 22, 2008

The Holy Cow! Tour
India 2008

So we board the train for Rajasthan. We have read and we have heard but we still are not anywhere prepared for the ambrosia of travel that is The Palace on Wheels. We pull into the train station and are quickly escorted to a special entrance. We turn the corner into a long red silk carpet that stretches along a walkway strewn with pink rose petals. The air is heavy with the scent of sandalwood. The walkway opens onto the platform where musicians play the hauntingly beautiful discordant and cacophonous music of the gurus and gorgeous men and women in turbans and saris greet us. We bow our head for the red mark of the herb that gives us energy. The air is heavy, yet light, with the thick smoke of the incense. The music swirls about and around and then floats to the heavens and evaporates. They drape us with marigold garlands and wrap beautiful gauzy head coverings about our neck and face. They smile, oh those smiles, and we turn into the arms of two beautiful men who will see to our any and every need in the next week. They take us by the arm and we walk the few steps to the door of the train. We climb aboard a by-gone era, where we are completely isolated for days and days from any discomfort or unpleasantness. We have boarded the private train of maharajis themselves, The Palace on Wheels.

Our Beautiful Men take us to our cunning little compartment--fit with double beds, dresser, cabinets, closets and an adorable little bathroom with the most delicious smelling oils and lotions. They quickly bring ice cold Kingfisher beer and pour it into a deeply-cut crystal tumbler and as the train pulls out, we lounge on our bed, sipping beer, watching that abyss of life, the Indian train station, slip slowly away. We are on our way to FantasyLand, only there is no Disney around for miles and miles and miles....

The Maharani Jabel
On Location
Rajasthan, India

Monday, February 18, 2008

The texts, IMs, and emails are really piling up here at Bellemaison. Was I or wasn't I? While I guess you'll never really know for sure and as loathe as I am to break my silence on this point, there are certain things that should be and must be said. Certain things that cannot be denied nor should go unacknowledged nor undiscussed. To wit:

Best Eyes - Toad

Best Skin-Taryn

Best Giggle-Katrina

Best Costume Jewelry-MamaJD

Best Sweetness-Stickman

Best Hands-Doug Clark

Best Babeness-Meghan Cuniff

Best Babalicity-Toad

Best Whining Act by a Customer-BrentAndrews

Best Lighting-Bent

Best Actor in a Listening Role-MikeK

Best Better Get To The Barbershop-Sam The Reporter

Best (?) Plaid-DFO

Best Executive Producer-Sherry Clark

Best Near Miss-Larry Spencer

Best Smile-Digger

Best Sense of Humor-ThomG

Best Impersonation of a Musician-Jane Q.

Tawk amongst yuhselves.


On Location

4th & Roosevelt Coeur d'Belle

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My girl Carla over there at O Canada! tagged me. You know how much blog honors and tags mean to me. But I do love Carla and love the quiet moments reading her stuff brings me. And I love her Canada. Love it. So I'll play. Not that I, the INTJBelle, am socially selective or anything. Not.At.All. So here's the gameplan:

The Rules:
- Link to the person that tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
- Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
- Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Let's go:

Number One Non-Important Thing: I am shy to a certain extent and quite private to a very large extent. It is what it is. Just as I honor my friends' and family's things/habits/quirks, likewise I honor my own, without too much guilt. I do however, want to be healthy and in that regard, made a New Year's resolution to see friends more, both in the evening and during the day. It's going well. I don't mind it so much. I do love to be at home with The Chow Nation surrounded by world-class art of the first order, created in whole by those three people whose gene pool very nearly mirrors my own. I love the faces, the snowmen, the dinosaurs and all the depictions of our life together during their childhood. My children were and are accomplished artists.

Number Two Non-Important Thing: I don't like to talk about myself. I do like to talk about what I think and am working on talking more on how I feel. I can't feature what is more boring than my life or me.

Number Three Non-Important Thing: Once you land on my bad side, it's almost impossible to get off.

Number Four Non-Important Thing: Currently reading Jared Diamond's 'Collapse' and Colleen McCullough's 'Antony and Cleopatra'. yum. yeow. stretch. sigh.

Number Five Non-Important Thing: I have been the victim of cyber-stalking in the last year and it really scared me. I know this person who has an unhealthy curiosity about me will not hurt me or my family, but she still scares me and brings tears to my eyes as I think of her and how she violated my privacy. It's my goddamn privacy and my goddamn life.

Number Six Non-Important Thing: If you want to watch me get up on my tip toes quicker and stronger than a titanium periscope, start bullying a gentle soul around me. Just start up. And see above for Number Three.

So there it is. Aren't you glad we had this time together? And hey, don't forget to read Carla. She is like.... well .... lemon meringue pie. Light, with sooo much flavor. Wait, wait, wait. The Pup,Wendy, Mel, Kerri, Julie and Mrs. Roosevelt! Get back here! That's right; sit down and lay it out: six non-important things, habits, quirks--about yourself. Just do it. I did. Right now. Get it done.

The 'Kan EWA

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Holy Cow! Tour
India 2008

...for my friend over there on 10th and Mountain...


On Location

On The Sub-Continent

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Holy Cow! Tour
India 2008

The Faces

The Maharani Jabel
On Location
On The Sub-Continent

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Holy Cow! Tour
India 2008

On Sunday morning, we decide to go to church in Old Goa. The ride is a lovely road of brightly colored stucco villas and cottages, palms and succulents, the ever present cows and a little sea grass in the sand. We end up at Bom Jesus, the il Jesu of India. It was the Jesuits who came here, St. Francis Xavier, tore down a Hindu temple and put up the Catholic basilica. It was not possible, for reasons not entirely clear to me, to put a cross atop Bom Jesus and to this day, there is no defining, quintessential cross atop this church that once in the door, you can immediately identify as Jesuit. It's an utter delight to be here and walk down the aisle, and makes me think of Sunday morning at St. Al's, Sunday morning in Paris, Sunday morning in Florence. Sunday morning anywhere in a Jesuit church. You got marigolds here, though, and that's how you know you're in India. That and the saris.

This is the day I become enamored with Indian wedding jewelry. Originally a Moghul tribal custom, women receive beautiful gold necklaces from their husband on their wedding day, much as western women receive gold wedding rings. Theses necklaces are splendid in workmanship and of the most highest quality in gold and gems. They are best and properly worn with saris, with no collars, buttons or distractions to dim their dazzling splendor. I am absolutely smitten and immediately begin a search to find and buy wedding jewelry. It takes me a while to figure it all out, though. I have no idea what they really are--they look like fabulous gold necklaces to me and all I know is that everybody seems to have one.

I say to one woman, That is a FABULOUS necklace!

She: (murmuring with sweet smile) Thank you.
Me: I'd like to buy one of those!
She: (small smile but now with distinct upturned corners)
Me: Do ya know where I could get one?
She: no.
Me: Is there a jeweler....?
She: I do not know. My husbands buys this for me.
Me: ...anywhere? a place where you can get a beautiful golden necklace? do you know where
your husband...?
She: (bigger smile)(dancing eyes)
(now downcast eyes but still smiling)
Me: okay. Have a nice day.

I say, to the GNY, what the hell? What kind of a day is it when I can't make friends and get information? She says, Honey, that woman had something she wasn't telling yuuuuu.

We continue to walk around the church and see Francis Xavier's mortal remains. We peek into the sacristy and I realize that in a few hours, Joe Montana will get up and go to the sacristy in our church in The Kan, EWA, where he will prepare to serve mass. We see the adorable creche, a beach scene, with sea grass and cows. We are captivated by the Indian women, their faith and their practice of dressing up in glittering saris, braiding flowers into their hair, gathering their husband and children and going to church on Sunday morning. The women are definitely in the lead at Mass in India. It is a real happening here at Bom Jesus and a delicious slice of unedited, untouristed Indian life. Dogs in the gutter, seminarians arriving en masse, men hand in hand, the old, the young, everybody comes.

I see a gorgeous woman with several of these spectacular necklaces. They all have black beads, some more than others. They are absolutely incredible! This beautiful woman has 5 beautiful children and they walk in front of her and she in front of her husband. I say to her as she passes, THOSE NECKLACES ARE GORGEOUS! She smiles graciously, in pleasure and surprise and as her husband passes I say, DID YOU BUY THOSE FOR HER? His broad grin turns to a big, thin-lipped smile and he blinks hard and says YES I DID. She turns and gives him a beautiful secret look.

What am I missing here?

Well, this: I find out later than everyone has one of these necklaces because you get them when you get married. And you most likely get your mother's when she dies. The black beads are traditional, to ward off evil spirits. Of course, the women don't know where to buy them, because they don't buy them! According to the men and women I talked to, women really don't know. Only men buy them. It is tribal custom and originally, the necklace you wore was of course, distinctive to your tribe.

All I know is that I love Sunday in Goa and I love these beautiful gracious people. They are quite delighted to speak with you, although taken back and a bit afraid. The children are delightful, the elder have sassy eyes, the marigolds are plentiful and the balmy, soft air is thick with the smell of sandalwood.

Peace be with YOU!

The Maharani Jabel
On Location
Old Goa, Goa, India