Today turned out to be full of adventures. E,Z, B, and I had arranged to go have fancy brunch, and discuss some of the different volunteer, workshop opportunities and plans that people have. It was also to experience the amazingness of brunch at the Marriott

 

Just getting there was an adventure, and continues to remind me why I want to learn Hindi. E, and Z got in one rickshaw and got there with no problems. B and I had more adventures. I’m not sure where our rickshaw driver though he was taking us, but it wasn’t the Marriott We eventually had to call one of the Indian teachers so that she could talk to the rickshaw driver over the phone to get him to take us to the right place – definitely an adventure.

 

The hotel itself is opulent. The outside is big stone steps and water features and statues. On the inside, we had brunch in their main restaurant which is overlooking the back section of the hotel. The wall of windows looks out onto a manicured land of paradise. The upper area was the swimming pool that looked out to the beach and ocean. The water from the pool fell into water features and a little stream that meandered through the area of green grass and sculptures and coconut trees.

 

Brunch itself was slightly overwhelming. There was a salad bar – with a wide variety of salads as well as snacky type foods like cheese and crackers, pate, smoked salmon and other delectables. In the back there was an entire buffet of Indian dishes. There was a pasta bar where you picked your pasta, sauce, and veggies and it was made right there for you. There was a prawn station where you could have giant prawns cooked up in different sauces. I know that there were other stations too – but there was so much I don’t even remember what it all was. And there was the dessert bar. They had an entire table of fancy cakes and tarts as well as the cooking station where you could get everything from ice cream to baked Alaska to crepes. And of course fruit. We decided to go fancy and ordered the champagne brunch, so our glasses of champagne just kept getting filled. I had at least 3 plates of food as well as an entire plate of dessert. It was all amazing. It was silly expensive, but less so than the experience would have been in the states.

 

By the time we left, it had begun to rain – mostly just a sprinkle. Being from Seattle, it didn’t really phase us, mostly it kinda felt like home, but warm and raining. As we saw the huge number of people in the street, we realized that hundreds of people would be at Juhu beach just down the street to immerse their Ganesh idols (today is the last day). We decided that since we were that close, we really needed to take advantage and go see. We walked down the road to the beach. The beach was covered with hundreds of people. There were giant trucks lined up that had carried the idols to the beach and entire groups would help carry the statue into the water as far as they could. You could see the remnants of previous idols – from earlier days or years I don’t know – littering the beach uncovered by the tide. Even once an idol was immersed, tons of people were just hanging out in the water celebrating. By this time it was raining pretty significantly and we were all soaked.

 

We were also a a big draw in and of ourselves. We started to realize that people were taking our photos. Once we realized, we started to notice it everywhere and it just became kind of funny. It was the subtlety that I found most amusing. People rarely came up and asked to take a photo with us (though it happened some), mostly they would position someone a couple of feet in front of us so that it would look like they were standing with us in the photo or they would slyly be taking them off to the side of us, but immediately put away their phone as soon as one of us looked in their direction. We decided it is our moment to be famous. It was just so amazing to experience this aspect of the celebration – rain and all.

 

I am now warm and dry – though my feet are dyed brown from my 200 rupee (5 dollarish) leather sandals that may not have survived the adventure in the rain. As I sit here and type this, I can hear the drums and watch the fireworks from all around the neighborhood (setting them off in the street happens everywhere – who cares about water for them to land in).

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