Yesterday we found something unexpected in our back yard: a feather that, until yesterday, had soared through “our” woods on the wings or tail of a barred owl. We were not surprised that there are barred owls near us, because we have seen a pair in the early mornings staring back at us (swiveling heads with piercing eyes) and we have heard them whoo-whooing in the dusky evenings (“Who cooks for you?”). We were surprised at the size and condition of the feather. This morning the feather was gone.
After we visited the cave temples at Badami (this will be a later post), Saran – our driver – suggested that we visit a religious festival. This wasn’t on our itinerary and we weren’t completely sure where the festival was or what it was celebrating, but we went. After we got there, the first five minutes were a little bit of a shock because there were more flies than we had ever seen in one place. We considered asking to leave, but that would have been a mistake. This turned out to be one of the best things we did while in South India.
The festival turned out to be a fair where religious and other items were sold to the pilgrims from little stalls lining the road. We were carrying cameras and people came up to us asking something. We asked Saran what they wanted and he said “I have no idea. I am from Tamil Nadu and this is Karnataka. We don’t speak the same language.” Eventually, it became clear that people wanted to take selfies with us. When we realized that, we asked Saran why they would want to do that. He told us that this was a rural area and most of these people had never seen anyone with our skin color. (If the genetics tests are to be believed, we are a mix of Scots-Irish, English, German, and just a touch of Scandinavian). Once we knew what people wanted, we found ourselves posing for at least 50 selfies.
We started asking if they would let us take their pictures, too.(We are a little shy about this since a time in Paris when we took a picture of a building to remember a pet store we wanted to visit later and a woman we had never seen before ran from inside the store, asked why we had taken her picture, and demanded we erase it. We did and made a point to not come back to her store to shop.) Not only were the people at the festival willing to have their pictures taken — they were eager. We made sure to show them their pictures on the back of our cameras after each shot. If we had had any ideal this would occur, we would have brought a portable printer (one of the Fuji ones) so that we could give people copies of their photos.
We have included a few of the photos in this post and will make additional posts with more pictures in the near future. By the end of the day, we had a wonderful time and were able to ignore the flies — sort of.