Happy Thanksgiving: Put Down that Fork and Remote Control

When did Thanksgiving become a time to gorge ourselves on football games? When did it become a time to eat so much that we can’t get off the sofa? Dishes that are never eaten during the year are eaten on Thanksgiving day. Pumpkin, mincemeat, apple and cherry pies, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows on top, dressing and gravy. Some women spend hours in the kitchen cooking. Women who never cook all year have the responsibility to cook a huge meal for their extended families.

Restaurants have taken the burden off of those who can afford to pay $30-$40 per person to dine from a Buffett loaded with the Thanksgiving necessities. A glass of wine will cost about $20 depending on where you live. It takes about seven hours to cook the meal and less than one hour to eat it. Everyone retires to the family or living room with groans. “I can’t believe I ate that much.” “What’s for dessert?” Clean up takes another two hours.

The football games begin. Some homes have two or three TVs. A different game on each TV. People begin to shout at the TV. Arguments start because someone’s team is losing. Others are happy because when there are losers there are winners. Desert is served and instantly devoured by the crowd. More beer and wine are served. Four hours later the games end.

I wonder if the Pilgrims watched football after dinner. Of course, they didn’t. They talked to each other about their lives. They talked about how much work they had to do to grow the food they were eating. The children played games with sticks and stones. They didn’t eat the foods that we have. They had corn, potatoes, chicken, and rabbit. No canned pumpkin, frozen cranberries, or instant gravy in a package. They had very little electricity. They probably went to bed after dinner.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. How do we do that? Don’t watch football after dinner. Go for a walk or a hike with your family. Ditch the cell phones, ipads, computers and explore the outside. Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews that life is about family. Don’t just chat with someone in your family who might be suffering. Sit down and talk for an hour or two. Develop a true relationship of trust and understanding.

Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect.

Five ways to reconnect with your family on Thanksgiving:
 Help prepare the dinner

Don’t just bring a dish to pass. Help cook the food in the kitchen. Talk to the person who is hosting the dinner.

Engage in Conversation at the table

Sit next to someone you haven’t seen for awhile. Ask them questions about their life. Let that person know you really care. Maybe you only see them once or twice a year. Don’t yell across the table.

Help Clean Up

The hostess may refuse your help at first. Help anyway. If you are the hostess, prepare containers that will store the leftovers. Work as a team and the cleanup will go faster. Communicate with the others.

Declare Family Time

Ask everyone to put away their digital devices. Turn of the TV. Bring out the card and board games. Divide into groups. Children, teenagers, and adults. Let them choose an appropriate game. Let the games begin. You will see the change.

Get Some Exercise

Go outside and take a walk or a hike. Observe nature. Take someone with you or go alone. Take the time to think about your life.  Are you happy? If not, how are you going to change?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family!

 

 

The Great Hunger in Ireland “An Gorta Mor” and Kilmainham Goal

Kilmainham Goal located in Dublin, Ireland was built in 1796. A prison for hardened criminals. Murderers and robbers. It was touted as one of the most modern prisons in Ireland. In 1821, two women, 19 and 21 years old, were hung for their crimes. The last public execution was in 1865. The prison closed in 1925. It is now one of the five most visited sites in Dublin. The prison is used in movie scenes and documentaries.

The main floor of Kilmainham Goal

From 1845–1850 the prison filled with men, women, and children charged with begging and stealing. “The Great Famine” referred to by the Irish as “The Great Hunger” began to rise. The jail cells swelled to capacity. The Vagrancy Act of 1847 allowed for anyone found in a public place caught begging or “gathering alms” to be sentenced to hard labor for one month. A man who deserted his wife and children could be sentenced up to three months of hard labor. There was more food in the prisons than at home. Prisoners were not segregated.  Men, women, and children were incarcerated in the same cells.  Five people were confined to a cell measuring twenty-eight square meters. The prison gave everyone a candle. The prisoners needed to make the candle last for at least two weeks.It was their only means of light and heat. Male prisoners slept on iron bed stands. Women and children slept with straw mats on the floor.

A jail cell

The prison was built with the Victorian belief that architecture was crucial to reform the minds of the prisoners. The prisoners were separated from their families and not allowed to communicate with each other.  They were supposed to use their time reading the Bible, contemplating their sins, and repenting their crimes. How can you repent a crime that you committed to help feed your family?

The prison chapel 

A painting done by a woman confined to this cell

How did the famine begin? Was it the fault of the Irish? The English accused the Irish of two things: overpopulation and laziness. Irish families were big Catholic units. Many of the Irish produced children to help on their farms. The women didn’t practice birth control. The Irish culture is laid back. They like to have fun drinking, dancing, and singing. The English looked at this lifestyle as wasteful.

The exit gate of the prison. Men were given fifteen minutes each day to clear the rocks and stones.

The English dominated the Irish. In 1801 The Act of Union brought the country of Ireland under the control of England. The English created “Penal Laws”. The Catholic Church was outlawed. Their native language, Gaelic, was banned. The English forbade any export trade. These new laws destroyed Irish commerce and industry. The Irish could pretend not to be Catholics or leave the church completely. Some of the Irish were forced to practice their religion in secrecy.

In 1600 Protestants owned 10% of Irish land. In 1778 they owned 95%. The Penal laws prevented Catholics from buying land, getting an education, entering a profession, holding political office, and living within five miles of town. They were not allowed to fish or hunt.The only employment left for the Catholics was farming. They were allowed to have small plots owned by landlords. They had to pay rent. The landlords were absent. They spent most of their time in England. Many of the tenant farmers had poor living standards. There was no money for medicine, clothes, nor adequate shelter. Landlords were not required to make improvements on their dwellings. The potato was the only crop to produce a sufficient yield on limited acreage. In 1840, 50% of Ireland was dependent on the potato.

In 1835, 75% of Irish workers were without regular work and turned to begging and stealing. Irish farmers became desperate. They were not getting the help they needed. Without work or money, some of them decided to enter workhouses. Workhouses provided shelter and food for hard labor. The Irish farmer who had more than 1/4 of an acre was forced to give up his land before acceptance into a workhouse. This meant that their wives and children would have no food or shelter. It was the workhouse or prison.

The Great Potato Famine has been debated for years. Was it the fault of the Irish or the English? Was the potato the root of the problem?

In 1846 the Prime Minister of England, Charles Trevelyan, banned all food distribution to Ireland. The English exported grain-based alcohol, wool, flax, wheat, oats, barley, butter, eggs, and beef from Ireland to England. These were products being produced in Ireland but not available to the Irish citizen. Did the English create the Famine? Food was being taken out of Ireland away from the poor Irish citizens.

The solution for many of the Irish was to get out of Ireland. With the help of some sympathetic landlords, the Irish were sent to other countries by boat. Some of them went to England. The English didn’t want them because the Irish immigrants were being paid lower salaries and undercutting theirs. They were sent to the USA and Canada. Many of them arriving with various diseases and dying before they hit land. Canada and the USA were being inundated with Irishmen. The Irish were farmers and didn’t know how to operate the equipment to work in factories. Irish Catholic Charities helped to make them more comfortable and ease them into a new lifestyle.

There are now more Irish living in the city of Boston than in Ireland. Irish descendants living around the world can now become Irish citizens if they obtain the birth certificate of their Irish ancestors. This will allow you to have an Irish passport and a US passport. You will be able to buy a house in Ireland. Only those who have Irish passports can buy land in Ireland.

I would like to conclude with my final thoughts. No one should have to go to prison for lack of food. Famine is not brought on by the people, but by governments who control the food and goods going in and out of the country. Could The Great Hunger of Ireland have been avoided? Can this happen again? I leave you with these questions.

The Story of Two Neigborhoods: One That Existed 1,000 Years Ago and the Other One Sixty-Five Years Ago

 

No one would have ever come to the desert Southwest if it weren’t for the search of minerals. Coronado got lost seeking gold in Cibola but ended up finding it in Southern Arizona. He also found Native Americans from the Sinagua (without water) tribe living peaceably on the land. They didn’t give him the trouble that the Apaches had inflicted on the  Anglos. Arizona is rich in minerals and people came to mine. The Anglo Saxons, the white guys, were the first to come after the Native Americans to look for minerals. Gold, Silver, and Copper. Traders, cattle ranchers, farmers, and homesteaders followed. Nearly every great fortune of the West was made in mining.

I wasn’t looking for minerals or trying to find my fortune when I started out on my four-day excursion on 89A, one of the first highways constructed in Arizona. I am a modern day explorer. I travel in my minivan with an ice chest full of ice and water. I have another box with camping supplies, sleeping bag, blankets, and dried fruit. No horses, wagons, or fear of being attacked by Apaches.

Map of  Arizona historic highways

Route 66 is one of the most famous historic routes traveled by modern day explorers. Route 66 crosses the United States. It was not easy to travel anywhere out of Clarksdale for lack of cars and roads. In 1927 highway 89A was completed. I followed 89A from Congress-Yarnell-Prescott Valley-Jerome and ended in Clarkdale. Clarkdale is very close to Sedona, Cottonwood, Page Springs (known for its wineries), and Camp Verde.

Highway 89A is not for the driver who can’t keep their eyes on the road. It is steep and curvy. It has great views. There are a few places to stop and take pictures. My husband used to drive this road and I would close my eyes. My eyes are no longer closed because I am the driver. It can become nerve racking but it is worth the drive.

Clarkdale

The first mining claims in Clarkdale were made by the Irish in 1876.  William A Clark arrived in town and purchased the United Verde Copper Company in 1888 for $80,000. He bought out the Irish who had also laid claim to the land and named the town of Clarkdale after himself. Doesn’t everyone want a town named after them?

The West was wild and just about anyone whose pockets were lined with cash was free to do what they wanted. Clark was one of those prosperous guys. He started mining “chalcopyrite”, referred to as “fool’s” gold.

chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite was mined in the town of Jerome about 40 miles from Clarkdale between 1876 and 1953. This was no easy task considering the physical labor and expense it took to bring the chalcopyrite forty miles down very steep mountains.  Clark brought in the narrow-gauge railroad which boasted 187 curves and 28 bridges in the last 14 miles of its 27-mile run, making it one of the largest copper mining operations in Arizona.

The “J” for Jerome can be seen painted on the mountain when standing in Clarkdale.  The smelting mill in Clarkdale was the major source of employment. The process of smelting was to take the oxygen from the ore and leave the metal behind. Clarkdale processed the chalcopyrite into copper from 1913-1953.

The smelter with the letter C on the mountain for Clarkdale

William Andrews Clark was a man with three great ambitions in his lifetime. One of those ambitions was to own a town that would be one of the most modern mining towns in the world. Clarkdale, a town which bore his name, would be such a town.

Mr. Clark needed a place to house his employees. Before the idea of neighborhoods, people built their houses anywhere they found land. Free style camping. Mr. Clark didn’t want this kind of haphazard living style. He wanted his workers to be close together and he wanted a design. What he really wanted was control. The concept of company housing began. Clarkdale was the first “neighborhood design” to be developed in the state of Arizona. Construction started in 1912 and continued until 1930. The town had 560 dwellings and homes, and two hotels. Before a home was built it had to be approved by Clark or his son.

Pilot House

The first house he built was the Pilot House in 1912. It was two stories tall and made of concrete. Clark didn’t like the idea at first because it was too expensive for the number of homes he wanted to build. He decides to use the building as a boarding house. Men who worked in the smelter rented out the rooms.  Workers slept in eight-hour shifts. When one worker woke up, another took his place in bed. That made space for three people to rent at the same time. There were limited opportunities for shift workers in their daily living. At this point in time, there weren’t many women around.

The divided town

The town was divided into four sections: Upper Town, Lower Town, Patio Town, and Santa Fe town.

Upper Town

Mr. Clark believed the “well housed and contented employees were an asset to the company”.

1915

2017

The Bungalow or Craftsman style homes were built for the white people.  Engineers and executives. Fifty-five of these homes were built from 1915-1917 with bricks produced in a factory in Clarkdale.  They were low cost, simple living quarters with an artistic touch to the American trying to get by with modest means.

Park in the middle of Clarkdale

The original HOA contract

In 1912 workers earned $630 a year. The rents started at $15 per month for smaller homes and $45 for larger homes. Wide boulevards, large lots, and a great assortment of home designs made up the housing. A park in the middle of the city served as a place for the “white folks” to get together and socialize. Services included power, light, water, and sewer. There was a police force, street maintenance, garbage collection, and volunteer firefighters. All residents were required to keep the premises and yards clean. Clark did not allow his employees to own the land. They were required to lease.

Lower Town

White overall guys

Lower Town was blue collar. These homes were cheaper than the homes in Upper Town. Every home was identical in design. The people living in Lower Town had very low salaries.

Lower Town homes had three sizes of Neoclassical, small single family, large single family and duplex. Small homes have a sleeping porch recessed into one corner. Large homes have a sleeping veranda under a shed roof. The yards were small and life was contained to the home. Most of the homes had fences around them for protection. The people who lived in Lower Town or the Patio Homes were not invited to mix with the Upper Town folks. Each had their own swimming pool and ball parks.

Patio Town

Patio Park was designed for immigrant Mexican laborers. There was an open courtyard between two houses. This was referred to as the patio. Mr. Clark felt that the Mexicans liked being outside. I don’t think Mr. Clark really understood the Mexicans who worked for him. Mexican culture is a very close culture and they like to be with each other and socialize. That is why they liked the patio. This neighborhood still exists and is inhabited by Mexicans to this day. Unfortunately, this area of the town is in disrepair.

Saint Cecelia Church in Patio Town

Santa Fe Town/Rio Vista

The last neighborhoods constructed were the Rio Vista and Santa Fe town. Houses sold for $1,250-$2,225 in 1912. Duplexes had front and rear facing gables and porches at each end used as sleeping quarters.

The Rio Vista “View of the River” was near the Verde River. People built their own homes and rented the land from the UVCC. Railroad workers built their homes between Lower Town and Patio Park and called it Santa Fe after the railroad company. It also had the name Twittyville, E Twitty, the train master for the UVCC.

The Mine Closes

Clarkdale had a population of 4,200 in 1917.  The population increased to 5,000 in 1920.  In 1935, Phelps Dodge Mining Corp. purchased the United Verde Copper Company for $22,800,000.00 and operated the mine until 1953. The price of copper dropped. The mines were closed. The population dropped to 500.  There was no more work and the population moved on.

 

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Tuzigoot

Clarkdale’s nearest neighborhood is more than 1,000 years old. In the twelfth century, Tuzigoot was occupied by the Sinagua tribe. Sinagua is Spanish for “without water”. The only indication of their life is a cluster of rocks representing past buildings on top of a small sandstone ridge close to the Verde River. There were 250 people living in 80 rooms. The village was abandoned sometime in the 15th century.

Tuzigoot

Tuzigoot means “cracked water”. It was built between 1100-1450 AD. The building was two stories high and had 110 rooms. The Sinagua tribe depended on rain to help grow their crops. They hunted deer, antelope, rabbits, and ducks. They used salt to make their food taste better and keep from spoiling. They made axes, knives, hammers, jewelry from shells, turquoise and red stone. They grew cotton and wove textiles.

Artifacts found with the buried

The settlement of Tuzigoot has some similarities to its neighbor Clarkdale. There were elements of different social status. Researcher found this information while digging up graves. Those with a higher status were buried with food, shells, stone jewelry, and pottery. Those who were of worker status (blue collar) were buried with only their tools.

Plaza for socializing

Clarkdale had a park in the middle of the city and Tuzigoot had a plaza. Plazas are found all over the world and are places where people get together and socialize. People who live in the US are more accustomed to parks than plazas. The Hopi plaza was a flat open area between the rooms and was the “hub” of social and ceremonial activities. The people used the plaza to eat and share the goods that they made. The people who lived in the village shared the same beliefs and religion.

A possible dish for sharing food

Mining was also a part of their lives. They began extracting argillite and copper from the mines. They used the minerals for making pots, cooking tools, and jewelry. They didn’t possess the proper tools to do much mining.

Mammoths in the Verde Valley

The Verde Valley were the Hopi lived had a cooler and damper climate.  It was able to support large animals such as mammoths 13,000 years ago. Today you will find a hotter and drier climate. The Hopi were presented with a severe climate change almost 1,000 years ago. No more glaciers and ice fields forming on the mountains in the Colorado Plateau the nearest mountain range that provided the village with the necessary water to grow their food.

Researchers don’t have one definite reason to explain the disappearance of the tribe. Some of the reasons could have been the result of being attacked by another tribe, or disease. Some researchers believe that a volcanic eruption (Sunset Crater) 60 miles away in the city of Flagstaff scared them away.

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Clarkdale Today

Just like Coronado, I didn’t find gold or silver. I found copper. Not in the ground, but in a museum. Copper from all over the world. The museum is in Clarkdale, a booming mining town that now caters to tourists and retirees. The population is now 4,200.

Drake is the curator of the Copper Museum. His love for copper is apparent in the collection of copper products displayed. He has a family background in copper. He spent a year looking for a place to display his parents collection of copper. The museum recieves donations from all over the world. Italy, France, Germany, and the Arab countries. The rooms are categorized as the kitchen area, war room, wine and beer making, and ornamental decorations.

Casings used for attack

The Goddess of wine and drunkards

The kitchen

Jugs for drinking and making beer

Jelly, bread, and torte molds

Distillery

The project for the Copper museum began in 2001. It ranks as #387 on the National Historic Register. The museum has something for everyone to feast their eyes on. They allow dogs to enter the museum. This was important for me because I was traveling with my dog.

The town of Clarkdale has buildings that are no longer in use anymore. The town gas station just closed about one year ago. There are a few bars and restaurants. The people who live in Clarkdale do their shopping in Cottonwood, less than 10 minutes by car.

Gas station in Clarkdale

The current population of  Clarkdale is made up of retirees, hospital workers, and the tourism industry. Thirty percent of the population is Hispanic and 400 are Native Americans.

Clarkdale Lodge

The Clarkdale Lodge is the only hotel in town. The rooms are a little small for the “studio” which I stayed in for four days. It was comfortable and had a good feeling of being in a place more than eighty years old. Tourists who come to visit Clarkdale are just passing through. Many of them stay in Cottonwood which is the next closest town or continue on to Sedona.

Bakery Cafe

Passing through Clarkdale requires a stop at this bakery. The bakery was named after the owners oldest daughter. The owner used to be a food blogger and chef. She and her brother own the bakery. The baked goods come fresh out of the oven everyday of the week but Sunday. They are opened from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Do not pass this place up. They are closed on Tuesdays.

These two neighborhoods , Clarkdale and Tuzigoot, exist side by side. One ceased to exist 1,000 years ago and another lost its population more than sixty years ago. Both of these neigborhoods lost their livelihood. They could no longer support themselves and moved on.

Does your old neighborhood look like it did when you lived there? How has it changed? Has it changed for the better or the worst? My neigborhood has changed. Many of the people who used to live there have moved on.

 

 

 

 

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The United States Does Not Belong to the White Man

“No Statue of Liberty ever greeted our arrival in this country…we did not, in fact, come to the United States at all. The United States came to us.”
Luis Valdez

First, there was red. Then there was brown. After brown came white.  These are skin colors in the order they arrived in the state of Arizona. Red refers to the Indians/ Native Americans. Brown refers to the Mexicans.  White refers to those who came from Europe.

I live in Fountain Hills, a small town in Central Arizona. It sits in the middle of the desert. The town is boarded on the north and south by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. A forty square mile reservation. This is where the remainder of the Yavapai tribe live. Take a wrong turn and you will end up on the reservation.

Fountain  Park

The town of Fountain Hills was bought and developed by C.V Wood of McCullah Oil. It wasn’t easy to convince people to come out and live in such a desolate place.  Houses were built, a lake was filled with recycled water, and the fourth tallest fountain in the world is in the middle of the lake. The white people began to move into the scenic town of Fountain Hills after 1970. The town now consists of “snowbirds”, people who come for the winter months and return to their home states in the summer.  The town has a total area of 18.2 miles. The current population is 24,200 people. The racial makeup of the town is 94.1% white, 1.0 black, 0.6% Native American/Yavapai, 1.8 Asian and 4.1 Hispanic.

A Turn of Events

The area around Fountain Hills, Arizona once belonged to the Yavapai tribe, the red men.

The Yavapai were a very peaceful tribe. They were frequently confused with the Apache. The Apache were the ones depicted in the movies. They were known as the warrior tribe. The Yavapai hunted and gathered over a large portion of West Central Arizona. They didn’t possess any weapons. They had been the sole occupiers of the territory since 900 AD. The Yavapai remained in their aboriginal state until 1860. They hunted mountain sheep, deer, and rabbits. All the food they collected was from the natural environment that surrounded the area. They gathered saguaro fruit, paloverde beans, mescal, prickly pear, mulberries, acorns, walnuts, and squawberries. They depended on nature to provide their food. They made their homes in the mountains.

Petroglyphs by the Yavapai (my husband took this picture)

The US military drove the Yavapai off the land in Central Arizona in March 1875. They did not allow them to return for twenty-five years. When they returned, there was nothing. Their land had been taken away from them by the US government. Many of the sacred places they used for practicing their rituals were being used by the military to protect the white people from the Indians. The Yavapai lost their religious freedom and most of them were killed by the military during the Indian wars. They had nothing to fight with. The military had guns. These guns were used to round up whole families and betray them. The military assured them they were going to have a better life if they moved. They moved and ended up worse. They were not free to live and feed their families. They were kept as prisoners on their own land. The United States took 9,238,600 acres of land from the Yavapai on May 1, 1873, without any payment or any other kind of compensation. On March 13, 1969, the Indian Claims Commission granted an award of $5,100,000.00. This comes to about .55 per acre.

Mexico Loses Its Land to the United States

The Spaniards arrived. They treated the Yavapai with great cruelty. They wanted the land for Spain. They were seeking gold and silver in the mountains sacred to the Yavapai. They wanted to convert the Yavapai to Christianity. They were arrogant and didn’t respect the spiritual beliefs of the Yavapai. The Yavapai were successful in not letting any missions be built on their territory. The Yavapai were living in the territory under Mexican rule from 1821-1848. The Yavapai referred to the Mexicans as “good white people”. They were cruel but not as cruel as the White people.

The Mexicans, the brown people, took over the land the Yavapai were forced to leave for 25 years. When the Yavapai returned, they were forced to work for the Mexicans. They didn’t pay much.

Mexico went to war with the US. The Treaty of Hidalgo was signed by both Mexico and the US. Mexicans lost their land to the whites. The size of this land was bigger than Germany and France combined. An abundance of gold was found after the treaty was signed. The Mexicans were forced to become US citizens or leave. Arizona had been part of the state of Sonora, Mexico since 1822. The population of Mexicans living in AZ was small. In 1848, the US took possession of the southern part of AZ after the Mexican/American war. The Gadsden purchase secured the Northern part of Sonora in 1853. The whites committed horrible crimes against the Mexicans. They entered the homes, murdered the men, raped their wives and daughters, set their homes on fire, and killed all the animals. Whites thought of Mexicans and the Yavapai as idolatresses and manipulated by priests. They treated them with disrespect and injustice.

The Invasion of the Anglos

While Mexico was at war with Spain, white colonists, cattlemen, adventurers, and mercenaries invaded and occupied Central Arizona. Many of the whites who came to Arizona were refugees from the defeated confederacy and wanted to escape the Republicans. They stole cattle from the Mexican ranches. They were criminals and came to a place where there were no laws in place. They were looking for land and gold. They settled on land that did not belong to them. It belonged to the Yavapai. In 1820, the Anglo Americans, the white, started entering Yavapai territory. In 1835, there were more white foreigners than native Mexicans living in Central Arizona. Mexico asked the US to seal the border and stop the white men from stealing their property.

In 1826, the white trappers showed up. On February 2 Mexico gave the territories of California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona to the US government. The Yavapai were now part of the United States. The US military protected the whites who were seeking gold and silver on Yavapai land. They killed any Yavapai person who was in the territory. The white men were killing the Yavapai at the same time Lincoln was signing the Emancipation Proclamation declaring the freedom of black slaves.

The white people continued to confuse the Yavapai with the Apache. They put all Indians in the category of attackers. When their land was being invaded, they were defenseless.  They were not prepared to fight. In the 1860s the Yavapai lost their lives, their freedom, their land, their future and future generations.

The whites were trappers, miners, ranchers, soldiers, and settlers. The Yavapai were not able to feed their families and began to raid livestock the whites had brought in to feed off the vegetation. This diminished the food for the Yavapai who depended on the vegetation. The extermination of the Yavapai began. Mass violence was the norm. Almost none of the whites lost their lives. The only weapons the Yavapai had were clubs, bows, and arrows. They were unable to gather, hunt, and plant to feed themselves. They were deceived by the white people. Their lives were taken away from them.

This land belonged to the Yavapai, Four Peaks (my husband took this picture)

The land was given back to them by Theodore Roosevelt in 1911. In 1940, they lost the land to Fountain Hills. The Yavapai were forced into giving their land away to the white man.

http://www.phoenixmag.com/history/the-wild-west.html

The White Man Wins

I remember watching Western Shows when I was a child. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rifleman, and the Big Valley. Who came out ahead? The white man. Who was portrayed as the bad guys? The brown and red men.  I would always hope that the white man won. I thought everyone else was evil and trying to kill the white man. Life changed and I found out that the white men took over the land by force. They were not the underdog. It was the Mexican and the Indian that were the underdogs.

Now we are living among all colors of men. I don’t want the white man to win anymore. I want to see the brown, red, and black win. Do the white men feel they are the underdogs now?

The United States is a country that stands for diversity. We have opened up our doors for all countries to come and find freedom, education, religion, and to speak their mind without fear of going to jail or being killed.

Things have changed within the past nine months here in the United States. Mexicans are being deported. Taken out of their homes, removed from their families, sent to jail, and then sent back to Mexico. These are people who haven’t lived in Mexico for twenty to thirty years. What crime have they committed? They ran a stop sign, didn’t pay child support, and carry fake IDs. Are these the “bad hombres”? No, they aren’t. Many of them are good husbands, sons, and fathers. Their only crime is that they haven’t become legal citizens of the US. We are going back in history. The white man wins.

The United States does not belong to the white men. It belongs to the red men and was inhabited by the brown men before the white men showed up. The United States belongs to every man who comes and wants to make a new life with his family. It doesn’t matter what color he is. We must not let the white men win again.

I am living on land that was stolen from the Yavapai and sold to a white developer who made a ton of money.

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Harrison,Williams, Oral History of the Yavapai, The University of Arizona Press, 2012 Carolina Butler

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Note: I am not a political writer. I wrote this article from my heart. I write about culture and know that most Americans are welcoming to all people. Our ancestors all came from countries for the same reasons immigrants come now. Education, jobs, war, conflicts, and freedom. Let’s give them a chance.

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An Ode to Coffee

Two weeks ago I participated in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I wrote this poem as a homework assignment. I am not a poet and always thought that poems had to rhyme. I learned that modern day poems don’t. This is the first poem I have written since sixth grade.

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The Iowa River flows by.

It has gained some water from the storms last night

There is a wind today, which feels cool upon my face

There are a variety of trees. Maple and a few Pines

The trees have much bigger leaves and a lot fuller than the ones in Phoenix

Green places indicate cold and snow in the winter months

It is becoming cloudy

The day is dreary

Condensation has accumulated on the windows in my room

Can’t wipe the windows

The condensation is outside Continue reading “An Ode to Coffee”

2017 Road Trip: Scenic Pictures

There was a time when the most important conversations with my husband took place on road trips. This road trip gave me the needed peace to be once again with my husband in spirit guiding me. The mountains and rushing water helped me to remember the times that we so much enjoyed  traveling around in the USA. I thank him for his guidance and keeping me safe. I could hear him whispering in my ear. “Slow down. You are driving to fast.” I could hear him laughing at me when I got lost. He will always be there in the passenger seat wherever I go!

This summer my cocker spaniel, Chloe, and I set out on a 13 day road trip. Five thousand miles and 5 states was the total trip.

There are so many parks, mountains, waterfalls, and forests dotting the the United States. These are the seven that I photographed along the way. The beauty of the USA is sometimes overlooked. People fly all over the world to look for beautiful places. We have plenty of them in our own backyard.

Day 1

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National park is located 245 miles from Sacramento, California. Early morning is the best time to appreciate the beauty without the crowds. The tall redwoods stand higher than skyscrapers and the smell of the redwoods reaches far into the woods. People take pictures of the redwoods and touch their noses to the trees in order to take in the sweet smell.

Day 2

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta is still considered an active volcano. It’s elevation is 14,179 ft (4321.8 m). It is located at the end of the Cascade Mountain Range. There are seven known glaciers on Mt Shasta. Daredevil skiers and hikers try to climb Mt. Shasta. Three out of ten climbers usually make it to their goal. It is a treacherous climb and many climbers have died in the past. I was able to stand at the bottom and look up.

Day 3

Crater Lake

Crater Lake is located about 60 miles from Medford Oregon. The water in this lake is so blue it looks like someone painted it. The lake was formed around 7,700 years ago. The lake is the result of the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. Crater Lake is 1,949 ft. deep and is the deepest in the United States.  The day was cold and the ground was covered with snow.

Day 4

Newport, Oregon

Newport, Oregon is a beach town. It was a cloudy,rainy,and cold day to be at the beach. I have always wanted to travel down the coast of Oregon and take pictures. Unfortunately, the weather was not providing me with any sunset or sunrise pictures. This is a rainy day picture of the beach. The water was very cold and had a grayish tint. It wasn’t blue.

Day 6

Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor is located about 40 minutes outside of Bend, Oregon. It is a very popular place to ski in the winter. There were hikers and skiers using the slopes on the day I was taking pictures. The ski lifts were not operating. The skiers had to carry their equipment up the mountain and then ski down. It was a lot of work. Mt. Bachelor is an inactive volcano. The last time it errupted was 1000 years ago. The mountain is surrounded by endless forests. It is a great location for hiking and pickniking. I didn’t see many campers.

The Cascade Mountain Range

There were not enough places to stop and take photos along the roadside.

Day 7

Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls is a 97 ft waterfall located outside of Bend, Oregon. It is located in the Deschutes (Deshoots) National Forest. We parked in the parking lot. The parking lot is very small and it is much easier to find a space early in the morning. We arrived in the early afternoon and had to do some manuevering to get a space. We walked 1/4 of a mile to reach the top of the falls. The waterfall made an incredible rushing sound. My partner Chloe (cocker spaniel) was spooked by the noise.

Day 13

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is located outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City, Nevada. It is the largest reservoir in the United States for water capacity. Lake Mead provides water for 20 million people in Arizona, California, and Nevada. It is very hot in the Summer. People bring their pleasure boats and soak up the sun in the Summer. Hiking, biking, and walking are better done in the Winter, Spring, and Fall seasons. The sunsets are really incredible.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ditch the Box Hotels

Hospitality is much more than word today. It has become an industry that runs the danger of becoming too high tech, with too little high touch.

John Hogan

I define a “box hotel” as a place with a bed, two nightstands, a lamp on each stand, a desk, a chair with wheels, a flat screen TV with multiple channels, a bath with a shower, a couple of pictures on the wall depicting the surroundings of the town, city or state. You might have a window. If you are really lucky or a time honored patron, you will have a scenic view. If this is your first time and you are on a budget, you will probably be staring at a brick wall or into someone else’s room.

The lobby of the hotel includes more pictures, fake vases, red carpet, and dark walls and chandeliers. There is usually a bar that charges seven to ten dollars for a glass of wine. Check-in begins in the lobby. You wait five to fifteen minutes to be checked in. You are handed a key, a plastic card that includes all of the information about you, the wifi code, and a parking permit for the garage. The parking is not free. A hotel in one of the big cities will whisk your car away and you have to call to get it back.

Choosing the right hotel is always one of my dilemmas. I don’t want to spend a lot on hotels. I do want a safe place to stay. I have found various alternatives to hotel stays that provide real hospitality. Full breakfast in the morning, private bedroom, shared bath, community rooms for those who want to play games or talk. Bed and Breakfast, private homes shared on Airbnb, and hostels remodeled for retired travelers.

Hospitality should be a “place”, where people can still be exceptional individuals, where they can extend their own personality and style.

John Hogan

Schuster Mansion

I have the privilege of staying in the Schuster Mansion in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I am attending a conference for Women in Travel, WITS. The mansion is an alternative to the “box hotel” recommended by the conference staff. Cheaper, historical, family owned, and a feeling of being welcomed.

The mansion was built in 1891 by George Shuster a tobacco baron. The mansion became an apartment building in 1924. Many of the victorian style homes in the neighborhood are apartment buildings. Rick and Laura Sue, the current owners, bought the mansion in 2008. They have been remodeling it for almost nine years and are not finished yet.

I arrived at the mansion around 3:30 p.m. I rang the doorbell and Laura Sue opened the door. She was dressed from head to toe in victorian attire. A sweeping yellow dress with a white lace apron. I arrived early and she was still entertaining ladies attending High TeaShe serves High Tea three times a week. The ladies partake of several different kinds of pastries and teas. Laura Sue tells them the history of the mansion and how people lived in the Victorian Era. I don’t have a chance to attend any of the teas. I sat down on the sofa in the parlor and waited for her to finish.

She went over all of my information. Gave me four choices for breakfast and handed my key. It was a real key. I am staying in the Prairie Room.

The Prairie  Sky Room

The Prairie  Sky Room is the only single room. This room was the living quarters of three servants in 1891.  The bathroom is shared with the room next to me. I am the only one here four out of the five days. The ceiling is painted blue with clouds. Lace curtains cover the windows. Yellow drapes with blue flowers grace the sides of the windows. There are pictures of victorian women dressed in their pastel petticoats, blue, pink, and yellow. Most of the pictures in the house are of Rick and Laura Sue’s ancestors and childhood pictures of themselves. Creaky wooden floors, a blue floral ceramic water pitcher sits on the side table. Two old fashioned porcelain lamps with iron pedestals positioned on the other side tables. A TV is provided in the room with access to multiple channels. There is no desk in the room. I have to go to the parlor to use my computer. The bed was very comfortable, not too hard, not too soft.

Various decorations in the Prairie Sky Room

There is a total of six bedrooms, some of them suites with a sunroom, in the mansion. Rick and Laura Sue live in the Ballroom which is not yet completely remodeled. Much of the furniture in the mansion was donated by friends and guests or bought at garage and estate sales. French doors open from the front room into the parlor. In the parlor, a blue floral upholstered sofa and embroidered chair are accompanied by crystal candle holders, two ticking clocks, an old cast iron typewriter, various colored glass vases sitting on a shelf. The sun shines in to bring out the bright colors of blue, green, lavender, red and orange.

The experience of staying in the mansion for four days was like staying at my grandma’s house. Not that my grandma lived in a mansion, the feeling is like someone really cares about hospitality. A glass of Riesling was $2. Not bad. The long breakfast table was set with white old-fashioned laced tablecloths, freshly pressed cloth napkins, flowers, and tall thin white candles. Guests can schedule breakfast anytime between 7:00-10:00. Breakfast is served fresh to each guest. If you want to eat at 9:00, your breakfast will be made right before you sit down. You can even have it served to your room. I ate at 7:30 every morning and always had someone to talk with. It’s a great set up if you are traveling alone and don’t like eating alone. Like me!

I feel it is very important to support the entrepreneurs who put so much time and effort into these private “hotels”.

Nahargarh Haveli

Planning a trip to a country you have never visited before can be a little scary. Sometimes we have to take calculated risks. Reserving hotel rooms requires research. Thanks to the many travel sites, we can find information from previous travelers. Does the hotel offer wifi? Is there a restaurant on the premises? Is there public transportation nearby? Is it safe? How many stars does it have? We can look at pictures that other travelers have posted. What is the “star” rating? What is the price?

Planning a trip to Jaipur, India? Skip the box hotels. Skip the tourist magnet hotels. You will be impressed by the beauty and the incredible cleanliness inside these hotels built for tourists and very rich locals. You will not experience the “real” culture. I stayed at the hotel Nahargarh Haveli .

Nahargarh Haveli is a privately owned hotel. It is located in a very quiet residential neighborhood closed off by gates. The only people allowed in are the guests and the residents. Our room is a room with two double beds. We reserved the room for two beds. We arrive at the room and find what we think is a queen bed. We ask the front desk for a room with double beds. He goes into the room and separates the queen bed into two double beds. What a concept! The beds in every country around the world are much smaller than the beds in US hotels. There is a private shower, TV, wifi access, and a coffee maker. The ceiling of the bedrooms, lobby and breakfast room were colorfully decorated in green, yellow, blue, and orange.

The breakfast was a buffet. This buffet included eggs, cheese, yogurt, meats, cereal, made to order omelets, an assortment of juices and bread. I often wonder what visitors think when they wake up in the morning at an expensive hotel in the USA and find there is no “free” breakfast. I have traveled to Spain, Portugal, and India and the breakfast is always free. It is a very big spread. You can eat breakfast and lunch. They have signs posted “Do not take food out of the restaurant.” I have witnessed some Americans stuff food into their backpacks and purses before leaving the breakfast room. It must be a great way to save money.

Nahargarh Haveli has a restaurant on the third floor. We arrive at the hotel tired and hungry. We are too early to order dinner. The waiter told us that we could order snacks. He presented the snack menu to us and were pleasantly surprised that it included smaller portions of the dinner menu. We order rice, a potato dish, and a curry dish. I liked the food in India. I can’t tell you the names of the food I ate because I didn’t understand the language. Most Indian food includes potatoes, red chiles, cheese and green chilis. The majority of Indians are Hindus and don’t eat any kind of meat.

We eat dinner on the outdoor patio overlooking the neighborhood. It is very peaceful. A very big change from driving through traffic and avoiding hitting people walking everywhere in the streets. A six-year-old boy is riding his red bicycle down the street while his older sister is chasing after him. I don’t understand what she is saying. Maybe “Get off my bike”. A four-year-old girl is running around the patio. We are told she is the daughter of the man and woman in the kitchen cooking. Very family oriented. We finish our “snack” and return to our rooms.

The total cost of this hotel is $25 per night. No, I am not joking. I recommend this hotel to anyone who is traveling to Jaipur, India.

Ditch the box hotels! Support the entrepreneurs around the world.

I want to see a world in which every entrepreneur has access to the resources he or she needs to succeed, and where through the power of supportive communities – that means you and me – every resource can be made available.
Jessica Jackley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Important is Religion in India?

Cultures grow on the vine of tradition.     

Jonah Goldberg

Religion plays a very big part in the lives of Indians. There are mosques and temples scattered everywhere throughout the city of Delhi. Not many churches are visible. Hinduism is practiced by 82% of the population, Islam 12.8%, and Christianity 0.87%. People who are Hindus have altars in their homes. They pray every morning and night in hopes that these gods will bring them happiness and health. The altars are decorated in bright colors and are usually placed in their bedrooms. I did not feel comfortable taking pictures of gods and goddesses in the temples nor in the home of Hiroko’s friend.

If religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.
Emile Durkheim

Jama Masjid Mosque

This is my first time to visit a mosque. Jama Masjid is one of the largest Islamic mosques in India. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built it in 1656. I took eleven years to build. We arrive during prayer time which begins at 12:00. We must wait until 1:30 to enter. The mosque is in the center of one of the busiest marketplaces in the area. There were white-haired tourists taking their pictures while riding on the rickshaws. I am sure this was part of their tour package. Some of them have very nervous faces. Their rickshaw drivers are trying to navigate the traffic while these tourists feel that their lives are at risk. The air is thick with smog. Many of the stalls are firing up their gas stoves getting ready to prepare food for the lunch hour. The prayer at the mosque as ended. The people descend in groups down the stairs and pour out into the streets. It looks like a dam has let all of its water flow at one time. The streets instantly fill over their capacity. People stand in line waiting for food. I feel vegetarian and confused. I lose Hiroko for about 1 minute. It felt like a lifetime.

We finally emerge from the hoards of people and walk up the stairs to the entrance of the mosque. We are greeted by a young man who feels that he has a very important job.  He tells me I must wear a robe over my clothes. My forearms are exposed. We must also take off our shoes. We take off our shoes and carry them. We could have left them at the front entrance and paid a fee to get them back.  I didn’t trust the guy manning the shoe stand. Hiroko gave me the signal to carry them with me. We walk around the mosque barefoot. I must admit it didn’t feel very comfortable. The ground was not very clean and everyone was walking around barefoot. Hiroko gave me the heads up about leaving our bags in the car safely guarded by our driver. Bags and backpacks are not allowed into the mosque area.

Carol at Jama Masjid in my cover up

The mosque is completely outside. People are washing their feet, face, and hands. The men are in one area and the women in another. An Indian family rushes up to us and wants us to be in a picture with them.  The children are all smiles and ask us where we are from. Hiroko says, “I am from Japan” and I say “I am from America”. Most Indians can’t tell the difference between a Japanese and a Chinese. Hiroko is sometimes referred to as being Chinese. The country “America” has the same meaning as the USA. They can’t distinguish between North, South, or Central America.

Carol and Indian family at Jama Masjid

It was the first place that I didn’t feel very comfortable visiting. Most of them just stared at us and we didn’t spend more than 40 minutes walking around and taking pictures. We exited the mosque and I handed in my coverup for the next foreign tourist to wear. On our way out of the mosque, we were approached by a Canadian couple. The young woman was less covered than I was. They had their backpacks and cameras. I told them that they would have to leave their backpacks with the shoe guy and she would have to wear a cloak over her clothing. They asked if it was worth the chance. I said no. They decided to not go in.

Hiroko calls her driver and instructs him to take us to her favorite restaurant.

Vinod is our driver. He is employed by the company where Hiroko’s husband works.  He is 27 years old. He has been married for 3 years. His wife is expecting their first child in May. He doesn’t see his wife very often because she lives 8,000 kilometers from Delhi. Before becoming a “driver” Vinod owned a cigarette stall for three years. It was shut down by the police. Someone turned him in for not having permission to operate his stall. He says it was a disgruntled customer. He had to find another job. His brother taught him how to drive. He practiced four- six hours a day.  He obtained his license and applied for a driving position. He hasn’t had any accidents. I commended him every day for his driving skills. He was ready every morning with a huge smile and greeting.

Our driver Vinod

Claustrophobic Mandir

Understanding the Hindu religion is not an easy task. For this reason, I present you with a description of the goddess Kali. She is one of the most worshiped goddesses in India.

The idea that women are innately gentle is a fantasy and a historically recent one. Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, is depicted as wreathed in male human skulls; the cruel entertainments of the Romans drew audiences as female as they were male; Boudicca led her British troops bloodily into battle.
Naomi Wolf

It is partly correct to say Kali is a goddess of death but She brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality.

Hiroko’s friend Lily has lived in Delhi her entire life. She like many other Hindus worships in mandirs, temples. She accompanies us to vegetarian Mandir. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the world. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. Lily has connections with the Chief Priest at this temple. We arrive and are led to the room where the Chief Priest will present himself. We are served masala chai and butter cookies. Masala chai is always presented to visitors and customers. We sit on long brown leather sofas. A recliner is sitting on a stage. A gold curtain is behind the recliner.  Very important meetings with other religious leaders take place in this room.

The chief priest arrives forty minutes later. We rise to bow before him. He talks to Lily in Hindi. They have been friends for a long time. I think Lily donates much of her money to this temple. We are led into the worship area. It is jammed. People are chanting mantras in very loud voices.

Kali Mantra for Worship

Kring Kring Kring Hing Kring Dakshine vegetarian Kring Kring Kring vegetarian Hiring Hung Hung Hring
The Mantra consists of three seeds, krim, hum and hrim, and the name ‘dakhshina kalike’ and ‘swaha’, which signifying offering. This mantra is used by the devotees of Kali, the preserver of Earth, who saves us from all the ignorance and the fear of death.

They are lined up and pushing each other into the worship area. We are led into the area and people are instructed not to push us. The people are so surprised to see foreigners in their temple. The statue of the god is hardly visible. Worshippers bring garlands of flowers to throw onto the statue. They throw some money and before they leave the area, they are given gifts to take back home. Most of them have altars at home. These altars have a statue of the god sitting in the main position. They decorate the altars with flowers and food. They pray every day for wealth and happiness.

We give our thanks to the high priest and I am relieved to be able to breathe air again.

Gifts are given to us at the mandir

Holy Cows

Cows are revered among Hindus. Most Hindus practice vegetarianism. They refrain from all meat.

SRI CHAITANYA CHARITAMRITA, Adilila, Chapter 17, verse 166,
Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms:
o-ange yata loma tata sahasra vatsara go-vadhi raurava-madhye pace nirantar
Cow killers and cow eaters are condemned to rot in hell for as many thousands of years as there are for each hair on the body of every cow they eat from.
It is further written – Those who fail to give cows reverence and protection and choose to foolishly oppose and whimsically ignore the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures by selling a cow for slaughter, by killing a cow, by eating cows flesh and by permitting the slaughter of cows will all rot in the darkest regions of hell for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of each cow slain. There is no atonement for the killing of a cow.

Cows are highly prized as gifts. Do you want to impress someone? Give them a cow for their wedding gift. There are more than 44,900,000 cows in India.  The highest population in the world. Cows in India roam the streets, eat garbage, stop traffic, and sleep on the streets. Most of them are not owned by anyone. They are dirty, smelly, and many of them are old and sick. There is relief for some of these cows. Gaushalas  offer a home for sick and homeless cows. They recieve medical treatment, a lot of hay, a clean place to rest, and music.

Happy cows at the gaushala

Hiroko and I are on our way to visit a gaushala. We travel down the street hitting various potholes, a mother pig with her six piglets trailing behind her and three dogs barking and running around going nowhere in particular. It is just another dusty day in Delhi. We arrive in front of the gate and are greeted by two girls who work at the “compound”. We enter the gate and the ground is covered with green grass. I haven’t seen green grass for three days. There is not visible grass in Delhi unless you visit a park. Even the trees in Delhi are dusty. There is a small courtyard very neatly taken care of. Flowers of various colors yellow, red, and white are blooming near the courtyard. No dust anywhere. Four older men are sitting on the benches sharing the news of the day.

Our guide, Manisha, shows us around. Manisha came to Delhi when she was seventeen. She received her B.S in agriculture. During her college years, she became very interested in helping others. She became involved with this project. The first stop is the gaushala. The gaushala employs people who previously did not have jobs to clean, milk, and feed the cows. These workers are provided housing, food, wifi, and electricity within the “compound ” they live. The compound is much cleaner and healthier than living on the streets

The gaushala is only a part of a much bigger program on this compound. There is a center for women to receive sewing classes. The women make bags and purses that are sold at the market. Many of them are just beginning to sew. The center also provides after school homework help for the children. The children are taking English classes as we walk in the room. They greet us with “hello, hello” and “konichiwa”.  Hiroko volunteers her time at the center by teaching Japanese language and Japanese handicrafts. Her Japanese friends join her to teach Japanese traditional songs and dances.

Sewing classes

Children getting help with homework

The center receives donations to help continue their work. It is part of a grassroots movement to help those in need.

We say goodbye to the children and the volunteers. We exit the gate to the dusty street and wait for our driver to retrieve us. He didn’t go too far. He was parked in front of the compound. I wonder what he does while he is waiting for us.

Please read the next entry coming soon: A trip to Jaipur

 

 

 

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An Old Friend, A New Culture: Delhi India

One of my main purposes for traveling to India is to visit a very good friend. I met Hiroko in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was a student in my ESL class. Hiroko is one of the most adventurous persons I know. We traveled to Chicago many times by train to shop and sight see. Hiroko’s husband was transferred to Delhi, India almost seven years ago. My husband became sick and we were not able to visit. Unfortunately, my husband passed away two years ago. I decided it was time to go to India and see Hiroko.

Travel by rickshaw

Rickshaws are a very useful source of transportation in India. They don’t require fuel, are easy to repair, and are cheap to maintain. The investment is attainable. Bicycle rickshaws are a very cheap way for everyone to get around. They transport food, hay, bricks, heavy boxes, and people. School children ride bicycle rickshaws to and from school instead of school buses.  Rickshaws can cram up to 8 children at one time.

Rickshaws lined up and waiting for customers

My friend, Hiroko, and I decide to climb into one after negotiating the price. There really isn’t a lot of room for negotiation as a foreigner. The price starts high and is only reduced a few rupees. We climb into the small cabin. Everything is so much smaller when you are tall and not very thin. Hiroko holds out the palm of her hand and draws a circle with her finger indicating that we want to go around the local market area. We don’t speak Hindi and the driver doesn’t speak English. The driver is in his forties and probably weighs no more than 150 lbs. The weather is warm and I can see beads of sweat running down his face and neck as he peddles through the narrow streets lined with vendors.  We hit a few potholes and bumps on the way. The padded seats don’t seem to help the impact. It is a good thing that I have a naturally padded rear end. The driver is getting tired and looks frustrated. I feel sorry for him. He can’t figure out where we want to go.  He stops every five minutes and asks the question “Where is the entrance to the market?” No one knows the answer. Fifteen minutes have passed. We are lost.

He stops, descends from the bike, and summons a man who has a very good command of English. He asks us “Where do you ladies want to go?” Hiroko tells him that we want to go to the front of the market. He relays the information to the driver and gives him directions. He seems to understand and off we go. The destination was right around the corner.

This is not a place where foreigners/tourists come. There are no museums, famous temples, shopping malls, or supermarkets. These streets belong to the people and their stalls that sell fruit, vegetables, food cooked in front of you, and clothing. These people are hard working and want to you to purchase their items.

Fruit and vegetable stall

Everyday Life

We stop at a samosa stall. A man and his young son of about 12 years old welcome us into his stall. His son greets us with a “hello” and shyly smiles. We sit down on two white plastic buckets. He serves us each a  deep fried samosa filled with potatoes. I ignore all of the advice given to me about not eating street food. It is just too tempting.  We dip our samosas into a green chile salsa. I tell him that these are the best samosas. He smiles. We pay for our purchase and thank him. I hope we made him happy.

Man and his young son at the samosa stall

As we are walking down the street I notice this woman standing in the heat holding an iron.  She stands on her feet for about 8-9 hours a day. She irons clothing that the people in the neighborhood bring to her. The iron weighs about four pounds and is very hot.

The ironing lady

We stop at another stall. A man is making sugar cane juice. He is older, maybe in his late 60s. We watch the sugarcane stalks go through the grinder as the juice comes out of the other end of the machine. He smiles and I urge my friend to stop. We buy some juice and drink it. It is very sweet. I only hope that today’s food doesn’t come back to haunt me tonight in my sleep.

Sugar cane juice stand

We decide to take a ride on a tuk-tuk to the local supermarket.

Tuk-tuk

Supermarkets are not as popular with the common people as the local stalls. Supermarkets are expensive and the vegetables are not as fresh. Not everyone is allowed in the supermarket. Many of the locals are kept out. Our bags are checked at security. Men and women are lead in separate directions.  The women enter a small enclosure and the curtains are drawn. The security guard who is a woman proceeds to slide her wand all around me. I pick up my backpack and proceed into the supermarket. It is about one-third of the size of our monster supermarkets.

There are no “street” people, fixed prices, and not many customers. I wander through the store and find Kellogg products, Heinz tomato sauce, and Nestle instant and condensed milk. The prices are about triple the prices at the stall. Hiroko prefers to buy her vegetables at the local stall because of the freshness. We decide to invest in three small boxes of mango juice. We are checked out by not one cashier, but three cashiers. Not a single woman is working in the store.

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Foreigners are not allowed to drive in India. They must employ “drivers”. Hiroko and her husband both have drivers who take them where they need to go. Hiroko’s husband uses his driver to go back and forth to work every morning. Hiroko keeps her driver very busy. She is always on the run. Vinod is our driver. He greets us with “Namaste” as we exit the apartment complex. We climb into the car and Hiroko begins giving directions. Vinod has a very limited command of English and Hiroko speaks Japanese. He has been her driver for almost 6 years. They have their way of working out the language differences. We are on our way to the center of Delhi.

The traffic moves very slowly. There are almost no working traffic lights nor stop signs. People drive defensively honking their horns and almost never using their turn signals. Vinod is a very careful driver. He has a knack for squeezing in front of others without hitting them. The traffic makes me nervous. I decide to focus on the people around me. We aren’t going anywhere. Women with babies and small children sit on the back of motorcycles driven by their spouses or other male members of the family. Most of the time women sit sideways. Some are wearing helmets, but the majority are not. Women don’t drive in Delhi. Vinod told us he doesn’t let his wife drive. I can understand. I wouldn’t want to drive here either. It reminds me of driving bumper cars at the state fair.

Six to eight elementary school girls wearing their green plaid uniforms and green sweaters pile into a bicycle rickshaw. The girls are giggling and catch a glimpse of us in the car. They start waving frantically and yelling “hello, hello”. I roll down the window and they all shout “What’s your name? What’s your name?” I yell above the noise of the cars and busses, “Carol”. I make the mistake of asking “What’s your name?” because 8 different names come flying in my direction. I didn’t catch a single one. Our car finally inches up and before I can take a picture of the girls a van pulls up and blocks my view. The girls are gone.

The van passes us and behind him is another rickshaw. This one has seven males in their twenties. They catch my eye and began to send me hand signals. One asks me if I want to meet his friend. I throw up my left hand and point to my wedding ring. They laugh and wave goodbye. Friendly banter in the middle of traffic going nowhere anytime soon.

First Tourist Stop

Forty-five minutes later we arrive at Qutb Minor, a 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. This is one of the must-see monuments in Delhi. Foreigners/tourists are charged three times the price as locals. Hiroko is considered a local. She carries a document stating that she lives in Delhi. We don’t have a guide. Other foreigners have formed a line behind us. Many of them accompanied by a private guide they have hired to shuttle them around all day. Guides are a very helpful for tourists in India. They provide valuable historical information, recommend restaurants, and protection when necessary.

Groups of Indian elementary school children dressed in their gray pants and navy blue vests are trying their best to stand in line.   Their teachers are telling them in English, “Line up here”. They proceed into the park in single line formation following their teachers. Elementary schools in India have both coeducational and segregated classes. Some of them pass by and sneak a smile and a few giggles when they see the foreigners watching them and taking their pictures. I wonder what they think about us.

School children waiting to enter the Qutb monument park

We take pictures, read the guidebook, and walk around. Every time I turn a corner, there is a young Indian couple stealing kisses and embracing. Showing signs of affection in public is not acceptable. Young people take advantage of theaters, museums, and national monuments to show their feelings for each other.

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar

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We stop at the market on the way home to pick up some things for dinner. The market has stalls of vegetables, dry goods, pharmaceuticals, dried fruits, nuts, and clothing. Hiroko has her preferred vegetable stall. We quickly pass by all of the others who are trying to hawk their products. Hiroko walks into her vegetable stall and everyone greets her with “Namaste”. She goes about picking her vegetables. She is being closely followed by one of the workers who is holding a small plastic container with small holes.

Hiroko chooses a vegetable and he places it in the container. He tries to get her to buy mangoes, she says no. There are gooseberries, grapes, cauliflower, ginger, bananas, and cabbage. He hands the plastic container of vegetables to another man who weighs it. The tally is done by hand with pencil and paper. The next man gives Hiroko the total. She haggles for a little less and is successful. She pays with her debit card.  We leave the bag with them and proceed to the next stall.

There are no women shopping nor working in the stalls. The men lie around, drink tea, and talk to each other. I walk through the stalls observing the colorful clothing and the various choices of nuts and dried fruits. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, dates, apricots, and apples.

Vegetable shop

Vegetable stall

This was the first day of my visit to Delhi, India. Please read Part 2.

 

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7 Cultural Observations of India

It is better to be blind than to see things from only one point of view. — Indian proverb

To experience India through the eyes of a local let me see the daily life of the Indian people. My hosts were a Japanese couple transferred to Delhi because of emloyment. I would like to thank them for the opportunity to walk the streets, eat in local eateries, and observe the culture. I don’t think I would have had the same opportunity if I were on a tourist bus.
1. Types of Transportation

Bicycle rickshaws, tuk-tuks, buses, private drivers, and motorcycles all compete for space on the roads in Delhi, India. Bicycle rickshaws transport fruits, vegetables, and eggs to the shopping stalls and small supermarkets. They also carry loads of bricks, steel rods, and freshly cut hay. Tuk-tuks transport as many as ten people hanging from both sides.

Buses are mostly old and rusty with no air conditioning. People are packed onto the buses with their heads and arms protruding from the windows. Private drivers are employed by most middle-class and upper-class. Motorcycles are a very popular form of transportation. They are the easiest to squeeze into small pockets of traffic. Traffic in Delhi moves very slowly.

Family on a motorcycle

Can you find four types of transportation in this photo?

Transporting loaded boxes by bicycle.

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

Mahatma Gandhi

2. Employment

Employment in India is made of mostly men. Men work in places where women shop. They sell dresses, saris, perfume, jewelry, shoes, accessories for the home, and food. Many of the men do the shopping. Employment includes working in food stalls, selling fruits and vegetables, restaurants, providing transportation, and security.

Women who shop usually have a man with them. There are foreign women who work in some of the “foreign shops”. Foreign shops are for people who are not Indian and can’t bargain. Women of the lower class work as maids and cooks in homes of those more fortunate. Indian women don’t work outside of the home.

India has a large proportion of unemployed young men. Men from the ages of 20 -35 hang out on the street corners chatting with their friends, playing traditional games, drinking masala, and talking on their cell phones.

Food stalls

Making sugar cane juice

Fresh fruits and vegetables

The second fundamental feature of culture is that all culture has an element of striving.

Johan Huizinga

3. Bargaining

Bargaining is a very big part of Indian culture. There are no prices posted in the local stalls. You must ask the price.

Excuse me,  How much is that bag of peanuts?

Salesman: 30 rupees

Indian buyer: How about 25 rupees?

Salesman: I will sell it to you for 28 rupees.

Indian buyer: OK

I am with my Japanese friend who doesn’t really get many bargains. She can’t speak the language or know the art of bargaining. Indians don’t like to bargain with foreigners. I try a couple of times in English. I am turned down. I walk away.

Shops that cater to foreigners post a sign “fixed prices”. No bargaining in these stores. The fixed prices are visible at shopping malls and supermarkets.

Handicraft stall

Clothing stall

4. Holy Cows

Cows are not worshiped as Gods. They are deeply respected by the Hindu religion. It is illegal to eat or possess beef. The cow is recognized as a “caretaker”, a maternal figure.  The cow is a symbol of wealth, strength, abundance, and selfless giving. There are more than 44,900,000 cows in India. The highest in the world.

Cows wander the streets of India eating garbage. They cause problems. They step out into the middle of traffic and everyone must stop until the animal decides to move. Sometimes men will get out of the cars and coax the animal to the side of the road. Hit one of these cows and you could go to jail and pay a hefty fine.

Cows get sick, injured, and old. Some of them are rescued by gaushalas. Sick and injured cows are taken to these rescue areas. The cow is treated and lives the rest of his life as a happy cow.

Rescue for injured and hungry cows

Cow ambulance

5. Food

Indians who follow the Hindu religion don’t eat meat. No chicken, pork, or beef. Indians who are Muslims eat everything but pork. Eggs, cheese, and chapati a type of Indian bread are the staples of a Hindi diet. Food is spicy. I loved the food. I ate so many styles of curry and dishes made with cheese. We frequented the local restaurants and were always rewarded with great food.

I must confess that I did get a case of “Indian baptism” which lasted only one day because I was prepared with the right medication. India has a few American fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King. The menus in these restaurants are very different than the ones in the USA. I stayed away from American restaurants because I was looking for local food. India is paradise for vegetarians.

Grilled Paneer

GolGappa

Not sure. It tasted great.

6. Traffic

Traffic in Delhi includes cows, pigs, dogs, scooters, tuk-tuks, buses, private cars, taxis, motorcycles, bicycles, and bicycle rickshaws. Everyone is competing for the same space at the same time. Traffic lights don’t work. Stop signs are ignored. People are trying to squeeze in everywhere possible. There are no alternative routes. Streets are narrow and full of potholes.

People are crossing everywhere. There are no designated crosswalks. Young children, dirty and poorly dressed, knock on your windows and ask you to give them money. Older children and adults are walking through the traffic selling balloons, coconuts, ice-cream, roses, and water. Most of the people ignore the vendors. One man with no legs is riding a skateboard. I can’t see him until he comes next to the car.

There is some progress in building wider freeways.

Bumper to bumper

Motorcycles, bicycles, and tuk-tuks compete with cars and busses.

Nobody is going anywhere

7. Security

Security is everywhere. Bags are checked and both men and women are scanned with a wand for entry into supermarkets, museums, malls, restaurants, and all visitor sites. Military police stand on every corner with their rifles. Security waits at every entrance to gated condo areas.

I found monkeys hanging out at the Ministery of Defence. The security prevented me from taking a picture of the monkeys. It was really the only place with so many trees in the whole city.

Security at the airport begins on the sidewalk. No one is allowed to enter the airport without a ticket.

Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of security or monkeys!

 

 

 

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