Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Enderpere Marisa, endeveere braziliana!

Dear Ones: Sukamano? (How are you?) Vaikunneram (good evening) Oru karick tharu mo enicku (Please give me a young tender coconut) I am making a little progress learning malayalam and people seem to get amuzed.....so, let's see how much I learn. I am half through the alphabet. So, I want to tell you also that I am getting a little bored writing from my journals (aka log). It has been so much time already! If I am getting bored you must be too, so I am going to stop for a while. Ok? In case you would like to write a snail letter - (I would like that very much) the address of the ashram is: Marisa Pereira (Flat #1507 D) Amritapuri P.O. Kollam Distr. Kerala 690 525 India I will be there December and January. I hope all is well....a lotus to you all, Marisa cont. Paris, July 2nd, 2002 Tuesday Then I continued on Rue D'Ulm and passed in front of the Ecole Normale Superieure where Pasteur, Jean Paul Sartre and Roman Roland went to school. I went inside and saw a beautiful huge courtyard in the center of the building. The school year must still be happening - there were students everywhere in the hallways. Then I passed in front of the building where Pasteur isolated several vaccines, including rabies and in front of the Ecole de Physique et de Chimie Industrialle where Marie and Pierre Currie isolated radium. A few blocks away lived Prosper Merimee in the eighteen hundreds--author of Carmem - my favorite opera! Or was it Bisset? Rachel, any help on that? After all these intense encounters with historical places, I headed towards the La Mosque. It was already almost 4pm and I didn't want to be turned down again. I made it back quickly, visited the temple and walked around the building to the corner of 39 Rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, the entrance to the La Mosque tea room. I had a mint tea in a little glass and two middle eastern pastries, all very good and very pleasant. Then I headed towards the baths, right across from the tea room called Hamman, a very interesting place. Sort of an arabic version of the Kabuki Hot Springs in San Francisco's Japan town. The sauna part is enormous with several different rooms and spaces for relaxation. The scrubbing room is small, only two people at a time, as two colored women throroughly scrubbed us after the application of a brown color paste that we applied in our bodies and showered prior to the scrubbing. The last room was very hot with a small pool of cold water for soaking. In the first room, the largest and coolest, three muslim ladies gave massages to the ladies waiting on raised mats layed out all around the room sipping on their mint tea. People buy different number of minutes and just lay around to wait for their turn. I was the last one as it took me some time to understand the process and I moved way from the "waiting room" quite a bit. A tunisian lady massaged me and talked non stop in arabic while doing it. Nothing like the zen like quality of the massages at Kabuki. But I enjoyed the organic feel to this place. The style of the massage reminded me of the ayurvedic style, rubbing the hands in the body, but instead of the medicated oils used in India, they use camphor oil. After the sauna and massage I decided to end the evening with an arab tone, so I went to their restaurant to have couscous. It was not as fun to be by myself and the vegetarian couscous was kind of lousy, so I only ate a little and left. The best part of my day is that I didn't see one tourist the whole day...until after dinner. As I am leaving the restaurant, a couple from Chicago asked me if I knew the way to the metro and I told them to follow me as I was also going there. They asked me how long I was travelling and when I told them a year, the guy seemed very agitated. "I don't know anyone in the USA who takes this kind of time". When we were at the metro and I was getting off at the St Michel station he seemed unhappy again. "We are going to the suburbs where the real people live" he blasted. I din't know what this guy's problem was. I told him he could afford my hotel and when I told him the price he agreed....so what is the problem? Maybe if he does his homework he can also take a year off.

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