Friday, March 15, 2013

Smoke Signals

March 15, 2013

So, we woke up to pouring rain around 4am, and Matt jumped up and ran outside to get our laundry that used to be drying, and was now moistening, on the clothesline outside. He also moved our moped to a drier location. He came back in and it was pretty much too late for the clothes and the motorcycle. Makes for an exciting wake-up call, though. We fell back to sleep.

So, we woke up to the sound of gunfire. Around 6:30am it started up. Not quite sure what was being shot, but I doubt it exists after how many rounds it went through. Matt and I laid awake listening to them getting closer wondering if they were heading for Youth Camp.

Around 7, I decided to just get up. It was our last full day in Auroville, so we might as well get started early grabbing all of the shots we want before we go. This hippy commune lifestyle has grown on me a little and I'm not sure if I'll wear shoes again. Matt and I were wondering what we're going to drive like after being in Vietnam and now India. People just go and the flow goes, too.

We gathered our gear and headed off to, you guessed it, the bakery! Today was slim pickins, so Matt had his usual chocolate, but I had to settle for raisin. And by settle, I mean thoroughly enjoy. It made for a great pairing with milk tea and puppy dogs. We took some photos of our furry friends, but did so from afar because the French family next to us was feeding them, so they completely ignored us.

We made our way over to the lab to meet Mouhsine and gather some pick-up shots of him in his lab, at the office and also some sound bites. He's a great sport about doing things over and over for the camera. We appreciate his patience with us crazy video kids.

At 10am we went with Nithya and Katherine to our last home visit together. We brought a single burner stove and asked the woman to cook using the new stove this time. She set up Prakti's stove next to her clay stove and we watched her cook and asked her thoughts on it compared to her other one. She noticed there was less smoke, it didn't give off as much heat and it cooked her food faster.

She whipped us up some Nepali snacks as a treat. Fresh cucumber, radish and cilantro salad from her garden with lime juice on top and sautéed greens with onions, garlic, ginger and some awesome mystery spices that got us all licking our chops.

While she cooked, we played with her two and a half year old son who was the cutest thing in the world. He was very curious but also very gentle. We showed him our camera and the sound recorder and his favorite was singing into the microphone. His grandpa was there and he took him off to the side to play with him for a while. It was charming to see them together.

We made up games playing with the unripe guavas and then chasing around the dog and the chickens with a tricycle. The neighbors came over and said that they each wanted one of those stoves, so there's hope that they might sell a couple in the area.

Before we left, the woman went and got us a bag full of ripe guavas for us to eat. They were mega delicious. I had no idea what guavas looked like on the outside or how to eat them. An enlightening and delicious learning experience.

It was time to go get some lunch, so Matt and I headed for our waterhole out at the Visitors Centre and decided to eat there at the Right Path Cafe. I had an amazing paneer that I can't remember the name of and Matt had the roasted chicken with crazy-good spices rubbed in. We enjoyed our lunch with a usual stray dog watching from just under the table. Matt decided not to name this one.

It was 100-degrees today and wicked humid because of the rain last night, so Matt and I were tuckered out. We collapsed for a little while back at Youth Camp and found the cold showers to be most inviting. We waited for Mouhsine to finish up a meeting so that we could get our final epic shot that we needed in Prakti-land.

We got the call that he was back at the office, so Matt loaded up me and the camera, and we zoomed over to the office.

Matt's idea was to get a slow motion shot of Mouhsine walking down the path to Prakti lab through some smoke. We piled up some dead brush, got it lit up, then smoldered it a little to gather up smoke near the camera lens. Then, we pointed Mouhsine off to the end of the property where he rounded a corner for us five times. At the end of each walk, he kindly blew on our small brush fire to get better smoke going for the camera. He's such a good sport. We got the shot. Watch for it in the Prakti vignette coming soon...

For dinner we decided to get nostalgic and get a burger and fries from Farm Fresh as our last meal in Auroville. It's India, so they loaded the meat with spices and put cucumber and mayo on the burger. So good. So, so good. This evening's meal came with a tiny black cat who begged at our table. The dog was busy barking at a cow outside the fence. The cow was busy bonking a trash can with it's head. We were too busy munching a cow to pay attention to the cat. This is not the real India. This is Auroville.

We bought a couple chocolate tarts to go and went back to Youth Camp hoping the power was on so we could edit. It came on eventually. Good night, Auroville! Tomorrow we head to the factory for a tour, then to Phnom Penh for the last leg of our trip away from the ship.