we woke up ridiculously early this morning and set off for a small town called vrindavana about 2 hours south of delhi. we didnt know too much about this town other than the fact that it had some beautiful temples dedicated to the hindu god krishna and it was on the way to agra which is our next destination.
we arrived in town and got a room at one of the two guesthouses mentioned in our book.
the first thing that tipped us off that something was odd, was that everyone around us was dressed oddly. in fact, we seemed to be the only people dressed in western clothing. everyone around, including the westerners, were wearing saris or other such garb. and then we noticed that all the men had shaved heads. huh?
so, it turns out, that we are in a town full of Hare Krishnas. this is *the* main center for that group. since this is the town where Krishna allegedly once lived, tons of pilgrims from all over the world come here to pay homage.
it’s so weird being here. the way people here say hello is “hare krishna!” and goodbye is “hare krishna” as well. not to mention that people around are constantly singing “hare krishna” over and over. in some ways, it almost seems like some cliched movie, where everone walks around always smiling and then tries to force you into their cult. i dont know why, but it just seems so bizarre to me that so many of the people here doing this are westereners. they seem kind of out of place in a sari for some reason. anyways, caryn and i spent the day here touring around the temples, taking in the sites, and being determined to not be converted, no matter how much free soap the hotel offers us!!
one other crazy thing happened today. there are monkeys all over town. they’re quite rambunctious and seem to be causing havoc all over town… jumping on buildings, pounding on things, and being really crazy. when we went into one temple that was completely surrounded by frenzied monkeys, the guard told caryn to take off her glasses just in case. you never know with the monkeys. i thought this was a bit overcautious.. i mean come on, i could maybe see a monkey try to grab something from someone if they were sitting on the groun, but would caryn’s glasses be stolen when she was walking?!!
a little while later, my question was answered. we were walking down the street and there was an old indian woman walking ahead of us. all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a monkey jumped from the roof of a building and slowly walked towards her from behind.. it gained speed, started running, and then made a flying leap to the woman’s shoulder, just long enough to snatch her glasses and leap away. it was insane!!! such a crazy sneak attack.
the woman of course was incredibly distraught as the monkey toyed w/ her glasses while sitting perched high above on a rooftop. maybe you’re wondering, why would a monkey need glasses?? well, it turns out, the monkeys are much smarter than you would think. how do you think people get their glasses back?? they bribe the monkey to come down by offering it food. the monkeys here are so damn smart, that they can plan that far ahead…. they specifically go around stealing glasses so that they can trade them for food. a crazy monkey scam!!