Monday, May 26, 2008

I've been away from the blog for a while now-- so sorry! -- but I have a few pieces to share tonight.

The next day after seeing the fortune teller, we traveled through the countryside. Pretty soon we came to a very small village and pulled to a stop slightly outside of it.

We approached an inauspicious-looking dirt road on foot. Not until we got closer did we see a most beautiful sight of hundreds of folk-art animals lining the road on both sides.

Most of the ceramic sculptures stood between four and six foot in height, I would guess. Horses were primarily represented, with some cows, some elephants and a few other miscellaneous animals. Apparently the horses were created an installed here for good luck in battle (of some kind). They were in various states of repair-- many no longer had paint; some were broken; and other, newer ones were in stellar condition. The paint patterns, expressions, sizes and shapes were greatly varied and entertaining!

The men (I presume they were men) who made these large ceramic pieces are older now, and the art of them is being lost as the men die. Additionally, the 'need' to petition for blessings on a horse for battle is not as great these days.

At the end of the road, which must have been almost one-half mile long, a huge tree served as the temple to which these offerings had been made. The base of the tree (and moving up the trunk) had hundreds more sculptures, mostly small and many quite naive. These pieces depicted children, animals and all other sorts of things, all in the hopes of having blessings--perhaps for a child to be born, or for an animal that had taken ill.

As we left, we saw some children playing with a stick & a tire... one of the oldest games in the world.

Later, on the road to our next adventure, we passed a river where an enterprising soul was doing quite a bit of laundry-- perhaps for her family, but it looked as if she may have been doing it as a business. Naturally, I could not resist the colors.....

Continuing down the small country roads, we see people taking goods to market...

... and our guide tells us that our bus is passing between mango groves on our right and cashew trees on our left. I think I could live in a neighborhood like that!

We stopped to see a family who shelled and roasted cashews by the side of the road. This is the father, who is doing the shelling (not an easy task).