Sunday, June 8, 2014

Festival of Chariots

from Festival of Chariot's gallery
My boyfriend and I were driving , and along the road we see colorful tents not yet set up. We saw a sign that said, "Festival of Chariots." He looked over and said, "Oh, that's the Hare Krishna festival. They had one when I lived in D.C." I looked over with a smile, and subliminally he got my message...I had already decided that we would be going. For those of you who don't know, Hare Krishna of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a small religion (some say cult) that is an offshoot of Hinduism that was formed in the 1960's. It's often associated with people with shaved heads and saffron robes.

White is a funeral color in India, but also practical to stave off the heat.

We went yesterday with my mother, and it was a pleasant surprise. I wanted to go mainly for the delicious vegetarian food, but also for the cultural value. We were surprised to have only received one pamphlet about Krishna and "the Reservoir of Pleasure." To which I remarked, "Reservoir of pleasure my ass! They're celibate and vegetarian." Well, I got half right. They are vegetarian, but they are not required to be celibate. Although, any sexual activity must be for purposes of procreation only. Anyway, returning to the festival, there wasn't as much music or dancing as I thought, and it ended up being somewhat low-key. It was enjoyable nevertheless. I got to go through and read their information on reincarnation and other beliefs, and I delightfully flocked over to the vegetarian propaganda tent where I pointed at information to my mom and boyfriend, grumbling, "This is very true," because it was the one aspect of the culture/lifestyle for which I felt included.

The excitement came to a boil when we made our way over to the strip of food trucks and caterer's tents. We went over to the Bollywood Zing truck for Samosa Chaat and Chaat Papdi, and we stopped off at the Bubble Tea Truck for iced kiwi basil seed teas. The drinks were splendid on such a hot day and a nice compliment to the Indian street food.
Samosa Chaat and Chaat Papdi

Kiwi Basil Seed Tea
As the day started to wind down, so did we. We decided to leave, but not before I took a picture with a girl dressed as Krishna. I hope to go again next year.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Williamsburg, Virginia (and Cemetery Pictures)

Last week, I returned from a vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. For those of you who don't know, Williamsburg has a whole section of the city (Colonial Williamsburg) that was restored to look like it did in the colonial days complete with "interpreters" and tours. Williamsburg is also home to the beautiful College of William and Mary, the second oldest college in the United States. I will share my pictures, so without further ado:
Governor's Palace
Marquis de Lafayette

 The College of William and Mary was founded in 1693. Although I love my school, I considered applying to W&M, and I know I would have loved the old buildings with all the legends and tradition at this school. We were able to take a ghost tour of Williamsburg, and there were a few stops at William and Mary.

One of the Haunted Buildings, because of suicides.
 The building above, home to the English Department, had some interesting stories that I remember. One of the students here was overwhelmed during exam time and wanted to take a hardship withdraw. She was not able to, and she took her own life on the top floor. According to legend, this girl will appear to other students asking how exams are going. If the student says their exams are going fine, the ghost will scream. Another story in the building revolves around a second student who took her own life in the same area, with a note reading, "She made me do it." I believe there might have even been a third, but my memory is a little fuzzy.
The Crim Dell
 The Crim Dell, which is actually the name of the pond but commonly refers to the bridge, is a bit mythical as well. If you kiss your sweetheart at the top of the bridge, you will stay together forever. But, if the couple breaks up, the two are doomed to loneliness until one throws the other off the bridge and into the grimy pond.
I see your vision of a free America too, Mr. Jefferson.

Colonel George Washington

Bruton Parish Church
This is Bruton Parish Church, established in 1711. It is still a functioning Episcopal church (formerly Anglican). It was really interesting to explore in and around the building. The cemetery was filled with old, lichen covered stones inscribed with obvious death imagery (much like Salem, Ma). 

This grave dates back to 1726, the oldest inscription I could make out.
For someone like me who isn't used to being around areas older than the mid-nineteenth century at the oldest, there is something so mysterious and enticing about walking upon the same stones and entering the same buildings as people who lived hundreds of years before me. I hope to return at some point.