Such a temple!

Vaikunta Ekadasi , the greatest festival of  the Ranganatharswamy Temple  year,  is about to begin in this Hindu temple, so today, police and people were swarming, traffic was redirected, and the hawkers were having a great time. Devotees – men, women, ancient and fairly young – were brilliant , the whole place just  glorious chaos.

The temple is enclosed by 7 concentric walls, and according to Lonely Planet it has 21 gopurams (those pink and blue towers), 39 pavillions, 50 shrines, including  the Hall of 1000 Pillars (though I read somewhere that the number is actually 994). As a non-Hindu, I  could get up to the 2nd outer courtyard, but as always, not inside the gold-topped sanctum sanctorum. 

See these chappals (photo, below)?  I set mine there (black Crocs, left of the pink ones), paid the ancient woman the 10 rupees she required, then walked barefoot across the road to enter the temple. There, I saw a stall offering chappals storage. FREE. I know it was just 14 cents, & I know it was perfect weather – high 80’s(Minnesota people notice this sort of thing) – but it probably took a good 5 minutes for me to let go of the injustice. It was probably a good 5 minutes before I saw the malnourished, hunched-over woman, probably my age, leaning against the temple wall and holding out sticks of sandalwood incense for people like me  to buy.                                   REALLY, Mary Ellen?


Good day. Feeling very ready, now, for the ashram.

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Athens’ Exarcheia: “An empty wall is a lonely wall/An empty wall is a sad wall.”

                  Rainy day, unforgiving marble stairs, so I trod carefully, the better to see it all. 

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TRAVELING

TRAVELING

INSTRUCTOR, CLIENT

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On the Road: Palermo ––>Trapani

(click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Arriving here, we drove along the Tyrrhenian, and to get our bearings in the city, we walked along the Mediterranean. Trapani’s rich history (Virgil’s Anchises, father of Aeneas!) was the initial draw,  and the people and views are keeping us a couple more days.

 

I love that , since Easter,  crucifixes in/over the main altars have all been replaced by statues like this one in Trapani's S.Antonio de Paolo. BTW, I''m quite certain that's CRYSTAL behind San Salvatore!

I love that , since Easter, crucifixes in/over  so many main altars have  been replaced by statues like this one in Trapani’s S.Francesco di Paolo. BTW, I”m quite certain that’s CRYSTAL behind San Salvatore!

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La Mia Vita Glamour in Sicilia:

…a number of you have written to say how enviably glamorous is my life in Sicily. I love it, but full of glam, it is not, and this post is meant to set the record straight.

Let’s consider a morning – THIS morning – for example…

A dear friend

Once I’ve had the courage to push off the heat-holding duvet, and the presence of mind to hit the red button, count to 15, while turning the dial once-twice-three times (highest flame power), The Bombola becomes my dear friend.

Actually, I realize for the purist, bombola simply refers to the canister of propane fueling the heater, but I love the sound of the word, and “bomb” is also what I hear as I hit that button first thing in the morning.

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My day really begins with breakfast in front of the windows: except for the pigeons in the rooftiles outside, it’s quiet this time of day.

espmakerWithin an hour, the garbage truck arrives (no picture, b/c even I won’t hang over the balcony to snap a photo of that). Today being Thursday, it was the “humid” waste (coffee grounds, banana skins — compostable, I think – hope! – this means). Tomorrow it will be “undifferentiated”, and as examples, the instructions suggest “old shoes…nappies…toys”

Today's "humid" trash,  tied up and hung on the railing.

Today’s “humid” trash, tied up and ready for pickup.

The earliest Mass in town is at S. Antonio (“Il Convento”), and it’s not until 10 o’clock. I love Sicily!
Il Convento

Besides a statue of Padre Pio (who is actually everywhere, and I mean EVERYwhere: street signs, restaurants, side altars of every church), there is this one, which is San Calogero, patron saint of this area (Agrigento) of Sicily.
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It’s now 10:30a.m. in my day, and I will leave you here, but not before sending along the men I see this morning and every morning, standing outside a bar up the street from Il Convento

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From this, and this…to this other

St Paul can be beautiful in winter

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There is, though, nothing quite like a Tulip Tree in Northern CA this time of year (thanks for the Drive-by, Jans)
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The conclave begins tomorrow, so as soon as I checked in at my convent, I took the #89 down to Piazza S. Pietro to see how things were getting on. Nobody seemed to need my help, so I settled for watching the scrambling and setting-up, the [loud] dropping of pieces of scaffolding…

The piazza is as full of jumbotrons as it is of pilgrims this afternoon, and inside the basilica, cameras and chairs are going up.
Cameras are ready

Some of the papers here are saying that if there is white smoke by Wednesday,it’s an INsider; if the smoke doesn’t turn white until Thursday or later, it will be an OUTsider. On RAI 1, I just heard “Scola then Dolan.” In Montreal, the media today suggests that it could be Oeullet, because he would be the compromise candidate. Who knows? As they say,”HE WHO ENTERS THE CONCLAVE AS POPE, LEAVES AS CARDINAL”

Paplwindow

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“IL PALIO E LA VITA” #1

“PALIO” refers, first of all, to the banner which the winning contrada will claim after the race on Monday. This year’s palio is an homage to St Francis of Assisi, with a realistic image of his much-mended habit. The palio must always include a portrait of the Virgin (top-left corner, this year), as the race is run in her honor – July for the Visitation, August for the Assumption. In addition, it must present the black and white insignia of the city, as well as the symbols plus colors of the 10 contrade (of the city’s 17) racing.
This year, the 10 symbols are sewn into an olive tree (top, just under the black and white colors of Siena): Tartuca, Selva, Onda, Aquila, Chiocciola, Bruco, Drago, Nicchio, Giraffa, and Leocorno.
I snapped this photo last week, during the palio’s unveiling at the press conference in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pubblico.

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