We landed in Amritsar and were immediately whisked off to the Indian/Pakistan border to watch the changing of the guard ceremony at the end of each day. Disabuse yourself of any comparison to Buckingham Palace’s ceremony! This is pure game show theatre complete with an emcee bellowing into a microphone, cheering sections in the crowds, bleachers on both sides, dancing girls – well girls who are dancing not the other kind but still – soldiers in full dress kit, a LOT of posturing and a sergeant-major with the requisite leather lungs to bellow out orders at high volume and incredibly long length. Add exactly the same thing – different coloured uniforms of course – on the Pakistani side and you have quite a spectacle indeed!
From there we headed to our hotel. almost ate in a cafeteria sort of place but the “troops” revolted and we had a spectacular meal in the hotel with our own private dinning room and lovely wine – a very respectable Sauvignon Blanc – first of the trip!
Oh and a shower with both hot water and pressure – life really can be about the simplest things….
Off to the Golden Temple which just blew me away. The actual temple itself is of course very beautiful but it is the people who impressed me to no end.
First off, it appears there is some sort of unwritten rule that all Sikh men have to be tall, dark and handsome – I kid you not. Maybe the turbans have something to do with it but i don’t know.
Second, the energy and willingness to perform their service to others by all the people I met, is nothing short of phenomenal. The temple feeds over 60,000 people on average – every day! The “machine” to do this is all entirely voluntary and incredible in both scope and efficiency.
And thats just the dishes!
Oh yah – once again my red hair attracted a LOT of attention – I had quite a few families wanting to take pictures with me. I really don’t get it but it is fun and provides a small connection to people whose language and culture are so very different than mine!