Saturday, June 6, 2015

Looking into the past

Today we wrapped up the academic portion of the class with a reflective discussion. We then braved the heat as we toured the ruins at Hampi and went on a relaxing boat ride.
This morning we wrapped up the academic portion of the class with a reflective discussion about what we've learned during the past three weeks in India.

We talked about how the problems here are much more complex than we anticipated.

Sarah shared her "One Shoe Theory," which goes as follows: It seemed that everywhere we went, we found a single lone shoe abandoned by its owner. We could never quite figure out how someone loses a single shoe.

Sarah compared this phenomenon to how there are many things we experienced here that we don't completely understand. But just because we don't understand why something is done a certain way, that does not mean there isn't good reasoning behind it that may be invisible to us.

After breakfast we put on our tourist caps and visited the ruins at Hampi, which served as the capitol of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565.

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We were mesmerized as the tour guide showed us how some of the pillars in the buildings doubled as drums, and all the students suddenly became pillar-drum masters.

The tour guide also showed us how complex the stone carvings were. We watched a cobra head turn into two monkeys and a boar turn into an elephant, depending on which part of the carving we looked at.

The tour guide also brought us to magnificent structures that were used as elephant garages 600 years ago and showed us a tree that is well over 150 years old.

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In the afternoon we went on a relaxing and somewhat refreshing boat ride on semi-spherical rafts made of bamboo, tarps, and tar.

We saw the ruins of a few temples and the remains of a bridge that used to connect the two banks of the river.

At the end of the tour we were soaked in sweat, sunburned, and ready to return to the air-conditioned hotel that was so cold it "felt like home."

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