Since I have arrived, Sundays have been set aside for sightseeing. The first week I was here, we took a short trip to neighboring state Gujarat to see two Hindu temples. The first temple we visited was called Ambaji.
Two other women also accompanied us: Sonia, a teacher and Anju, who works in administration. Father Simon dropped us off a block (if you could call it such a thing) down from the temple while he went to go park. It was here I discovered the less glamorous side to being a ‘celebrity’ or ‘popstar’ or just being different. Everyone stared. I watched heads turn to follow us as we walked down the narrow walkway through the impromptu market. We had to turn our shoes in before we could go into the temple and then when we tried to go in, the security personnel (see: men and women in army uniforms = frightening) made us go back and turn in our purses. We shoved all of our phones into one bag because I was allowed to keep my small shoulder bag. Our tags that marked the cubby where I stuff was were placed hastily into my purse as the press of the crowd shoved us towards the temple.
There was a rush because the temple was closing in a mere twenty minutes. Father Simon had gotten a worker to show us around and make sure we got to see everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if he used me as an excuse for special treatment. Finally the bags were all checked, my purse was looked through by the security guard and the metal detector had examined us as we passed underneath it. Little did we know when we stepped out from under the covered walkway that the marble ground would burn our feet so fiercely! It was helpful in the end because it made us cross the temple grounds much faster in an attempt to get to the shade on the opposite side of the temple with the greatest speed possible.