Monday, March 19, 2012

Fancy Colours, Pt. II

Last Sunday, while walking down a street in Queens, a women who I didn’t know at all grabbed both sides of my face, smeared me with paint, kissed both cheeks, and hugged me. On any other day, this would have been -- at the least – alarming; at the most – assault!

In truth, hundreds of strangers rubbed me with paint and warmly welcomed me into their neighrhood, tradition, and extended family.

I think most travelers (and anthropologists, for that matter) would agree that getting out of your familiar space and immersing yourself in an area where you are clearly not a local is not only thrilling; but, it’s also an essential element in being fully captivated by another culture. Though, when are you fortunate enough to have such an full submersion experience in your own city?

The fact that the Phagwah Parade, in Queens, is so close to New York City makes Holi (in my humble opinion) one of the not-to-miss cultural events of the year! And, as you’ll see from our photos and footage, it’s a really great time. Like, my-cheeks-actually-hurt-from-smiling-so-much great time. Or, wow-this-Indo-Caribbean-band-is-really-fantastic great time. And, let’s not forget, now-that-I’m-covered-in-paint-I-could-really-go-for-some-amazing-Indian-food great time.

So, please enjoy the journey in pictures and video, below. And, the new lovely face popping up this week is our friend Chasi Annexy. She’s a fantastic photographer and some of our favorite photos this week are courtesy of her, including the two colorful shots up above.

This first video, below, showcases our awesome pictures from the day. We had hundreds; and, we  figured it was best to let them do the telling. The second video is more of a guided tour of the celebration, from start to finish.

A couple of last items to think about, should you already be planning next year's pilgrimage to Smokey Oval Park:

1. Bring/Drink A LOT of Water. The air is so dry with all of the powder flying around that you will get zapped of moisture fast. We were really dehydrated by the end of the day.
2. Bring Eye Drops. Since, there's tons of powder in the air, your eyes really start to feel it after the first hour. And, if you wear contact lenses, I can't stress this enough!
3. Bring Chapstick. Same as the last two...your lips will be really dry otherwise.
4. Drive. If this is at all possible, I would highly recommend it. There is nothing I would have liked less at the end of a great day than getting on the subway looking like a dusty Easter egg! This may take a little extra time management, since finding a parking spot can be challenging; but, I totally think it's worth it.

I always enjoy our holiDAYtrips, but this one was truly in a class by itself.

May you all have a bit more color in your day,


The “Packing List”

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