The Bodhi Tree

Our tour group visited the Bodhi Tree last night at 5:30. I was so pissed because it was too dark to take a decent picture. With the flash, the tree looked fake. Also I felt rushed.

So this morning Rob and I woke up early to go back and take lots of pictures. We only got two with both of us because the guy we gave the camera to was hesitant. A monk in dark red robes gave his cell phone to Rob to take his picture in front of the tree. Funny that the monks want to take that picture of themselves too.

Last night, an Indian family with a baby girl wearing dark eye makeup came up to me near the entrance and said, “One picture? One picture?” I reached out to take the camera and they said, no no, they wanted to take a picture with me.

Earlier, Rob and I took a rickshaw to an 80-foot-tall Buddha in Bodh Gaya. A 10-year-old boy followed us and asked us what country we were from.

Then he said, “The capital of America is Washington, DC. George Bush is not a good man!”

Rob chatted him up about how we’ll soon have a black president or a woman. Vikram (that was his name) wasn’t so sure about the woman. He asked us to buy him a school book and Rob was just going to give him money, but he said he didn’t want money (I wondered if that was because someone would take it from him). He took us to a bookstand and picked out a 500-rupee Oxford English Dictionary!

Rob asked why he didn’t want money and Vikram said he’d only spend it on food or something.

I know this was likely a scam and the woman behind the counter was his mom or at least in on it, but whatever. The kid spoke great English and knew about American politics. We bargained down to 400 rupees ($10). Whether we gave him 40 rupees or 400, he was going to do with it what he was going to do with it.

Today we found out that one of the Canadians on our tour had met him too. He said, “Canada! The capital is Ottawa.”

Apparently he didn’t ask her for a book, but when she told me she met him, I braced myself for the news that she had bought him a 500-rupee Oxford English Dictionary.