Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Varanasi: Livestock Valhalla

Everyone knows India has lots of cows.  Wild, free cows, wandering around in the streets doing as they please.  But there are lots of other wonderful creatures here in Varanasi too.  

First, the noble water buffalo or Behnz.  Is this not a magnificent beast?  Lovely though they be, they are dumb as rocks.

Next, goats.  Strangely enough we saw no goats when we first arrived up until Eid al Bakra.  Since then goats are everywhere, which to my mind ought to have been the reverse.  But this is India and I am no longer foolish enough to think anything will work the way I think it should. 

 Please note the goat's sweater.  Not only does the cold (60F! O No!!) imperil humans, it also threatens livestock, so many creatures are bundled up.  (Cows get to wear jaunty burlap sack coats.  McGoverns, are your cows appropriately attired for the Iowa winter?)

For my mom, pigs.  
There are a couple of pig families in the neighborhood and two of the ladies are now mommas.  As all mothers do, they like to hang out together and take the kids on outings as a group (Val, want to go to Iowa today?) so we usually see them en masse - 12 piglets plus 2 moms and a pig-nanny.  

Last but certainly not least, January seems to be puppy season in Varanasi so there is extreme cuteness in the streets.  
Some children have nice parents who let them pick up the puppies and even take them inside and wash them and play with them.  (Un)fortunately my children do not have nice parents.

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