There have been pieces of information, I’ve wanted to share throughout this trip, but have postponed in attempt to keep the posts short. Before I write about the end of my trip, I decided to publish a “Catch Up” one.
The Western Cafe has been anticipating a major remodel for several years. That time has come. While I was flying back to Seattle yesterday, they were moving the cafe and bakery to a temporary location.
A large structure has been set up in the courtyard west of the Indian canteen. The cafe food will be prepared and sold there. The bakery is being relocated to an area east of the Indian Canteen. The dining area will still be in the west side of the auditorium.
I don’t think the entire building is being torn down; I believe the existing structure is being completely remodeled and a second floor is being added. When the construction is complete, the bakery will move to the upper floor.
For the last four or five years, Sreejit has cooked for the Western Canteen in an area behind the Indian kitchen. When the remodel is finished, he will be located in the new building. The construction will take until August to complete.
There is an informal type of etiquette that is practiced by many people at the ashram. To prevent residents and visitors from having to stop at every floor, when those people get on an elevator, they look to see if someone has already pressed the button for a floor near their destination. If a button for a nearby floor has already been pressed, they get off there rather than pressing another button.
For example, I live on the fifth floor. If someone else is getting off on the fourth or the sixth floor, then I leave the elevator at the same time they do and walk up or down a floor. I think it is a respectful gesture, as well as gives some extra exercise. I would continue the practice in the U.S., if stairs here were as easy to find. In Amritapuri, they are located directly across from the elevator.
The most abundant food produced by the Amritapuri gardens is organic spinach. It was so nice to have spinach added to many of the soups, curries, stews and salads this year.
Below are photos of several types of spinach; there are more. My favorite one is the first one. If anyone knows what that variety is called let me know. I’d like to see if I could plant it in Seattle. I ate some of it right off the vine and loved it.
Many of the Amritapuri Gardens are now producing Moringa. It is considered a superfood and is being used to combat malnutrition in several parts of the world. According to Wikipedia, it is an “exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree” that can grow in dry, sandy soil. Every part of the tree can be used for food. Wikipedia states that it may reach 10 meters in height, but is usually cut back to 1 meter each year.
Since I lost my phone, I cannot share my photos of the Amritapuri Moringa plants/trees with you but I found some on Wikimedia.