Getting Naked with the Local Indian Women

I'm lucky if I get a bath every 2 days here in India. I've been perpetually dirty and dusty, and I've simply succumbed to the idea that I'll always be a shade darker than my real skin color. There was a week-long period, however, where I was in luxury: I was taking baths at least once a day and, to top it off, the water was heated!

While staying in Manali in the Himachal Pradesh state of India, I took a rock-climbing course that left me sweaty, dirty, and bruised every afternoon. The $2-a-night hostel I was staying in didn't even have a shower, so I simply followed the villagers to their bathing grounds, the thermal springs at Vashist, just 3 km from Manali. I'd leave my shoes with the toothless man, walk inside the temple, turn the corner, and open the curtain to the wonderful world of naked Indian women, a steaming pool, gushing thermal springs, and no ogling Indian men. What bliss!

The water was warm, the women shared their soap, and everyone stared at how my small my breasts are. Indians are very unashamed and unabashed when it comes to staring, and I adopted this habit right back. When a naked women started doing yoga and breathing exercises by the pool that made her breasts bounce, all the women in the bathing area stared. When I brought down a bucket and proceeded to wash a week's worth of laundry in the springs, all the women stared. When a pregnant woman stripped down to take her bath, everyone stared at her round belly.

That's the only consistent time period that I've had daily showers. And it's the only time in India that I've had heated water. Ah, I do miss those thermal baths at Vashist.

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