Night Crawler

The chariots wind their way down the beach, past tarot readers, fortunetellers, sidewalk painters, and religious fanatics who make Venice their year-round home. Still, the wild-haired preacher who believes masturbation is the quickest way to God, the sand sculptor who re-creates the Crucifixion scene with loving care, and an arm of the Nation of Islam dressed in full paramilitary fatigues can't compete with the Krishna spectacle. The crowd grows. When the chariots enter the Venice Pavilion, a grassy clearing dressed for the occasion with brilliantly colored arches and tents, curiosity-seekers peruse the "Science of Reincarnation" tent, the "Illustrated Bhagavad Gita" tent, the "Transcendental Art" tent, the "Back to Godhead" tent, and the "Questions and Answers" tent. The hungry and homeless line up for free grub. The Hare Krishnas dance; and I wander away clutching an armful of flowers and a toe ring, wondering who it was who forgot to "brainwash" me.

By Silke Tudor

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