A Travellerspoint blog

2 become 3, temples, dog bothering and holy shit!

Rishikesh

Today had been a nice calm day, woke up around 9am, had some toast which by a miracle came with jam and no massala in sight. We had to look for a new hotel as the one we are in we like the room but its too expensive and we only ended up in it after yet another debacle / heated debate about which rooms we were or were not shown, price relevant, the day before. We want to go to the green hotel next door as we ave met someone who is there and it seems nice. I have bartered the price down from 800 to 500 but we want the top floor as it has massive eating area / balcony but that is AC room however we dont want to use AC. After much persuasion we convince the guy that we need a good view and he lets us have the room for the agreed 500. We move in and we are next door to our new friend - Alan. We met Alan yesterday as we had dinner on the roof of said hotel, and he was up there. Alan, is also of Indian descent, and surprisingly ALSO comes form Australia. So i now have 2 Aussie - Indian friends.
\We agree to go up to the temple as its a bit rainy but cooler, the climb up is tricky as the road (well if you want to call it that) is steep and mossy. Arrive at the temple there are a great many steps to go up and the views are something else (pics to follow). At the very top there is a guy who beckons us into this little room where there is a mural on the wall of Shiva's wedding party. (The festival that is taking place is to worship Shiva and people are coming in from miles around to bathe in the Ganges, they hang on at the edge to little ropes and it is said around 2 people a day get swept away.) So we sit with the guy, he gives us Ganga water to drink, and blesses us with a tika on our forehead. He also has some prayer beads so we all buy one each and leave him some money. ON the way out we decide to visit the temple further up, but the road is busy with the orange colored festival goers on mopeds and although there is no drinking involved (this is a place where it is banned) the guys are very loud and the interest in me grows once again. IN fact so much so that the interest in visiting the temple diminishes and we head back. \The road home is quieter but slippy and i find a dog who looks like Bean, except she is very scared to be touched but eventually holds out her paw and she gets a rub on the chest. (Of course i have pics! - in addition i have pics of me and the horse i found outside the hotel this morning, and me and a variety of cows!!!)
We head back to the hotel and Alan said for bathing dress down and i pull out the boardies i have to cover my swimwear, the boardies are white with an assortment of very bright flowers not out of place in bondai beach but to keep incognito here we agree i go in in my fishing trousers. We set off and after negotiating the orange men, we head to calmer place where the only thing we are to be mindful of are the Shadus who have taken up their residence and are sometimes not keen on sharing their Ganges! En route unsurprisingly we meet another small dog, and she must be about 4 months old. she allows a smooth under the chin and the guys joke that the black dog must have popped down to tell them as pretty soon a small band of dogs are accompanying us. Pretty soon we have the three of us and roughly 5 dogs. We get to the edge of the beach and we are on another dogs territory, a small scuffle breaks out but they quickly disband and we have now got 2 left. The tiny puppy, and a bigger light brown dog who is a male. As we swim we leave our shoes on the beach and the small puppy follows me to the edge and lies down the brown dog is just sniffing around.
The Ganges is very cold but compared to the heat it is refreshing and we are very careful not to go too far out. The idea is to become submerged to be cleansed by the waters which are rushing down from the Himalayas. The Ganges has been proved to be sterile and it has healing properties - that aside i have 4 blisters from trekking 10K in flip flops yesterday so i hoping for the sterile bit personally. I duck under but as the water is so swirling and the sand is all around you cannot see and being swept away at the forefront of my mind i am not sure i was under long enough to achieve full spiritual enlightenment, however my feet have been in it all this time so that is good with me. We just sit in the water and chill out, meanwhile the brown dogs walk toward our stuff and for a minute i think to myself, i know what is coming next and i am so going to get the blame for wet clothing and shoes, however to my surprise he lies in front of MY shoes and top, and some other dogs come onto the beach, he growls at them until they have left and then takes up his vigil once more.
After swimming we decide to walk up to the Marhareshis old ashram (where the Beatles once went). It is now broken and damaged and so overgrown that it is almost impossible to get to but we scramble up and then climb over a big gate (this is most fun part!) all the while our 2 new friends follow us. As we start on the gate the brown dogs starts to cry, but as we are heading up the steps both he and the little dog have come under it and are with us once more. We look at the individual room that once were the cells of the those who stayed here. Tiny huts with a room downstairs, a loo, and then upstairs a little room and balcony where you can see the Ganges and meditate. The huts are round and about 8 foot in diameter all in. During our time up there the little dog cries while the brown one lies down, i realise that they are both being bombarded by mozzies, although we 3 have none. The little dog is not keen the bites and eventually i get one so we all (5) head for home). The track down is steep and we struggle, as do the dogs at times but they show no sign of leaving us, they just gently follow on. This is odd as the brown dog is male and i can almost understand the little dog seeking company and refuge but he is big and has chased off other dogs so he has no need of our protection. I wonder what we will do on return to the hotel and am panicking as i know if the dogs come to the hotel they will be beaten eventually, but the strangest thing happened, as we return to the path first the brown dog and then the little on find their own way and head off. As if they have had our company and were happy to just hang for a while, and now they head somewhere else.
We return to wash for dinner, and head out to the other side over the bridge that we 'were not allowed' to take on our way over. Yet more orange men, yet more photos although surprisingly at night they are calmer. It is strange as at home as the night draws on people would get more drunk or high or whatever and would eventually become violent and with so many it would be very scary but here it is fine as they are not threatening. We head to a nice restaurant and i order paneer tikka massala, and yes it is fab, the best i have had so far. (although the bridge over is a bit high and swingy - there is some concrete involved - it used to be rope and there is now some metal also but it swings as the merry peeps cross over) We leave and head for home again, the orange people are mostly heading out of town and i wonder where many will sleep as they come on the pilgrimage and most from poor villages, but there are some shelters set up outside this village where they can sleep and get some food. (To be honest in India people just sleep anywhere and like the cows are left well alone to do just that!)
We stop as they guys realise i have not yet had Indian desert ( i am learning some dished to try on my travels and some handy phrases as they are prepping me for when i am off on my own in 2 days time!~) and i this doughnut in sugar - fried, its hard to explain as its not like at home in sugar its like a syrup coating but then fried, with ice cream. ( no i am not sure how many calories it has probably far too many - but oh my, the taste...) ON the way to hotel we try to buy a shawl for me and i want a really thin one not pashmina etc, but they all say oh yes i have one of those and then show me everything but, until 20 bits of cloth later we give up. I love this country but their inability to say no, or we dont have it / one etc can be very draining!
This town is very dirty due to the amount of toursit here to bathe in Ganges, and everywhere is full of shit, which i think is very funny as i came from England to escape the shit over there, only now i am here and in more shit than ever before, in fact there is shit everywhere, but in reality is okay as my friend points out this is holy shit!!!!
Tomorrow - Yoga..........(if i get up in time!)

Posted by Dizzey1 08:13 Comments (1)

bag hugging, 2become4, trekking and ear massage!

rishikesh

I have just had my ears massaged for the first time ever and ihave to admit it was really nice, depite the fact i had reservavations and i ended more greasy than teh proverbial xmas turkey....but more on that later.

So....... Ras and i left Rajiv house last night and after yet another rickshaw battle are on our way to the train station, having sucessfully negotiated our way across about 20 platforms each with an assortment of sellers, beggars, sleepers, and kids to discover that half of New Delhi must have been waiting for the Missourie Express on platform 1A, honestly thismust be where they all hang out. As the train pulls in all hell broke lose, people shouting, some screaming people jumping on and off the train simultaneously its hard to fathom how anyone gets to where they need. We run down the now emptying platform and find our sleeper section. The numbering is as ever hard to follow and we are soon aquianted with our sleeping quarters, me on the top bunk as usual (however as the train draws out Ras discover ths bunk opposite still empty and takes that one much to the confusion of the train guard who follows later) and we bed down. Before the train leave the station i take a tiolet stop as standing up aim not good on moving vehicle, however as predicted i miss and have to wash feet anyway! Decide to sleep with my rucksack on the bunk as i dont have a chain and lock, which leaves littel room for the rest of me and surprisingly little sleep once more.

We arrive at HAridwar, last stop, alight from the train onto the platfrom only to find ourselves surrounded by millions (no joke) of blokes dresse in orange carring large 'things' and chanting, yes thats right we have just walked out inot a massive festival!!! Okay so no problem, festival can be cool (although i had checked the giode book beforehand and no mention made!) We ask a policeman ( the only type of man to ask if you actually want an answer that does not contain the phrases; yes madam, no problem madam or its only 5minute walk madam) and discover that the bus station is 1.5Km away. As we have been cramped all night we walk. (had we been aware of what was unolding we may have got into an argument provoking transportation device - aka the rickshaw)

Bus station - ask another policeman which bus .... as yes madam the white one, rounding the corner we discover ....yes you guessed it ...all the buses are white. We ask yet another policemand and are then joined by to other travelling types who were opn our train - also desperate for the right bus and like us gettin nowhere fast. So we pile on, its cramped but early so not too hot and we know Rishikesh is only 1 hour away so we meet and greet and chat about travel so far - my contribution being quite short! The bus follows what can only be described as a road, somtimes there was tarmac involved, but mostly not, and on occasion we just plain drove across the river bed. At one point a man is off his scooter reciveing a call, just stood in the middle of all this water cascading past him. Scenery was great, we drive along the vast banks of the Ganges, the trees are green there are horses and cattel grazing and the workld seems more chilled. We chat to new friends about where we are staying and they take some details and eventally after nearly an hour and half of seat / arse slapping (never - i repeat never sit over the back wheels of the bus in INdia, they not only go round but up and down and leave the floor at every bump catapaulting you into the air) we arrive. The four of us heading to same place join forces, however being festival time the road is closed nad no-one will take us. The new friends have even more lugage than us but we troop on occasionally changeing direction and getting new and different ideas from the locals about the best route. We trek in the sun and eventually convince a rickshaw to takes us and stuff a bit further on. He drops us where he can get to which is cool because the bridge over to where we wnat is footbridge only, so we pay (yes with yet another price discussion first) get out and head to the footbridge. After trekking some more we can see the footbridge we are by now very hot and bother and tired and thirsty and just about as uncomfortable as you can get in thie climate when the policeman informs that we cannot cross as it is 'Locals only' and we must go to the next footbridge, only 1 mile madam - BULLS***!!!!!! Yet we trek on we have come so far and no other option really (well other than to find hotel . ashram where we stood but that is easy option)
Words cannot desribe how hard the walk was, we were all nearly passing out at various times and sveral stops had to be made our only saving grace was the opportunity od Rshaw on other side. UP hill and then finally down, we make it to the brige but we have come so far is such heat i know there is know way i will ever get back up the hill in 3 days so we enquire how long is the festival and are reliable informed - until 23rd madam!!!!serioulsy i thought they may ahve to helicopter me out at this rate.
The going was tough but we were determined, it was not helped by the festival goes who kept stopping to take pictures either of me or with me or just stand near me or touch me unitl in the end the boy of the other nearly collapsed and they gave up where they were and went to the ashram. We continued and found our hotel literally round the corner, but this was part of a chain and although the bloke was really nice the rooms were not that great and we ahd seen in the internet the pic of the other so i went off to check ot out, except we couldnt be bothered to walk any further so a very nice chap on a scooter took me (no mum i didnt have on a __________ it was on a aide lane with only people and cows avoid at about 5 km/hr!). I come back its a bit better but further intl village so more going on and we opt for this, so the man takes me pluss all my stuff first and then come back for Ras. After which the battle of what does and does not constitue a double and whether we do or do not need AC lasts a matter of minutes during whih the manager is again callled for, finally deal done room sorted. I shower and wash - when i say shower i cantully mean it for the first time in days i am not forced to throw cold water over myself from a bucket!
Clean we go for lunch (breackfast passed hours before) and on return book an aruvedic massage. This proved to be fab actually, although how i didnt fall asleep i dont know. I was so refeshed, i turned onto my back and he started doing my neck, and this is when the ears part came in.........I dont know where one learns these skills but seriously ear massage is the way forward, well indescribable, (bit like my spelling and grammar), and despite the fact he was flicking handfuls of oil round he avioded my nice clean hair. So he finishes as i have towel to remove most of the oil, then he tells me 'not quite done please sit'. By now i had returned my newly conditioned locks to the clip i had with me, but it was all too late, in one swift manouvre the clip is gone and yes you guessed it my hair now lookes like i have dipped in the fryer at the local fish and chip shop. However his head massage is very good so i cant complain (OTHER THAN THE FACT I NEED YET ANOUTHER SHOWER AND HAIR WASH!!)
So life is good all chilled out i head back to shower and rewash and condition although i fear it is too late and this is clearly the look (well not my look but what do you do) i manage to at least get most of it off of skin.
So later we go for dinner, nice little Italian (i know dont ask but really i am here for a month and there is only so much curry one person can eat!) after which bed to catch up on sleep.
Tomorrow - yoga (2hours apparently - i will be the one a the back asleep!), then we either get good deal on room, or yet more oveing and haggling - its quite tiring but we have good room for tonight so all is well. Ganges is looking good for swim - if it were not full of festival gooers, most of whom are having a great time splashing about and i m sure whould delight in a game of drown the white girl - so we are going up stream (again) to somewhere quieter.

Done xx

Posted by Dizzey1 05:26 Archived in India Tagged foot Comments (2)

sometimes i dont know where i am or going but this is a good

New delihi - still!

So..... i wake at 11AM, a good nights sleep for me and we have to go back to dehi to train station to book as man cannot do.
We hire rickshaw who agrees to use meter, however on arrival the cost is 75, we pay him 80 and then he takes out a leaflet of NEW meter prices and its actually 100!!!! I am by now out of the rickshaw but the man has help of another man to make point. I say if this is true he should have shown us before we got in< and we have paid so i tell Ras to get out we are not paying ans we go, he follows a while and then gives up.
TRain staion - OMG - so busy. We have been warned there are touts at the entrance who will sell you ticket that does not exist so we avoid them, but they keep coming, so many of them, where to madam, i give you good price, where to madam, madam, until eventually Ras just yells can everyone leave us alone.......and they do!
UPstairs we find international booking zone, open the door its air conditioned, and full of white people, man i am pleased to see some more travellers!!!! So we book quite easy really, and we book to come back although Ras is returning on Saturday and i will back on the 28th, just to get it sorted.
So tonight we head off on sleeper train and have forked out for 2nd class with air con!!!Woo hoo what luxury (oh and with curtains - check up out!!!)
we have 3 days in rishikesh, then on saturday we go to Dehdra DUn, (mostly for cool arabian coffee shop as advertised in lonely planet) from there i stay 1 night, Ras comes back and after i head on 14 hour bus to Dharamsala..............or at least that is the plan so far!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Dizzey1 04:11 Archived in India Comments (2)

Dehli delight, ricksahw debates and we leave tonight!

New Delhi

So its now nearly 2pm on Monday the 2nd AUg, i have been on the raod since 11 pm saturday and have so far had a grand total of about 9 hours sleep! I arrived this morning into Delhi where i met some new frineds and have been out all day avioding the traffic and the cows, we are all going out for dinner later. Delhi is ok but very hot dry dusty and busy i am really looking forward to travelling up to rishikesh on Wendesday.
i manages a few hours kip on the coach, another hour on the moscow flight during which they served dinner - well i wasnt going to sleep thrught that was i! Believe it or not roast lamb, with gravy and was actually very yummy. Unlike the salad that i had a slight mishap woth when i thought i was covering it in salad dressing only to realise that it was actually mustard, reminds me of a similiar issue i had once with what i thought was finely sliced smoked salmon only to discover it was atually ginger - nuff said!
Arrived at Moscow met my first friend she has been couch surfing in Cuba - how odd, great chat she is from budapest and off home will catch her on line soon - cyber sufring as well!!!!
Moscow was so hot i thought it would be cold so i turned up wearing everything - nearly died after an hour. Went to the bar bought a pint costt 300 somethings - dont know what dread to think i have probably just spent my budjet!!
Plane to Delhi was nice watched a file ate another meal.

anyhew - will update when less tired, also half the keys on this board are either missing or not english and this is real hard work!

So, India so far, well very complex actually. And technically i have not been traveling alone, well i actually traveled alone but i knew where i was going so no real surprises just yet.
So, yesterday i arrive, off the plane through customs and into a pre pay taxi from inside the airport to Rajiv house (Rajiv is a friend of Trividesh who is my CS friend) very confusing so anyway i arrive its now 8am or thereabouts and in the time it has taken me to leave UK and get here my room is now occupied, its fine though there is plenty of room here. So we chat for about an hour but Rajiv has work, meanwhile the other occupant Rasmal gets up. She is from Australia, but from indian family so she looks indian (this will prove to be both advantageous and disasterous on our travels) but talks with an Aussie accent. Ras only arrived the day before and has been in INdia for 2months now. Anyway we decide to go sightseeing, i thought sleep would only confuse body at this stage so best get on with it!
We take rickshaw to red fort, cost 120Rs, arrive, pay, get out, fort closed! This is typical and driver would have known.
NOw as we stand by roadside being accosted by many indians where to madam, rickshaw madam, come in here madam, (still yet to learn hindi for fuck off!) we head into the nearest building, only to be told to remove shoes which we tentatively leave with man hoping to fins them again on return. On entry temple looks nice all white marble, they have a meditation room which is open so we go in and its amazing amongst the hustle and bustle of Delhi this place is so tranquil and quiet so sit a while. After which we go up to the temple proper and there are people praying and offering rice to the gods, incense is burning every where, we both ring the bell and make a wish.
So out and back to shoe man who gives us back our shoes, grateful we give him 5Rs. Up the road we stop to buy water and see a market and another temple so we head up the street, so many people and its now getting really hot. The smells are sometimes so over powering you want to be sick, and being the only white person i get stared at by everyone. The men is this country do not give you space and some just walk into me, this would not happen to indian women but not much i can do. The temple is 200Rs to enter so we dont bother, the men are now pissed off at us as they had been robing us but we were not told until robed, i have not a robe removed so fast in my life! Then Ras has argument with man who had her shoes (mine still on my feet) and eventually we get going.
We want to head to Parharganj (where i would have been staying if i booked) but a rickshaw wants 100 which is more than it cost to get here and we know its only round the corner. The men will not put meter on but keep shouting money at us eventually a small group gather to see what the fuss is and Ras screaming why wont anyone go on meter, a man said we are on the wrong side of road (it makes all the difference apparently). So we cross road, actually us and another handful of whits people make the dash for safety and the man has come with us. He tries to enlist several rickshaw but all 100Rs, so he finds us a bus, he has been very helpful sadly not everyone here is this nice and you wonder what people are after but then sometimes nothing. I get on the back as Ras gets on the front where upon much to the amusement of the other occupants of the bus we individually run up our down out respective stairs thinking we have lost one another until people stop laughing and tell us we are both on the bus! We pay and get off just outside parhargaj. A short walk and we arrive, my god what a sight the whole place is being ripped apart its a mess i am glad i did not come here to stay i would have flipped out. Business still in operation so i buy my trousers and a sarong. We go to a rooftop bar for lunch Ras orders and it is lovely, but indian spices are so different over here i dint eat too much for fear of my stomach!
We go to internet cafe and generally bum about but all the while i get stared at and eventually my ass get touched as men walk past, so enough for me before i get really pissed off we head home, but not before another rickshaw argument has ensued!!!!
We talk on the way home i say Delhi is tiring for me and i may leave tomorrow as i want to head out of here, its been a fab day but hot and stressful. So Ras wants to come which is awesome as i dont now have to do my first train on my own. That evening we make plans as try to book on train however this is not as easy as it sounds with Rajiv on the case on the internet and the three of us sorting it is still impossible and by 930pm i am now very tired and Rajiv has a man who can help us book it.....................................

Posted by Dizzey1 04:02 Archived in India Comments (1)

Leaving soon

that will be in a few hours then......

Hi All, if youhave mangaed to find me then you are at least on the road to enlightenment - well in the computer sense at least. I howwever will by this time tomorrow be on the road, out of totnes and hoping to get at least a few hours sleep on the over nigter but knowing my luck i will treasure my seat for 2 all by myself for a few hours only to be joined by a fat drunk bloke that i have to keep moving as he snores and drools on my shoulder eughhhh¬!!!!!!
Anyhew i am sure by the time this is read i have at least had a few house kip somewhere.....sorry Donna although i bought a load of lemonade it did not quite work out as i had plannned but i think that was to have been expected - my thanks at this point go to Pete and Jane!!!! So........... its been a great day (even though it rained and i had to eb instructed by Caz that the parasol plus lights was not going ot go up indoors!) and my closest friends have been here i am sure safe in the knowledge that even though i may get myself in the shit so to speak it will be my wit and infalliable humor (oh and the fact i am dippy as.....no comment required!) that get me out of trouble!
Also big thanks to mum and bruv who both starved off hunger pains for a few hours this afternoon whilst wating for me to arrive i can only say i am very grateful that akthought you ordered i am glad you waited as although i may get washed away the chances are i will be okay i have faced tougher emotional tradgedies and bruv you have yours immently and i pray for it end well. I will miss you both but please remember i have gone longer without speaking to you and you need to focus on keeping each other happy - i am alway here..............(some might say)

I only hope that as colourful a month as august will be to me¬!!!!!!

miss you all - much love as you well know.......

be back in sptember (yeah Shona prepare for i am having you at the next christmas gymkhana apple bobbing race - in fact i have just trained Pumpkin!!!)

loves ya...

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Posted by Dizzey1 16:10 Comments (5)

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