A Travellerspoint blog

A strange man and boris comes in!

McLeod Ganj

After blogging last night i retired the the coffee shop and ordered a hot chocolate. As i sat reading my book people came and went. not unusual however my mind was drawn to a situation occuring on the next table. A very old man whas trying to sit helped by another bloke. The man helping was bending down tp listen to the old man who was speaking softly. There was someone else at the table who had moved around to let the old guy sit, and the situation was getting worse as the helpful chap struggled to make out what the old man wanted. He took form the old mans pocket a mobile and began calling a taxi. It was clear the old man had parkinsons and did not look entirely there. The other person who had moved aruond the table was runinng out of room so i asked if her would like to share my table. He sat as we got talking it turns out he is from Exeter! Small world eh? James as he introduces himself is here to study Yoga as he and his girlfrined Alice are yoga teachers at home. We chat on and it turns out James mum used to teach at south devon college!!! HIs girlfriend Alice is from london and she is moving to Totnes in september - how weird! The situation with the old guy is gettign worse and James tells me he met him in Goa in January and he and Alice ended up taking him to his hotel as he was just stood in the middle of the road. He was just as bad then. As we sit and talke about totnes and england generally a huge storm breaks out over head. There is massive flashes of lightning and the thunder is so loud I have not seeen a storm like this in years and as we are in a massive valley the lightning is very dramatic. I decide i will stay in the coffee shop for a while so james gets a dessert and ask if i will share. It is a chocolate cheesecake so the answer is definately yes!!!!! Turns out the old man is from new york and has spent his life travelling. The other guy hepling him is Andy but he needs to get home as his girlfrined is sick and throwing up! Andy talks to us and asks James if he will put him in the taxi that will be here in 30mins. James needs to call Alice so i agree towatch him for a while. By the time James returns it has gone 30mins and the old man is now on his feet and prgressing out of the cafe. he has additionally had help from some other people on the way.

The old man continues to need help and James is waiting for the taxi althgouh by the time 10pm the shop is closing and it is clear that this transport is not coming. I have by now spent a ferw minutes winding up my torch for the long walk home. As we stand outside James feels he must take the man back to his guest house and we may catch up again tomorrow as i said i normally in here 'blogging'.
So i walk home and the rain is so heavy that it is impossible not to get wet even with he big rain coat on however the temperature is warm so it not really an issue to be that wet. As i walk along the path is spordically illuminated by the flashes and the thuder claps send more and more heavy rain at me. I arrive home and sit in with the window open and read my book watch ing the storm pass overhead listnengin to the thunder and th rain and its quite refreshing. After w hile the storm hjas almost passed and i feel tired anough to sleep. I relaise that while the window has been open a small gathering of mozzies is now in my room asn i attmept to get rid of them i tur and on the wall above my bed is the bloody great spider that was in the loo the other day. Well thats it ther is no way i will be sleeping now! I look outside for help but there is no one there., i wander a little to find someone to help but all llights are off so i pop upstairs hopeful that my new friend Sunsita is some kind of spider removal godess as she has been here so many time before. She however tells me to get a t shirt and just get on with it! Right so i am back in my room and i look up - still there. Shit, i grab my t shirt open the door and stand on the bed., I realise i must do this quickly before he runs off and we have stale mate. So i pounce absolutely bricking it and in one manouvre i have the t shitrt outside and he is no longer in it. I put the torch on to check and i cant see him so now i am worried that he is back in. Bugger it nothing i can do now! However when i return to my room there are more mozzies the before i started so i have to start the whole procedure once more! That done i settle into bed make out the light and just as i am about to sleep somethjin whizzes past my head. so i am up light on and now there is a huge bloody fly in here! After 10 mins of chasing i get him out and return to trying to sleep the distant thunder resonating in the dark.
This mornig i awokje to the sound of the baby crying and after i use the bathroom i pop up to the bloke and ask him if there is another room arounf the back as i am getting no sleep as its very niosy, he appears not to understand that as this is 'peaceful area' i dont have the hear to say its his baby so i head back. As i am up soooooo early i decide to try the morning meditation session. I stop on the way for a cup of ginger lemon and honey tea and some tibetan porridge with banana. The porridge is yummy and not liek we have at home i must find out so that i can buy some. i dont have tiem to finish so i head out up the long hill. Arriveing sweaty andhot i chat to girl who had been coming for days she is leaving tonight thgouh. We go in and who appears - the old man from yesterday! As we are all setaed and outr teacher is now here there are yet more people that are hepling him into the room this takes the bext part of 20mins and there are now 3 oethers helping. He is eventually in and seated. The meditation is nice and gentle and the guy leading it chats to us about a lot of things and is really funny. They had a lecture last night from the leading monk who was supposed to start ay 730 however he turinged up at 9 and apparently chatted on for 4 hours befoer getting to the text he was supposed to be reading where upon he read the title and the translation and then said i think we have done enough for the night!!!!! This it would appear is normal! ANyway we have some teaching and then 2 mediations of 15 mins with a break, i managed the first one by the second one my mind weandered so much i could not tame it! He said that we could attned the teaching later this evening (i may give that a miss my concentration is not good right now!!!) and they are showning the book of the dead (video - yes they still exist!) at 2pm.
I leave with my new friend and she takes me to an isreali cafe just up the road, i have some toast and we chat a while before i head back down. I have been to the tibetan welfare office and i can register after the 23rd to get a plcae to go and see HH the Dali Lama, which is really good!!! I need to get a small transistor radio to be able to hear the transaltion though. I decide to watch the tibetan book of the dead at 2 so i have time for a quick coffee beofre i head back up the hill agian. When i get into the room there is a handful of people and they are discussing the old man. He is well known and they are trying to get some home help estbalised for him although in this country is is hard. We watch the film ( we have part 2 on friday) and some of the people are nice and we chat a while afterwards. Whilst the film is on the rain pours down and i have been without coat all day so far. As the film is over the rain clears for a while and i head out taking my chance. I have changed up more money to pay for my retreat and after tha i have to find the post office, although i am risking it as the rain is s\tarting again. POst office is not easy to find in the tiny town but i struggle on and the rain begins to get tough. Havin posted my letter the heavens open i thought i had pushed my luck so on the way back i dive into the same cafe i had the cookie from the other day and decide to have some food. I order with the help of the guy as its a tibetan cuisine. It is some bread thing with sauce - sounds good. However when it arrives its actually some kind of soup,. with vegetables, and some boiled bread with it! Great.....my favourite! I manage half of it before i am beaten, but at least i know not to order that again! The guys in the shop are really nice and they chat to me a while. They have live music on sunday so i promise i will come back - although they are hoping i will be in for more cookies beofer then - they are probably right!!
I head home getting less wet that i thought and brave a shower which is surprisingly so hot i need plently of the cold tap, i am grateful for the fact i am not joined by anything animal insect or others during my dip. Afer which i wil head back to the same cafe to begin my blogging and it is like the whole day begins again!
I am really looking forward the course next week and i know it is hard to imaginve but other than asking questions of the teachers you are expected to be silent for the whole duration - can you imagine it, me, silent for 10days????? !10 minutes is more like it. HOwever i need to learn to chill out and just relax so i know it will be for the best possible outcome. and mum always said that you have to work hard to achieve your goals - whatever they are so with that in mind i am looking forward to the challenge. Tomorrow i will get up and go back to meditation class MArk thje tutor is os funny with his explanations and he even said the word 'shit', in fact several times while remindin us that our minds and lives are full of it and we need to work to remove it! Guess it will all become more clear next week and i am excited for my challenge.

Still loving it, in particular the rain and the mist and occasionally the sun nearly shines through and we are blessed with and awsome bright light,

xx

Posted by Dizzey1 06:19 Archived in India Tagged educational Comments (2)

Steer clear of the rice......so much for a peacful time!

Mcleod ganj

Yesterday i took the remainder of my lunch home with me.....sadly i have been here for a week and avoided the rice as it is usually reheated and if ever something is going to upset the tum this would have been it! however not willing to heed my own advice i settled in to dinner and reading last night. I made my usual trip outside before bed only to discover the toilet was now inhabited by one of those BIG spiders i had read about, unable to pee with him crawling the wall above me i had to make use of the shower next door before i washed my face and teeth etc. However at some point during the night my stomach woke me and it was necessary to make a dash to the loo, grabbing the torch and some loo roll on my way out, i was just locking my door when the landlord spoke to me, scaring the living crap out of me (quite literally!!) i hurried on hoping the new loo occupant had taken residence elsewhere, he had, panic over!Feel fine this morning so no real damage done but lets just say that i the first and last portion of rice i will having on this trip!
My room is not the peaceful area i was hoping for as before i was truly asleep i am certain that someone was having a bangra party and there was a baby screaming for most of the night! I thought i had had enough of sleep when i woke to the sound of a waterfall outside my window and realized Sunsita was washing her clothes and tipping the water over the edge! After a quick wash it was breakfast time, now this was interesting i had bought the muesli but i am as yet to lay my hands on a bowl, or a spoon or anything useful actually. So i ended up pouring muesli into my mouth, a handful at a time interspersed with gulps of water (yeh couldn't find any milk last night, didnt want to help myself from the goat outside although tempting so i only had water) until i grew tired of the whole operation and finished it off with a fig roll. That done i washed a few clothes spent about 30 mins arranging my washing line in several locations before settling on using the girl next doors tree and window (yes i asked first!)
I went upstairs to say good morning to Carol who was instantly ready for my yoga lesson. I however was blissfully unprepared for what happened next. We found ourselves a nice warm ledge to work on, now i am no yoga gura, or claim to know anything however i am pretty certain that you are not supposed to be in that much pain that you have to constantly wrinkle your face up and make a lot of moaning. Carol however approached yoga with all the vigor of a bull in china shop and so we went at an assortment of things you could loosely call moves, until i was practically creaming in pain, by now my face had taken the same contorted expression as hers and two Indian women on the balcony opposite had unbeknown to Carol had taken up residence with great smirks on their faces. I continues to the best of ability which was not good and Carol assured me that the fact i was in pain was a good thing and asked me where it hurt most. I though this may be a good way to slow down this whole process so i said my lower back where upon she said and so we must do twice and much and launched into another tormentuous routine.
Yoga finally over for the day......i gathered my stuff and literally legged it before anything else could happen. I was heading to the Tibetan Library, and then back to the Tushita place to find out some more. My walk back to the village i was accompanied by another gentleman who walked with me a while 'practicing his English'. He works in the kitchen of the local restaurant and made me promise to come in for my lunch. i am aiming for one hot meal aday and so i agreed. My walk through the town was nice and although i did not fin d the library i bought a new book and some other items. On the way back up it rained, its quite funny sometimes it is just drizzle for a while then out of nowhere there is a massive deluge and you have very little time to retrieve the mac on the bottom of the bag before becoming drowned. I decide a good time to stop and went to find my new friend. He bought me a coffee and showed me some good thing to order which i did (only bread no rice!) and it was lovely. I looked at my book and decide on some places to visit while here. I am still keen to do some volunteering and have found out i can do some conversation work with the Tibetans, they talk to me over coffee or something. I will investigate more tomorrow. After lunch i pay and my bill is 74 rs, roughly 1pound!!! I have had 2 bread thing s and the equivalent of a curry dish (man am i going to struggle when i get home!)
I take the long walk up to Tunsita again and this time it is open. I chat to the man running the desk (he is from alicante!!!) and there is a course i am interested in doing. 10 days starting on the 17th where i can go and live up there and learn about Buddhism and meditation. it will cost no more than staying in a hotel and covers my food and everything. Sadly that is only 7 days away so i have to cram in all the sightseeing before i go!!!! they have a library up there also so i go for a while, also they have video nights and there is daily meditation class. (if i get up in time!)
On the way home i stop to but water form a little cafe, as i got to pay there is a cookie jar on the counter and the chocolate ones look yummy - be rude not to so i buy one. The English man in the shop says its vegan and we have a chat about vegan cooking. ON my way out on the other side of the road there is man with a shawl shop and a girl is looking,. I stop to find out the price and am surprised its less than 200Rs, they are beautiful i decide to buy and the girl asks if she can hold anything as i am now struggling with the contents of my bag. I hand her cookie which she says looks fab and i tell her the story of where i got it from. I offer her some and she agrees it is Delicious. We chat some mroe - she is from California and is called Dominique. I say i have always wanted to go so she gives me her email and says i am welcome anytime. She is also as couch surfer i later find out. Dominique is now going back to the tea shop to buy a muffin and offers me some, so we both go and have drinks and snacks. She is an anthropology student but taking 6months to go traveling. We chat about our various adventures so far - she is planning a trip to rishikesh soon and i am glad to be of help! We part as she is off to do more shopping i am home to read for a bit but she tells me abotu some cheap hotles where she is its only up the road so i agree to look later. They have yoga which maybe i will attend....
Later on i walk uip to bagra but is really busy compared to where i am and i am not sure., I have a good walk around and enter some shops. The waterfall is up there so that will be another trip one day, but its not like where i am and despite the fact i cant fond the hotel or the ashram i dont know if i can be bothered to move again for a slightly cheaper room. I head back down and once more the heavens open, people are running for cover in all direction, in one swift maneuver i take the rain jacket from my bag and in seconds i am dry so i continue my walk. I stop to buy a plug so that i can plug my phone in, so far i ahve had to charge it twice, one before i left delih and once again beofre i left Ras and rishikesh. The plug in only 30Rs - i am sure at heathrow they were about 8quid!! never mind.
Anyway i am back in my favorite internet cafe, the people who work here are really nice and lots of backpackers hang out. Its great to see people but i am also just left to my own devices which is nice. Having blogged tonight i will stay for a coffee and read my book for a while, The tea shop is few doors away and they have live music, last night i was too tired but tonight i might investigate. Then home, hopefully will be better tonight if not i may have to move tomorrow. By the way i was reading my book on the bed earlier and then there was a kitten on the bed also....where are all these damm animals coming from??????

xx

Posted by Dizzey1 06:39 Archived in India Comments (3)

ignorance is most definately blisss.......

Dharamsala

As the bus pulls out of the depot, i put some music on a allow myself to relax. It has been quite a hectic few days and time to think and just be has not been availible. I reflect on my reasons for travel and muse over the possible outcomes of my journey and how that will affect my life when i return. It will be a long bus ride and so i ahve to time to ponder. We hit rush hour traffic and as yet the AC is not on so all the windows are open which brings in more heat and dust. As we start to leave the city there is a massive traffic jam, eventually i spot a row of shops and in amongst them a army surplus store, it just reminds me of home. There are many police around and when i look properly a large crowd has gathered, there seems to be something going on and with the munber of people there is wonder igf there has been some sort of riot. As we get to the front of the traffic queue oi lean out of the window (yes terrible british habit gawping!) and really wish i had not for there on the road is an inordinate amount of blood. From first look it is as though someone has slaughtered an animal right there in the road. THe man next to me sees my shock and just says there must have been an accident. I have over the last few days seen the ambulances over here, they are far from modern, amnd even with the siren at full pelt make little progress throught the crowded streets and i would think probably quite ineffectual at thier job. I feel bad for the occupant and his family.
The bus continues to leave the city and the air becomes cleat and breatheable. Eventally we are told to close the windows as the conductor will be puttin on the AC. BAffles me really - intense city heat and dust - open windows, nice cool mountain air - close windows....nuff said! As we continue out of Dehra Dun the road become steeper and narrower. The sun fades and darkness begins to fall, as does the road side. A few hours after we leave we stop for a break. There is a 'roadside cafe', i amd a few other investigate the loo and discover my first hole in the ground since my arrival. Sadly there is nowhere on the back of the door to hang my bay (not that i would want to anyway) and so i end up balancing with my bag at the front desperately trying to hold my clothes up, my loo roll in my hand etc....its no mean feat (sometime being a woman is really too much when you are tired!) but mission accomplished an without tragedy i escape into the night reasoblay clean.
I meet my new friend Tenzen who is drinking a cool lemonade, he offers me one but i will stick to the drink i am sipping, (small amount in small amount out i figure!) his friend is with him now and he intruduces himslef as Tashi. Taschi is in the army and is heading home to D sala to see his cousin. We talk a little about the journey and i ask is the 2 men operating the bus swap over so one can rest, however i am assured the the driver will do the full 14hours by himself and that is normal and he does this very often and is good driver!! My mind at ease (!!!!!!) we reboard the bus and head off, however not 5mins later we stop. This seems a long stop and the driver eventually turns off the engine, i look out of the window and we appear top be outside a tyre selling shop, i can see a lead and it looks as though they are checking the pressure of the tyres. HOw insightful i think as must be heading up some steep hills soon. SLowly one by one the Indian men sytematically leave the bus and it would appear there is a problem, surprise surprise! There is a little movement of the bus and there appear to be many parts of the back end on the floor now. They may be changina tyre, it is fortunate i think that awe are outside this shop and i am just imagingin what trouble it would be to be further along the road when there is power cut and the shop is in darkness! Depite the pitch black conditions the men carry on and some time later they all reboard the bus. Imagine a bus breaking in England, everyone would get off and just start yelling until it is either fixed or, another bus is called out. However over here every man gets off and it is all hands to the deck irrelevant of the heat and the fact many are in shirts and trousers until the problem is sorted and they all get back on. A problem is everyones problem and they all work together to fix it. We continue as eventually i doze off. The man who sits beside me relaibly informs me it was a puncture.
I awake to another stop, another interesting loo break and when i treturn to the bus it appears as though both rear wheels have now been removed, I guess we will be here for a while (my 14 hour journey looking longer and longer). I chat to Taschi who is astounded that i dont know where i am going and insists he will find me somewhere to stay, i say i am ok i think but grateful for his help. He tells me about waterfalls and swimming in Mcleoad Ganj. Eventually i reboard a try to sleep while we are stationary, nad i must manage a little for next i know the bus is being started and we are on our way. NOw, i dont knwo where we are in geographical terms however a while ago someome may have taken the road (well the tarmac equivalent) and replaced it with the surcface we are currently using. To say it is not level is an understatement. The bus pitches from left to right so much i am reminded of a boat in a force 9. (dad you would have got off long ago!) It is impossbile to sleep as the bus literally throws you from one side of the seat to the other and the man who was sat next me got off a while ago (the kind bus driver seeing myslef and one other female on her onw puts the new occupants to the rear of the bus) and so i have 2 seats to myself and far to travel. With the absence of a seatbelt there is nothing to secure you in place and i ahve resorted to wedgin myslef in, which works quite well but when the bus pitches me far the shear force of muscle contraction to stay withing the boundary of the seat is enough to keep me awake. I toy with opening the curtains as i am not able to sleep but i know the kind of road we are on, i have been on many similar ona skiing holiday. Only with the pitching and rolling i am certain this is steeper or narrower or whatever and quite honestly i dont want to look for fear of scaring myself. I put my faith in the driver and a few hours later the road is calmer i must have dropped off as next thing we are here, Dharamsala.
ON exit from the bus the rickshaw driver informs me to take riskshaw as bs to Mcleod now for few hours, as usual this is rubbish and Tenzen takes me over to the bus stand where i discover the bus is in 30mins. I wait and are joined by two ladies from Korea, i watch thier bags while they get drinks (i am still on sips), and we discover we are heading the same way. They ahve come off of the same bus and we discuss the journey. Eventually a few more backpackers (2 separate groups) turn up however before i ahve chance to initaiate a conversation they realise they are all french and get on with conversation of thier own. Next thing they ahve all gone and i realisethe bus we need must be here so i tell the 2 Korean ladies and help them on with thier luggage. Once on the bus i chat to Sunsita, she tells me she has been here many times before and is a Buddhist. She has a good place to stay and will be checking it out when she arrives, i ask if i can tag along (anything for a bargion hotel!). We arrive and i help them with the bags which they leave in the street asking a local to watch them while we go to look for the place. As mine is on my back and i ahve got this far without having lost it i keep hold of it, however after trekking through steep hills i being to wish ihad not. Sunsita is not sure of the whereabouts of the place as it was found by her english freind as the directions are not great, we walk up and down after a while her feind Sunsa has broken her sandal so we wait at the top while Sunsita goes off. We find a place to sit and Sunsa tells me about her travelsshe has been to so many places i could only dream of going. Eventually we hear shouting as Sunsita is back. SHe has found the place so we go to look, the bathroom is not in the room but outside however it is clean and the price is good 100rs per night (roughly 1.20p). The place is a good 5-10 min walk form main area, and is in the ammore rural part, the room over looks a corn feild and you can see across the valley to where the 'massess' are staying. I look and its very basic but will do for now.
I dump my things and attaching my valuable sot my money belt i head back up with the girls to help wuith thier bags from the top.ON the way i meet a dog who puts her nose in my hand probably after the busciuts in my bag i think, she follws a while then trails off. At the top the bags are still there and there is a porter who wishes to help. Sunsa enlists his help and we go down, after much deliberation on which path - we will do this several time befoew we remember where we are! we find it and i help Sunita with her stuff upstairs while Sunsa sorts out hers with the porter. We are chatting to the lady in the room next door when there is mush banging, i look dow and Sunsa door is shut Sunsita goes down while i chat to our new neighbour. She is here painting and has an exhibition in few days time hoping to sell, the paintins are really good and each one has a story. She tells me a littel about herself and she is from New York. I tell here i am hoping to learn some meditaion and Buddhism and perhaps a little yoga can she suggest anwhere? She informs me many course are not for begginer and that she used to teach a little and if i like she will help get me started. She tells me her name is Carol, i say like my Aunty i think this is good sign.
After my shower the dogf comes to my room, i ignore her and head up to see Carol. Carol teaches me some stillness teachniques as i am very bad at jsut learnignto become quiet. When i close my eys many thoughts enter my head and i struggle to get past them . She gives me some homework, and tells me to got the library to get a book which will help. Tomnorrow morning she has said she will get me started on some yoga! I climb up to the library it is very steep and i struggle to bt\reathe as i am as yet unused to the height i am at. I arrive only to find it is SUnday and therefore shut, still the exercise has been ggod and the view is great. I will return tomorrow.
ON the way back i go a the cafe to order lunhc i have not eaten properly c\since friday night, so i am starving. I decide on tofu and cheese momo ( a momo is kind of liek a mine pasty thign a tibetan speciality i tried ion delhi but was not sure) and some egg/veg fried rice, also a mix juice with carrot manog orange. The order arrives and its enought o feed 2/3 people! I must remember for next time i only need one thing! i Do my best but its too much the kind lady allows me to tek the rest home and puts it ina bag, with no cutlery as yet i am still unsure how this will pan out, perhaps just open mouth and pour it in?????? I decide to head home as i am overcome with tiredness and a little altitude sickness.
I arrive back and go to the loo, on returngin to my room there are scrateches at the door and and crying, i look out and the same dog is practically pulling the door down, i ahve not encouraged this one at all!! I open the window to say hello and she puts her head in my hand. I return to the bed but she makes so much niose that eventually i opne the door and let her in. Once inside she takes to the rug and with i big sigh curls up. Great i think now i must sleep with the door on adjar as i doint want to shut her in. I put my shoe against it she can get out fi she wants, but as i lie down on the bed she relaxes and goes to sleep - what is it with these dogs, am i turnign into d\some kind of dog protection??? Have i missed something here>?
After a hours sleep i feel much better and head back to the cafe for a coffe (yes its proper coffee here) as they ahve an internet cafe and i need to let you know i have arrived safely. Its rainign so i try out mums mak, Not for the fashion concious i head up. The coffe is nice and this is the same place as earlier, the girls who work here are tibetan so i can practise my thanskyou. The coffe shop is full of travellers form every corner of the globe, is like some kind of mecca. Some look up and smile, for the most people leave me alone, i think they snese you aretravelling alone for a reason and leave you to it. This time i avhe abook which iread as i sit down., Most people are lovelly here, even the locals will speak to me and are nice to rahter than just staring, the only people i ahve had a bad vibe froma re the hardcore backpackers ./ travellers. You knwo the one they have been at it for years, most have on the usual hippy clothing, pierced nose, big jewelery, dreads. The eye me with distain as i fumble my way through my order and my tibtean attempts, as if they know i am a newbie - and oh my god they are just sooooo cool - whatever peeps, i am havcing the time of my life!!!!!!

Posted by Dizzey1 06:39 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

all this just for a coffee.......?

Dehra Dun

We woke around 730 and packed for our journey, roughly 20min by rickshaw followed by an hour by bus to Dehra Dun. The journey out rishikesh somewhat less epic than the journey in as we were able to use the main bridge so not far. Alan came with us in the r shaw, and bought me an incence holder (which reminds me i must buy a lighter) in which to burn as i had been borrowing his!We got in said Rshaw and arrived at the bus depot no problem. Needless to say this was not where the bus in had dropped us and we were again reminded how much we get messed about over here, no wonder we can never find anything. We baord the bus and prepare for the off, well we would if he could get it started. A small group of locals get off and give us a push start, we both hope we dont stall 'en route'. The bus journey is lovelly, nice scenery, the air is getting cooler and we make good time to Dehra Dun.
We arrive at the bus station and i after some discussion i am able to find the point at which i can purchase a ticket. This yet again is not as easy as you would think, there is abus leaving in 30mins however i want the night bus and it is a while before we can make ourselves clear. The book said the tickety prive was 295 rups, so i am astounded when it is actually 700! I a m only concerened as i ahve been as yet unable to change over my traveleers cheques and as yet the cash point is still unable to porvide me with anything other than slips telling me my transation is declined! We pay the man although as is the way in this country i am still not sure that i actually have a ticket for the bus that i wnat and that i will actually be going in the correct direction, but such is life. The plan for today is to head to MAa Cozy Coffee lounge (i have read about it in my guide book adn its sounds fab). Like the one we went to the other day (althought that had clearly chacnged hands) it is an arabian style lounge with shisha etc....... We leave the bus depot, however we have now noticed that there appear to be 2 depots in D Dun so we ask a guy whicjh one we are at. Assured of our return name we head out to a rickshaw, Ras spots one and although he does not clearly understnd us he is happy to go to Rajpuir road for a fee of 100Rs. He asks uis the number of the place and we are unsure however we figure out on the way that is is 76, which presents the next problem as he does not understnad the number anyway!!!!(why ask?????) We get to the bottom of Rajpuir road quite quickly and although he is not sure of the number he is obviously keen for us to alight as soon as possbile as he now gets agaitated and starts to shout at us. Ras remains firm ans tells him he gave us the price and we told him the number and that is not good enough for him and it is further on. As he drives he gets quite mad and resorts to yelling as he goes along although this is quite pointless as neither of have a clue what he is saying! He pulls over and enlists ths help of a stranger, who in true comedy timing spends a age looking for his glasses so that he can read our map, wherupon he agrees with us and tesll the man to go on. We continue and he gets more and more cross, we see on the right hand side a coffee shop that i know is near the one we need and there is bank there so we tell him to go over the road and drop us off.
Once we alight i glance at the map and realise that we sill probably a good 20mins walk from the one that we want and i am concerned for the time as i dont want us to miss our connections. Ras insisits that we continue as we have come this far, we cross back over the road and try to find another rickshaw. One man pulls up he does not know where we need and he is not keen to take us just 5 mins up the road, in fact he is a bit of an idiot so raj gets cross and quite rightly asks him why bother to pull over if not prepared to take a fare. Another man pulls up and asks us to get in however he has 3 school boys in the back, probably age5 or 6, roughly 3foot tall each of them, but we have all our stuff and where we are all going to fit who knows. Yet another man pulls up (are there no women involved in rickshaw driving here???!) and he has his daughter in the back (roughly the same height as the boys before so must be school finishing time) he says 30Rs for the journay then he realises where we are going and DROPS (yes DROPS) the price to 20!!!! A nice man. We get in and 5mins later we emerge to the MAa Cozy Coffee Lounge. DOwnstairs looks a bit like a small maccy D's (insert favorite brand of fast food chain here) however we are directed upstiars (we much ahve looked hippy enough!!) where we find the lounge full of teenage 'oiks' smoking sheesha and listening to mobile phonw music and generally being turnips. We find seats around the corner and i go down to order. ON returing upstairs Ras is already causing mayhem as she has sparked up a cigarette and the sign (according to the now red faced man) quite clearly states 'no cigarette shisha only'. Ras has the required number of tokes before extinguishing.
We sit and have coffee, and a small (literally 6" diameter) pizza to tide us over. The atmosphere is okay but imagine with the season being off peak it is naturally quiet. The silly boys eventually leave and we are left to ourselves, the music is now playing 'snoop doggy doooogggggg' and we both giggle at the sillyness. IN fact all the music that follows is a string of 'gangster rap' goodness know why, buit anyway Bruv you would have loved it! We chill for a while and deceide to head back, however we first establish that we are going to the correct bus depot. (The train for RAs is not far and she decides to drop me first) We hitch a rickshaw in search of a bank, but when we arrive and i have squeezed through the smallest gap imaginable with my backpack we realise that the bank is in face closing (hence to half shut dorrs!!) and i still cannot change money. I have enought to last until monday so ia m not too concerned. We cross the road and attempt to engage a rickshaw back, after much deliberation we get one to old delhi bus station 30Rs. We do explain the 'BIG' bus depot for all connections however as the man pulls in we realise we are at the wong one! Another feued breaks out and he want to charge 100 to go all the way however RAs insists either all the way for 80 or we get out here and pay him10! I wonder how i will survive on my own after all these days, probably i will be broke by tuesday! Finally destination reached and the man cannot giove change for 100, however after much shouting he gives in and RAs gets the money.
The bus depot is quieter, i am still not entirely convinved i have the right ticket, nothing in this country entirely fills you with confidence. Ras decides to wait a while with me, at least i can buy snacks and go to the loo again before i go. (I have by now stop drinkingh and am on sips of water - 14 hours on bus not sure if they actually stop!!) Final loo stop and on my out there is a man yelling at me that i need to pay him for use of toilet, however iahve not got purse and i resent paying when the other loo was free and who the hell is he. He shouts for me to get money and come back but i ignore. When Ras goes she has a quiet word........nahj not really Ras cannot have quiet word, but she tells him he has no right to ask foreigners for money and he is makin the country look terrible until once more a small crowd have gathered and several people apologise for the mans behaviour.
We decide that the bus at my terminal is the one i need so after a last minute Hindi lesson (I am now fleunt in all of 5 words!) i tell Ras to carry on and gather up my things to board. HOwever i am yet agin shouted, but this time fortunately as i am about to get on the wrong bus.........(yes mum you knew it would happen!) The man says i have to wait for AC bus, however in India AC can sometimes just mean 'with window open' so you never really know. There is another man on the platform waitning with many bags so we ask is he is going to Dharmasala, he is and i will wiat with him. Ras says a fond farewell, it has been a very intense few days and i certain i would have struggled alone, what i lack in desicsion making and standing up for myself Ras has enough for the pair of us and have learnt much from my time with her, ever ringing in my ears is my new mantra.......dont let them F*** you over! Yes Ras i think i have got it!I sit down with my new freind who introduces himslef as Tenzen Sonam. He is Tibetan and heading home from D DUn after holiday although like me he finds it all very dry and busy. He says i will find peace in Dsala adn suggests i go up to Mcleod Ganj as that is where most people hang out and Dsala is abig city but now much there. I tell him i want to learn about meditation and Buddhism, and i would like to work or volunteer or something as plan to stay for 2weeks maybe more. He tells me it is possible to teach english to some of the Tibetand who are trying to better thier skills and gives me some pointers on where to go. Tenzen is a teacher, he teaches children tibetan language up to age 12, so idecide i ought really get a few words under my belt here and know. After much confusion with pronunciation and a good 10mins (This is going to be hard!) i master hello and thankyou. (Okay not a great achivement but once you have hello and thankyou go along way in any country i always think) We talk a while and eventually the bus arrives. I help him on with his stuff (he has presents for his family) and soon we are leaving Dehra Dun..................

Posted by Dizzey1 05:28 Archived in India Tagged transportation Comments (0)

shopping gems,shisha and hotel california......again..!

rishikesh

Another quiet day, not much going on it must be a calm day for the festival goes as i am nearly left alone i ask the guys but they agree it does seem calmer somehow..... life here is getting better (just tomorrow we leave!)
We agree to walk back to laksman Jhula, about 2k but up and over the bridge that we came in on, only this time without backpacks! We head off and its hot but the occasional shade make it bearable, only just. We stop en route for mint coolers and some pakora but after about an hour and a really scary ( for me ) toilet experience involving a very wet floor and the only item of clothing i should really have known better to go in there in and try and hang on to while balancing a good height above the seat, we conclude that the man has first gone to pick the veg before making and we can wait no longer so we move on. Its a cool little village the people are friendly and we chill out. having reached the top without too much damage we head back to find MAa Cozy coffee lounge where i am assured by my guidebook to find a good coffee and they have shisha pipe. We spent ages looking and eventually find the place only it is now something else but the man assures us we can fins shisha and is good coffee shop. Upstairs is deserted and there is aman asleep they wake him up and order us to sit, at this point i opt for a fanta, i am sure the coffee is good but not for me. They ask us what flavour shisha and we ask what they have after a few are said we choose apple, he head off only to return 5 mins later with the news that they have no apple! We choose another and are again let down in the end we ask what they have this time the list contains only two item so we end up with mint!!! IT is actually really nice and tastes like a murray mint. Weird i know. After this one we like to try the other flavour so the man brings it out and loads it up, Alan takes a puff and guess what - yeah this one is mint also, never mind it was good enough. We hang for a while and just chill out, its a cool place and in high season i am sure its packed but with only us.......... well its not so cool!
The guy in the hotel that sorted our room out is really sweet and this morning put all the pics from my phone on his PC so i can put them only my memory stick, in exchange i let him have some music, he was not entirely taken with 'the streets' so he now has Gomez, goldfrapp,Tracey Chapman and a few other chilled ones. He has shown me pictures of his home village and his beautiful wife. The place look amazing and the views are great, there is a tree up the mountain that has been there for over 400 years, it is a type of tree that only grows up the mountain at a certain height. As we are heading out this morning he has got hotel California playing and he asks Alan (who has his guitar with him ) to play it tonight......it is our final night here. At this point Alan has been saying he cannot play this one but finally gives and agree if only Chundun will sing. He said he does not know the words but Ras tells him to google it. Anyway as we return this evening, we enter the lobby, hotel California playing and Chundun has found the lyrics they are being printed......! So tonight after he finishes at 10pm we are having karaoke!!! (Hotel California.... i think i have been here before!)
Tonight we go out for the last supper....hopefully it will be yummy as usual and then tomorrow travelling one hour up to Dehra Dun, hang out for the day before onto the 14hour (well if it keeps to time) bus to Dharamsala. may not be around for a few days, or at least able to find such good internet cafes (yes Aunty Carol they have them over here too!!!!!!)
Hope everyone at home is well?????? Write soon peeps x x

Posted by Dizzey1 05:52 Archived in India Tagged shopping Comments (2)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 15) « Page 1 [2] 3 »