Saturday, June 9, 2007

sorry for going AWOL, we are great!

really sorry for the big gap between posts. At first my reason was slow internet and too much relaxation to have time to write these things. then it was just slow internet and laziness towards having to write such a long post to update everyone.

I am not exactly sure where I left off, but I think it was after our first full day in Mumbai. On the second day, we didn't do as much sightseeing, because we saw most of it on the first day. We walked around a really busy market area for a while, bought our train tickets to go south to Goa and went to see a Bollywood movie. It was in Hindi of course and we didn't understand most of the dialogue (the odd line was in English, making the movie actually in Hinglish). But if you know anything about Bollywood, almost every movie has the exact same plot: boy meets girl, then there is some troubles and in the end they end up happy and in love, so we thought it would be fine. We got the gist of the movie, but it was a little boring at times not knowing what was being said. and weird when everyone would laugh at a joke and we had that same blank look on our faces.
The next morning we took an 11-hour train ride south to Goa. There was no A/C either, we thought we would see if we could survive in the heat for that long (it was about 35 degrees). Plus it was a third of the price. It was definitely a hot ride, pretty tough at times, but it wasn't the worst thing in the world. One thing we really didn't like about it was how readily the Indians throw their trash out the window. No one even thinks twice about it. I cried myself to sleep that night...
When we finally arrived, we took a taxi the rest of the way to the town we wanted to stay in, a small coastal village called Arambol. We didn't make any plans as far as how long we were going to stay there because we didn't know what to expect. But we really loved it and ended up staying there for 8 nights. We stayed in a nice guesthouse by the main 'road' and spent each day sleeping in, eating, reading, swimming in the Arabian sea and... that's about it. A couple of the days we walked about 30 minutes into the jungle and hung out underneath a huge banyan tree. It really was paradise. We miss it now that we aren't there anymore and we were sad to leave it.
After Goa, we took a flight north to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. It was about 45 degrees there, probably hotter. And it's a pretty large city, so it's got plenty of cars and of course lots of pollution in the air. Jaipur is known as the Pink City, because in the old part of town most of the buildings and the two palaces are painted pink. It was okay, but to be honest we were a little underwhelmed with the place. Plus, that kind of heat makes any place hard to enjoy. That being said we did have a good experience there. While walking around the bazaar area in the old town, one of the shopkeepers started to talk to us (he sold kitchenware so there was no ulterior motive). He really wanted to take us to see his guru. We weren't really sure what to think, but he assured us it wouldn't cost anything, and he seemed like a nice guy, so we said sure and gave it a shot. We took an autorickshaw (three-wheeled motorised buggy) together to see his guru. We were both skeptical and sort of thought we would end up paying a bunch of money for the meeting, but it didn't turn out that way at all. We spoke to the guru for about 30 minutes and he told us about our energies and chakras. He also made some incredibly insightful and accurate comments about us, our families, and our lives. We were pleasantly surprised by this and actually enjoyed the experience. I don't really know what else to type out about it, so if you want to know more, email us or just ask when we're home and we can articulate a little better.
We didn't do much the next day, on account of the heat, outside of going to run a couple errands and going to meet Krishna (the shopkeeper) for a beer. He was a really nice guy, so it was nice talking to him again.
AND we were in the newspaper! On our first day in Jaipur, two guys approached us, saying they were reporters and asked a couple of questions about what we thought of the city. They then took our pictures and said we would be in the paper the next day. When I asked for the paper the next day at our hotel, I was told it was a Hindi paper, and because I wasn't going to understand any of it, I said not to bother. But when we met Krishna later on, he brought us a copy of it. So we have a little article with us now (in Hindi) with our pictures next to it from one of the Jaipur papers.

After Jaipur, we took the bus to Agra. it had A/C, but it was hard to tell because we were still hot and sweaty. But when we got off, the heat hit us like a punch in the face. We were already sick of the heat and had changed our plans to get into the Himalaya as fast as possible, so Agra was going to be just a day trip. We stored our bags at the train station and hired a rickshaw driver to give us a 4 hour tour of the city, most of which was spent at the Taj Mahal. It was really beautiful. It's one of those things that when you see it, you end up taking over 10 or 15 pictures, and most of them look almost the same, but that's just the way it goes with things like this. Also being in a place where so many Indians are at once, with cameras, made us very popular. We got tons of long stares (apparently no one told them it's rude) and some picture requests. It's funny to think that some family will be going through their pictures from the Agra vacation, and we will be a part of their memories.
We boarded a train that night for Delhi, where we had no intention of staying for longer than the night. We got to a hotel, slept, and then the next morning took a bus to Haridwar, a Hindu pilgrimage sight on the banks of the holy Ganges river. Unfortunately AC buses weren't available at the time we got to the station, so that was a really hard 7 hour trip (over 45 degrees). We couldn't drink enough water and were really gross by the end of it. We thought that it was going to be cooler in Haridwar than it actually was, and also that it wasn't going to be very commercial due to the religious significance. But it wasn't very exciting for us and it was very hot still, so we got out of there pretty fast. It was really busy though as these months are a part of the Hindu pilgrimage 'season', and seeing that many people at the ghats (steps into the river) bathing in the waters was a cool thing to see.
Right now we are in a town called Rishikesh, which is the self-proclaimed yoga capital of the world. There are a great number of temples and ashrams here, so there is lots of yoga and meditation going on around town. I think we're going to try one of the yoga classes tomorrow morning, but we aren't staying here long either... still not cool enough. Our next stop will be Shimla, in the state of Himichal Pradesh, which is basically all mountains. It sounds like an incredible place... and a much cooler place... so we are very excited to get there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Miss you two lots!
Great post-you sound liek you're doing amazing!

Maharishi Mahesh Garbo
OR Gunty Guntor (in english)