Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Chrismas and hurry Krishnas! xxx

Hello hello,
So my best beloved, where did we leave you... in that zoo of a city, Delhi, eating momo's  with Neeraj. Neeraj was a god sent for us, a breath of fresh air in the stifling city smog, my throat is still recovering. As Matt explained in depth we spent a few days lounging in UK high commission and eating fish and chips. After which we were once again ready to explore India, and so off to rajasthan we went.

We've been traveling by train here which is quite an experience of it's own. We take 2nd class (sleeper) where we've found ourselves stacked among layers of beds, usually 3, with an assortment of other Indians (men mainly) who more often then not spend the entire ride staring at me; an hour i could understand but these are 10 hour rides people. The trains have the most atrocious toilets in the world; and if, God forbid you have to use one on your 10 hour ride, you'll find yourself in a little bunker of a room with a rather ambiguous puddle on the ground, shit on all walls, and a whole in the corner. I wont go on, I'm sorry, but i thought a few of you might want to know these things. Though out the ride, at any hour day or night, people will be tromping up and down the train saying "chai chai chai, chitta chai chai." I can't explain the tone they use but it comes from somewhere deep in their sinus, very nasal, almost like a tuvan thought singer, and they all sound just the same. Other than the Chai Guys there are people selling samosa's, nuts, rice, chips, soda's; people shinning shoe's, fixing broken zippers; selling bags and blankets and cloths. All sorts of stuff, we even found a 'pen' sales man, very sweet guy with thousands of pens, he had pen's coming out of his ears.

The train this time took us to the little oasis town of Pushkar, the 'Bhrama' place of India (I believe he's Krishna's brother.) Pusha means flower and Kar is hand; the oasis was said to have been created from the petals that fell from Bhrama's hand. To say the least the spring here creates a very holy lake with ghats on all side, I might venture to call these ghats steps into the water. A good Hindi would make a yearly pilgrimage to the lake to bath in it's water and wash away the sins of the past. It is here that Matt and I fell victim to our fist con, for some reason this village is brimming with crocks and cons. We ended up paying someone about 300 rupees to put a dot on our heads and give us a bit of string. Religious cons are really the hardest to walk away from though we have a new vow "NEVER (ever) pay for religion" and i think it will serve us well. The streets of Pushkar are filled with not only people but pigs and cows and the occasional camel too, and the roofs are lined with monkeys. At dusk the monkeys venture down to the streets to reek havoc and steal from the fruit stands. Perhaps the thought of theft does not cross a monkeys mind but only a innocent imitation of the people they observe all day. Something about how comfortable Pushkar made us feel lead us to think that hopping into the first cafe we found and eating the food they were cooking on the side of the road was a good idea. Our stomachs spent the next 2 days violently rejecting whatever it was we consumed; we made it though, ate a few banana's and drank lots of water and came out 3 days later a little thiner but all in all just fine.

After Pushkar we made our way to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal and Matt's 26th birthday. The Taj Mahal is picture perfect (besides from the swarms of people everywhere.) Something i never new was that it is a Moslem. The king and queen who built it had 13 children, six of which survived and four of those where boys. One of the sons then killed all his brothers and locked his father up in the fort to take over the palace and the Taj. So not such a romantic story but the moral is you can be rich enough to build one of the 7 wonders of the world and you still may not find peace, in fact i would say it lessens the odds. Anyways the original king was returned back to the Taj... after death, and that is now where his tomb lies. One other interesting point here is the Taj cost 750 rupees to visit, which by indian standard is REALLY steep, but this is only for foreigners. Take a guess at how much indian nationals pay? Twenty rupees. Unbelievable! I mean the principle i can understand but lets put the two numbers a little closer together ehh? Anyways the Taj is beautiful and glorious and everything you would expect but Agra is a dirty tourist trap and not somewhere worth righting about at all.

Now we make our way to Dharamsala, home to the Dali Lama. Another train to Delhi and then what we hoped would be a 8 hour ride to Chatty back and THEN a 3 hour ride up the mountains to Dharamsala. As you can imagine we were not looking forward to re-entering the hellish city of delhi but it actually turned out quite well. We found the extremely sought after restaurant 'Karims.' It was opened over a hundred years ago by the man who cooked for the maharaja's of the Mughal empire and since then has been passed down though the family to the current owner who is the great great grandson or something like that. The food is AMAZING! Defiantly, by far,experiences and absolutely the best indian food ever; and damn close the the one of the best dining experiences ever. You see how much of a impression good food can make on somebody. Anyone going to Delhi absolutely must eat here, and it's very well priced, about 10 dollars and we could barely walk away we were so full. So it was a excellent intermission for our journey and a good intermission for us... I'll leave the rest for next time.

Merry Christmas once agin
~Nima

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you two found some good food. Be safe on your adventure. Love you guys! Merry Christmas! Dan/Old Dad:) PS it was nice hearing about your adventures face to face on skype, it made Christmas sweeter, thanks!

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  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI

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