Sunday, January 9, 2011

Smoke on the Ganges

  Week three in India and we're alive and well and as tired of being ripped off as Germans are of Hitler jokes.  I mean if you have the slightest want to become famous just get your egocentric butt to India, where just for being white you will be asked every question imaginable, entire groups will stare at you for as much as eight hours at a time, and every family wants a picture of you with their grandmother and children.  Its kind of neat at first, but then you begin feel like some kind of freak, I mean I am some kind of freak, and I am use to a few strange glances in my own country, but hear you begin to think, OK OK what's wrong with me.  I just say for the sake of anyone that plans to take a trip to India, just so they are aware, oh and when you pack, be sure to bring a pair of those rose tinted glasses.  But I digress, where were we.  Yes, the all together 9 hour late train from Delhi to Chaki Bank, after which we take a 3 and half hour buss to Daramasala, then a quick 45 min buss to Mcloed Gang, the home of the Dali Lama.  This put our total travel time from Agra to Mcloed Gang at around 32 hours, but it was worth it.  Going there was like taking a vacation from India on account that its a place largely made up of Tibetan Refugees.  Its cleaner, the air the Himalayas is fresher, their are more trees, less crap everywhere, it was great.  We threw down some didge to get a nice place for Christmas and stayed at the Pema Thang Guest House, the place where Richard Gear stays when he comes to see the Dali Lama.  But seriously, all hamster jokes aside, he seems like a pretty cool guy, he really seems to care about the Tibetan people.  We had a great Christmas dinner of pizza and beer while we watched TV, though it sounds normal, it was magical, even our sit down toilet was magical, its the simple things ya know.  We spent four days relaxing there before our next trek to Veranasi.
   Just a short 4 and a half hour buss ride and a 2 hour delayed 22 hour train ride later we were at the famed smokey Ganges shore town.  We are in crunch time at this point, no time to lollygag, so we are switching our tourism meter from Californian to Asian; they are the power travelers of the world with the ability to see all the major sites in Europe, for instance, in less than one week.  We saw the cremations on the riverbank, took a boat ride, meandered through the markets, ate a few tasty meals and were out of their quick.  We met a great guy from France named Carlos, who urged us to go on the boat ride, and at the price of a whopping dollar it was worth it to get some pictures of the place from afar.  We also saw some kind of ceremony on the shore of the river and had front row seats.  I have no idea what it was for but it involved bells, singing, fire and flowers.  Another constant highlight are the monkeys of course, watching them from the roof of our guest house in their own man made jungle is pretty wild.  The way death is dealt with there is truly a mind opening experience, its not swept under the rug or ignored, it's right there in your face.  I must say it's a beautiful thing.
   Another 5 hours down the tracks brought us to Bodhgaya, made famous by the Bodhi Tree, where Sidartha became enlightened and transcended into the Buddha.  Beggars, thieves, and con artists aside, it is an interesting place.  The Buddhist Mecca.  The tree itself just begs to be climbed, and if anyone took the trees opinion into consideration it would probably much prefer that to the constant full prostration of all these funny ape descended creatures.  We visited some of the temples, and took a stroll through a local mud house village, where the people were great and everyone greeted us with smiles and namastays'.   On another note,  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.  Our midnight was spent on a rickety rickshaw bounding through dirt roads in India, and we were stoked to be having a unique experience as our proverbial ball fell.  I hope all of yours were unique and awesome as well, and for Gods sake will someone pleas have a beer for me, cause I am beginning to think beer went extinct in India.
   We somehow made it onto a train to Calcutta, and let me tell you it was by the skin of our skinless teeth.  First of all we didn't even have a real ticket, we were 39th and 40th on the list for one, and next we got on the wrong train.  So we stowed away and played it dumb, which worked out surprisingly well.  A good meal and a dirty hotels' night later we were off to the airport to catch our flight to Thailand.  So we must bid you farewell India, and hey you could do with a few more trash cans, and maybe a public toilet or two, and a few more sanitary engineers or an awesome janitorial team.  Well we love you all and remember what goes around comes around, if what your referring to is a boomerang.

1 comment:

  1. Yo gang, wow, it's hard to keep up with you guys, your all over the map, extreem geography 101, but what an education! Great pics, the smiling camel, the goat in a coat and matt and nima in a boat. Kinda like Dr. Zoooss:) Be Safe! Have fun!! Love you guys!!! Old dad