Thursday, April 23, 2009

dry days...

well i have officially entered my last week in goa, i can't believe it has been 6 months already! today is the last day of elections here in india they started on the 21st, apparently here drinking and voting don't go together. for the last 3 weeks all the liquor shops have been closed, you could get a drink at a restaurant or bar, (if they drink in that area), but not anywhere else. but on the 21st until 5pm today it is "dry days". no booze served anywhere, if you happen to have some at home that's ok but you ain't gonna find any around as the fines are pretty heavy if you get caught selling some. they couldn't even have any in the shack so, as i live about a minute away robert the shack owner stashed it all at my place. so it's been pretty mellow the past couple days, last night he closed the shack and 4 of us went out to dinner. when i came back to goa last week i found out one of his cooks left so i have been helping out when needed, as they only have 4 guys to finish the season, where there's usually 6-8 working. it's been pretty interesting, the other cook doesn't speak english so if it's just me and him in the kitchen it can get pretty funny. we both seem to think if we just speak slower in our own language the other will understand, that doesn't really work that well though.......the beach is pretty dead, some of the shacks have closed down and a lot of the beach sellers have gone home, it's definitely the end of the season. it's very peaceful right now though i'm still loving it.

delhi was ok, i was only there for 2 days, i met 3 canadians about 5 minutes after getting off the train, they were arriving from agra. so i went with them to find a room, then hung out for my 2 days. one of the guys and i shared a cucumber from a street vendor the first afternoon and by that night i had a fever and diarrhea. we both said when we were eating it that we probably shouldn't be it was only a couple bites so we went for it. and we both paid for it as he was sick for 4 days after. so the next day i was pretty tired but wanted to see something so the other guy and i went to the red fort, then i had to go back to my room. i pretty much stayed there till the next morning when i popped 2 imodium's and got on a plane to goa. i've pretty much had a funny tummy since but nothing like before, hopefully things even out when i get home.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

chillen by the ganges

i am sitting in an internet cafe, listing to a snake charmer outside play his flute. it is the same tune over and over again, you think the snake would get sick of the music and stay in the basket, not come out.
so from dharamsala i took a 5 hour bus ride ( it was supposed to be 4 but we go a flat tire) to a small town called chakki bank, where the nearest train station is. it was another crazy ride, the only non indians on the bus where 2 british guys going to amritsar my self and a lady from california who happened to be going to chakki bank as well. so we sat together as neither one of us really knew when to get off the bus. we just made sure everyone around us knew where we had to go and the ticket guy as well. the woman, named indu is almost 60 and lives in oakland. she was visiting a friend in dharamsala that she hadn't seen since she was in her 20's. after talking more she told me she used to be an editor and still writes a bit but for the past 10 years has been cooking, so we had lots to talk about. we were both thankful that we were going to the same place as we were dropped off on the side of the road at about 8pm near the town, and it's always easier to figure things out when there's someone else with you. so after climbing on the roof of the bus to get my bag, ( usually there's guys around at stations to do this for you for 10 rupees, $0.25 but not on the side of the road) we found a rickshaw to take us to the train station. i only had to wait a half an hour for my train but she was going to varanasi and had to wait 3 more hours. after 13 hours i arrived in rishikesh the next morning.....

rishikesh is full of temples and ahsrams, it proclaims itself to be the yoga capital of the world, everywhere you go there are signs for yoga and meditation retreats. and there are many sadhus, spiritual men walking around looking permanently stoned. i don't think they really are, it's probably all the yoga and meditation, they're just very at one with themselves. i have spent most of my time exploring the area, sitting by the ganga reading or trying to avoid the shopping stalls. the days here are quite pleasant, sunny but not excruciatingly hot, and for all 3 nights i've been here there have been the craziest storms i've seen. lightning, thunder, rain and wind for most of the evening which also means on and off power, usually off. so i hang out on my balcony and watch the show. luckly there's a good restaurant in my hotel so i don't have to go far for dinner.
tomorrow morning at 5am i have to take a taxi to haridwar, about and hour away as not many trains actually come to rishikesh. i will take a 6:22am train to delhi and arrive around noon, then spend tomorrow and saturday there and fly out sunday morning for easter in goa.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

free tibet

well i never met the dalia lama, apparently he's to busy for me. actually he wasn't even here when arrived, he was in delhi for 5 days touring around as they're celebrating 50 years in exile this year. but i did learn lots about tibetan refugees and how china has treated them, (not very nice). so dharamsala has been a great learning experience, and i would love to come back here and volunteer one day. i spent some time at the tibetan museum where they show the history of how china took over tibet, and the pain and torture and they inflicted. i never really knew how bad it was and i'm shocked that it's still going on. i can't believe they let china have the olympics when this is all happening.

i also did a couple yoga classes and of course the tibetan cooking classes. i did 3 days of classes, one was tibetan bread, another was momo's which are like potstickers or gyozas, and the third was soup, which happened to be on a very cool stormy day. also lots of shopping, there is so much to buy here and a lot of it supports the refugees so i felt like it was my duty to help them. i guess it's rice and dal from now on.

i have also met a lot of cool travellers here, as there area so many. it's definitely a good place to meet people, everyone seems to be staying here for a while though so i am heading alone to rishikesh tonight, which is fine as i do like my alone time. i will be there for a few days then delhi for a few then on april 12th i am flying back to goa for my last 2 weeks before heading home. i have to go south to bombay anyways so i thought i'd head to the beach one last time, as i already miss everyone there and i've only been up north 2 weeks!!