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.

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