So….um…. ya. I’m in India. Wow.I’m sitting here, in a small internet cafe in Pushkar. Its a small religous town 8 hrs. train from Delhi. It feels like it could be 8 days away thankfully.First off, its amazing to be here with Crista. It was so good to see her, and I’m very glad I can share my travels with someone after being alone for 6 months. She’s so knowledgable about everything, and its kinda funny when we see other travellers not as experienced as her getting ripped off.We arrived in this town after an 8 hr train ride, and half hour bus ride. Exhausted, but glad to be out of Delhi. We’re walking with our huge packs, up the roads to see where to stay, ending up following a nice man saying we can stay at his hotel for only 150 rupee a night for both of us. That’s about $3.50. Pushkar is a religous city, built around a small lake in the middle of the desert. Many travellers and locals come here for religious ceremony and prayer. It has the total small town feeling to it, with children playing in the street. A young boy walks up to us, and welcomes us to Pushkar with a small pink rose. I take it, Crista says no thanks. If Crista doesn’t take it, neither will I, so I drop it immediately. We shoo him away, and continue to follow this guy to the hotel.
The boy stops us again, and tells us all travellers must go down to the lake for a religious ceremony before coming to Pushkar. The hotel man just stands there, not saying anything. Crista again says no, and the boy comes over to me.”Where your flower”” he says.Umm….shit. Did I just piss off the Gods by throwing it the the ground. Are we going to get stoned out of the village” Are they going to send raging cows after us”” Or worse….We persist, say No. Finally, after he follows for another 5 mins, he leaves. The hotel guy tells us its a scam, where they take the tourists down to the lake, do a “religious ceremony”, make their foreheads, and ask for a donation. He didn’t say anything because those scammers can make the hotel owner’s life hell if he does. Later, when we’re at the dinner, tons of tourists are checking in with flower pedals on their foreheads. Heheheee. Suckers.Its those kinds of things that Crista is saving me from on a daily basis. Anyways, as I always do, rambling stories with too much detail. Some random observations since I’ve been to Bangkok and Delhi:- Bangkok scams are everywhere. I had been warned and prepared, so its been ok. I’m learning how much baht to pay for things. But when it comes down to it, if I am ripped off, its only for a buck or two anyways. But its kinda fun to barter with them. “You crazy man” It far, very far. Can only go if got gas with 100 baht! Or I can stop for lady show too!” – People in Thailand makes all its money from the Western world’s need for “stuff”. Thousands and thousands of stalls of stupid shit that people don’t need. Tuk tuks made from beer cans to wood turtles that croak, whatever you need, people will sell it to you.- Its funny when they try to have Western things for us. Walked by a Subway, the lady outside shouts, “Subway, eat flesh!”- There are many random sights to be seen, some of those quite disturbing. In the past week, I’ve seen; a man with no spine begging for change in the streets of Bangkok. Weirdly enough, I saw him again later at the weekend market. For a guy with no spine, he sure gets around; a cow with 5 legs, an extra one sticking out of its left thigh. I’m hoping its not one that will be eaten months later at a McDonald’s in Surrey; during a nice morning cup of chai tea, a cow took a big piss in front of us; many, many, dirty hippies. I stick out like an Asian tourist in India because I don’t have dreads; – Delhi is freakin’ polluted and disgusting. I was in total culture shock when I got there. Everyone honks and drives all over. When walking, you have to watch out for the following: stepping in cow shit, crazy kids on bicycles, goats, people trying to scam stuff, people trying to sell you stuff, people trying to get money from you, massive cows, camels, pigs, dogs, auto rickshaws, trucks, cabs, fruit stands, fabric stands, chemists, tourist shops, and clothing shops (which tend to distract Crista while I stand frightened on the side of the road).So I’m SO glad to get out of Delhi. But it was a horrible journey leaving. We were to take an overnight train, leaving Delhi at 10:40pm, but unfortunately, from the Old Delhi train station, which was supposed to be only 4km away. We had a nice dinner, and jumped in an auto rickshaw (like a tuk tuk) over there. We heard it should only be 70 to 80 rupee to get there, so Crista did some bargaining down to a hundred, as all the drivers said, “No no, very far. Train station, very far.” We jumped in, around 8:30p, and headed out. What we experienced was what we can only compare to, a ride at Disneyland. But a very dark, dark, sketchy ride. Think Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Through Hell. The rickshaws are crazy, can turn on a dime, and go about 35 to 50km/hr. We headed up towards oncoming traffic. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was a one way street. But it IS India.We zipped down dodging the afforementioned things, in the middle of a night in Delhi. It was freakin’ CRAZY. There were people everywhere, and anytime we stopped, they would leer in the cab, and just stare. This one sketchy guy, sitting in another rickshaw beside us at a light, just stared at us and smiled. Every so often, he would say something to the driver in Hindi, and then laugh and just stare at Crista. I clutched her tightly, and we held our bags close to us. He looked at her as if she was a piece of warm naan bread smothered in butter. Ewww.We continued to drive wrecklessly for 10-15 mins. Somewhere in this, I realized we were at the complete and utter mercy of this driver. He would stop every so often and talk to people, laughing to himself. Crista had no idea where we were, and the driver could have easily stopped in a dark alley (which was pretty much every street), drop us off, and then his boys could rob us. I kept on having to release the handrail because my hand started hurting from clutching it so hard. Then we zipped through what I can only describe as a 9 way intersection, different lanes of traffic and cows all coming together. We didn’t slow down a bit. Finally, we saw signs saying the Old Delhi train station. We slowed down in the middle of traffic, and our driver pointed over to the entrance. Still not knowing what was going on, we walked over to this dimmly lit building. There were people lying all over. Waiting in the doorway, in the dirt on the side of the road, outside the bathroom. inside the bathroom, the platforms, and the ticket shelters. It smelled like pee and incense. Weird….and gross. Exhausted, we waited in a well lit area for a bit. The waited for about 20 mins, recounting our last herrowing minutes. Then went down to the train platform and got on our car. It was packed. We were in a sleeper section, with 3 small beds on either side of a small area. We could barely get through with our massive packs, but found our seats. To make more room, we went to put our packs on the top platform. I wanted to unzip my daypack off the big one, because I had the valuables in it. Then we went to put it on top, I was struggling a bit, so Crista gave me a hand. We chucked it on top, then I looked down. My daypack was gone. I didn’t know what was going on, I was still kinda in shock. Crista jumped into action, frantically looking around. It was gone. Luckily, still had my passport and money, but sadly, bye bye iPod, new camera, cell, and books. It was a depressing and uncomfortable 9 hrs. on the train. Ok, enough dramatic storytelling. I’m getting hungry. Anyways, I’m safe, happy to be with Crista, and looking forward to onward experiences and travels. Maybe it was a good thing getting my iPod stolen. It may actually force me to read something. Imagine that….Love you all peeps,Ry
posted Thursday April 2008