Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The condensed version

After several blogging attempts have been foiled by powercuts I've given up hope of writing a long narrative (yay for you all). Thus the following lists, highlighting the most memorable moments of the trip so far.

Best transport moments:

- 19 people in a regular 4WD on a very precarious mountain road. Okay, actually 16 people and 2 small children in a 4WD and one man standing on the the ladder at the back.

- Missing the bus from Rishikesh to Delhi and then chasing it on my friend's motorbike wearing all my luggage on my back. I've noticed that many of my friends with bikes have been influenced heavily by 'Dhoom', the Hindi motorbike version of 'The Fast and the Furious'. Some Indian girls seem to have been influenced by 'Bride and Prejudice', judging by their increased confidence in approaching foreign male tourists.

- Catching the above mentioned bus and then having to sit virtually on the dashboard for seven hours, centimetres away from the front windscreen.

- Watching a landslide occur in front of our bus on a mountain road with a several hundred metre drop to the Ganges. The bus stopped and I tried allay my panic by contemplating the karmic value of death at that particular juncture. It was then that a local entrepreneur arrived crying 'softee, creamy icecream, softee, creamy icecream'. I didn't feel like one.

Best overheard Hindi conversations

- (a restaurant owner chatting up European lady who was showing off her stilted Hindi)
'Actually, your Hindi is better than Sonia Gandhi's'
"Thank you"
'Have you been to Nepal?'
"No but I hear it's quite beautiful"
'You are quite beatiful too'
(It was then that I snorted and betrayed myself)

- 'Quick, he's getting away! Quick, try and think how to say tea in English, I'm sure he wants to drink tea. English people like tea'

- (one guide instructing another on how to deal with foreigners) 'He's English. To English people you should say "hello". It's better if you say it loudly "HELLO!", and you should say it at least three or four times "HELLO, HELLO, HELLO!", then you can be sure that they have heard you. They like it when people say hello to them'

Pilgrim toughness rating on the 14km hike to Kedarnath

1. (you rule) Walking barefoot and carrying your luggage on your head
2. (yay me!) Walking and carrying your luggage yourself
3. (mild blessings for you) Riding on a mountain pony
4. (shame) Being carried by four boys/men on an open palanquin
5. (may you be reincarnated as a working mountain pony) Walking burden free while your exhausted wife carries all your luggage on her head. Telling her she can stop for a rest and then asking her to make you lemon water with the lemons she has carried from your fields. Showing off to a foreign tourist 'look how well she serves me'. Oh the shame, for I also partook of that lemon water. It was very good.

Tranquility moment

- Staying two nights in a 'Lord of the Rings' style mountain village with no electricity. Getting into my warm sleeping bag exhausted from walking after a glass of warm buffalo milk.

Sister's first day in India

- We step out of the hotel and she sees a malnourished baby cow. 'Oh, it's so cute!'. We then see a dog eating a smaller dog. It's already finished on the head and it making a go of the neck. I'm glad she could see the humour of the situation.

1 comment:

Iqbal Khaldun said...

Bharat namaskar!