Jun. 17th, 2012
04:15 pm - Grateful
What are you grateful for TODAY, and who are you grateful for NOW??
04:11 pm - I am BAACK
OH my its been way to long. Lots have changed and I am ready to share again.
Happy Fathers day...
Jul. 19th, 2006
12:09 pm - Reading the Journal
If this the first time reading this Journal, please scroll to the bottom and start from the bottom up.
Jun. 18th, 2006
05:58 pm - I'm HOOOME!!!!!!!
I have arrived safe and sound. The flight back was uneventful, I slept for 7 hours and watched
a few movies.
I feel a bit out of sorts, I'm sure this will pass soon. Everything I purchased arrived intact, I was a bit concerned I may have to purchase another suit case, just to pack the items I purchase.
Thank you all for traveling with me, I hope you learned as much as I have.
I will be posting my pictures within the week.
Jun. 16th, 2006
04:49 pm - This is it, The Finale
Now, where was I???????
Sunday morning, I woke with the ceremony bells from the priest again. I did get up early as I had arranged for a car and driver to take into Rishikesh.
Went to the restaurant and had breakfast. This time they had no French fries, there some large fried looking dumplings, I’ve heard they were good. So I took one.
Of course toast, coffee and today had juice. I ordered watermelon juice, it was chilled, fresh and absolutely delicious.
I cut into the large fried looking dumpling and I see it has some filling, I take some out try it, and again
OMG the flavor of cumin and curry is not so good in the morning. I had to wash it down with my watermelon juice and I could still taste the spices.
Finished breakfast and check with the front desk clerk about my car and driver, I was told the time to meet him. I asked if it was far, they told me yes but they would have rickshaw take me. Oh Great……
The same guy that picked me up from the train station took me to the driver, they charged me 1400.00INR for 5 hours. I tried to negotiate a better deal however there is only one way into Rishikesh due to the distance. I took it.
As we enter into the parking area, a woman holding a baby starts to follow the rickshaw. We stop and she comes next to me and starts the begging and making the food motion. I tried to ignore her, GOD I tried but all the drivers were just looking at me, I felt like I was being judged by them. She kept at it, over and over again. Finally she broke me, I took some coins from my pocket and gave them to her. She smiled and started the whole thing over again. That’s when the driver who watching all this approached and told her to leave. As she did she kept saying Namaste.
The drive over was LONG, traffic was insane. Worst than Delhi, my driver looked like he playing a game of leader of the pack. He could not stand to be behind any other cars. One thing I learned and I think I mentioned this, every time the car honked their horn I closed my eyes. Why????
Well that mean he was passing someone and I did not want to see if there was an impact, I wanted to be surprised. J
There were tons of pilgrims walking into Haridwar. Remember I mentioned the color orange, well that is Holy color, I kinda like it and bought some fabrics on the specific color.
One and half hours later we arrived in Rishikesh, well not really. I was dropped off as close as any car can go then I had to walk. Aoy……more walking on this heat……
I followed the crowd and got to the bridge which takes you into town, there were monkeys on the bridge. I carefully took some pictures of them, I had to be careful. I’ve heard stories of monkeys throwing poo at people, yeah like I needed that with the heat. Have I mentioned it was HOT AND HUMID……
The town was packed, there was huge temple and of course I had to take my shoes off again, MMMM
I really don’t think so, besides picture taking inside was not allowed. I passed on this temple. I walked around and looked at some shops, did buy some things.
I actually think I may have gotten a new merchant for Amex. I was talking to one of the clerks and they asked me where I was coming from and who I worked with, well come to find out they want to take the card but have no idea how to go about it. I took their business card and sent an email to Merchant acquisition India.
Walked around some more, the heat was really getting to me. I found a book store and bought some books on meditation, reiki and mantras. I just really wanted to get out of the heat, but the books looked interesting.
I get back to the parking lot and find my driver. I truly believe that if it wasn’t as hot and I was staying there I would’ve enjoyed my self more. I want to hike around but there was no way.
We head back into Haridwar and before we get there, he asks me. Lunch?
No thank you, I said. I had a big breakfast. Well, you know that’s not really true. However these were the reasons, I really felt if I got out of the car I would pass out of heat exhaustion, I would have to buy him lunch also, and the only places around were side roads food stalls. No Thank you.
I think he was pissed, oh well. He was getting a nice tip from me, he could eat then.
He took a different way to Haridwar, l thought it was to beat the traffic. That was not the reason, he did so that I could go to another temple. This place was HUGE and there was queue to get in, plus again I had to take my shoes off. I said to him Thank you, but just take me back to my hotel. No more for today. He said no problem.
OMG, half way to the hotel the AC in the car stops working. I was dying, traffic was at a stand still, there was not breeze, no AC and the sun was hitting my back. Again I wore long pants in case I decided to go into a temple. I will never learn……
By the time we made it back to the parking area in Haridwar I looked like someone took a bucket of water and soaked me with it. I said thank you, gave him a tip and got out of the car.
The hotel really was not far, about 5 minutes walk.
I arrive at the hotel and asked the front desk clerk if I could keep my room until 5p, she told me that I could get another room until 5p for half the rate, I took it. I needed to lay down, I still had 5 hours to wait for my departure train. I mean if there was a pool that might’ve been different.
I got the key to room, went inside turned on all the fans to hi and collapsed on the bed. I just lay there for 30 minutes. I got up and went to eat lunch. To my surprise, it was the same food I had the night before, Oh well. Ate just a little bit, drank 3 limca’s. Lime flavored soda, product of coke.
I go back to the room and collapsed again, this time however I set my mobile alarm clock to 445p. I only needed 15 minutes to get ready.
450p – I check out of the hotel, they call me another cycle rickshaw. This one was sad, he was elderly and I felt so bad for him. He took a different way to the train station. At one point he had to get out and push the rickshaw up a very small incline, he could not pedal it. It broke my heart. If you’re wondering why I did not help, well I did not want to offend him. He was doing his job. It is hard to see, but what can you do.
We get to the rail station, I give him 50.00INR as tip and I go on my way.
Now the fun starts, no place to walk, literally masses of pilgrims wearing orange color clothing. I get inside and look for the departures board to find my train. There is no info on my train, I wait to see if maybe there is change but no, the information starts repeating.
Interesting, I start walking and on the platform looking for signs, there is nothing. That’s ok, I know I will find information, I just have to….
I walk into different areas and still no information. I go back to the main entrance to see if the was a change, there was not. The ticketing area was right there also and there about 100 people trying to get tickets or reservations or just information.
Then all of a sudden the crowds starts to get angry, you could hear them. Something was going on, I really wanted to get my camcorder out, but I did not think it would be safe. It was an ugly scene so I got out of there fast.
Still walking trying to find information and nothing. There was sign next to a door marked enquiry, I walked in and I was pointed very rudely to get out.
I noticed what I did wrong, I should’ve gone to the other side and use the window. Well I would If I could get close, there was another sea of people there.
None of the screens showed the train information, I was getting nervous again. What I did was follow 2 westerners thinking they were going to Delhi, I was wrong. They took another train, not the Shatadbi Express.
Then it dawned on me, ask someone. DUH
I turned around and asked this couple standing behind me. They tell me I was in the correct platform, what a relief that was.
Now I have to find my manifest with my name on it, I hope. I start looking around again, this was easy to find. I did have a confirmed aisle seat.
I took some pictures of the station, will show them later.
The train arrives, I board and collapsed on he seat. We depart, I take my MP3 player out and tune everything outside OUT.
2 hours into the train ride my mobile rings, it was Ramesh.
I thought he was calling to make sure I was still coming on the correct train, but NOOOOOO. He actually called to tell, HE could NOT pick me up. Actually NO ONE from his company would pick me up. I thought he was kidding. I had him repeat this 3 times. He tells, you can get any cab from the rail station. YEAH RIGHT. He the says sorry sir, and hangs up.
What am I to do know? Who do I call?
I thought, call the hotel and have transportation department pick me up. Ok, good idea Louis. I empty my back pack and do not have the number for them or even the hotel. To top all off, I have not mobile service we must be on a dead zone.
I will not panic, Oh I know, check the call history on the mobile. I know I’ve called them before. I have over 50 numbers in my call log, but when did I call them last. It was in Jaipur, now if I could only remember the date. I remembered May 27, I keep checking for signal and Voila, I have. I quickly redial and it worked, reached the hotel and arranged the pick up.
Now I can relax a bit…. GOD I NEED A DRINK!!!!!!!!!!
No booze on the train either.
Arrive in Delhi and I follow everybody out, 4 cab drivers come over to me. I say no thanks I am waiting for my driver. I get to the street and cannot find the Wimpy restaurant where I was supposed to meet the driver. Am I in the wrong station, Oh Dear God, what now????
I asked where the restaurant was and I’m told, its on the other side. There are 2 sides to this station??????? NO ONE FREAKING TOLD ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I schlep my stuff up the stairs across the bridge pass 4 platforms, down the stairs and I can see it. Wimpy.
I was too tired to even show any emotion, of finally ending this trek. Found the driver, got to the hotel. I was famished. Ordered a chicken burger, thinking it was a chicken breast. It was chopped chicken made into a patty with cumin and some curry. Whatever, I ate it.
The week went by fast, my team here in East gave me and an inter they had a good bye luncheon, Pizza Hut. They gave me a beautiful gift, asked me to give a little speech. Then they said, now sing. I looked at them and said AHH, NO.
Sorry, I just do not sing at all.
Friday came and here I am, its 430p, storming outside. Bought some more things in the hotel. I leave for the airport in 3 hours. Today I worked from 8a – 1p
Some final thoughts about this incredible adventure…..
What an amazing journey this has been for me, and I hope you have enjoyed it as well. If there is one thing I will take from this entire experience is appreciate everything I have
even more. There are others in this world that have so much less.
India has opened my eyes into a culture that is rich in history and tradition.
Don't think of India as a bad place to travel, there is so much you can learn if you're open to it. If you're afraid of getting sick, don't worry, you probably will. But you can also get sick in Mexico, New York, London. You need to be prepared for everything, cover every base. Do not let
little things like getting ill stop you from experiencing an opportunity like this. If you are prepared like I was, and have taken precautions you will be OK.
I’ve taken India into my heart. Would I do this again? Thinking back at everything I’ve done and experienced I say yes, without a doubt I would do it again.
Thank you for following me for the past 6 weeks and feel free to share this journey with other.
PS – Tony, Joey, Scottie – I’m coming home……..
New Delhi Louie
Ok, I have 2 weekends to go over. So relax and enjoy.
Friday I went to Gurgaon and spent the day working on my project and talking with the QC team on some Mexico issues. I had told
Ramesh to me up at 6p, he called at 5p and told me he was already back. He could not stay and wait for me he dropped me off
at 930a and went back to Delhi. I have not even explained the problems I've had with transportation, well..... I would not say
problems only challenges. The admin here in Delhi set up my transfers to be a pick from hotel and drop off at the office and vice versa. If there
were any other request outside of those, it quite a chore. I really wanted to have the same driver everyday, someone I could talk to
and get to know. Ramesh is a great driver, but I could never get him to pick up. With the help of Cathy Nicholls some calls were made to the cab company
and it was arranged to have the same driver everyday, in this case Ramesh. When he picked me up after all these calls, he asked me if
I was unhappy with his service, because some called his company and complained about him. I told him my only thing was I wanted HIM only to
be my driver I did not want a new driver everyday. He understood, he then dialed his supervisor on his mobile and asked me to talk to him which
I did. I explained the situation and it was settled, Ramesh was my driver and I needed him to go to some other place after work he had no problem.
Well that was working fine until this past weekend, I will get to that later.
Back to Friday, I called Ramesh and told him I'd be leaving around 730p, he said no problem. What I did not know was that some of the GTFO team
members were taking me out to eat, plus I needed to shop some items.
When we got the mall to do the shopping I felt so bad for Ramesh I gave him 200INR to eat something. We shopped, then we went to Ruby Tuesdays for supper, that was fun. Took some pictures of the group, will share them on the another site
with the rest of pics. Ended leaving at Gurgaon at 1110p, I felt so bad for Ramesh I bought him dessert to take back with him to his family.
Saturday he picked me up at 1p and we went to Red Fort. This is the first time I wore shorts, and it could’ve been the first time anyone here has seen a man in shorts. Yeah, I stood out again.
The looks I kept getting, well this was not a Holy place. Give me a break……….
I then went to the Market, I needed some supplies. You know, oreos, juice boxes, chips and my weekly fix from subway. Funny thing about Subway as soon as I entered the store the manager told the works what kind of sandwich to make me. I guess it shows he has been paying attention previous times.
Sunday was a down day, slept till 9a, ordered breakfast. Went to the pool for a bit, then went out to lunch to this great Chinese Restaurant I’ve heard people rave. Its called Lotus Pond. It was delicious and I even took some for lunch the next day.
Things are starting to wind down with my project, we have weekly calls for updates and I am in my 4th revision of the information deck. On Thursday we are having a pot lunch ( Pot Luck) and since I missed the last one I had to be here for this one. The menu was as follows –
2. Chapati/Parantha - Tortilla like bread
4. Kashmiri Aloo
6. Raita -
The food was fantastic, and did not bother me at all. I guess it really has happened, my stomach has gotten an inch of lining to take the spicy food. Pot lucks are done different here, the food is not eaten until is lunch time, none of this grazing. That’s what I was expecting.
We played some games. We had to draw another team member, they all wanted me to sing. I really did not know why, they kept insisting I sang. Later, later I kept saying.
We started to play something like bingo, with real money for bets. The funny part is they wanted me to bet with USD, I said Yah Right. They were all betting 20.00INR and they wanted me to bet 20.00USD. The USD is so strong here, of course they wanted me to bet in USD.
I did not.
Thursday night I had to get ready for the trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh. Let me talk a bit about making these train reservations. I had to WWW.IRCTC.COM and fill out a very long profile. Then find the closest train station to where I needed to be. Thankfully the website was user friendly.
On my first try I could not find an EC ( Executive coach) seat available. I was able to get a 2nd class seat and actually purchase the Waitlisted ticket in EC. Before you even hit the buy button the system tells you how many waitlist are both in reservation and seat preference. I was able to get confirmed within 24 hours in EC, but my seat would not be confirmed until departure day. That was OK by me. There was this fear within me that if I cancelled the coach seat, and I really did not have an EC seat I would be screwed.
So I had 2 tickets for the outbound train.
Now the return was a little more tricky, I waitlisted again on the return train but I could not find ANY seats in coach. The waitlists for coach were 20plus on all seats.
Delhi actually has 3 station, the main one is New Delhi Train station. The other 2 are a bit farther away. I could however book a redeye train at 1130p that would get me in at 6a. There was no way I would that, I kept looking and looking and I found the following. 1 spot in a sleeper coach going into one of the smallest station and it left at 6a. GOD NO WAY, I know what you’re thinking beggars can’t be choosers. Well, after searching for 1 hour different combinations of classes ( I’m sure it does not take that long, but the so called “high speed internet” was on slow speed.)I had no other choice but to take the sleeper coach. I’ve seen the sleeper trains here before and OMG, I was afraid, very afraid. For days on end I kept checking to see if I cleared the WL on the 515P in EC, and YES I finally cleared. I even called the help line and they did advise I was confirmed in EC on both trains I wanted.
Ok, now enough about making a reservation.
Thursday night I had told Ramesh to pick me up at 6a, the train left at 655a. He then tells me that he can’t pick me up, but he will have someone else come and get me from his company, no problem I thought.
I was actually outside waiting at 555a, this after changing some travelers cheques at the cashiers in the hotel. 605a – 607a – 610a Ramesh calls me to make sure I was picked up. No, Not yet. He tells me, someone is coming and he gives me the car number
615a – 617a –I had it at this point, I WAS FUMING.
I go inside to the lobby and tell the transportation department that I needed a car ASAP to take me to the train station. Wheels start getting in motion, Its hot, humid and I could really see my entire weekend falling apart. I go back outside, Ramesh calls me again.
Very calmly I say to him, no-one is here, I am taking a car from the hotel. I think he could tell I was pissed, all he said was sorry sir and hung up. The transportation manager comes outsides and tells me car is coming, as he tells me that, the car from Ramesh’s company arrives. I tell the hotel guy, cancel it. He looks at me, and I said this is the car that showed up first I’m going with him, sorry.
The driver would not even look at me in eye, its 623a. I tell him, You will get me to the train station to the train station on time. I got in the car and we did not speak.
This man was so scared he was sweating, even with the AC at full blast in the car. I kept thinking if he stops to pee, I will loose it.
We actually made in 17 minutes, he ran every light he could. I know this was not safe, but this is how some people drive anyway. I just gave him an incentive to do it on purpose.
The train station was the as full as last time, there I was trying not to step on anyone sleeping on the floor and find my way to platform 9 ¾ get it…????..( want to make sure you are still paying attention )
I find the right platform, the EC car and there it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. My name confirmed on the passenger list with an aisle seat, who cares if I wanted a window seat.
I climbed on the train found a spot for my luggage and sat down.
The train ride took about 5 ½ hours, they served me some tea and biscuits, then an omelet with fries and a few cubes of cottage cheese, yes I said cubes. GROSSSS, for me anyway.
I fell asleep shortly after breakfast was served, I know we made a few stops on the way. In one of the stops we changed direction because we were traveling backwards. Let me explain, I wake up and adjust my eyes to the sun, I look out of the window and notice I was traveling backwards. I thought OMG
I really did sleep thru station and I’m headed back to Delhi.
I was extremely confused, I looked around and the same people that boarded in Delhi were still sleeping. Well, I thought whatever, I’m sure I did not miss the stop. I went back to sleep.
We arrive in Haridwar, the station was much smaller than Jaipur and there were more people around also. I walk into the main area looking for some someone holding a sign with my name. I had emailed my arrival information to the company that booked my hotel, and I got the response after I left the hotel.
I walk outside and do not see anyone, I do have the hotel phone number, I try to call them on my mobile. The call is not going through. I try for about 5 minutes, in different ways, nothing…..
I realize I am the center of attention, again. I look up and there are people staring at me. Great……!!!!!!!
I put my mobile away, grab my stuff and walk inside again.
I start thinking, there has to be a visitors bureau somewhere in the station, after all there was one in Jaipur. I’m reading the signs and not one for the visitor’s center. I’m thinking, boy I’m in a bit of trouble here. I walk pass a glass door and see men standing there with signs, HMMMM I’ll try door number whatever…….
I start looking at the signs and there it is, my name in a placard. THANK GOD.
I motioned to him to let him know that is me, he takes my bag and starts walking.
Well I guess he wants me to follow him. He hands me my bag and with his hands he says to stay where I was.
He shows up 2 minutes later in a cycle-rickshaw, cool……..
We head towards the hotel. On the way I noticed lots of people wearing orange color clothing, lots and lots of shops. Everyone seems to be going in the same direction, mine.
We enter this narrow alleyway, and there are more shops, TONS of people. Some of these shops were food stands……… L
Sorry to say this but none of the food I saw I would even try. There was a cart selling what it looked like raisins, but there were so many flies around it, how could you tell the flies from the raisins was beyond me.
We make a hard right and I mean a HARD right, I almost fell off. There were people ironing on the right hand side, looked like a dry cleaners of sort. More food stalls on both side and of course more flies.
He goes thru some gates and I see the name of the hotel Haveli Hari Ganga, great I’ve arrived. 3 bell boys show up, one helps me off the rickshaw, one takes my bag and the other tells me “this way sir”
The hotel only has 20 rooms, it used to be a house many years ago. I was completely impressed from the moment I entered the lobby.
There was long desk as reception, I was asked to sit down and to give them my passport. Not a problem, they told me the room was almost ready. In the meantime if I wanted the front desk person can take me up to the SPA to check out the services and make an appointment. That’s what I REALLY needed, I wanted a good massage.
Before we even go to the SPA, I’m given a welcome drink, it was great. It was like a lime with water and soda, very good and refreshing.
At the SPA I was given the list of services, prices extremely cheap. No, I MEAN CHEAP.
I went all out, I scheduled a 2 hour Aryuvedic massage for only $50. That was a steal.
I talked a bit the masseuse who’s name I can not remember. A few minutes later a bell boy came to get me, my room was ready.
Getting to my room was amazing, let explain. There was a courtyard in the middle of the hotel, in this courtyard was an area for Yoga and meditation. Plus a “priest” would hold morning and evening ceremonies for the guests. We keep walking and get to the back of the hotel, there is a bigger courtyard and beyond that was a full view of the River Ganga. There was a small gazebo, some tables and chairs it was gorgeous.
I entered my room and I was blown away, large bed, fireplace, TV sitting area, huge marble bathroom. I could not believe this is where I was staying. The bell boys had already turned the AC and placed my bag in the closet. I gave them both a nice tip and I started to relax.
This place was heaven, I went out side and looked at the river. That was an amazing sight, on the other side of the river there were people bathing, washing clothes. I really had no idea how strong the current was. There were steps leading to the river and hand rails, the hand rails had chains for people to hold on to if they were taken away by the force of the river.
I was in complete amazement that the water in river comes from the Himalayas.
Went back to my room to unpack and watch some TV before my appt. for the massage. I’ve been a little news hungry for a few days.
Ok, TV is not working. Not a problem, possibly a temporary thing……….
That was quite an experience. Now, I’ve had massages before but this was not at all what I expected at all. When I arrived at the massage room, the guy was burning incense and playing Indian prayer songs. (I asked him) I was told to turn off my cell and to take my clothes off, not a problem where is the robe?
THERE IS NO ROBE OR TOWEL.
I look at him and I asked him, wait you mean nude as in nekid? He said yes. I knew this massage was going to be different but its starting a little weird. I took a deep breath and off went my shorts and shirt. I’m asked to sit down chair, he then brings over a little plate with a candle, incense, orange flowers and orange aryuvedic powder. He closed his eyes, said a prayer then applied some of the orange powder on my forehead.
He takes some oil bottles and pours it on my scalp and start to massage it in, 20 minutes of this. It was heaven. I felt all my cares and worries disappear. I had my eyes closed and with the music and incense, it was very spiritual. Sometimes it felt like there were 2 people doing the massaging, like there were 4 hands massaging my scalp at the same time.
I move to the massage table, and if you’re wondering?
Yes, I’m still naked.
Once on the table my head needed to be under this pot which had like a straw in the very bottom. He puts cotton balls on my eyes, so he oil does not get in my eyes and all of a sudden I feel the oil dropping on my forehead, very slowly. He moved the straw from side to side so my entire head got the oil. 45 minutes of this, I was so relaxed I was falling as sleep, and then the phone rang. Talk about being jolted.
The rest of the time he did acupressure, on face, arms, hands, legs, feet.
He filled up this emerald green bathtub made of marble with cold water and told me to soak for a few minutes. He left the room, when he arrived he had a glass of fresh lemonade.
This was the most amazing pampering experience I’ve ever had, I even asked if they did manicures and pedicures.
I know what you’re thinking, Well why not ask, you never know. Plus that would complete the entire SPA treatment.
I left the SPA and went to the front desk. Asked about tours being offered, they told me they could offer me a complimentary guide and to the Hari ki Pauri ( will explain this one later )
I said sure, give me 20 minutes. Went back to my room, got my camera and camcorder, drank some water and left for the lobby. I was energized and ready to tour.
I arrived early and was told to sit in one of the couches and wait for the guide.
He arrives, his name is Mahivesh. I found out the next day, he works in housekeeping at the hotel. He just likes to take travelers around.
He starts walking and we pass the hotels’ rickshaw, I then say. “ Are we walking to this place ” he says yes. Ok, how pathetic is this. How spoiled have I gotten that I do not want walk, I got over that quick.
I had to really keep up with him, but I could tell he made sure I was still behind him.
Let me tell you, if I did not have this guide I would still be lost somewhere in Haridwar. The place is maze of alleys that all look the same, stores, food vendors, stores, stores.The streets were very small to accommodate the amount of people that were walking, but still, motorcycles and bikes found a way to get through those crowded streets.
We must’ve passed a sewer system cause at one point I almost vomited from the smell that hit me. Stupid me I forgot to take out my little towel to cover my mouth and nose.
We get to our location, was a cable car ride to the top of a mountain to look at a temple or shrine for Manasa Devi. I thought cool going to see a temple can’t wait to take the pictures…..YEAH right.
I had to buy 2 tickets one for me and the guide, that was ok. Then the wait started. 45 minutes at the base to take a 5 minute cable car to the top. Hot – Humid, HOT HUMID. Yeah there were fans, BLOWING HOT AIR.
While in queue we pass a small stand and I ask Mahivesh if he wanted some water, he said yes. I bought him a bottle and I got one.
We arrive to the top of the mountain and the queue to get a cable car back was at least 1 hour long. I looked at that and said are you kidding? He looked at me and said no. Ok whatever, this better be worth it. We arrive to the main area and surprise, I have to take my shoes off again. I look at the floor and I knew my socks were being trash when I got back to the hotel.
We followed the worshipers into a long hallway, there were some small openings on the walls and inside you could see “priests” surrounded in candles and incense.
The place was packed, we reached the first God and the priest anoints my forehead with the orange powder, then motions for me to make a donation.
Now, I did not see him do this to anyone else. Sure pick on the foreigner……
I gave him 20.00INR
We kept walking and you could smell the air was thick with incense, candle wax and something else I could not describe. I told Mahavish to please tell me if I had to do any specifically, I did not want to offend anyone. There were statues of Gods of all shapes and sizes. There were people giving these bundles that had puffed rice, and whole coconuts, and something else inside not sure what is was. They were wrapped on a different color cloth with gold fringes. These were offerings you could purchase everywhere.
The entire walk around took less than 10 minutes, all I kept thinking was of the long wait to get down.
He gets our shoes back. There was not a place to sit for me to put my shoes back on, oh yeah I forgot there was the floor. YUK
I bit the bullet and sat on the floor, put my shoes on as fast as I could.
We go back up to stand in queue and it took 50 minutes to get into a cable car. Have you ever been standing in a place where is so hot, you can feel sweat running down your legs and your back. OH OH
I just remembered something, I had long pants on, I was told shorts are not allowed in temples. YAH!!!!!
We finally get down to the main area, and there more people than before. It was getting late and everyone was heading towards the evening ceremony. There were several thousand people doing pilgrimages this place wall to wall people. Not sure where he was taking me, but when we arrived is was a fantastic spot. He knows a priest that has a platform in front of the where everything happens. That was a cool seat.
This is what happens, you buy a container made of large of green leaves and its filled with flower petals and toped with candles and incense. Once the whole thing is put together it will float down the river where it go with the rest of the others. The more people arrived the more excited I got. They started collecting offerings, I took out 20.00INR but they did not get close enough to me to give them the money.
I took out my camcorder and started to film, all of a sudden I feel a jab on my back. I turn around and there is the old lady smiling at me. She starts pointing places where I should be on the lookout, she also tries to give me some insight on the history. However I understood very little, I just looked smiled and shook my head. I went ahead and purchased one of those containers with the petals and kept it next to me.
720p it starts. The old lady jabs me again and says to look somewhere, ok ok. Over the speakers you could hear chanting and singing. Every hair in body stood on end, everyone is singing, chanting, clapping to the beat of the music, you could tell there is going to be a major climax at the end. You see the priests in each of the temples blessing the Gods with torches. The movements they had were to the beat of the song and chanting. I was in total awe. I’ve never seen such a display of devotion in my life. The more the music played more priests appeared with torches blessing the sky and the river all in unison. The singing, music and the entire ceremony took my breath away. I could hear bells from other temples in town. I then start to see the leaf boats going down the Ganges with the candles and incense lit. It actually brought tears to my eyes. I was so moved to see these gifts floating. Some of these people have barely any money but they still find some to give to their god.
Once the ceremony was over everyone started clearing from the area. The priest that allowed me to sit in his platform handed me the offering and then he started praying to me in Hindi. He then asked me to repeat with him, I did the best I could. I repeated everything he told me in Hindi. I have no idea what I said. I am taken to the edge of the river, where I went careful not to fall in with all the people that were still around.
Carefully he holds my hand and together we sent the boat on the river, as the current takes it away he says more prayers. ( I can tell they’re prayers due to the motions he’s making)
He scoops some water and sprinkles it on me as a blessing. ( he said blessing ). I was blown away. He takes me back by the hand again to his spot and he anoints my forehead with orange and red powder. He holds his hands in prayer bows before me and says Namaste. I look at him and do the same thing. I really do not know what just happened, but I was totally speechless.
I gave him an offering of 100.00INR just because.
My guide and I head back to the hotel, I was making sure I made mental notes of all these alleys as I was on my own the next day.
We arrived at the hotel I thanked him and gave him 250.00INR as gratuity. He basically did this in his spare time.
I walk in the restaurant and food was a set price for a buffet. Started looking at the food, called a waiter over and asked him to tell me what everything was. Well, I understood very little. I had some cauliflower covered in curry, rice and beans. I only really did eat the rice and gravy from the beans.
There a lady sitting on a table across from me, she was a Westerner, I did know if she spoke English. I did hear say some things in Hindi, but that did not help
One waiter brought me a dish of something they were cooking outside on the griddle. It looked like
Crab cakes, I should be so lucky.
I asked the lady if she spoke English, she said yes. I asked her if she knew what these were, they were patties made of potato and spices. I tried one little piece and, OH MY GOD.
Nope, did not like it at all.
The lady and I started chatting and she asked me where I was from, I said originally from Puerto Rico but now live in Arizona. She looked at me strangely then said, I was born in Puerto Rico also. Her parents left and went to the US when she was 6.
This blew my mind, what are the odds of this happening. I have no idea, but is a long shot. To top it all off her name is Louise.
Louis , Louise – that’s pretty weird,
Am I the only one that sees this as weird????
She was not staying at the hotel she likes the food here and comes here to eat. She’s actually staying at some other place.
She got up said good bye and left, I ordered another soda got my bill and went to my room. It was 9p already and I was exhausted.
Tv still not working, great.
Went to bed by 930p did not wake up until I heard the bells from the priest in the courtyard. My bathroom window faced it. I could hear him chanting and ringing his bell.
The ringing bell was getting closer and closer, then there was knock on my door. I got up unbolted the door, opened it and there he was the priest. He motioned for me to follow him, I put my sandals on and I followed him.
We went to the private bathing ghat the hotel has for guest. There he continued with his prayers, I looked around and there was no one else just the 2 of us. What a way to start a day, a private ceremony. He finished the prayers the same way the other priest did last night. Scoop of water, sprinkled on me then anointed with orange powder on my forehead.
I went back to my room and laid down, but I was getting hunger pangs. Then I thought breakfast, nice cool refreshing juice, coffee, toast, eggs, and pastries.
I cleaned up and went to the dinning room, buffet again. I take a look at everything, then I go back and take another look.
I have no idea what some of this stuff is, the only thing I recognized were the French fries. No eggs, no pastries and come to find out no juice either, really I am not kidding.
My breakfast consisted of French fries, toast coffee and pepsi. Now how sad is that. I know it was my choice not to eat what they had, so don’t feel sorry for me. But come on, no juice….PLEASE……
I finished my food, went back to my room and laid down again. It was only 745a, I took a nap then I was woken up by the another knock on my door. It was housekeeping, come back in 2 hours I say.
Turned on the TV, still not working. ARGGHHHHH
Could not sleep, got up changed again and decided to explore the city on my own. I wanted to get to a bridge that was on near the hotel, but I had no idea how to get there via the mazes.
I talked to the front desk clerk, they offered me another guide I declined. I knew what I wanted to do and go. They gave me directions on how to get to the bridge.
I walk out the confines of the hotel, and of course I am stared at again. I’m looking at all the shops trying to see what they have. I have some idea of where I was going, I just did not want to end down a one way alley.
Well, I did. One way alley, I very casually pretended I was counting the buildings not the let anybody know I was lost. I did eventually find my way to the bridge.
The bridge covered in one side by beggars living under tarps. There were card readers, sitting on the floor doing readings. Funny thing was, they have parrots to pick the cards then they read the fortune from books.
I walked for about 10 minutes, then found a spot to sit and just look at the river. Being stared still, lots of people passing me by. A man came up to me asking me if I wanted a shave, HMMM that is a no. Again having a total stranger hold a blade to my throat is not something I am keen on.
He got the point after a few minutes.
A homeless man sat close to me and stared, he just looked at me. I looked at him back and said namaste. He just stared, Ok, fun is over for me. I pretend I got a call and start talking on the cell phone.
I get up and walked away. Very casually I turn around and notice he is not behind me, good it worked.
Now I am headed where I was the night before, the whole place looks like a beach resort. People bathing with clothes on, underwear or swimsuits.
I was about to cross a bridge and when 2 of the security guards I saw last night stopped me. From what I could understand I have to give a donation to the god. I pull out a 20.00INR, but NO, they ask for 100.00INR. OK, no problem. I pay and get my receipt.
I am on the bridge and this guy dressed in orange with orange paint on his face approaches me. He does the blessing thing, then he asked for 100.00INR. I said well how about 20.00INR, he got angry at me. 100.00INR only.
Right, 100.00INR it is, I hand it over then he says no 500.00INR. I looked at him and said yeah right, do you want the 100.00INR or not. He took it.
I’m thinking this is going to be an expensive day if I have to keep giving money like that. I get to the other end of the bridge and I see 4 other guys in the same orange outfits walking towards me.
Oh no, you’re not coming near me, I thought.
I can see the same guy running to catch up with his friends, he approaches and starts the whole routine again. I look at him and say, “ are you kidding me? You just did this over there” and I pointed to the other side of the bridge. He says, “no, no not me, it was one of them” Then it hits me, they think I can’t tell them apart. What a joke………..
He blocked my path, and sternly I tell him “ get away from me” He did not move, so I went around him. No one followed me, Thank God.
By now I need a drink, but this is a totally DRY town. No alcohol at all in Haridwar
I find a spot to people watch, in order for me to move to the other side I would have to take my shoes off, I was not doing that. The other way I would have to face those clowns again, so, I start to think. What am I to do???
I walk a bit then I see, there is another way to get to where I want to be without having to take my shoes off and facing the clowns.
I find my way to another bridge, I stay there for a while people watching.
Ok, I’m getting tired and really warm. I start to head back to the hotel 2 more guards stop me and ask me to make an donation, again. I tell them, sorry I already gave over there. The ask me to see the receipt I show them, well that was for a one temples, they were collecting for another temple. Ok, so ask him how much. He tells me, as you wish. I took out 20.00INR he says no, he wants 100.00INR
I went all Puerto Rican on him. “ Why would you say as you wish, when you really wanted something else. That is dishonest” I was making a scene, oh well.
He stood there looking at me. I took out 100.00INR bill and gave it to him.
I swear, the moment I took the money out beggars came out of nowhere, kids and adults. I get my receipt from the guard and start walking away, some of the beggars start following me. Now I can tell you the most frightening thing EVER happened. A beggar approached me and said please help, look my hands, leper. He showed me his hands.
I froze for a second and looked at him, he got closer and moved faster. On the way to the hotel, I could still hear him in my head, look my hands, leper. look my hands, leper.
It was like an echo. I still get the chills when I think about it. All this time I did not realize some of the kids and adults we still following me begging for money.
I reached the alley for the hotel, I look around the beggars were gone. I buy a large bottle water and get into the hotel.
I get in my room and I literally collapse on my bed, I run to the bathroom and wash my hand,arms and face. Plus I take 1 antibiotic. Can you blame me?
I go and turn the TV, still not working. I GIVE UP.
I lay down and take a 2 hour nap, it was 145p. I wake up at 3p with more hunger pangs. I knew lunch was still being served, so I go an eat.
The food was actually really good, don’t remember what it was but I ate plates. Went back to my room, got my MP3 player and sat on the shaded are of the courtyard. I could still see the river. There kids tubing and playing in the fast rapids of the ganga. Women doing the laundry, and or bathing with clothes on.
I sat out there for about 2 hours, just looking at the river. I still in total awe. I realized I had not done any shopping here yet. Went back to my room took my cash and passport and off shopping I went. It felt good walking around these mazes just like a local. I browsed, there was no one calling for me to enter their shops. I liked that.
I walked around for 3 hours, I did get lost but I did not panic. I eventually found my way back, plus I had the idiot card the hotel gave me. In case anyone got lost, the card said I am staying at the Haveli Hari Ganga.
I did not need to use it.
I went back to my hotel, dropped my purchased in the room and went to get something to eat. As I entered the dining room Louise was also arriving.
I say to her Namaste Louise, she turned around and says Namaste Louis. She get her food and sits down to eat. I get my food and she invites me to eat with her. I wish I could’ve spent more time with her. She was very interesting. She was translating old Sanskrit text to English with the help of local man in Haridwar. We finished eating and said out good byes.
I went back outside and took some cool pics of the river and the bridge near the hotel. Went to my room, turned on the TV, still not working. I decide to call the front desk. They tell there is satellite problems, yeah right. The how can I hear the world cup playing someplace in the hotel. HUH????
No problem, I was tired and went to sleep.
Just like now, is 153A I am a bit tired and will finish before I leave for the airport.
Only have a bit left to write but I am tired.
Jun. 4th, 2006
10:46 pm - Better late than never - Jaipur
Ok, ok so it’s been a while but once you read this chapter I hope you will understand. Ok so last weekend was great, hot and humid but great.
Saturday started for me at 4a, I was being taken to the train station at 5a for a 610a departure. As luck would have it the same driver that picked me up from the airport when I arrived is the one who took me to the train station. We were not 1 mile away from the hotel on the way to the station when pulls over, I thought the trunk may have been left open or there was something wrong with the car. Well, get ready……..
He got out of the car walked over to a tree and started to pee. This is something I have not talked about, but for reasons I do not know this is done all the time, everywhere. I should not be shocked about this because I see it all the time, but he should’ve gone before he left the hotel.
We get to the train station and I start to think, what the heck was I doing? The rail station was not what I expected, there people sleeping on floor everywhere. When I got out of the car 3 guys came running over to help me with my bag. I quickly said no. I tried to make my way through the hundred of people and find information about my train I felt uneasy. I was sticking out like a sore thumb, I really expected to see more westerners but so far I was the only one. I found the board with the train information and it was all in Hindi, so I just looked for my train number and tried to understand the board by the numbers, departure time, platform number. I got a general idea and followed everyone else. I knew I would find the right train, eventually. This made me feel like I was in the Amazing Race.
I followed the sea of people and found there were signs with the train names, numbers and departure in English. I was saved. My train was called the Shatdbi Express, and left at 615a. There was pushing and shoving, everyone trying to make to get to their train. I found the correct stairs for the platform, walked down and there was my train. Now to find the correct compartment. I had purchased first class tickets, they were about $40 USD.
I walked the platform about 3 times, looking for the correct compartment. I did ask to several employees, but guess what they did not understand me. I even showed my ticket to several people and they just gave me this blank look and shrugged their shoulders. Ok, no problem. I was soaked to the boned with the heat and humidity, and I wanted something cold to drink. I had a bottled water in my backpack I pulled out and drank, I turned around to get my bearings again and there in front of my the sign. EC
Executive class, close enough I though I got in, found seat 27 and sat down. The best part of finally sitting down was the AC in the compartment. The EC section was a 2X2 with plenty of leg room. This was great, the seat reclined some for relaxing and for me I can finally get some sleep. Oh yeah, I did not get any sleep the night before.
I drank more water and started to feel better.
The train started to move and OH MY GOD, I was facing the wrong way. This means I would be traveling for 5 ½ hours going backwards, and when I return on Sunday I will facing the right way.
The train ride itself was not bad, they fed us breakfast and gave us snacks. I slept most of the way listened to my MP3 player. When I woke up about 1 hours outside of Jaipur, it hit me. Did I sleep right past my station? How would I know, I did not hear the announcement I was listening to music. I panicked, really panicked. I looked around and found some Westerners; I approach them and embarrassingly asked them. Thank God we have passed Jaipur yet.
Went back to my seat and relaxed.
We passed villages and locals working on the fields. I saw Camels in the wild, also pulling wagons. I may have caught some of them with my camcorder, not sure.
We finally arrived at Jaipur, and these were the instructions I had follow by the hotel. Upon arrival at the train station, go right to the visitor information center and call the hotel to have someone come and pick me up. In order to make sure I was not tricked into going with someone else, the person picking me up will have a pink paper with my name on it.
Here I go. Get out of the train, walk into the main area and 5 people come right to me offering a transfer, I say no, I have someone picking me up. They would tell me well let me help you find them, and if you don’t then I take you. I’m thinking yeah right. 5 to 10 minutes at the train station I have not found the tourist information center. I would ask for help only as the last resort. I keep walking and I can see three guys are still following me. I turn around looked at them and say, no thank you. I find the visitor center, go inside and call the hotel.
The driver arrives within 10 minutes, he tells me to meet him outside. I leave the security of the visitor center and walk outside, keeping my on the guys that were following me, they were not around.
Where’s my driver? AHHH. I can’t find him now, he came in so fast I kinda forgot what he looked like.
I found him, he motions me to follow him. I was shocked and excited to see my transfer was on an Auto-rickshaw. COOL!!!!!!
The picture you see here is my driver and my transportation. The transfer was like being in a rollercoaster. The twist the turns, the bumps, the close calls to other cars. It was great…
The driver’s name is Ravish, we were chatting on the way to the hotel. He asked me if this was my first time here, I said yes, Jaipur and India. He offered to take around for 6 hours and show me the city for 250INR, this was $5.00USD. Could not pass on this deal, an auto-rickshaw tour of Jaipur, 6 hours for $5USD…. Yeah BABY!!!!!!!
Arrived at the hotel, I tell Ravish to wait for me while I check in and freshen up. He said not problem.
Checked in , the front desk guy asked when I was leaving I gave him my train information. He told me that for an extra 200INR I could keep the room until 5p.
The room for the night was $11 and to keep it until 5p the next day was an extra 200INR, about $4USD. This was quite a deal for me, so I took it.
Get to my “room” and it was nice and colorful. Nice size bed, AC, TV Phone, huge mural of an Indian scene. Then we have the bathroom, my oh my. Let me try and explain this. There was no stall for the shower, and no tub but there was faucet which could be used. If you’re wondering how, well did I forget to mention the bucket, stool and cup on the floor. J
The floor had 4 drains, I wonder why???? DUH!!!!
As I am trying to figure out the bathroom I see no towel or toilet paper. I may have to pay this I thought, I guess that’s what I will have do.
There was knock on my door, it was housekeeping bringing me a towel and a roll of toilet paper. Ok, I did not have to have to pay for these items.
There was one glitch, the toilet paper had only 46 sheets. I did not count them, it said right on the package. HMMM, that’s Ok. I brought with me a package of flushable wipes.
I chilled in the room for a about 20 minutes, I did not want to chill long especially since Ravish was waiting for me, and had so much to see and do today.
The ride in the auto-rickshaw was great, this is the only way to experience his country. One thing to keep in mind, carry something to cover your mouth and nose. You will choke on the gas fumes, smells, and bugs that may be in the area. Fortunately for me I had hand towel with me. We went from the new town to old town Jaipur, the old town are all pink which why the call it the Pink City. The streets were packed with people, cars, auto and cycle rickshaws, cows, camels and elephants. It was completely amazing, if it was a little cooler it would’ve been better. But it does not matter, the experience was unlike anything I would’ve imagined. I toured the following places, City Palace, Jantar Mantar – this place has a collection devices for astronomy. It may me feel like I was in the middle of a stargate set, they were incredible. These devices were started in 1728 by Jai Singh. The palace on the lake was, well the palace on a the dry lake.
I got to ride an elephant, that was great. Went to some gardens, this reminds me. Don’t stand under a tree that has a bunch of birds sitting on branches…..Say no more… GROSS.
Went shopping, then back to my hotel. I asked Ravish to pick me up at 830a on Sunday morning to go visit Amber Fort.
Went back to my room, took a nap. I was feeling dehydrated and extremely tired. By 830p I as hungry, took a shower or a bath or cleaned myself with a bucket and a cup. It was all very strange, but interesting.
Got to the hotel restaurant, which was in the roof and there was no one there. The restaurant was empty and so was the bar. I was bummed I was hopping to hang around with people tonight. Oh well. I ate chicken fried rice and a side of chicken tikka. It was actually the best chicken fried rice I have ever eaten. I drank this pop called LIMCA, it was good. Lime beverage, product of Coke.
After dinner went back to my room, watched George of the Jungle with Arabic subtitles and fell as sleep.
My mobile rings at 1130p, it was Tony. He called me at the hotel in Delhi and since I did not answer he got worried. He forgot I was staying in Jaipur.
Got up at 7a, met Ravish at 830a and went to Amber Fort. This is in the town of Amber, which is surrounded by a wall that looks like the Great Wall of China. As we get closer to the fort I see some people given baths to elephants in a lake, we stopped and I take some picture. That was so cool.
There are 3 ways to up to the Fort, Elephant – 1 way only, Jeep transfer round trip, or walk. I opted to the jeep and a tour guide. I would’ve done the elephant but I already spend 450INR the day before for an elephant ride, I was not about to spend the same money again.
The Fort is amazing, rich in history and incredible how some of the structures are still intact. Just like the Tah Majal.
From Amber fort we went to Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. From the front it looks like a massive honey comb, but actually inside is very simple. Lots of stairs, leading to the different levels with windows and climbing all those stairs was exhausting. By 1230p I was done, the heat was starting and humidity was climbing. Ravesh took me back to the hotel, I told him to pick me up at 430p to take me to the train station. I went back to my room, took a nap ate some lunch and checked out at 430p. Stupid me read the time of the departure wrong, when I got to the train station I had 1 hour to wait. GREAT.
I remember seeing a executive class waiting room somewhere, I thought, Thank God. I can sit and relax… Yeah Right.
I find the room, there is the little old lady sitting there. I ask her, do you need to see my ticket she shrugs and says something in Hindi. I give my ticket, she looks at it and points to a book where I need to fill out some information. Ok, no problem.
I walk into the waiting room and this is what I see, the same thing as out side. The room is packed with people sitting with blankets on the floor. There are men sleeping on the chairs, families with lots of belongings everywhere.
I noticed heads turning and staring at me, I felt like saying WHAZZZZUPPPP!!!!!!
But of course I didn’t is just the feeling I had, I should’ve said that.
I found an empty spot of floor, sat down and tried to fill out some postcards, for some reason I was a bit uneasy. My hands we shaking a little bit, I stopped pulled out my Lonely planet guide and started to read. Cleaned my hands about 3 times with Purel, just because.
I read for about 25 minutes, put the book away and I stayed there staring at the floor. I was just absorbing the environment. I getting a little thirsty, plus I had to find the platform area for the EC.
I thought I would wait a bit, all of a sudden I hear someone cough, make the most disgusting sound with the phlegm then something that sounded like spitting. I heard that and I knew that was my cue, I was out of there. Now please I do not know if they actually spat on the floor, but it totally grossed me out.
I walked outside and I was actually in front of my platform. I got bottled water and stood in the platform and waited for the train. It arrived 10 minutes late, and I thought we would make up the time on the way. Yah, right.
The train stopped on the way so many times, we arrived in New Delhi 1 ½ hours late. I did not get into my hotel room until 1230a.
As you can imagine I was really tired when I got up on Monday morning, but it was all worth it. I would do it all over again.
That was my weekend in Jaipur, this weekend was a low key one. Swimming and just basically relaxing, last Friday I went and worked in Gurgaon. Will write more about that soon. This coming weekend I am taking my last trek, going to Haridwar and Rishikesh. These are Holy towns, next to the river Ganga or Ganges. I got a nice package deal with a hotel for 3 night, plus I am also taking the train.
That’s all for now…..
Will write more soon…
New Delhi Louie
May. 26th, 2006
Hey, guess what??? My stomach feels better.
Ok, I will make this brief.
This weekend I am headed for Jaipur, not for the day but the entire weekend.
My train leaves at 610a and I'm leavin for the train station at 5a. UGHHHHH
The ticket cost me about $40 round trip, in first class. Well they say its first class, we
I have reservations at this budget hotel called Pearl Palace, go ahead and check it out
I will write more about my weekend later next week. On and BTW I found a subway restaurant, I thought
I was going to cry. Yeah right.......
Well it was Cathy Nicholls who told me about it, and about khan market. I bought a container of Tropicana OJ, a box of wheatables and some little box juices of mango juice.
Ok, my friends and family have to run, got to pack and go to bed early.
Its going to be a wonderful weekend.
Oh before I forget, everything I've been doing for work clicked today. It was like the light bulb finally clicked. I give an update to my team on Monday, wish me luck.
Tomorrow I am going on the worlds largest rail system, it going to be awesome.
Until next week.
New Delhi Louie
May. 21st, 2006
I find it hard to believe I've been here for 2 weeks already, how time flys. Hope you like the new look of the journal, I'm trying to create something special here and unique, so bare with me if I change the look a couple of times.
Ok, its been a few days since my stomach problem and I can finally say I feel better, have not had to take imodium since Thursday.
On Friday my team and I went for a snack, well they went.... I just went along. Being that it was only a day after my stomach problem I really did not want to experiment with foods. They understood, what they did was get me this dessert of Pistachio ice cream with noodles on top........
I tried it was extremely sweet, had a few spoonfulls and I could not eat anymore. Not a problem they said. We just sat there and talked for a few and went back to work, however on the way to the office there was a food vendor next to the store. My team is always asking me to try foods, but this I can tell you I would not try.
It was a green leaf in which the vendor dabbed something that looked like honey, he had 5 little containers and he took a pinch of each one and placed it in the middle, actually it looked like he was making a cigarette. It was not....
They really looked like large pot stickers. I talked to Cathy Nicholls about them and she reccomended I did not try them, she had one once and it took her 20 minutes to eat and about 3 hours to diggest. That would be a NO for me to try this.
She also told me that maybe once my stomach has grown about an inch thick of lining the food my not bother me anymore.
Friday night I had Ramen and jerky for supper.
I did not want to eat anything heavy since I was going to Agra the next day, 3 hours each way.
Lets talk about Agra, but let me start by saying something funny happen on the way to Agra. When we crossed from one state to another Ramesh had to stop and show some paperwork. Ok, this is the funny part. I had no idea what he was doing all I knew was that my driver just left and I was alone. I look to the left and out side were the following, one not to happy looking bear and his handler, one guy holding 4 monkeys that kept bearing their teeth, and 3 guys holding bags which I'm sure contained cobras......
To my right I had 4 guys selling jewelry, they all wanted my attention. I looked around and I could not see Ramesh, and saw no one else walking over to have their picture taken with the animals. If you wonder what I did I can tell you, NOTHING.....
The bear looked pissed, the monkeys..... well have you seen the movie outbreak, enough said, and finally the cobras...are you kidding me????
Call me a WUSSS, its Ok. Eventually I do want to see a snake charmer, however I did not think that was the time. :)
Now on the way to Agra, I saw monkeys in the trees, and a caravan of working camels, for real.........
We arrived and picked up my tour guide, his name was Manish. He was well imformed and knew where I should go and shop.
Bought the tickets then stood in line for 20 minutes to get padded down for security. Had to turn off my cell phone about 1/2 mile from the entrance. Security reasons.
Passed a metal detector, they padded me down and checked bag pack. Now this is the embarrasing part, they took away MP3 player, and my jerky. The security guard gave me look and shook her head then gave it Manish to put in a locker. I did get everything back, Thank God.
Now, what can I say about the Tah Mahal, Amazing, incredible or as the Indian Poet Rabindrath Tagore said " A teardrop on the face of eternity "
I walked around for 2 hours, took some pictures. Being in the presence of one of the 7th wonders of the world left me speechless and in complete awe, I could touch this monument of love, that's when it hit me. I am in India.
After we left the Taj Mahal, we went shopping, and boy did I ever shop.
Got some nice things for our house, a marble vase,and hand made rug.
Another 2 hours of shopping I was ready to get back to Delhi, it was hot and hummid... HELLO ?????
Got to my roon around 6p, and after changing my mind several times on the way back on what to do for dinner, I decided on Dominos Pizza, Yes,,, again......
I was tired so I went to sleep at 830p, got up around 1130p and ate the rest of the pizza.
Sunday I had a blast. Met Cathy Nicholls and Rajesh, which by the way is the name of her companion and house manager. I met them at the Shangrila hotel for the most wonderful and leisurely brunch I've had in a long time. Got there at 1p and 3 hours later we were still drinking french champagne and having wonderful conversations.
Made plans to meet sometime this week for supper, have not decided when. Tomorrow since she is going to be in my building she's going to show me where Khan Market is, where I could meet her taylor. I'm looking at having some shirts mame. This market also has provisions that I may need, so I will take a look around.
This is all for now as I am starting to fall asleep.
Keep those comments coming along, I enoy reading me.
So long for now..
New Delhi Louie
May. 18th, 2006
09:17 pm - My friend the hawk
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