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Long Time No Sea

Anjuna, India


We arrived in Delhi for the start of Divali, the festival of lights, breaklights in our case. The bus was the most comfortable that we've been on with air conditioning and without the gaggle of local raconteurs we normally tend to attract on our travels. This was lucky as the 5 mile traffic jam containing the thousands of other Diwaliers meant a leisurely approach to the city. Our introduction to the festival was not such a relaxed experience and for us mostly consisted of the disappointment of early closing times and being burnt by firecrackers thrown by the local youths! Fireworks were the order of the day and on top of the cows, potholes and rickshaws we spent most of our time ducking and weaving through the streets to get food before going back to the safety of our hotel bunker. However, we were only staying in delhi for a short time so after 2 days in tin hats we were on a bus escaping to the safety and sanctuary of the Himilayan Foothills.

Rishikesh is where the Beatles stayed in ye olde 1960's and wrote most of the White Album but anyone expecting any rock'n'roll style debauchery (not us...) would be greatly disappointed. There is no alcohol (or even meat!) for 11kms of winding mountain roads, making it a perfect place for yoga and other spiritual pursuits. Sadly, our spiritual experiences normally involve gin so this lead to earlier nights than usual...though no earlier mornings. Our planned 7:30am yoga session never had a chance but we did manage to get to the 4:30pm session each day, and even saw some improvement along the way. Our instructor Yogi Bear (again, names have been changed to protect the innocent) was certainly bendier than the average bear and wowed us daily with his flexibility, patience and tranquil tones (he loves his Om Chanting). We may have a long way to go before we can rival his skills, but it certainly left us with a goal to aim for. Too much of a good (for you) thing can be dangerous so after 10 days we're back on the road to return to Delhi and the real world.

With our chakras aligned and our karmas calmed we're back on the tourist track to see the Gandhi Smitri, a memorial museum dedicated to India's most famous all round good chap and situated at the spot where he was assasinated by India's 478th most famous nutjob. As ever our timing was immaculate and our visit coincided with a UN childrens journalist conferance (though they all seemed to be way older than us?) so most of the site was closed, but we did get to read a lot and saw Ghandi's spoon, specs and sandels, and of course see the actual spot where he died. We'd include a picture but unfortunately our camera followed his lead and packed in just before we got there.

After a few more days of wandering around soaking up the sights, sounds (but mostly smells) we're off again, to Udaipur, famous for it's Lake Palace which Bond fans will remember as the killer circus hotties' training camp from Octopussy. Luckily enough it's shown all over town on a nightly basis at 007pm so we're able to squeeze in some sightseeing before the movie. The City Palace (palaces are ten a penny round here) was huge, with hundreds of exhibits nearly all of which were dedicated to it's former resident Maharashtra Prabhat Singh...and his horse. He seemed a decent enough guy but we were more interested in the horse which seemed to have some identity issues. They also had a sculpture park and a horrific government museum which we couldn't take pictures of, probably because of the Pet Cemetary style taxidermy on display. With our laser pens at the ready we hopped in the Aston Martin to go and see the show. India used to be a much smaller place back when they were filming, according to Roger Moore the Taj Mahal, the Varanasi Ghats and the Lake Palace are all within autorickshaw distance of Delhi, or perhaps the research budget was blown on his cheesy lines, but we loved it anyway.

The owners of our guesthouse were some of the nicest people that we have met in India, which was a shame as we were only staying one night. They insisted on having tea and cake with us before we left, at least we think it was cake. It's the only way we could think to describe the moist, yellow blocks of vinegar flavoured material we were presented with. We managed to escape further culinary delights to catch our bus to Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, the biggest film industry in the world. They have made over 60,000 films here and the most amazing thing is that they have only had to use 7 storylines to do it. If you've never seen a Bollywood movie here's how they go. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl gets wooed, girls father gets annoyed, boy wins over father through defeat of bad sort, father relents, everyone gets married. Insert a few song and dance numbers along the way and you have yourself the next smash hit in India. Because of the film industry Mumbai is the home of India's beautiful people and has prices to match, we indulged ourselves in one of the slickest bars we have ever been (allowed) in. Perched on the top of one the many 5 star hotels along the beach, with the calming sound of it's toxic water lapping on the shore below, we milked our cocktails for all they were worth and ate as many of the free snacks as we could handle, before sloping off to our not so glamourous guest house. Mumbai is one of the most liberal and cosmopolitan places we have been to, there were even non-western girls drinking in the bars! But we haven't come here for city-slicking and soon we're heading south to Goa for a holiday from our holiday. We're writing to you now from a beachside bar with the sounds of the non-toxic but rather rocky waters below us, which will be our home for the next month (the beachside, not the bar...honest). More to come when we've got some sun...

This Rocked
1
permalink written by  BecnWill on December 4, 2007 from Anjuna, India
from the travel blog: The World By Knight
tagged Goa, Delhi, IdentityIssues, Prabhat, Udaipur and Rishikesh

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thank god you are still alive...

permalink written by  northerncreative on December 19, 2007


Well chaps, this is joly interesting, but how come your latest photos have no captions? I assume the beach is Goa? Was the camera failure temporary or more serious? Just read this entry with Granny and Aunty Jude in run up to Christmas here in west Yorkshire. Will call you on t'Day
Dad


permalink written by  ianknight on December 23, 2007

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