Monday, February 1, 2010

India! Incredible India!

India! Incredible India! Incredible India fucking That drives you to screaming, while making you at the same time, burst out laughing.
Incredible India.
It's a place Where You Could have a video camera rolling the whole time you are there, and you Would Be The Most capturing incredible, devastating, funny, ridiculous, disturbing, gut-wrenching, mind-boggling pictures every 20 seconds. A site you can stand in a queue and find yourself getting further back, Rather than moving forward. A Place Where You-have-stomach boiling spice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon tea.
Where the postal system is Such That It takes you half a day to post a parcel, the country is aimed Such That It Provides seven people to help you do it! Where women plead with you to please feed Their baby, goal When you do, They rip you off.
India is a country That HAS to be Experienced. You can hear traveler's stories and you can see pictures - but Until you smell it and get it on your hands, you really Have not Experienced it.
Before I went, I Heard So Many stories about how to protect myself from scams and to watch out for rogue taxi drivers and to make safe That I Kept my money close to me all the time, I can honestly say there WAS only one goal occasion When I actually felt a bit apprehensive and That Was at night, with a taxi driver I did not trust, in a town I was not familiar with and he picked up a third man (he already HAD one friend in the taxi with him ), and he started driving down these dark streets. Because They Were speaking Hindi, I Had no idea what They Were talking about, and HAVING HAD one friend raped in India many years ago When she was taken in a car by several men to somewhere Where She Was Kept for three days and raped Repeatedly, the alarm bells Were starting to tinkle a little.
Okay - the highlights:
Kerala is a very laid back place and I was fortunate to get a resort right on the beach. That's my room up the top, facing out to the beach. The owners of the resort - Annie and Roshan were very kind and protective and aussi very obliging, taking me on tours or Organising em for me. We got so close, They Invited me to Their family's christmas party and Invited me to stay at home Their, Rather than the resort, if I ever came back to Kerala.
After a month there, Having ayurvedic treatments (Where I taught the masseuses the song, "Sugar In The Morning"), I was eager to get on the road and see the rest of India. First stop WAS Calcutta and on my first morning there, I opened the window and this was my view: 
I can not describe what I felt when i saw this, I know an incredible goal sound of "Wow!" cam out my mouth gaped open as it. I felt like I was somewhere partner after the Apocalypse. I was soon out of Kolkatta Chased by the beggars and the noise and headed up to the cool climes of Darjeeling, in the Himalayas. Darjeeling WAS still dirty and rubbish strewn, like the rest of India, aim the air felt a lot cleaner, altho You Would not think it by the constant choking smoke of the road-builders. The scenery around the town is just awe-inspiring, to prompted, I think, by the knowledge That you are soooooo close to Mount Everest, The Highest Mountain on Planet Earth.
The highlight of the trip for me, of course, WAS Spending time with Rain in Bhutan. Apart from the very cozy domestic We had time together and the three weeks I Spent training journalists there, the country Was a pair of gears Slower than India. Very gentle, very relaxed and because i was there for three weeks and Review: had a daily routine, I felt very much apart of the city, Thimphu, Their capital.
 I think this photo of a woman sweeping the MAIN STREET of the kingdom's capital city, illustrates very well how slow the pace is there. No traffic lights, and car parking right in front of your office. From what I Could see (apart from the strong), the country follows the philosophy of "no building taller than a tree."
My arrival there ended up Being quite auspicious as it snowed the next morning and this started a trend of absolutely magical and mystical Opportunities. More of That Another Time. Goal this is my favorite photo of all (apart from the one I Took of Rain)
To me, it embodies the softness and gentleness of Bhutan.
When It Was Time to go back to India, I Decided to visit Bodhgaya, the place Where Buddha under the bodhi Gained enlightenment tree. It was pilgrimage time when i got there, so the hotels and temples Were jam-packed with devotees. For only 150 rupees (about $ 5 Australian), I hired a guide and he Took me to all the special places and Gave me the red-carpet treatment. We had Just Passed the bodhi tree and I was standing at Reviews another little shrine, about to conduite a little ceremony, When the guide pointed out That a leaf from the Bodhi tree HAD just floated down and landed at my feet. (Do not tell Australian customs, goal I am now the proud possessor of a leaf of a sapling of the original Bodhi tree - Ashok's wife poisoned the original as she WAS jealous of the attention to the famous emperor paid to it).
By this time in my journey, I was getting a little "tired and emotional" and our wonderful Girish HAD taken over Organising my flights and accommodation and he thought it Would do me good to see the more prosperous areas of India, so off to Ahmedabad I went for Some city living. One of the things I really wanted to do while I was in Ahmedabad, WAS visiting Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram, All which I was ble to do. I've Bought several booklets from there and I hope to get some discussions going about His soon philosophies.
I'm afraid That traffic noise and pollution and to crush got me a pair of Effective days and so feels Girish me off to Agra, in Gujarat (to see the Taj Mahal and Organised a stay at a beautiful old maharajah's palace in Rajasthan.
The Taj Mahal, without doubt, is The most beautiful building in the world. Apart from the romance of it Being built to celebrate love, it's an incredible piece Free architectural as well. For Those of you, Have you need to be Reminded:
Another highlight of my journey WAS staying at the Khas Mahal Palace inside the Fort Lohagarh in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. Apart from the incredible romance of the location, the area is just full of incredible history - good and bad. The atmosphere at Khas Mahal was so strong - the door to my room was something you Would find in the Arabian nights. My 'room' was really three rooms - a bedroom, a sitting room and a bathroom - all marble. The bathroom was as big as some party's bedrooms. But here is one of my favorite rooms - This Was Bhujarat from the nearby Museum - the Persian Baths. I Could have quite Easily Moved in and Lived there.
But I was absolutely horrified to visit Deek Palace, Some 30 kms or so away and be shown the feet of the elephant Have you managed to break through the iron doors to the gateway of Delhi. (These doors are fitted with iron spikes to try and Prevent this, and this grand old beast, pounded away at the doors and broke through, fatally injuring Itself And They used His feet have a drink stand and ashtray!) I wept.
These old Maharaja's Lived a magical life of luxury and indulgence, goal It was the precious elephant's memory I Took away from That Place.
All in all, It was an incredible journey and That is what I went for - to see what was there. More next week, aim if you think your job is boring too hard or not well paid enough gold - think of this woman.
Her job was carting goods up and down the hills of Darjeeling and believe me, They are steep! Apparently it takes a whole month for your body to manufacture enough red / white blood cells to cope with the high elevation.   
Miralee Munro

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