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Clare’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 08 Mar 2008

Location: Rishikesh, Uttaranchal, India

MapIt seems that we keep getting stuck in each place we go to! We've now been in Rishikesh almost 10 days and are heading off tomorrow to Dharamsala. Over that time plans have changed a few times and Lizzie has turned 30 (I'm attempting not to look smug for the next month and a half before its my turn!).

Lizzie didn't continue the massage course, but we have been going to Yoga (me) and meditation sessions (Lizzie) combining that with walking up and down the mile or so of hill from our hotel to the Ganges and I feel like I'm getting fit enough to attempt my Nepal trekking! We've met a bunch of really cool people here from Maurice a Canadian who had the best answer ever to the standard "what are you doing in India?" question - "I'm here for a funeral, my Guru died" (!) he is a follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the Beatles' Guru) who died and had a funeral in Allahabad about a week ago. He was a lovely guy who made us laugh alot (something we had been missing as all the travellers seem so serious here) and through him we met Rainier and his Girlfriend Adrienne. Rainier is a 5th generation Indian Trinidadian who went to the all boy brother school (Shebbear) of the all girl school (Edgehill) I went to until I was 12. He left Shebbear before I was born but he's got some great stories about what they got up to with the Edgehill girls! So it really is a small world after all... Then there is Costa an Austrian drifter who's been in Rishikesh for 5 months and walks the loop between the two foot bridges everyday... he doesn't speak much English but seems to find us hilairious in small doses! Needless to say time has been just drifting by day by day without much effort on our part.

For Lizzie's birthday we camped by the banks of the Ganges with Rainier and Adrienne, Rishikesh is a dry town so Lizzie had a totally sober birthday for the first time in 15 years -at least she can remember every last minute of it! We did however get hold of some forbidden chicken (Rishikesh is also a veggie town) so we cooked up a storm of Garlic Chicken, roast potatoes and Aubergine through clever use of tin foil in the fire and dined like kings on a white sand beach as the Ganges flowed by next to us. Our fire kept us warm as I told the story of the Ramayana (v. famous Hindi Myth - I just finished reading a 6 volume version of the story) and then we all slept through till morning. We all traipsed back over the bridge and up the hill to our hotel before we discovered that our plans to shower had been foiled by the ever present threat of the Indian powercut!

We have also both been to see an Indian Vedic Astrologer which was quite an experience... the man seemed to know a disturbingly large amount of things about us and was definitely more of a professional than our street palm-reader! All food for thought thats for sure.

So as our time in Rishikesh draws to a close is feels a another little chapter is ending... but our Dharamsala chapter and its Tibetan Buddhist bits are just about to begin. All we have to do now is not over sleep on the train and miss our 3am station stop!

I've added some more pictures since I last blogged and will add more in Dharamsala once I find some more worthy subjects!