They say the India experience is not complete without some proper effect of the food on your stool if you know what I mean ;-). It took a while, but eventually also I was not resistant against the dark corners of Indian food. I experienced the most horrible Indian toilet that will stay permanently on my mind. It was a toilet on the road back to New Delhi. I asked the driver to stop, because I really needed to go to the toilet for a number two. He stopped at a restaurant alongside the road. I rushed to the toilet with a roll of toilet paper. I opened the door and saw a hole in the ground on one side. Flies swarmed around the hole. On the other side a saw a familiar western toilet, but is was filled to the nock with… well… doodoo! Like iiiieeeeeuuuuww!!!! I felt like neo in the matrix. Will I take the blue or the red pil? But in this case they both lead down a bad path. Hahaha. I don’t remember anymore how I did it, but I managed.
We arrived in New Delhi with our driver and had to pay him. Prior to the trip we agreed on 20 Rps a kilometer and 200 Rps for each night. We did 750 kilometer and we also stayed some extra nights without travelling. So this meant 750 x 20 Rps for the driving and 200 Rps per night. Easy calculation! Suddenly there was a minimum fee of 150 kilometers a day. So this meant that if you don’t use the car for a few days, which we did, you still have to pay this minimum, which meant paying 3000 Rps a day for not using a car. Sounded strange to us and we were not told this. Another scam? Not again!! Hahaha. We ended up arguing with the driver, his manager and the whole tourist bureau. Eventually after argueing for ages, we met each other halfway, but the good vibes between us and the driver were completely gone. But hey, thats India! Haha.
One custom of Indian men I can’t leave out is the clearance of their throat and nostrals all the time. They seem to spit a lot and don’t hesitate to make a loud sound, while doing it. I say to each his own, but please dont do it 2 seconds after you hand over my delicious, slimey, green curry. Hahaha I had this at a restaurant, you must have a real strong appetite to eat after that.
In New Delhi we visited the Lotus Temple. A Bahá’í House of Worship notable for its flowerlike shape. If you look it up on a map, you can see that even the garden is built in the form of a lotus flower. To get there you have to take of your shoes and walk barefoot on a carpeted stairs, all the way up to the temple. But the smell that was coming from this carpet was horrific!! Hahaha. Imagine thousands of different, indian smelly feet, multiplied with the days of the year and the fact that I’m sure this carpet is never washed you get my grip on what your nose has to go to. Hahaha. But it was more then worth it! When you enter the temple it silences you! A real special experience!
Finally we decided to visit the Gandhi memorial, which is the place where he was assasinated. We asked a new driver to take us to the Gandhi memorial. Strangely enough he didn’t know exactly where it was, but then we saw the signs along the road saying Ghandi Memorial. We followed the signs, got out and followed alongside the crowd in to the building. But inside the building we only saw pictures of an Indian woman, with a lot of history about her, but no signs of Ghandi. Soon we found out that there is also an Indira Gandhi, the first female prime minister who has also been assasinated and also has a memorial. Wrong memorial, but still special. Wow!
We got to the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, which was just a few minutes driving. It was impressive, but strangely enough less crowded. You could see his room where he spent the last minutes and on the floor they layed out his footsteps of his last route. You can follow these footsteps from this room all the way to the garden where they suddenly stop.. on the place where he was assassinated. If that doesn’t bring shivers through your spine, you need to check your nerve system. Greatness!
I had some trouble getting a train ticket for Rishikesh. All the trains were fully booked. I had only one chance to score a ticket and that was by going to the train station in person and go to the foreigner desk. They always save some seats for way too optimistic foreigners who think they can book their Indian train ticket three days in advance. Lol! The hotel staff warned me about scams, so I was prepared. They explained us the exact location of the foreigner desk. “Entrance, first floor on your left”. And luckily they did, because more than once, guys offered us to show us the way to the foreigner desk and tricking us in to going in to their own desk and buy tickets with them which are way more expensive and even false. One guy really topped it off. He tried to convince us that the tourist office moved outside of the train station a while ago. It moved to a white building at the other end of the street. He was more than happy to take us there. Yeah.. and I have crazy written on my forehead. Hahaha. I got the tickets at the real foreigner desk. Jeeja!!
My companion for two weeks was going to leave. I am on my own again. Heading for my silence retreat in the Ashram…