Published: July 17th 2007July 17th 2007
It's sad, but I think I have become tired of traveling. It's not that I don't enjoy seeing all of these amazing things, I love that! It's the actual traveling part that gets me. I am tired of dealing with people just trying to take my money, just trying to get me to take their taxi or come to their hotel. I hate it. It gets more frustrating everyday. But I think we have come to a solution.
We are here in the capital of India: Delhi. It is not what I have expected, but we haven't seen much yet. The airport was clean, the pre-paid taxi's were very nice, the roads weren't too overcrowded, and I think we only saw about three shanty towns on the drive in... I really had no idea what to expect, but that is what we have seen. We are staying in someones house right now and that is where we slept last night. The hostel we were spouse to go to I think has either vanished or it wrote down the wrong address on the internet. The reason I say this is because the taxi driver had to pull over several times to ask where this place was, and when we finally got to the right address we found ourselves outside someones house.
They said we could come in, so we did. They said it would cost us 1000 rupees to stay the night (maybe $25) so we said ok, and they put us into a guest bedroom. The family is very nice. There is the whole family under one roof. Parents, Grandparents, children, and Uncles. It is a nice home with marble floors, carved wooden furnishings, vaulted ceilings, and a overall nice home feeling. The father seems to be the head figure. He speaks the best English, and has been trying to sell us stuff ever since we have come through the door.
Our plan for today is to find an actual hostel where we can get helpful information. We want to get to Agra and see the Taj Mahal for sure, but we might also want to go over to Jaipur and see the things Delhi has to offer as well. We really want to get a plane flight out of here and that is probably what I will do after I finish writing this progress report.
I should tell you about the past couple of great days we had, but it is hard for me since I have already written it up, but the computer in Kathmandu had deleted it before I could publish it on the internet. It was a great story and I had put a lot of time into writing it, so I will try my best to replicate the results.
Before we got on our flight to India, we had spent the past couple days seeing the main tourist sights in Nepal. We had done a pre-booked itinerary from our Guest House in Kathmandu. We did all the arrangements with a slick looking man by the name of Raj. He spoke great English and was top-full of great sales pitches, like he had been doing this for the past 15 years (which he didn't forget to mention to us on several occasions).
Raj went to great lengths to explain that our trip, while pricey, would be 'first-rate,' and we would see and experience many great things. The next couple of days were going to be full of memorable things like white watter rafting, a 'full days' trek through sub-tropical forests, walking/jeeping jungle tour in Nepal's southern world famous national park, and end with a flight into Delhi. But Raj didn't tell us that the most memorable things were not on our itinerary. Like the civil protest, the first dead body I have ever seen in real life, the UN peace-keepers, the famed Gurkha soldiers in full gear ready to put down any protesters, and of course public transportation in a Third World country! How could he forget to mention any of these?!
After our river rafting we were placed on a local bus headed for Pokhara, Nepal's scenic great away, and trekkers haven. But the bus never got there. It was stopped maybe 20 miles out by a line of other buses. In Nepal there are two typed of buses. There are the large buses you would expect in most cities and then there are the "Micro-buses," a smaller version of the prior. Everyone likes the big buses because they obey the rules, and have good records. While the micro-buses don't have either.
The line of buses was the result of a protest from local people after another boy had fallen victim to the bad driving of the micro-buses. The boy died on the spot, and the family in-turn vandalized some of the buses. The local built stone walls across the roads where the boy had died, and big buses helped by turning side-ways against the road. This created quite the barrier, and with miles of buses lined behind it, we had no choice but to strap on our 90 kilo bags and start a hike that would last hours.
After and hour or more of hiking up hill, past a steady stream of people doing the same but in the opposite direction, and endless line of buses, we finally came to ground-zero. After walking around the side turned bus and the pathetic stone wall, we came to candles and incense surrounding a blanket placed atop the figure of a young boy. It was a site we didn't understand. This is the stuff we saw on TV, this is the kind of thing we hear about on the nightly news, but to see it.
After passing this sobering site, we came to a set of UN vehicles and police with riot gear. Nothing ever happened, I later read, but it was interesting to see. After that, we got some help from collage students and they called another persons hotel and they sent a car to come get us. We arrived twenty minutes later (a long hike that would have been) and hit the sack for a much needed sleep.
The next day we hiked down from a nice view point, but being monsoon season it was destroyed by the clouds. We then hiked down a nice path where we eventually got a good view of the surrounding lake. We then walked down to our hotel and spent the rest of the day not doing much. The next day we were spouse to go to the National Park by bus, but the road was still closed from the strike and we were forced to have some good lunch and wait for the road to open. Right as we were going to spend $80 on a flight the road opened and we hopped on a horrible little bus for the four hour ride to the park.
The park was great. We rode elephants, came within feet of one-horned rhinos, and followed fresh tracks of a tiger! We touched and fed a six month old baby elephant, and bathed with a mother elephant in the river. If my camera was working I would put on some great pictures of me riding this amazing animal in the local river.
All in all it was great, but I am tired of writing and my interest level has dropped dramatically. And I'm sure if I don't want to write it, you won't want to read it. So I will tell about the rest another time. I should be in Agra soon, and I hope I am in Thailand even sooner.