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A holy city by the Ganges...

sunny 34 °C

Written on June 28...

P.S. The guys beside me is still watching porn!! hehehe, it's been a good hour! He has to shift/rearrange his "pee wee" from time to time! HAHAHA!

I made my way to Haridwar via the night bus, which left Shimla (I hitched a ride with Mouchi and Mr. Rana from Manali back down to Shimla). The bus left at 8:40pm and arrived in Haridwar at 6am, which effectively saved me 1 night accommodation (which is good because –despite a hefty discount on the 10-day trip- I’m grossly over budget). Early on, a young guy sat beside me and started chatting me up (it’s true: they talk a lot these Indians!! Hehehe they say so themselves).
He was basically and “anti-Indian”, very critical of his society and culture (he had some point, but was too harsh – about the spitting, the sanitation, the driving habits, the girls, the men, everything!), so the conversation was a bit weird. I didn’t agree with him on most, but as he said, my opinion might change if I lived here for several years…It probably would, as I see his points, but oh well…
One funny time was when he asked me my religion and I told him that I wasn’t religious. So he asked me where I pray…I said I don’t… His face! Hehehe I said that at least 50% of the people didn’t practice in Canada, so he asked me where they prayed… I said they don’t! His face! Hehehe, he really didn’t believe me that people could go on with their lives without praying every day! Hehehe I’m not saying it’s better, but it’s certainly a reality! Hehehe
Anyway, I slept pretty badly the whole journey and was pretty bummed out when I lost my blanket (it was a sarong I bought in Thailand – the perfect blanket!!!) out the window… India is eating my Thailand souvenirs (I forgot my toe ring in a hotel somewhere along the 10-day trip, and now this sarong!)… of well, it’s only things, but I’m pretty bummed out about both these things…I used them a lot…
Anyway, upon arrival here, I decided to go and stay in an Ashram (kind of monastery). I found a great one, where for a “donation” of 200R/day, I get 3 meals a day, a private room with (cold) shower (which is good because it’s hot here!) and “Indian” toilet (but I’m used to it by now so it’s ok). I also met this female Swami, who showed me around the ashram (the property is approx 1km square, massive!). They have 750 rooms (!!!!) and about 200 people living FT on the premises. They grow their own plants and produce their own Ayrvedic medicines (she showed me the factory), which they sell throughout the world. It’s a nice place to stay because they are not promoting a specific religion, they are about finding spirituality through meditation and concentration of the mind, aka energy and God as one, whichever way you want him (Buddha, Shive, God, etc). I like it. We meditated briefly together (I’m still a very novice beginner – but I’m definitely interested in the concept and it’s application). Concentration of the mind is something I heard of In Thailand at my cousins yogi school and here, and it’s something I will really invest some time trying to achieve.
On a different topic, the town of Hariward is what I call “real India”. I have now come to realize that there are probably 10000 “real Indias”, but this was my image of it, so I’m glad to finally see it. It’s pure chaos on the streets, with a mix of a few cars, but mostly rickshaws, tuk-tuks, bogeys pulled by horses and people walking everywhere. It’s noisy, polluted, dirty and loud but I LOVE it!! I went to the Har-ki-Pairi Ghat, where people, thousands of people, wash away their sins in the Ganges every day/night. It’s a wonderful, hectic crazy scene but totally enjoyable. I have a few pics which I’ll post shortly, but I’m running out of internet time, so gotta go!
I will go visit the town of Rishikesh tomorrow (a day trip from here, only 1 hour away by bus) as I don’t really want to stay there (I hear it’s filled with hippy westerner yogis and those who sell to them) –it’s not exactly my scene.
On that note, still loving India, soooo sorry to only have 10 days left here, I really should have booked a longer trip here, will need to come back and explore other parts of it!

Posted by Mistrale 04:09 Archived in India

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