Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"No bees, no honey. No risk, no funny"

All through the entire trip, I have had Beatles songs relating to Eastern religion and philosophy coursing through my mind. Now it's hard to get one of their anthology demo recordings to go away, which starts with "On the road to Rishikesh..." Dr. Maher pointing out the ashram where the four stayed hasn't helped the situation. It's great though. In our story of "There and Back Again," we have finally reached the Misty Mountains--well, they are called foothills, but they look like mountains from home. Not only do we have the Himalayas at our backs, but the Ganges winds its way between the hills and in front of our hotel. The view is incredible.
The first day, a few of us took a dip in the edge of the Ganges. The spot was right by an ashram that a swami had built himself. It sounds impressive by itself, but the guy also was an Appalachian State graduate in architecture, born in Hickory, NC. It was funny and surreal to be talking to a guy who looked like he could be your neighbor, but had moved all the way over here
to live a lifestyle most Americans would consider out of their reach. We were worthy of his presence after washing away our sins in the holy river. I think everyone has fully submersed themselves in the Ganga by now, especially after our white-water rafting trip this morning. Everyone seemed happy just cruising downstream, but our boat instructors instigated a lot of splashing and pushing/pulling people overboard. I liked how one of them had written on their life-vest, "No bees, no honey. No risk, no funny." It's still warm at this altitude, but the icy river water has kept us cold for a while.
The consensus seems to be that everything about the trip has been improving each day. We are getting more acclimated to the heat and atmosphere, but everything around us seems to have been improving as well. We will continue to move North and get cooler, there is more faithful representation of Western food here, and I am personally partial to the isolation in the mountains myself. Trying not to blow alot of money has been a priority for a while, but some of us are breaking down as shopping gets less crazy-market-based and we get better with the conversion of dollars to rupees. I may just stock up on a few things here that I might buy in the states, but it's less than half the cost here.

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