Thursday, November 01, 2007

The other night, an elephant walked past my balcony...

Welcome to Haridwar!
It was a shame I didnt have my camera nearby to take a photo.... the elephant was followed by glittering carriages in which people dressed as gods were being paraded. Interspersed between the gods were raucous marching bands, with crazy sequined outfits.

Haridwar is one of India's holiest cities, sitting on the Ganga (ganges). Its packed full of pilgrims from all over India - it meant that we (as westerners) were hassled less as there was plenty of other mugs to sell their wares too. I bought these interesting carved wooden stamps, I hope Customs will let them back in the country!

(BTW - I've put some India photos into my Flickr if you want to have a look)

The next day we went on a 'safari' (ummm, not enough animals for it be a real safari) in Rajaji National Park. The tour guide, Sanjeev, has his own baby elephant he adopted called Yogi, and we got to get up real close with him! He trunk-drooled on Fin which was too too funny! (think of a runny nose mixed with dirt, coming out of a trunk).


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Then we went into the park proper. Sanjeev knew his stuff and pointed out all different kinds of birds and monkeys to us. We even saw woodpeckers (bizarre). We walked down a path that had thick forest on either side (like Jungle Book) when he stopped and told us to be very quiet.

He asked if we could hear that 'noise' - turns out it was deer speaking to each other, saying there was a leopard or tiger in the area...
Another 50m down the track, and there were leopard footprints in the dirt!
We came out of the track onto the banks of the Ganga, and had a bit of a rest. On the way back to the car, Sanjeev pointed out some tiger's footprints - they were bigger than my hand! I was kinda glad we didnt see any big cats!

Later on that day we decided to head to Rishikesh for a break.

Rishikesh rocks! The town proper is nothing special, but as you get further north its really gentle. We have a super cheap and basic hotel room (300 rps per night = $9) that over looks the Ganga and the temples. I love it.



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You can get almost any food at the restaurants here (I had a decent pizza the other night) as well as wonderful Indian food. The ambience is really quiet for India and there is enough westerners around that we dont get stared at heaps.
We went white water rafting on the Ganga yesterday - and it was fun! I REALLY didnt want to go but Fin talked me into it. We got to jump into the water and swim next to the raft, and I nearly got thrown out on the bigger rapids (dont worry mum - i was wearing a helmet and life jacket, promise). Heaps o' fun!

Today we are resting and recuperating, and catching up on emails... I'm feeling the best I have been for a long time, and didnt need to take my meds this morning which was super.

Thanks again to Joy, Lena and Nyondo for putting us up and taking care of me!
Rewalser Lake is awesome and I can see why those 3 girls love living there. The community is really friendly and its so peaceful compared to other parts of India.



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Walking around the lake and seeing the 'sacred' fish (in a scared lake, of course!), getting chased by the not-so-sacred monkeys, it was a really nice place to stay. The wild mountain nuns are hilarious too - so not like nuns over in Australia - they are pranksters and jokesters and love having their photos taken (cos they are pretty hehe).

Side note: Things I have lost in India
1 x pair of sunglasses I lost down the train toilet as I was throwing up
1 x pair of sunglasses between Mandi and Rewalser
1 x blue sports bra, as above
1 x my stomach lining!
(I only have one other bra with me - Fin jokes I can probably lose it while wearing it)

4 comments:

Candice said...

haha, i like how you posted the items you lost. Trust me you never know you might lose the bra while wearing it. haha, have fun on your trip!

Michelle said...

Glad to hear you're having fun, eating great food and seeing wonderful sights! Thanks for the flickr link, too. Keep us posted on all your happenings!

Kerry said...

Sound like you're having so much fun... thinking of you.

Cecilia said...

The elephant picture is just too cute--dirty snot and all!
The place looks and sounds completely amazing.
Glad to hear you are feeling better.