FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

September 30, 2015

BLOG 2015 #2 September 30

FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

FIRST SUNRISE

FIRST SUNRISE

Insight about when to fly in to Delhi for best travel options.  Arrived with Turkish Airlines at 4:30 AM…ON A SUNDAY MORNING. Flying out of Israel was the easiest yet since it was Shabbat, and the airport was fairly empty.  Check-in was an all time record at only 10 minutes start to finish!  Also, Delhi airport was almost empty so no long lines to wait on and I was out of the airport, including getting my luggage, in less than half an hour

And then driving at that hour, on a Sunday morning, through Delhi, was child’s play…no traffic, no noise….and this continued for the first 2/3 of the journey.  The first 150 km., all on the new Highway, took just under 2 hours!  The last 100 km, through towns and with morning activity already beginning, even though Sunday, took 3 hours.  But still a very reasonable ride. Most of the way we drove at the unheard of speed of 80 kph on the new road which is fabulous. There were times when the speedometer hit 90 and even 100!

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

By 7:30 I was already sitting down to a breakfast of Aloo Parantha and Masala at Grand Cheetal rest stop.

CHEETAL BREAKFAST

Two Road signs along the way:

SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS.  PLASTIC IS NOT TRENDY

CELLULAR O WHEEL WILL BE COSTLY DEAL

….and indeed…you can now ad texting while driving to the already existing hazards of India roads.

SEE VIDEO IN LINK BELOW

TAXI RIDE DELHI TO RISHIKESH

India itself has stayed the same in many ways, and continues to change and grow as well at amazing speed.  WIFI access for example, which only two years began to find its way into restaurants etc., and was very “iffy”, is now almost everywhere, and WORKS beautifully! The prevalence of Western mode of dress, particularly among younger girls and women, is extensive although in the towns along the way, I saw none of it.  But here, in Rishikesh, where there are lots more Indian tourists, not pilgrims, just tourists, all are dressed in Western clothing.  It has become a very popular “get away” for the younger Delhi crowd, as well as families, and I’ve been told that for most of the year, there is actually more income from Indians these days than from Westerners, who have become unreliable as a main source, and also pay much less money for the same services and accommodations than Indians do.

But mainly these are cosmetic changes…new restaurants and guesthouses everywhere I look (and I’ve been out and about very little these first few days as it is very hot…unseasonably so), fancier cars, clothing shops etc., but the essence, the soul of Indian, remains the same.  It is something which never seems to change and it is what brings me here time and again.  I will be writing more about this as the time goes by.

Enough for this first post….next one will quickly sum up my first few days

Namaste

With love light and JOY

Jane


Observations from India

September 21, 2014

This was originally a part of a longer post published years ago and came across it recently.  So I’ve decided to share it once again.
Observations:

wpid-img_54093814366319.jpeg

Just a quick note: I’ve been watching in many places as roads and even houses are built and can’t help be amazed at the processes. Rocks are brought up from the river bed by donkey …dumped in one place near the closet existing road, and then sari dressed women, some  with babies tied to their banks or toddlers following them, carry them on their heads and dump them closer to the actual work site

wpid-img_1303.jpg

…and then they are hit with sledgehammers in such a way as to create one side which is completely flat. These are then place one next to the other with the flat side facing out to build retaining walls…or the foundation for a road – the spaces between them are then filled with cement and layer upon layer is built in this way. The cement is mixed by hand, with no seeming consistent way of doing it…water is added (and sometimes gravel – which is also made by hand by men, or women, sitting all day and pounding stones into gravel) until the cement “feels” right – like you might mix bread dough.

Mixing Cement

Mixing Cement

I’ve seen branches cut from trees and trimmed of bark with sickles being used with string as surveying instruments, and I’ve even seen a place where optic cables are being laid, but the labor is still done with pickaxes, shovels, hand ploughs etc., and the debris carried away in trays on the heads of sari dressed women.

Foundation Wall of New House-Note Rocks used as Raw Material

This is all part of what India is, and although I really haven’t written much this trip, I’ve been reading over some of my older journals, and realize that much of what I found worth writing about in the past, I simply take for granted now

Retaining Wall...Note Rocks used as Raw Material

Retaining Wall

….Nothing seems as strange as it once did, or even noteworthy…it is just the way things are here and accepted as normal.

Namaste

Jane


Latest News in Cycle Rickshaws

October 23, 2012

I Just Had to Share This

India: Moving Forward While Standing Still

From an article in yesterday’s newspaper.

 

Namaste from Amazing India


Back in Rishikesh 2012 Part 2

October 14, 2012

Back in Rishikesh 2012 Part 2

View from Guesthouse at Dusk

I write this as I sit outside in the morning sun which warms my bones after the chill of the evening, night and early morning.  The sun is not too hot to be uncomfortable or prevent hours of happily walking around.  And it’s heat is felt truly for only about 3 hours a day.  It is a beautiful time of the year to be here…before the need for warm clothing, uncomfortable layers etc., of the winter weeks, and without the scorching, debilitating heat of the hotter months.  And of course without the rains of the monsoon.

Everything is still very green and lush and walking around is just complete pleasure.

At night and early morning it is already fairly cold with the strong winds which are so typical of Rishikesh…but of course, the sun rises just over the mountain , (now at 7:20 but it is getting a little later each day), through the window which faces my bed and gently pulls me awake (if I happen to still be asleep), with it’s shining kiss.

And then I sit in it’s warm embrace as I do my morning prayers and meditaion. Could there be any better way to begin a day?

There are of course changes, as there always are in India, and yet things continue to feel like ‘time stands still” in most things.  The first shocking change was a wall which was put up on one side of “my” rooftop by the neighboring hotel, which completely blocks one of my views…very disconcerting but doing my best to come to terms with it.  If you can’t change something, learn to accept it and change your perception of it!

And all the local places are now setting up WiFi which is lovely, but still not truly working well yet.  Perhaps by next year.

And then of course more new rooms, more new guesthouses and a lovely surprise.  My friends who run the wonderful Pundir Provision Shop

Pundir Shop Tapovan Rishikesh , have now opened a restaurant upstairs.  We have eaten their twice and the food was superb!  AND, it is air-conditioned!!!  It was actually so cold we had to ask them to turn it off!  J

But of course tomorrow I am starting Panchakarma, so no more of the lovely food I’ve been eating up until now.  I had my full of yummy stuff over the past few days…am sure I gained at least a kg., and will now be able to settle into my very boring and limited diet for the next month.

And of course hearing the lovely news from my friend Devi that her sister is getting married!  Just wonderful.  This is a family of 5 daughters, the father has not worked in 15 years.  The oldest daughter was already married but the others were sure they would never marry because they would never have enough money for a dowry.  This sister has found an arranged match with a wonderful man who wanted a very limited dowry, just for appearance sake, and everyone is extremely happy as you can imagine.  The bad part is, the wedding is 2 days AFTER I leave.  If I had know, I would have flown in a couple of days later.  I cannot extend for even one day due to problems with my government pension…really sad.  However, the owner of the guesthouse has already invited me to TWO weddings of his niece and nephew, and so once again I will get to go to the production that is called “India Wedding”.  Should be fun.
Indian Wedding

Walking through the streets here is like coming home.  So many friends to see, from local shop keepers, to beggars and rickshaw drivers.  And of course my dear local friends and their families, who I will see often and visit over the weeks to come.

And then, to my great surprise, I am being recognized as a “celebrity” in the area and didn’t understand why.  Seems the guesthouse has finally put up a website, and they used MY photo (from several years ago-don’t know where they got it) as part of the cover photots of the website.  So when I walked around the first day I was hear in my red “suit”, the same one I am wearing in the photo, people were pointing at me until someone finally showed me what was going on.  It is soooooo  funny.   Here is a link and if you check out the dots under the cover photo, you will come to one of me.  You can see me in my red suit on the rooftop and the room behind me to the left is my home here in Rishikesh.  http://newbhandariswisscottage.com

And that’s about if for today.  Hope begin getting out and about and getting back to my camera over the next few days.

View from Guesthouse at Dusk

Namaste

Jane


Back in Rishikesh October 9-13 2012 Part 1

October 13, 2012

Sunrise over India

Well, I’ve been here now for just three days but it seems like I’ve been here for a couple of weeks at least.  I am now sitting in my room with Tata Photon+ mobile broadband service stick which my friend is lending to me whenever I want it so that I can use internet in my room.  The wifi services here are not working well enough for me to take advantage of them in my room, so this is a real blessing from him to me.  I am listening to lovely Israeli folkdancing music (which I love), and eating Besan Ladoo…which I also love!!  Heaven on earth.

I honestly haven’t felt like writing since I arrived, but have many things written in bits and pieces in my notebook….hope to eventually get them all up here.  And to my great surprise,  I haven’t taken (hardly) any photos either. But I won’t force anything to “happen”.  Just flowing with things as they go.

Sunrise over India from the taxi window

I arrived in Delhi on Wednesday morning at 4:30, with my friend M.  We were picked up by a taxi which I had ordered previously and began our journey to Rishikesh.  And to my great surprise, it took a long time for me to feel like I was actually in India!  Everything has changed so much over the past year and 8 months.  It took hours before my friend had her first traumatic meeting with Indian culture shock.  She was beginning to become complacent, maybe even bored, but India being India…it will finally find its way to you in all of its glorious, and not so glorious ways!!

what a unique idea!

At the airport there was no initial assault on the senses as there used to be.  We could have been in any lovely airport in any country in the world.  The new terminal has nothing to give you the feeling that you are truly back in India.  My friend was pleasantly surprised, and happy, but I was actually disappointed.  .  Pleased of course that progress is moving things forward, India as always moves ahead while standing still….But I wanted desperately to “feel” India on a gut level, in my soul!

We were taken to our taxi, and to my total astonishment, there was AC working!!   And it worked most of the journey to Rishikesh!  Quite unbelievable.  Not only is it obviously more comfortable during a hot drive, but it keeps all of the dirt and dust out of the car!

I was already told that the new highway is open and running between Delhi and Rishikesh, but had no idea what to expect.  Well, the first 150 KM of the 250 KM journey took under 2 hours, Then we stopped for breakfast and toilet and lovely Cheetal Resort.  When we got back in the car, the driver explained that the highway only continues for another 10 KM and then we are back on the old road for the last 90 KM of the trip to Rishikesh.

So, finally, we would “feel” India!!  The highway is approached through a bypass road from the airport, so we didn’t even get to ride through Old Delhi or New Delhi on our way out of the city.  And all of the hussle-bussle was truly missed by me.

Once off the main highway however India finally “hit” with full force.  I was ecstatic, my friend traumatized.    We were back to the horror and magic that is travel on Indian roads.  (You might remember the previous post- Rules of the Road).

The last 90 KM took well over 3 hours of nerve-wracking driving, noise, smells, near death passes, a cacophony of humanity coming to life in the morning hours.  Just wonderful! But my poor friend!  I think you NEVER forget your first drive on Indian roads.  Just like you never forget childbirth (!).  It finds a place of honor in your soul and stays there forever, but hidden enough to allow you to venture onto the roads again for travel in the future!!

I am going to end this post here so that I can finish it up and post it.  And hope to continue either tomorrow or later today with one more catch up post about our first two days here. They have been a blur of sensory, culinary and physical stimulation…exploring, showing my friend the local sights and also how to find her own way around, eating wonderful food, enjoying the perfect weather, see all my wonderful friends again and just feeling peaceful and tranquil and back home after much too long.

Namaste

Jane


Faces of India Part 5 – People at Work-What is Your Job?

August 30, 2012

People at Work in India

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Hope you will enjoy the following photos.  Many of these jobs are found all over the world, but might look a little different or be done a little differently  in India, and some of these jobs are found ONLY in India.  🙂

bicycle rickshaw- Sooooo Indian

Only in India! -change maker for beggars

main ghat veg market varanassi-everything so fresh and beautiful to look at

tailor

Tailor

sugar cookie vendor-found on the streets in the afternoon in time for Tea-the cookies are yummy!

Making a Sweet Drink from Raw Sugar Cane-Very often Long lines at these vendors

snake charmer

snack vendors-so colorful

snack vendor

Sari Merchant – It is Always Men selling these-as well as fabric in the following photo

Fabric Shop – Most women’s clothes are still made to order and one of a kind in India-although ready made and chain stores are beginning to make inroads with the spread of Malls

PLUMBER-let me figure this one out

electrician at work using Indian ingenuity for problem solving on the job

main ghat veg market-varanassi-everything so fresh and beautiful to look at

Cooking my morning porridge at local restaurant

Chai Walla

fruit stand

Fruit Vendor

Provision Shop

yoga instructor


Changing India-Impressions from a Delhi Mall

April 4, 2011

Impressions from a Delhi Mall

I visited a friend in Delhi and she decided our first stop on our day out in town would be a local mega mall, which had just opened up a new section which even she hadn’t seen.  She is a shopaholic and her greatest pleasure is “shop until you drop”.

The Mall was everything a Mall should be and more, and this was, I was told, the SMALLEST of the malls in Delhi.

I expected it to be empty but it was full of people shopping, eating etc. You can see some photos on the facebook link as well.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281708&id=547896544&l=d212f45e57

The only thing which would make you realize you are in India are the products being sold in the department store.  In addition to the regular western clothing and housewares, there are local items to be found as well. I love the photo of the jeans and saris on racks right next to each other, which is a true testament to the changing India!

Jeans and Saris - India -the New and the Old Existing Side by Side

and of course the buckets which are still used for bathing in many homes.

and of course the local dress still worn by a majority of women.

or the incense sold in the supermarket on a shelf called “pooja needs” (items for religious ceremonies)

To give credit where credit is due, environmental awareness is high in India, and the supermarkets no longer use ANY plastic bags.  Goods are packed into locally sewn cloth bags which can be reused, and they are free!

We walked around until I was ready to drop- literally, and than had lunch in a lovely franchise place called Chilies (I think) and the food was delicious, but expensive for India – and yet the place was FULL of people taking a food break while out shopping.

The toilets were also modern and beautiful as befits a fancy mall

– but note that even though the toilets are western style, a hose for washing instead of using toilet paper is still provided in the stalls!

or the women carrying their purchases on their heads!

–remember more photos available at facebook LINK

Namaste

Jane


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