Tuesday, April 5, 2016

India: Week 1

Day 1.
I’m on the plane, the first leg, not even the second one, from Moscow to Delhi, just the first flight to Moscow. And I’m sitting here, listening to Eric Clapton, and crying my guts out. Quietly, not to disturb the passengers next to me.
There was a funny betting pool at my farewell party, about when I’m going to be missing my friends too much and will come back. The consensus was about a month. Currently, I’m feeling like this will actually be a day. I keep reminding myself that I wanted to do this. I wanted to get away from it all, to break my boring daily routine, and just take a few months to give myself time to think about what I wanna do when I grow up.
But here I am, sitting on board a plane, and crying, because I keep going back to thoughts about friends, and family, whom I love, and already miss like crazy. The fact that my phone is filled with pictures of fun memories doesn’t help :P

Why, oh why, can’t I just enjoy the thought of going on an adventure? I wanted this. I still do. But damn it, I’m not even 5 hours away from home, and I’m already homesick.

Day 2.
I’ve met two friends, Ido and Shlomit. They’re pretty fun to be with, and I decided to postpone my trip to Nepal and go to Rishikesh with them instead.
The hotel was a dump, an absolute dump… But, we were tired, and jet lagged, so everybody slept very well. Waking up in the morning, and getting out to the market was quite an experience. The smells which attacked me were awesome, absolutely an attack on all of the senses, the smells, not unpleasant, just a LOT of them everywhere, the noise, the chaotic traffic. I chose not to enter a state of shock. I took it all in, and just went with the madness. I chose to be happy.
I think this is the best way to handle India, just accept that it’s different, and that the madness is part of the deal.
Food was good, the same rules I always use for choosing restaurants still apply here as well, which is good, the basic rules of the universe still work here :P
And now I’m sitting in the Chabad house, passing time until we get on the bus to Rishikesh. The people are fun to be with, and the place has a nice, laid back vibe to it.
We sat on a rooftop restaurant, took over the music, and put on amazing music, Eric Clapton, BB King, Pink Floyd, Estas Tonne. Smoked a couple of joints, and passed the time in an exquisite way. Now going to Rishikesh, probably going to try Yoga for the first time. It actually sounds good to me, which is a surprise :)

Day 3.
We went around Rishikesh, tired from the journey here, which was quite uncomfortable and we didn’t really get any sleep on the way. We passed through the Chabad house, smoked a couple of joints, and then went to find a hotel. After getting a few hours of sleep, we went to find some food, smoked some more, and basically chilled. The atmosphere here, in Rishikesh, is relaxed, and the pace is slow. Service in restaurants is slow, it’s completely okay to smoke some weed in restaurants, and it seems like the waiters are stoned as well :)
And then, I reverted to my regular state of mind, instead of the talkative persona I put on in Delhi, I found myself quiet, and getting bored. I need something to do, or somehow get into the right state of mind. Otherwise, I know I’m going to get bored really quickly, and I don’t want this to happen. Also, I’m a coward. But that’s for another post.

Day 4.
Finally! A good night’s sleep! Woke up at 10am, went out to get some food. Ran out of weed, so today isn’t a “high day”, but still, walking around town, looking for a more attractive guest house, was pretty fun. Met some Canadian travellers, father and daughter, and talking with them was pretty interesting, as their experience is something I would love to share with my children when I have them. Only thing I wanted to do, but didn’t, was go to the Chabad house, as it’s Saturday, and it should be fun to visit today. Well, there’s always next week.
We found more weed, and sat in a small place called “Freedom cafe”. The place is built for LONG stays. By long I mean really insanely long. Service is slow, but comes with a smile when you’re talking to the right waiter (the wrong one actually ignored us, and did it in a hilarious way, we asked him for the menu, he said “yes”, turned back and left. We never heard from him again :)
Anyway, at the cafe, which has pretty good food, a chill environment and a comfortable setting right on the Ganges river, with floor mats, pillows, etc. we met a couple of girls from Switzerland and Turkey. Apparently, I looked like I was making a move on the Swiss girl. I should have, as we were having a good time, and she was cute, but I literally do not know how. I never did that in my life, so I don’t know how to move from being friendly to more than that. I should learn.

Day 5.
I’m sitting in a small cafe next to freedom cafe (food is better here), and working. I’ll be trying to do an 8 hour work day. First PR already submitted, which I take pride in. I ordered a 4 day trek at the Freedom Cafe for the next morning.

And then, it all went to shit.

Day 6.
Yesterday, I was feeling funky, really unwell, at first, I thought it was the regular thing everyone gets in India - food poisoning, so I tried vomiting, which didn’t do much except make me feel miserable. My fever went up to about 38.5c, so I took an Advil, and went to sleep. Today, I woke up feeling just fine, decided to take it easy, and just lay around the room for the day. We went to a nice cafe called the Ganga Beach, had a wonderful meal, smoked some more, and at that moment I decided to stop smoking for a while. Going back to the room, I was starting to feel feverish again, this time, 39.2c, which got me VERY worried.
Went to see a doctor, who I think might also be a yoga instructor, and this was the most surreal experience I’ve had for a long time. We went to his house, knocked on the door, and he answered, asked me to sit down, took my fever reading, and listened to my chest. Gave me some cough medicine, and didn’t take money yet, promised to come tomorrow and check up on me, and take my money. Which is a trick I really do not like. But there are no taxis available, and the nearest decent hospital is 15km away…
The good thing in this story - the guys at the Freedom Cafe just returned my money when I told them I can’t make it to the trek. I’ve had a similar situation in Thailand, and there they just told me to piss off, and refused to even move my trip to another day. For this reason, and the fact that they’re awesome fellas, I highly recommend visiting the Freedom Cafe if you find yourself in Rishikesh, and using their travel services.

Day 7.
Still down, same symptoms, feeling well in the morning, and then around 3pm, fever goes up. This is beginning to make me a little worried, as I usually just go down for a day or two and then get well. Which clearly isn’t happening here. The “doctor” I visited tried to pour some ember colored substance from a filthy glass dripper, that’s where I just said “woah, stop right now”, paid him half what he asked for and just left.
So now I’m taking some medicine to take my fever down when it happens, and if nothing changes, I’l get on a flight to Delhi and go to a western-standard hospital.

On the bright side - I fucking LOVE Indian food. Whatever I’ve got is effecting my respiratory system, leaving me to enjoy some delicious foods at times I don’t feel bad. The items on the menu usually mean nothing to me, and I love trying new stuff. Meanwhile, I loved everything I ate.

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