** A big Journey always starts with the 1st step :: in this case Smelly New Delhi, India "" **
I traveled for 6 months around India Oct 2006-March 2007 meeting various gurus, rinpoches, lamas, checking out ashrams, meditation retreats, spiritual communities & studying yoga. ALso having fun on beaches, mingling with other world travelers, making music (both kinds!)& organizing a few music events, had a beautiful short-term relationships with Shinobi from Tokyo, and basically having the time of my life in Mother India !
Day 1 :: of a six month journey began at the Delhi airport at 3am. Luckily I was
warned by a website too get a pre-paid taxi from OUTSIDE the terminal
because the one's inside charge more. This was a good introduction to India
because everything is like this from what i can tell. More, especially if your a foreigner, unless you look harder & seek out the fair price. I took my late night
taxi ride about 30 minutes to Paharganj & was not impressed with the scenery,
or the driver's reckless driving! The scenery consisted of busy busy traffic for 3am with tons of black diesel fumes spued into the air. I wore a bandana around
my nose & mouth to help. My eyes were stinging after 10 minutes in Delhi, this city of 12.2 million people & a pollution that is one of the worlds worst. Everywhere I looked there was the ultra-poor aesthetic of poverty that i was expecting (run down dirty cement buildings, lots of garbage everywhere, burning
piles of plastic & garbage causing quite a stink). I was surprised to see the many homeless people sleeping in the medians in the middle of the road. On the cement in the middle of the road....yikes! And it didn't take long to figure out why everybody was honking like mad...on the back of most vehicles it says "Blow Horn" or "Horn Please". Grrrrrrreeeeeat! Encourage more honking! Guess when they're driving like lunatics on the fringe it is good to be honking like mad too?
At some point I want edit one to say "Horny Please Blow".
well...i was pleased to find my Hotel Star Paradise in backpacker mecca Paharganj region of Delhi. It was perfect budget motel for only 300 Rupees (hereby written as Rs). Quiet, clean, nice staff, safe.
Although next time i'd 'splurge' & stay at Hotel Sheraton for 350 Rs for a nicer room & their rooftop restaurant which iwent to twice anyway to escape the hell on the streets.
Ahh yes....to be a foreigner on the streets of India you are a walking flashing green neon $ sign! We must be...why else would they treat us like this? The 12 hours I spent in Delhi I was pestered at least 100 times! Probably 40x to come into a shop or buy some product, 20x buy travel tourism blokes trying to get
me to Kashmir, beggars, & other people that just started off with "nice ring" or "where you from" to obviously break the ice. My ice was broken pretty quick & now I don't know which Indians to trust. Some are sincere & just curious & friendly. Others are very very pushy & insist (in a somehow neutral way) that you
do what they are saying. One big trick in Delhi at the New Delhi station (i was also warned online about this before so did not fall for it) is for guys to come & try & take you to another tourism office to buy your ticket, which of course is more expensive & gets them a commision. they will tell you anything..."the main office is closed....being repaired..".
Very different here. Thailand-Laos-Cambodia (my only other Asia experience) was sooo different in that way. People were more
introverted & quiet. I think it's the Buddhism that 95% of those people are that kept things more passive. I like it that way, but will try to keep my patience here & learn quicker methods of saying no without getting rude myself.
I want to spend a few days in Delhi & see the Red Fort, Gandhi's memorial, the huge mosque, etc... but would like to have a friend to do this with. Tarun,
my good Indian-Canadian friend has introduced me to his friend that may meet
me later on in my journey back to there.
For now, i'm loving the Tibetan culture up here in Dharamsala in North India near Himalayas...home of his holiness the Dalai Lama! I went & sat down at his main Buddhist temple this morning & chanted with over 400 Tibetans for hours. amazing! i'm going tomorrow morning to see him in person & soak in the Tibetan vibes some more. i love these people! not to say i don't love the Indians...i love them too. But these Tibetan folks radiate such clarity, calmness,
gentless, compassion. It is very beautiful & I find there peace quite attractive.
I may stay in Dharmsala 2 months if I find a place to study yoga & massage, & volunteer work. It's not just a political refuge for the many Tibetans, but for
us foreigners too!