We had an absolute blast this day. Some of the rapids names were: Upset One, Upset Two, Lady’s Delight and Landslide. The kids did great- we were surprised they let Lennon go, but happy they did. We can’t wait to do it again! The helmets reminded me of the movie “Spaceballs.”
Our images of India: the Taj Mahal, monkeys, animals wandering the streets, children laughing, green and yellow auto rickshaws, monarchs, people pooping and peeing openly on the sidewalks, dead bodies wrapped in white cloths waiting to be cremated, old people waiting on steps to die, kids playing Cricket, sandstone palaces, beggars, garbage, a woman beating the heck out of a baby calf, dirt, brightly colored saris, feces from all sources dotting the footpaths, fires (large and small), a baby goat, half naked people bathing in the Ganges, a cow blocking an alley, three laughing girls teetering on a bike on their way to school….We could go on and on.
We went to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi. Each had their own personality but Varanasi was the real mind blower. The heat was suffocating, the smells were a mixture of sour milk, urine, burning bodies and rose water. Varanasi was the most unsettling to us in every way possible. We tried to blend in as much as we could (which is extremely hard if you’re the only white family in town.) Numerous people wanted money for food, for blessing us, to cremate a loved one- people would not leave us alone! One man told us he was an untouchable (the caste system is still very much alive there) – he wanted 500 rupees or he said our family would have bad karma for the rest of our lives. I told him that he would have bad karma for saying something like that to a family. He followed us for quite awhile as we sloshed through mud and manure. I was to the point where if Jesse would have said, “let’s fight him!” I totally would have been on board. That place opens up different places of your mind.
Some of the people are very poor and severely desperate and desperate times call for desperate measures. In Varanasi, you had to be on your toes every second of the day. It was exhausting.
Knowing what we know now- we still would have gone, I just would have tried to make us all more mentally prepared for what we were going to see and we would have stayed a shorter time. The experiences have changed us all and I expect they will continue to unfold and affect us over time.
While we were there it was like someone opened our heads and shoved them full of information and images- almost too much to process.
I will never forget hungry children begging for food or a man taking a dump a few feet away from us but I wished for all of this (maybe not exactly!) But I did wish for us to be immersed in completely foreign cultures and have unique, life altering experiences -and that is precisely what we are getting. When we left India and walked over the border into Nepal- the energy shifted, it got quieter and there were less people, but our heads were definitely left spinning!
Trucks are decorated to make sure people see them at night and to ward off evil spirits and bad energy
We were out one night in Varanasi trying to get to a festival and there were people as far as the eye could see. It was nuts.
Not the best idea but we really wanted to “bathe” in the Ganges – once in a lifetime chance. The floor of the river is spongy and slimy (not surprising) so I was kind of balancing on a rock at one point. Lennon was going out a bit too far- I turned around to pull him in when Emerson swam up to me. I slipped off the rock and accidentally swallowed a bit of water. How disgusting is that?! No worries, I thought, since my body surely had built up immunities while traveling. That was not the case. I got sick! Not just sick, but ‘oh my good golly I feel horrificly nasty sick.’ Thank goodness we had some antibiotics (thank you Dr. Munoz!!!!!) After two days of trying to work through what I thought was the flu- I took those and started feeling better immediately. Our boat rower said they call the Ganges (gan- jees) – Gonga (gong-uh) – so my on going joke is that nothing can slow me down- not even THE GONGA!!!!!!!!