06 April 2008

Escape from New Delhi, Part Two


I think I paid for my scams, friends. Karmically. You see, every bus ride in [the world?] has the potential to become the Bus Ride from Hell, and I think I was scammed myself when I was overbooked onto the overnight hippie bus from Delhi to Rishikesh. I met a nice Canadian girl who lived in Japan for the last three years, so we had lots to chat about. Unfortunately, we were among the last to board the bus. So she got a broken seat, and I got... no seat! Instead, they put me into the driver's cabin up front, on a bench, where, typically, they later squeezed in eight more Indians. I expressed my dismay to the bus attendant, to the effect that I paid for a seat and would find it difficult to sleep sitting upright with no leg room on a "bench" to which he replied--"Sleep OK! No problem!" You will not be surprised by now when I tell you, my friends, that I wanted to kill this man.

To be honest, I didn't suffer too badly. I think that bus ride in Nepal steeled me for anything. I was able to switch eventually to the also broken seat next to the Canadian girl, but that one was on a tilt, so it kept tipping me into her whenever there was a bump, and I don't think she appreciated that. Finally, the extended family in the back cleared out and I actually had a place to lay down. Forty-five minutes later, we arrived in Rishikesh. I had the foresight to call ahead to an ashram for accommodation, but it turned out to be full until Tuesday. The manager/yoga teacher invited me to sleep, as a stopgap measure, on a wooden platform inside the giant yoga room or on a bed squeezed into the dirty, narrow kitchen. I picked the kitchen but then later found a hotel and splurged for a $2.50 room with private bath. I am so spoiled sometimes.

I met Sahara, the dude from New Jersey who taught one of my yoga classes at Rutgers and who's served as my contact in Rishikesh since I've been in India. Really nice guy! He might introduce me to his spiritual teacher, ShantiMayi, a Vedic saint, and possibly a nearly 100 year-old yoga teacher. He also told Canadian Stacie and I where to go for illegal beer. Which we did. This morning, slightly hungover, I had my first yoga class at Omkarananda Ashram. Hatha style, so I was familiar with the asanas. Good stuff.

I may not have much to write about for the next two weeks, while I'm just hanging around Rishikesh doing yoga. I'll try to come up with some lies to tell or possibly do retrospective posts on my excursion to Southeast Asia, May-July 2006 and my year in Japan immediately following. How does that sound, readers?

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