18.06.2008 - 24.06.2008 87 °F
We are down to our last 10 hours in India. It is almost bitter sweet.....we leave with both bitter and sweet memories of India As our last blog left off we were enjoying our "Diamond in the Rough" or "Hidden Gem" as I would rather refer to it....Manali. We stayed in Manali for a total of 9 nights, we figured we might as well stay where we were happiest. During our final days in Manali went for a great day hike. The owner of our guest house arranged for his father to lead us part way. This man had to be close to 70 years old, but he was hiking like a champ. He lead us around the hills above Manali and took us to a family home. Which was a basic traditional 2- story mud home where the family kept their few cows. He insisted that we stay for chai, so we sat on the porch taking in the amazing serenity and scenery while he made the pot of chai. Breezy realized after his third glass of chai that an empty glass always gets filled. So after we were hyped up on caffiene the father sent us on our way up the valley. It was one of the first clear days we had had in Manali, so we were able to see the Himalayas around us. The area had received a lot of rain so far this year so the hills were glowing green. I'm not sure if I have ever seen green mountains all the way up to the glaciers. We definately felt our homesickness for the mountains melt away.
One thing that I was set on trying in India was a yoga class. I figured that I can't come all the way to the land of yoga and not take a class. I was curious to see how different our western yoga is from Indian yoga. So I managed to coerce Breezy to come with me to an 1.5 hour yoga class. As it turned out it was a private class for us. The instructor started by asking us our experience. We said that I was out of practice since it had been October since I had last done yoga and Breezy had only tried it once before. Maybe we should have sounded more experienced, because the class we got was very simple. We started out with pranayama (breathing exercises) which I was expecting and we did some breathing exercises that I'm familliar with. But that when the familiarity ended. He then had us get up and walk, jog and run in place and do a version of jumping jacks to warm up. But right after the warm up he had us go into corpse pose. For those of you not familiar with yoga, corpse pose in the west, is normally at the end of the practice, used for total body relaxation. After a couple minutes of corpse pose he had us do some neck rolls, hand extensions, wrist circles, toe rolls, ankle circles, leg circles and Breezy's favorite.....the eye exercises. Which we can all do right now.....look up, straight, down, straight, up, straight, down.....you get the jist of it. Now do eye circles....clockwise 5 times, now anti-clockwise 5 times. I thought to myself during all of this that this would be a great yoga class for elderly in a nursing homes to stay active Then of course after all of this exursion we did corpse pose again. We did a few asanas (movement exercises) that I was familiar with, but he called them by different names than I have ever heard them referred to. He had us go into corpse pose a few more times, do a few balancing poses which Breezy and I seemed to be able to hold longer than our instructor and follow up with a discussion on digestion. Needless to say....we didn't come out of the class feeling like we had done anything active for our bodies. I'm happy I took the class, it made me realize that I do need to get back in to yoga when we get back to the states. But either our instructor wasn't very good or I prefer the West's version of yoga
The day finally came that we had to leave Manali. I felt as I did when I left my sister Barb in Tassie. It was sad to say goodbye to our host Guddu who had helped to make our Manali time so wonderful. He drove us to the bus station and made sure that we got on our bus alright. We boarded our luxury Volvo with A/C and reclining seats and lots of leg room. The bus ride to Delhi was suppose to be 16 hours but it only took 14 hours. Of which, 7 hours were on winding mountain roads. We realized that Indians are more prone to motion sickness than Breezy was as about 1/4 of the bus got sick. They even handed out barf bags. All and all it was the most pleasant bus ride of India and we arrived safely in New Delhi.
We decided to stay in the Tibetan Colony of Delhi. It seems to be on the out skirts of the city which is great because it is quiet and we can see a river out behind our hotel. But it is a 10-15 minute drive to most of the sites. Yesterday (Monday) we realized that many of Delhi's sights are closed on Mondays, so we were somewhat limited on what we could see. We went to Old Delhi, and got lost in the hustle and bustle of things for about 10 minutes. Then we saw it....at the same time we heard angels sing.....there in front of us were the Golden Arches. Now most of you know that I'm not a fan of McDonalds....but after not seeing one in 2 months the icon of home is welcoming. So stopped for fries and soda (no burgers since we are in India the land of the beloved cow) and got our berrings. We heading to Jama Masjid which is the largest mosque in India. The mosque's courtyard can hold about 25,000 people. After walking around in Old Delhi a bit more we decided the zoo might be a great way to spend the afternoon. We were right, we had a nice time at the zoo. Once the afternoon heat got to us, we decided we had seen enough for the day and headed back to the peacefull refuge of the Tibetan Colony.
The one thing left on my "to do" list for India, for this time atleast. Is to go to the Gandhi Smriti which is where Mahatma Gandhi was shot and killed by a Hindu zealot in 1948. For those of you that have not seen the movie Gandhi, you should rent it some rainy day. It is a great flick about a great man. So before we leave India we plan to pay tribute to the father of this crazy nation of India.
If you were to ask us if we are sad to leave India you would most likely get different answers. Breezy loved Manali but would be happy if that was the only part of India that I took him to. I on the other hand, have enjoyed India. I'm very happy I have gotten to see what we have seen. But this county is huge and one month is not nearly enough. Maybe some day I will be able to return (I will leave Breezy at home with the children) But after this trip I learn that the time of year that you visit India makes a huge difference. The heat can make or break you. We both agree that we are excited to head to SE Asia for the next couple months. We are heading right into monsoon season, so we will see how we go.
Hope you are all doing well.
Breezy and Toni