Extension Cords and Beaches with Cows

Rishikesh Travel Blog

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Haridwar, evening prayer offering to the Ganges

By now I've totally lost track of the day and time but it doesn't seem
to really matter in India, especially Goa.  We got here the night
before last so there's not too much to report on yet.  There's not
much to do here aside from lay on the beach and play in the ocean..the
perfect ending to a crazy trip.  We came from Rishikesh, a mountain
town north of Delhi.  We were told by a handful of people that the
drive from Delhi to Rishikesh would be an easy 6 hour trip, so I have
to question what they all had been smoking.  It was more like 8 1/2
hours of off-roading in a minivan.  Apparently paved roads are still a
thing of the future.

During one of the many power outtages
   We spent most of the trip being bounced around
like rag dolls, but when the ride was calm enough to actually gaze out
the window I couldn't take my eyes off all the people and things we
passed.  Even the countryside is crowded with people.  It's
interesting to see how the various communities are segregated by
religion.  We passed through Hindu towns with temples and women in
sarees, and through Muslim towns with Mosques and women in burkas.
But the one thing they all seemed to have in common is the ability to
cram an unbelievable amount of people into buses.  When the buses get
full and there's no more room, people simply hop up onto the roof or
hang off the sides holding on with one hand.

Just before we arrived at Rishikesh, we stopped at a small town
(220,000 people) called Haridwar.

  Like Varanasi, Haridwar is said to
be another great holy city.  It's located at the point where the
Ganges emerges from the Himalayas, so the waters are much colder and
faster flowing.  As in Varanasi, prayer offerings are made every
morning and every evening, but it seemed like more people were
interested in body surfing through town than actually taking a prayer
bath.  The Ganges here runs straight through the city, and on it's
banks are dozens of temples and ashrams.  The whole city is lit which
makes for an interesting "sky line", and there are TONS of candles
offered to the river which gives it a beautiful glitter effect.  We
only stayed for 15 minutes b/c traffic took longer than expected and
Ricki and I weren't feeling all too comfortable with the 15 men who
started circling us taking pictures.
View from the cottages of the Ganges
  So...our guide rescued us and
took us back to our off roading vehicle where we slowly rode up and
around the mountains until we reached our camp grounds.  We arrived
after dark, and were less than happy at first.  We were the only
people staying there - they had no other guests.  Our cottage was
dirty (filthy actually) and we were HUNGRY.  Seeing that there was no
one else there, we had the staff all to ourselves, so while some
cleaned our cabin, others cooked us dinner.  Just as we began settling
in the power goes out AGAIN and proceeded to do so just about every 15
minutes. Eventually, despite there being no A/C and the fan
continuously shutting off, we fell fast asleep.

We awoke in the morning to the most beautiful site!  Our cottage was
tucked into the mountains, high enough to get a birds eye view of the
Ganges below.

  We sat on our front porch drinking chi and watching
monkeys play in the not too far distance.  We were surrounded by mango
and lechee trees.  It was so lush and green.  We went for a short hike
just to get our blood flowing, had breakfast, and suited up for some
white water rafting.  The manager of the cottages and our guide for
pretty much everything was a young Nepalese boy named Karan.  What a
great spirit he has!  His father died when he was 15, so he quit
school and came to India for work.  He's only 22 but has been working
at these cottages as a white water rafting guide for 7 years now and
sends money back to his mother and sisters.  He goes back to Nepal for
the summer months, and in order to get home he has to take a 12 hour
bus ride, then walk for 5 hours through the jungle to his house.
we all have it so easy.  Regardless, I hope to visit some day :)

So we suited up - helmets and life jackets, and had a very brief
lesson on how not to die should the raft capsize.  It was just the
three of us in the raft, so there was virtually no weight in the boat
which lead to a frightening but fun ride.  The Ganges here is
beautiful - cool, clean, crisp water that you cant help but jump in
and out of.  We rafted for a total of 17 kilometers on level 4 rapids
which was probably a bit much for inexperienced rafters but such a
blast!  At the end of the rapids is the town of Rishikesh, where the
Beatles wrote most of the White Album.  I could see how it's a great
place to be inspired.  Like Haridwar, the Ganges flows through the
middle of town.

Suspension bridge in Rishikesh
  Both sides of the river are connected by 2 HUGE
suspension bridges.  We rafted through town, dried off, and took a
leisurely stroll through the town center.  We crossed one of  the
suspension bridges, which normally wouldn't be a daunting task, but
aside from the hundreds of on-foot commuters, you've got to navigate
past monkeys begging for bananas, motorcycles and scooters.  We even
passed a bull.  How a bull gets on a suspension bridge and walks along
casually I don't know.  Maybe he was distracted by the butt-naked holy
men walking along...

The ashrams and temples in Rishikesh are just amazing!  The detail and
images of Hindu Gods is mind blowing and the ashrams are peaceful
sanctuaries from the chaos of the main road.  Being the yoga capital
of world, you can imagine the hippies wandering around - it's
definitely a place to come and "find yourself" should you feel the


After walking through town we made our way to the beginning of another
hike, 3 miles straight up  - LITERALLY STRAIGHT UP - a mountain to the
top of a waterfall.  I honestly thought I was going to die.  Of course
when you arrive you're more than pleased that you risked your life in
a near death hiking experience, as there's a giant wadding pool at the
base of the waterfall with fresh mountain water to swim around in.
Needless to say, it felt quite nice to cool off.

The rest of the day was spent just being lazy around the camp grounds.
 Because we were the only guests at the cottages, we got to help cook
dinner and learn how to make amazing Indian food.  I believe it took
me no more than 2.5 seconds to fall asleep that night, and when I woke
up my whole body was in pain!  No joke, my pinky was sore.

Prayer lessons in Rishikesh
another quick hike and breakfast, we went back out to the rapids and
enjoyed a full day on the river, this time rafting 28 kilometers.  I
think I'm addicted.

Three nights in Rishikesh was great, but not enough.  I'd love to go
back, but think maybe Colorado is slightly more convenient.  Plus, I
doubt Colorado has as many power outages.  Actually, I'm surprised
there aren't more as the only source for electricity up in the
mountains is supplied by one single orange extension cord.  It's not
even on power lines - there's one extension cord that hangs on tree
branches for miles and miles from the town below.  Amazing...

So this email has been a work in progress as I've had a hard time
pulling myself away from the beach and $0.

Palolem Beach, Goa
75 tropical drinks, but by
now we've been in Goa for 3 nights.  It's amazing!  I said before that
there's not much to do here but lay around, which is mostly true, but
if you want adventure you can certainly find it.  Ricki and I met some
lovely English girls who have been here for 3 months now...just 3
months, chillin' in Goa.  Of course by now they know the ropes around
here and have been showing us around.  Yesterday Ricki and I rented
scooters for 200 Rupees ($4) and buzzed our behinds all over south
Goa.  Let me try and paint a picture here - it's off-season yes, so
town is definitely a bit more quiet than usual, but it's still chaotic
right around the main beach where we're staying.  So we hop on our
bikes, driving S-L-O-W-L-Y, and somehow manage to successfully dodge
people, other inexperienced scooter drivers, roosters, cows,
rickshaws, cars, taxis, bikers, the occasional pig and street
A scooter ride through the jungle in South Goa
..all while driving along the "wrong" side of the road.  Ain't
no thing but a tandoori chicken wing!!!  After fueling up and gaining
a bit of confidence on the scooters, we hit the main the road for a
beautiful 30 minute ride through the jungle on dirt roads.  We crossed
an amazing bridge that passes above the ocean, which was a bit
frightening but so beautiful.  The roads are covered in the canopy of
thousands of palm trees, with coconuts scattered on the roads below.
And what do you know?  Of all the possible things to collide into,
what do I hit?  A bird...a bird flies directly into my right leg and
rickashays off my left.  I just about FREAKED!  I thought I hit a

After a 30 minute ride we arrived at the most secluded beach I've ever
seen - white sand, enormous waves, blue water and only a handful of

  What an untouched gem.  Of course I'm burnt to a crisp so
yesterday wasn't a good day for me in the sun, but if I had a boogie
board on me I'd have had a blast.

OK - mom and dad, stop reading here.  This isn't for your eyes.

There was some talk on the beach yesterday of how cheap dental work is
here.  Natalie, one of the English girls we met, had a filling filled
in the morning.  Sans novicane I might add.  Personally I think she's
crazy but that didn't stop Ricki and I from taking a trip to the
dentist.  We scooted ourselves over to the local dental office where
we got a teeth cleaning and whitening for 1200 Rupees (about $24).
See, I don't have dental insurance so I'm more than pleased.  Not to
mention the chemist next door sold a strip of valium (10 pills) for

A fishing trip with the local fishermen
50.  Not that I bought any - I swear :)

That pretty much brings us up to date!  It's 10:30 am here, so time
for breakfast.  Today we're going to get massages on the beach and
kayak over to monkey island, which I'm assuming is an island full of
monkeys.  Although, things in India rarely are as they seem, so it's
quite possible it's an island full of cows.

If anything else crazy or out of the ordinary happens I'll be sure to
report back, but if not I'm back on Saturday so I'll talk to you all

Miss you all and love you - see you soon

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Haridwar, evening prayer offering …
Haridwar, evening prayer offering…
During one of the many power outta…
During one of the many power outt…
View from the cottages of the Gang…
View from the cottages of the Gan…
Suspension bridge in Rishikesh
Suspension bridge in Rishikesh
Prayer lessons in Rishikesh
Prayer lessons in Rishikesh
Palolem Beach, Goa
Palolem Beach, Goa
A scooter ride through the jungle …
A scooter ride through the jungle…
A fishing trip with the local fish…
A fishing trip with the local fis…
Of everything to catch, I caught a…
Of everything to catch, I caught …
Trapped in a mosquito net
Trapped in a mosquito net
Our beach hut on Palolem Beach
Our beach hut on Palolem Beach
637 km (396 miles) traveled
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photo by: Mezmerized