Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Post Has Few Photos & A Lot of Vomit. Hooray!

Sorry for the delay in this section. But we've been sort of dreading posting it, because it starts out kind of unpleasant and without any fun photos and then gets reeeeally long and barfy. Don't all of those things sound just dreadful?

Well, it's too late to turn back now! You've already clicked on our link and the page has loaded and there's nothing you can do about it! Hahahahahaha!


CHAPTER 4: The Nepalese Plague

When we had said our regretful goodbyes to Rishikesh but looking forward to our journey to Nepal, we hopped in a cab to make the hour trip back to the Haridwar Train Station. We made sure to leave ourselves just over an hour of extra time to find our train and seating assignments.

This cab was less frenzied than the others and we were able to enjoy some of the in-between scenery. Several of the road bridges were in heavily wooded areas with beautiful rushing streams going underneath us. Gorgeous. As Mary was admiring one such stream she got a bit of a shock...There was a man, floating along backward with the fast current, arms spread wide with a giant smile on his face. And she thought, "Well, there you go. The people really are EVERYWHERE."

And she made her peace with it.

When we reached the Haridwar Train station, we went in to check on our train seats and discovered that the oft late Poggies had managed to show up THREE HOURS ahead of our departure. We weren't quite sure what to do with ourselves, and Haridwar is a bit rough, so we parked ourselves in the sun next to the Shiva monument. Basically, we were the only white-skinned people and we were on super display.

At one point, Mike watched as a college-age guy walked nervously near us and hung a towel over the railing that surrounded the statue and then giggled his way up to his six buddies. We were pretty used to this kind of thing by now. It was school holiday in India and many Southern Indians had come North for vacation. And a lot of them had never seen a white person before.

We were often asked to pose for photos with embarrassed wives, excited grandparents or entire families. And, occasionally, were handed horrified babies.

(this is not at the train station)

Mary- being the whitest person ON the planet- was the most popular.

So when two of the college kids eventually came up to talk to us, we weren't very surprised. It soon became clear that they were sent to test the waters, and the other five eventually came running over to hear noise come out of those glowing white faces.

Well, one glowing white face and one brownish-white face.

We chatted for a while and they suggested that we camp out in a building designated as the train station waiting room. Happy for a reprieve from the blazing sun, we went over to check it out. The moment we walked inside, we were swarmed by begging hands and sorrowful eyes. It was heart breaking, but also, unfortunately, potentially dangerous, so we decided to wait outside in the shade. We stood against a half wall so that Mike could rest the pack on it without taking it off of his back.

That's when we were approached by a woman.

"Hello, will you sign my petition?" she asked, thrusting a piece of paper into our hands.

We looked at it and saw that it was basically a list of names with an amount of donated money next to it. She told us that she and her family needed our money and that we must help them. As she continued to tell us her sad story, Mary caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. She turned around in alarm and standing there against the wall, with less than an inch of space between us, was a man who appeared to be about 6'5" and who looked very angry as he stared down at us.

"Oh! Hello!" said Mary with a startled laugh, expecting a greeting back.

He just glared. Angrily.

The woman said, "I do not know that man." She continued her spiel.

And that's when our wonder twin psychic intuition kicked in. There was NO WAY we were taking out our wallets. We told her that we were sorry and that we had given the last of our cash to our taxi driver. Her jaw tightened and she turned to Mary.

"Well, then, give me your clothes."

"My clothes?"

"Yes. If you do not have money for me, then I will have your clothes."

Yeeeeah. We, again, decided not to make ourselves vulnerable by digging through our things and turned her down. They stood there staring at us for a bit until, finally, she looked at the man and they both walked away. We decided to take our chances in the sun.

There were other encounters. Such as a woman that demanded that we let her take our photo in front of Shiva for 50 rupees. When we declined her offer, she grabbed Mary's hand with her fingernails, dug in and began to pull her away from Mike. Mary told her "no" again, yanked her hand away and the woman brought her own hand back as though to strike. But then the man traveling with her raised his hand against the woman and she hissed at us and walked away. Not exactly a satisfying outcome.

And then there were the men that gabbed on and on to us in Hindi (perfectly friendly if confusing) as another man inched closer and closer to Mike's pack. Eventually one of our college kid friends came up and shooed the pack incher away. There also was a man dressed as a Hindu deity wheeling himself about and begging (Eddie Murphy in Trading Places-style, if that makes sense) that approached us when we weren't paying attention and grabbed Mary's bare ankle. That poor man got a nice show of just how easily startled Mary can be. Oops.

There were other encounters that were much more painful than concerning, but we'll get to that later. We feel it is important to say this, however: We had done our research and knew how to protect ourselves from any real danger but, honestly, this was actually pretty tame, danger-wise. And this was the only time we felt uncomfortable in this way. So if you are planning on traveling to India or having an opinion about it, don't let this story thwart you or make you feel negatively about it. It was a mere three hours in the span of two weeks.

It should also be mentioned that formerly scaredy-pants Michael was cool as a cucumber throughout the entire thing. He might not have felt it, but here was nary a hint of the Disney Princess that day. He kept a smile on his face and his voice steady. 60 million points for THAT guy.

At last, exhausted, dehydrated and feeling...How do you describe this? Traumatized? Shell shocked? Ashamed of the abundance in which we had lived our lives? Angry that our fear was stronger than our empathy?...feeling changed, we boarded our train.

Mike made quick friends with our seat mate--an Indian engineer-- as Mary's head suddenly began to swim. And her stomach began to lurch. When his train buddy got up to use the facilities, Mike leaned over to her with a concerned face.

"Something's wrong," she told him. "Just say a little prayer that I don't hurl on this damn train."

We arrived in Delhi, sans hurling, at about 10:30pm and began the search for our pick-up driver. When we couldn't find him, we negotiated a ride with two drivers that swore to us they knew where our hotel was.

They didn't. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was past midnight. We were mentally and physically exhausted and filthy...And Mary was fighting the urge to pass out, weep and vomit. Simultaneously.

The man that escorted us to our room didn't quite grasp this, however, and kept trying to get us to order things.

"You want beer? I bring you beer. How many you like?"

"No, no. We're just really tired and want to go to bed, thanks."

"Okay. So I bring you dinner. You look at this menu and I bring you dinner."

"No, my wife is not feeling well and we have to get up in a few hours. Can we please just get some bottles of water?"

"Okay, yes. And then, maybe in an hour, you order some dinner and beer, okay?"

He brought the water, Mary took one sip and...well, she didn't keep it down. She projectile didn't keep it down. For a long time. We set our alarm for 4am and crawled miserably into bed.

At about 1am, Mike got up and ran to the bathroom to vomit.

Somehow we managed to drag ourselves out of bed the next morning and get ourselves to the airport. And, oh geez, the security--if you thought American airport security measures were laborious, India will blow your mind. And standing in line that long while you feel like you might be mutating into some sort of gelatinous monster is the opposite of a good time.

The flight to Nepal was short and the Air India staff was lovely, and we were just happy to be able to close our eyes and slump. We did perk up for a moment when we flew over Mount Everest and then silently screamed at our bodies, as we involuntarily slipped back into our coma, "But it's Mount Everest! You can't fall asleep when Mount Freaking Everest is visible! What is wrong with you?!?!? Stay awake! Stay awake! Stay a...zzzzzzzzzzz..."

When we arrived at our hotel, the Kathmandu Prince Guest House, we were greeted by the manager who was eager to help us set up some excursions. We arranged to have someone take us out to a rural area at sunset so that we could see something besides the city and told him we would consider the plane ride over the mountains for the next morning (that we were even considering such a thing should show you how sick Cheapie and Cheapo were feeling).

We went upstairs to take a recovery nap in our room (with the non-functioning A/C) and realized very quickly that leaving the hotel room would be incredibly poor decision making. So we canceled our sunset ride and spent our first day in Kathmandu like this:

Note the pathetic but hopeful cuddling of the guide book.

We did eventually get our A/C going (so long as the generator was working) and, just after the sun went down, the sky burst into a wonderful cooling rain. We stood at the balcony door for a minute and watched as it drenched the darkened streets of a city we had yet to see. Then these sickly Poggies dragged our tired bodies back to bed and went to sleep, saying a prayer that no more days in this magical place would be wasted...

(Spoiler Alert: They weren't. See?)

Next up: The Final Chapter: Kathmandu & Agra OR "No, We Do Not Want Your Streetfight/Marijuana/Sex"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hint: This is NOT a Post About Russia.


It's true.

We're still talking about India.
And this time it's wordier.

Chapter 3: Rishikesh OR Don’t Eat the Monkeys.

So we arrived at the train station in Delhi and, as we waited for our blue Shatabdi train to begin boarding, we met the sweetest American college student on her way to an internship at a farm. She told us how she had gotten the travel bug early, as her mother spent all of their spare money taking her around the world and once, when she was in high school, her mom even saved up to send her daughter to Spain for a summer to learn the language.

And we just thought, "Wow. What an awesome way to get rid of a teenager."

Anyway, soon after we boarded our train and experienced five hours of rail travel, 74 meal services, our attempt to exit the train in the wrong town and a very sleepy Chinese Rastafarian kid in the seat next to us, all as we watched India zoom by. Backwards.

Something we found mind-boggling on the rail trip was the amount of people we saw out the window. When they tell you how populated India is, apparently they REALLY mean it. We would be chugging along through the middle of NOWHERE and there, in the nothing, would be at least three visible people. At all times. How did they get there? Where are they going? Do they like my outfit?

Our train deposited us in Haridwar and, after a desperate/failed search for the bus stop, we negotiated a taxi to complete the last hour of our journey. And, goodness, that was the most perilous, seat belt-less ride of them all. But the good news is that it was also six hundred degrees that day.

Finally, we arrived, soaked through with sweat and a little nauseated from the ride. Our driver let us out on the Lakshman Mandir side of the enormous walking bridge that looms over the Holy Ganges and we stood for a moment to look out at Rishikesh spread out before us.

It was like a swimming pool of adventure, just waiting for us to put on our orange plastic arm floaties and dive the heck in.

The diving began pretty much right away as we joined the thirty two billion people making their way across the bridge to the Laxman Jhula side of Rishikesh. We could see our chosen hotel, the Jaipur Inn, from our arrival spot and said a little prayer that they would have room for us. We had planned to just bop around unconcerned until we found a place to our liking but, at this point, we were so absurdly over heated and exhausted that if our first choice didn’t have a vacancy, we were prepared to curl up with the cows in the street.

The Jaipur Inn manager took one look at sweaty, swaying Michael and became immediately concerned, and accommodated us right away. We took one look at the manager of the Jaipur Inn and became immediately convinced that he was Ricky Ricardo, and dubbed him as such right away.

Ricky showed us to our room, a beautifully decorated oasis with a balcony that looked out to the bustling street.

...excessively sweat-stained armpits, not included.

We camped out in Rishikesh for about…four days? There’s no way to know for sure, so let’s say it was four days. It was a very full stay and so we are just going to split the best things about this magical town into catagories, in no particular order.

Except for the first two. Because those are our favorites. And the third thing, too. We LOVE the third thing.

1. Monkeys. In the town of Rishikesh, there are monkeys all over the place and it is such a delight. Pre-trip, as we were researching vaccinations, we discovered that many consider the Rabies vaccine necessary for India because of the monkeys. The horror stories were very graphic and very disturbing. But, being the Cheapy McCheapersons that we are, we decided that we wouldn’t likely be in much contact with rabid monkeys and went without. So you can imagine our paranoia when we had to hang out within just a few inches of these guys our first morning.

not rabid

But we soon loosened up and watching the monkeys from the bakery in the morning became our favorite activity. In fact, one day they were simply gone (it was especially hot, so maybe that’s why?) and it almost ruined our entire day.

Most days, though, these little guys swung about on the bridge wires and considered life from high perches.

see him??

And sometimes took a little break to read the trades.

...his name is "Teen Wolf"

2. Food. Our appetites, thank heavens, returned (albeit very slowly), so that by the last day we were tempted to eat everything. Rishikesh is a vegetarian town (although we saw a place with chicken on the menu and that was confusing. Hopefully that doesn’t end in a pitchfork wielding mob) and we had some truly happy meals.

Each morning began at the German Bakery. Such delicious treats, from sticky rolls to brown bread with delicious yak cheese (who knew?), with such a beautiful view of the town and river.

We had an amazing dish that was either palak or alook paneer at another spot, which looked kind of weird but was completely flavorful and creamy and gone much too soon.

One of our favorite spots was the Ganga Beach Restaurant. Their wood-fired pizzas and savory local dishes were the perfect treat, while watching the rafters bouncing about on the Ganges. Plus, our waiter was a funny, super short teenager that asked if he could live with us in the U.S.

We said yes.

3. Cows. They were walking everywhere, acting as city cleaners as they munched on any organic trash that was tossed in the street.

What can you say about these holy creatures? They were spectacular. And completely worthy of their sacred status.

And, bizarrely enough, treated really poorly by the locals. We saw a man actually go out of his way to approach a cow, rear his arm back and SMACK the side of the poor beast with all of his might. These Poggies were very upset. And it didn’t end there—children threw rocks at them, old ladies threw old fruit AT them (not TO them), people glared at them with general disdain. It was very weird and very unexpected.

You can come and live with us, cows!!

4. Air Conditioning. The great thing about Rishikesh is that it really is very condensed. So if you go during the obscenely hot season like a dope and basically spend the entire day out of doors, you can easily pop into your room for twenty minutes and bathe in artificial air.

It’s possible that Ricky thought we were drug addicts or something, the way we came and went from our room all day long. Oh, Ricky.

5. The Ganges. There is something very surreal and very humbling about just casually standing in the presence of the most significant body of water on Earth.

Every day, all day, crowds of people went down to bathe in the holy river.

okay, so this was a smaller crowd.

We had been pretty harshly warned by our travel nurse the various ways we would become diseased and then die should we choose to venture into the water ourselves. She was fun. Mike took this advice to heart with wide, frightened eyes and added it to his bank of India anxieties.

Then, as we woke up on our last day, he turned to Mary and announced that he would like to put his feet in the river. This from Captain Nervous.

India changes a man.

So, later that day, when we stumbled upon a beach, he went for it. Honestly, he would have submerged them more but, HOLY COW!!*, that was some seriously freezing spiritual water.

Good job, Poggie. Way to evolve.

*(ooooh--I totally get that saying now…)

6. Getting Lost. This happened twice and both times resulted in some pretty sweet surprises.

First we wandered around Swarg Ashram trying to find the remains of the Ashram that the Beatles stayed in (which we didn’t find) and that led us to seeing some spectacular sights and meeting some lovely people.

The second time we were on the hunt for a waterfall just outside of town (which we also didn’t find) and, instead, came upon the holy beach where we dipped our feet and had a very confusing conversation with a holy man who clearly doesn’t understand “Sorry- No Hindi.”

That happened to us a lot. We eventually started speaking in Spanish to see if that would make it any clearer that we were speaking different languages, since English gets kind of mashed into Hindi. It did not. He just kept chatting along.

6-ish. Yoga. This one is only an “ish” because we didn’t actually do any Yoga. That’s right. We were in the Yoga capital of the world and practiced none of it. We did have one scheduled on our last night but, as we began to leave for it, Ricky stopped us to say that he received a call that class had been cancelled.

However, it was nice to be in a place with so much Yoga happening everywhere. We attribute much of the peaceful atmosphere of the town to this. That many people chanting “Om Shanti Om” all day long can only be good for a community, right?

7. The Bridge. We thought we would hate it. It is VERY long and covered in monkeys and cows and beeping motorcycles and six hundred thousand people.

except at 6am, of course.

But if the river is the lifeblood, then that bridge is the pulse of Rishikesh. And so beautiful. When it came time to make one final trek across it, we felt a sizeable pang of regret. And we like to believe that it was sorry to see us go as well.

So we Poggies said goodbye to the bridge and the animals and the tiny waiter and Ricky Ricardo and the freezing cold Ganges and promised to come back one day, when we are older, wiser and less afraid of monkeys.

(p.s. we love you)

Next: Chapter 4: The Nepalese Plague

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Shut Up About India Already!" "No."

Oh, hi, it's us again. I know, it's weird, right? After this post we'll break up the "We Went on the Shortest Trip to India Ever and For Some Reason Have Sixty Million Things to Say About It" Posts with some actual project stuff. Which-- Hey!-- is the reason for this weblog that you see here today. And there are plenty. Because even though we were COMPLETELY absent for 8 months, we were doing all kinds of nonsense and documenting the crap out of it.

Juuuust not sharing them with you, the four people that care. And, by the way, bless the four of you FOR caring. We know it's not easy.

Anyway, onto the next chapter...

Chapter 2: Delhi OR Michael: Nervous & Uncomfortable.

Even though we were in Delhi for the shortest amount of time (well, except Agra, I guess) it had the greatest impact on us. So we have a lot to say about it. This might be a good time to have coffee and feed the cat. Because it's a long post. Don't worry, it'll still be here when you get back.

So, like I said before, we arrived in Delhi. The airport was pretty mundane and we found our dude with the pick-up sign right away. And he showed us that just because the painted lines on the road SAY there should only be three lanes of traffic, that doesn't mean there can't always be six!!

In this super exciting ride, we saw a lot of Delhi that wasn't very pretty. And some that was just straight up sad. So poor Mike was whisked away to a foreign land, put into a car that I am sure his motion-sickness prone tummy considered to be it's worst nightmare (sans seat belts, of course) and shown a way of life that he cannot even begin to comprehend. At night. In 80,000 degree heat.
That's Fahrenheit.

When we reached our street--which was so tiny we were a bit concerned the car might not be able to travel down it-- you could almost hear Mike's stomach drop. It was very late at night and we were met with sickly dogs roaming about, people sleeping on the side of the street and trash and filth everywhere you looked. We weren't in Kansas anymore.

Seriously. Because we're from Kansas. And it's really nice there. Idyllic, really. So that's actually an apt statement.

Anyway, this is about the time we came up with a term to properly describe the look Mike had plastered on his face for the first few days: A Frightened Disney Princess in Distress. He had the down sloping eyebrows, the big, watery eyes, the slightly quivering lip. Plus, he's pretty like a princess.

Admit it: even you kind of want to steal his wallet, don't you?

Mary assured him that he'd feel better in the morning, so we set up our net, took a hose and bucket shower and settled in for sleep ("Hey, what are those brown bugs? Are they bed bugs?" "No, bed bugs are much smaller. Those are like little beetles or something.").

The next morning brought a strange realization: Human Garbage Disposal and his wife, Hungry Every Four Minutes, HAD NO APPETITE. A good percentage of the reason why we even embarked on this journey was for the food and, yet, when we settled in to our breakfast spot, we found that we had no interest in the delicious things on the menu. But we figured that we were just still adjusting and let it go.

So, as Mike enjoyed his breakfast of Coke and Mary force fed herself a piece of toast, Mike confessed how uncomfortable and terrified he was and Mary assured him that as soon as they left the block and started exploring he'd feel much better. So off they went, down the street and took a right.

And up comes a little tuk-tuk driver. "Hello, where are you going?"

"No, no. We don't need a ride. We want to walk."

"Okay, yes, but if you go that way, you will find a bad place. This is a very bad place for you. Please do not go there."


So we negotiated a little ride from the guy to a good place, but not before he insisted on taking us by the government tourist office, because he thought we should have a map. This is about the time that Mike started thinking he should have married this nice young Bengali man instead of Mary, who is clearly trying to get him internationally murdered.

When we got to the office, the tourism guy, of course, laughed at us for attempting an India trip for such a short amount of time and offered to set up all of our transportation (we had lost many a reservation with the last minute visa mishap--blech) so as to maximize our time in the country. Mary was sure he was up to something, despite that he was wrangling prices cheaper than an outsider could manage, so he threw in a free tour of Delhi to calm her irrational paranoia. Yeah, good luck with THAT, tourism man.

So, it was goodbye to the tuk-tuk driver and hello to the taxi driver. His car had air conditioning and so we offered to let him live with us in the US. He should be arriving in a couple of weeks.

He told us his name would be too hard for us to pronounce but, because it rhymed, that we could just call him "Guru." And then said, "But I am not your teacher! Ahahahahahahahahaha!" He repeated this every time Mary tried to get his ACTUAL name.

Guru drove us around the city for a bit and we saw many painful but also amazing things. And wires. Guru was very excited to point out the telephone and electrical wires that drooped between the buildings. We acted excited for his sake. We really saw so many beautiful things that day that made Michael not want to cry on the bathroom floor.

...Such as this incredibly old and beautiful mosque, where we were taken on an unofficial tour by a mute man trying to make a buck. Yes, it was a rip and, yes, he was taking advantage of our whitey whiteness, but he REALLY got a lot across about that place considering he couldn't speak.

This is also where we had our first sock-you-in-the-gut moment. But more on that another time.

We saw the amazing Indira Gandhi Memorial Gardens, which, despite Michael's absurdly sweaty head (seriously, dude, save some for your armpits like your smelly, smelly wife), made our hearts a bit lighter for the first time.

There were beautiful families having beautiful picnics under trees and young couples holding hands and sharing secret laughs (we, meanwhile, were saying things to each other like, "Why are you touching me?? Can't you see how hot I am?!")...

...and, of course, such lovely monuments to the very idea of leading with compassion and courage.

We also went to the Lodhi Gardens, where Guru informed us that young lovers visit to sit and kiss. He said that he could not go in because he was single and all of that kissing would upset him. And then he laughed maniacally. And asked if Mike's sister was single.

That garden was more like the public parks that we were used to back home. Kids running about, sports being played, people just enjoying the day together (and we totally spied some kissing youngsters). The big difference was that there were also mausoleums and temples and ancient beauty everywhere. And a guy that tried to sell us his lunch.

And India Gate! We saw India Gate! See?

We went to Huyaman's Tomb, which Guru said was almost as wonderful as the Taj Majal. And, wow, it was amazing. We spent probably 2 hours just walking around and gasping.

In this area that you see below, there were people living up until the early 20th century, which, when you stepped inside the walls, somehow felt about a million years ago.

Seriously. Look at this. It's so beautiful that I want to grind it into a paste and put it between two slices of bread and eat it. And it would be very delicious.
And these are normal emotions, so stop judging me.

Then we came to the main building and it was...Okay, listen, we Poggies are kind of trampy for beautiful old buildings against beautiful old nature. Sure, we love nature against just nature more but, dangit, LOOK at this!

And this!


Guru gave us an option of either touring a Hindu temple or a Sikh temple. Since Mary had spent some time learning about the wonderful world of Krishna and since our next destination, Rishikesh, is mostly of Hindu influence, we took this opportunity to check out the Sikh temple. And, as it turned out, Guru himself was Sikh, so he took us on a personal tour. We first stopped and dropped off our shoes at the visitors office and received our head coverings, then washed our hands at a small fountain before making our way to this gorgeous site:

We couldn't take photos inside, but I can tell you that it was remarkable. So many wonderful colors and at the center of it all was a shrine where devotees came to worship and give offerings. Guru invited us to sit with the praying folk, and we were happy to have a moment to sit in silence and take it all in. We are always so humbled by the spiritual devotion of others and it was wonderful to be in the presence of it.
Did that sound corny? It did, didn't it? Eh, what can you do.

Afterward, Guru offered us some "Holy Sweet." Mary, who is slowly going deaf (also, insane), didn't hear him, took a 50/50 shot and accidentally turned it down. Mike accepted and said it was tasty. It was a sugary substance of some kind, hence the name. He also took us to the pools where people bathe before going into the temple so that they don't enter unclean. It was really quite lovely.

Look at these nerds, trying to fit in.

Nice try, nerds.

Guru also took us down to the kitchens, where workers prepare food for anyone who wants to come and have a meal.
There were giant machine churning out roti bread and gigantic pots simmering with deliciousness. He showed us the big empty room where, later that evening, people would gather and take part is this free feast. Awesome.
Soon it was time to say goodbye to our buddy Guru. He dropped us at our hotel and gave us very strict instructions about staying safe in India and not getting scammed. He told us that we were his friends and that he did not want people taking advantage of our white faces. He was VERY concerned about our white faces.

At this point we realized that, save for a mango popsicle, we had not eaten all day long and, famished, we staggered into a restaurant. We ordered delicious entrees, a tasty appetizer of fried veggies and, of course, extra naan with garlic. The food arrived, our stomachs screamed with joy, and we dug in...and were COMPLETELY FULL after two bites. TWO! Not even a large two bites. If we hadn't just spent the day sweating out all of our bodily fluids, we would have burst into tears.

The next morning we woke at 5am to begin our walk to the train station. Our street was just beginning to wake up as we walked through and we tried to keep from disturbing those without a proper place to sleep as we made our way across walkways made of splintered boards and enormous puddles of trash and waste. It was the only time of our trip that we saw a cat--and we wished that we hadn't. Mike said later that he also wished we'd been able to respectfully photograph that journey, because it was the most jarring and memorable fifteen minutes of the entire trip.

We made it to the train station without incident and then standing there, like a random beacon of light, as we pushed through the arriving crowd, was Guru, holding up a sign for his next tourist charge. We shook hands, he wished us a happy adventure, and we went our seperate ways.

To be continued...