Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Kashmir, Himalayas, power cuts.


Between the last time I posted and now, so much has happened.

So I ended up in a family house after picking up Sarah at the airport on the 20th. We did a little sightseeing, went to the local market (one of the best markets in Delhi according to every local we've talked to).

On Saturday night I hurt my foot, forcing me to use crutches. On Sunday a friend of the family, AJ, arrived from Kashmir, we met him briefly but it is important I tell you about him for he plays a huge role in the following events.

On Monday the 23rd, we met with the editor at the Time of India and got ourselves a full-time three week internship (we start tomorrow).
Coming back from the meeting, we have a little chat with AJ who is planning to go back to Kashmir the same night and he convinces us to come with him for a week in the Himalayas. So on Tuesday at 5am, we are on a plane to Srinagar, Kashmir. An hour later we land and are on our way to our houseboat.

Sarah and I spent two wonderful nights in a luxury houseboat on Nigeen Lake near Srinagar before heading to the Himalayan mountains for four days of trekking. I must say I had the time of my life. We climbed (partly by horse because of my foot) up to 5000m!! We camped in a huge tent near fresh rivers of melted ice, we were fed amazing dishes by our cook Elias and saw wonders. I really wish I had had more time, better shoes and a better foot for I would have climbed the hell out of these mountains!!
After our trek we were back for two other nights on the houseboat (pictures to come shortly, my batteries are dead atm).
Nigeen Lake is a very odd place... The boats and the floating market make you feel like you're in Thailand, the numerous Israelis speaking Hebrew make you feel like you're in Israel (as well as the hebrew signs everywhere), the weather is very similar to the weather of South West of France, the loud calls for prayer five times a day make you feel like you're in the Middle East. All that with a view on the Himalayas.

Today we flew back to Delhi. Seven Indian states are without electricity, that means no air con and incredible heat. People have been sleeping on rooftops for the past two days and the temperature has hit the higher forties.
Tomorrow Sarah and I start working, I am a bit stressed to be honest but I am sure everything will be alright.

It is crazy to think if I hadn't met Pawan, a complete stranger at the time, at the bank on my first day in Delhi, I wouldn't have spent my last week in the Himalayas. Fate does wonders.

Have a good night.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New Delhi, here I am!

So yesterday was a boring day, I was looking for a place to stay but I had no success.

Today however...

This morning I woke up (kind of) early to get breakfast (which wasn't very good but whatever) and then went at the reception and asked where I could exchange my money and buy a phone.

After a small discussion with the reception guy, a guard from the hotel took me to the bank, we're walking in the heat and the sun, and we get to the bank only to be told they don't do exchange. But the lady tells me to go elsewhere. As we're getting out of the building, a guy (I later found out his name is Pawan)the guard there is no exchange at the place. We go anyway but as Pawan said, no exchange. My only option: Connaught Place. It's not far from where I am, I want to walk there, the guard insists he wants to drive me there, Pawan  says he's going in that direction anyway so he will take me.

The guards hesitantly leaves me with Pawan. I learn Pawan is a student, taking a course in English Language. I tell him I'm looking for an accommodation and he takes me to the government aggregated tourism office. We wait, the man in the office finds me a place and exchanges my money.

After that, I follow Pawan to a small street where I buy a cheap phone and a prepaid SIM card. We then go to a dark bar. We take his scooter. Oddly, I wasn't scared to die on the main roads of New Delhi... People crossing, oxen carts, dogs, "bicyle cabs"(?), speeding cars, tuk tuks, bicycles, trucks... Horns, noise, noise, NOISE.
I even crossed these roads today... Pawan promised me, three days and he will make a true Indian out of me.

Music of the day: Jind Mahi by Gitaz Bindrakhiya

Monday, 16 July 2012

Welcome to Incredible India!


Scary. You don't realise how big New Delhi is until you're flying over it!! I cannot start to describe the immensity of it!

New Delhi is probably as big as Belgium if not bigger!

I have an awesome flight especially compared to the two people who had a malaise. We almost had a lady give birth on the plane!!

I was blessed as fate put Nira on my way, a wonderful lady who was coming back from Toronto.

I don't even know what time it is here. I'll ask Google.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I'm off!

I know. It's been a long time. I have an excuse though; my dog ate my computer.

So anyway, I have finally obtained my visa and booked my flight just hours ago.

This time on Monday I'll be in New Delhi!

Stay tuned for great adventures!