This post was written a few days ago, and so although delayed as it is in being publicized, I did not want to alter it to fit in the current sense of time.. so instead I just copied, pasted, and tried to flower up with photos.
The thing about having one electronic device amongst many (well to be honest, two amongst seven), is that sometimes things get lost – and by this I am referring to the initial post I had written.
I will attempt to re-create the original post, but keep in mind that it will be lacking as it was written present time and this is past time. And not to boast, but it was full of humor, and wit, and humor.. and did I mention humor? But I shall do my best. It went something along the lines of describing my trip from New Delhi to Agra.
Something about New Delhi – nothing like what I had expected. Having spent 4 weeks in Kathmandu, the two cities were completely different. I do not want to discriminate, or maybe this is just a product of the bias I try so hard to avoid, but Kathmandu was friendlier, food was amazing… and I will forever miss the friends I left behind.
Conversation is good, just about anywhere. Ladies enjoying each other’s company in the middle of a parking lot in Agra.
So much time has passed, that completely mentioning everything would be useless (l blame my short term memory). But to recap, our supposed three hour ride to Agra, actually ended up taking almost 3 times that. Whether it was our driver, the traffic, extremely horrible weather, or a combination of all three… we left at 7:30 am and arrived somewhere around 3pm.
I was not prepared for the weather that greeted me. It was scorching. When I say scorching, I mean the simple of act of respiration was enough to render my clothes useless with perspiration (and by this I mean the act of breathing was enough to make me sweat). At this point, we had decided to attempt the Taj Mahal, as the world wonder shut its doors earlier than later and we did not want to forego the opportunity to witness it firsthand. Although I still found it strange, I was simultaneously grateful for the separate line for foreigners. I will admit, I did not want the unwanted attention that I was a tourist, but the 40 degree heat was enough to convince me to stamp the obvious on my forehead. On top of that, I was lucky enough to have bird poo on my purse (surprise, surprise); universal poo part 2. This makes three different countries in three different cities. Needless to say, this was completely worth it. It was larger than expected, more beautiful than I expected – overall, worthy of its title. I could go on about the Taj (yes, I am aware of the first name basis), but I would not do it justice so I will just admit pre-mature defeat.
Pictures do no justice. The Taj Mahal in Agra
Standing at the Taj, view from the Taj Mahal.
That evening we made our way to the Oberoi, one of the world’s best hotels. We needed to take a tuk tuk there (a little truck with three wheels, commonly known as a rickshaw). It was located in what I would consider a somewhat local area. Surprisingly, it wasn’t heavily populated with tourists, regardless it has to be one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever been in thus far (except the Metropolitan, which we had decided to spoil ourselves with during our last night in New Delhi).
The courtyard entrance of the Oberoi Hotel, it’s reputation rang true.
Nothing like some good ol’ cheesy fun. Kids at heart 🙂
Next morning, was even less eventful. I mean that’s if you consider visiting the Taj Mahal and one of the world’s greatest hotels (ever. Note the period.) uneventful. We spent a majority of time trapped in our little travel mini bus as we travelled to Jaipur. On our way to Elephantastic, an interactive elephant village, we passed by the Amber Fort and Palace. It was in Jaipur that I witness my first set of Indian mountains. Up until this point, I had pretty much given up hope of witnessing any sort of foliage whatsoever, but I lucked out and was graced with grassy hills and potentially questionable farms. At Elephantastic, I was able to get close to the elephants, and packaged corn stalks in such a way that was easy for them to grab and go. We rode the elephants, and wade in an elephant pool (full of elephant poo), helping wash off excess dirt which was essentially ineffective since I was so grossed out by the fibrous elephant poo floating around me. Either way, a good visit if you’re into elephants and ever find yourself in Jaipur, India.
Some new elephant friends at Elephantastic
Love at first sight.. her name is Kali and she’s got spunk.
Not having spent much time in any of the cities, there was one parallel that caught my attention between the three. In Jaipur, a simple ten minute walk brought me across 12 homeless people – mathematically bringing me across someone very 1 minute and 12 seconds. Being something I mentioned in my past posts during my time in Nepal, I truly realized that the global reach of homelessness was extensive. Being active in homeless initiatives back at home, and being touched by the issue in Nepal, I wish I had enough time to endeavor some sort of response. Unfortunately, big group inertia kind of sucks. Big time.
In Pokhora, I came across an old lady hauling a basket full of bananas on her back via a strap supported by her forehead. She had fed me the same line that I had heard multiple times… “times our slow, business is slow – no money”. Purchasing one banana could have made her day, and I immediately regretted ignoring it. The next day, keeping her in mind and walking lake side (Phewa Lake), I ran into her again and purchased all her bananas (pardon my spelling, but “kiera” in Nepali). I am 100 percent sure that she had overcharged me for her bananas, yet I didn’t bother arguing despite my new found bargaining talent. Instead, I paid her asking price, and we spent the next fifteen minutes handing them out along the lake. Hearing an English “thank you”, as I retraced my steps home, was enough to certify that I had done a good thing.
Back in Thamel, the amount of street kids is overwhelming. Having volunteered in an orphanage full of trafficked children, or victims of war, made me wonder who was looking out for the kids addicted to sniffing glue, various paints, adhesives etc. Speaking to program directors, I learned that they went far out to little villages to recruit children that needed the extra care and attention. Yet, walking down the street one night I ran into 3 or 4 kids that were hungry, collecting plastic bottles or cardboard boxes for money. Why was there so much attention outside the city, when there was so much needed inside it?
I have labeled our last personal initiative before leaving Kathmandu, Nepal: The Dinner Party. That night, with the help of local friends, we were able to arrange a set menu of all you can eat “Dal Bhat” – a Nepali dish of rice, some sort of curry, veggies and lentil soup at a local restaurant. Word spread like wild fire between the street children, each one giving a heads up to the other. By the end of it, 24 children were fed, new friends were made, and my only regret is that they will only be nutritionally satisfied for one night and I wasn’t proactive enough to reach more in time. That night, I learned that although most of them were in their early to late teens, malnutrition making them look at least five years younger. A boy I had consistently fed, whom I thought was 7 or 8 years old, was in fact actually 12. I learned that some of them had talent, singing classic oldies my dad karaoked too, or dreamed of being tattoo artists. Even meeting some kids in the morning for a hug three hours before my flight, forcing pastries that they were too shy to take.
My “tattooed” name in Nepali as designed by new friend Anup (aspiring tattoo artist). The rest of their tattoos are real, and most of them under the age of 15.
Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.
One of my doctor friends at the hospital told me something once, which I’m sure I have reiterated in a previous post – “one of the worst pains, will always be hunger pains”. Never really suffering it, I never realized the truth of the statement but it’s verbal recognition emphasized it’s truth. Realizing the capability of targeting it a little too late, I wish I had left a bigger footprint.
But hey, everything happens for a reason, and at least now I have a few new facebook friends.