10.04.09

Out of india

Posted in The journey journal, Uncategorized, india at 5:40 pm by Administrator

Well I thought that I’d put a quick post up to say that we are out of india and are currently enjoying the relative calm of kathmandu.
The last while in india was typically fun. The package that we were waiting for was a massive problem as most things are in india. After 4 and a half hours in teh Kanpur post office and abusing the highest managers. I managed to find out that my package was in Delhi and it would take a further 4 days to reach Kanpur where I could then pick it up. After already waiting 6 days since it reached teh country I decided to get the 7 hour cattle class train to delhi and pick it up in person and then get the train back. The process there was a realtively simple 3 hours in the foreign post office to get the package but finally I did!!!!!!! WOOHOO. I nearly danced in the post office. I am still amazed at the complete incompetence of the indian postal staff and the lack of knowledge of their own system or care that they had no idea. They were on a par with the ethiopians, and that is saying something. But by doing that I freed us up to leave the god forsaken place and so after the usual hassle and crap we got an overnight train to gorakhpur and then the bus to the border.
My little adventure to delhi enabled me to have a few conversations with some indians about their country and their lives. It seems that I’ll never know all of india because the poor people can’t speak english and seem unable to communicate in even the most primative ways outside of their own spoken language. (even in the most rural parts of europe some form of communication was possible with no common words at all but that doesn’t seem possible in india) So I’ll never learn their point of view and the rich of india are completely oblivious to the fact that the country is full of disgustingly poor and reched people. They remind me of the world per columbus, they knew the world was flat because they refused to see the evidence. I could go on for hours how india is killing itself because the rich are convinced that the technology is the way forward and waste billions on sending probes to the moon when the poor can’t even afford paper to learn to read with let alone feed themselves. More than 350 million people in india live in extreme shit, beyond anything that I’ve seen anywhere else in teh 58 countries that I’ve been too and yet the rich classes are completely oblivious to any problem. They all need to do an AA course to get out of the denial stage.
But all that is behind us now. Also below is a photo of Nic in her indian outfit that we bought. It is typical of local cut and colour and looks pretty nice on her. The looks that she got once wearing it changed from teh drooling look on a sex object to looks of that on a novelty. that was an improvement but it was still intrusive and was too little too late.
I’ll blog about our entry to Nepal and post photos of Nci in her outfit soon.

Tc and Nic

09.29.09

Spot the difference

Posted in The journey journal, india at 1:55 pm by Administrator

So this is one of the stories that appeared in the local news about us.

Try to spot the difference from my version of the story.

Ians
September 26th, 2009
LUCKNOW – Two men were arrested Saturday for allegedly molesting a 37-year-old Australian woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district, police said.

The incident took place Saturday in the Collectorganj locality in Kanpur when the woman with her husband was going to meet their friends in the locality, police added.
“Saleem and Naushad – both in their early 20s – misbehaved with the woman and also assaulted her husband while the couple, sitting on a pedal-rickshaw, were on their way to their friend’s house,” inspector Mahendra Kumar told IANS over phone.
“The two accused, who were on a motorcycle, also tried to take out valuables from the purse of the Australian woman,” Kumar added.
Police said an FIR has been registered against the two, who were nabbed first by the locals, who then handed over them over to police.
Kanpur is about 80 km from Lucknow.

As you can see the local authorities seem pretty keen to secure a conviction in this case.

Photos of Nic in her sari will be up on the site soon.

Tc

09.27.09

Quite a stir

Posted in The journey journal, india at 10:13 am by Administrator

So apparently our escapades yesterday made national indian news. The police are always getting a hard time about their image and they were eager to make sure that I was happy with their performance on this matter. I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I just wanted to teach a dirty bugger a lesson (that shouldn’t need to be taught) but apparently it does here. Last night we had some visits from some pretty top brass from the police and from a news crew from a major national news channel. Quite the circus and the hotel staff were so excited. I’m pretty sure tha thte cops tipped the news crew off as they knew just a few too many details about the whole thing to have picked it up by gossip. Either way I’m pretty sure that all is good for us but were are know all around town now and so Nic is staying in as much as possible. Hopefully our package arrives tomorrow (monday) and we can find a person that can tell us a reliable time for the train out and we’ll get to Nepal asap. Once there we plan to kick back in Kathmandu and wait for our onward visas and permits and maybe do a bit of hiking around the area. Also some mountain training on teh bikes as we’ve got a nice big road ahead of us if the visas come through.
In other news the chinese have closed tibet again have promised to reopen it on the 8th of Oct. I really hope so as not being able to do this part of the journey would be the last straw.
Anywya bye for now.

Tc

09.26.09

Time in Kanpur

Posted in The journey journal, india at 11:56 am by Administrator

We have been the last 4 days in the city of Kanpur. I broke my bike seat in half and my awesome parents have sent me a new one and so we are now waiting for it to arrive here in Kanpur. That will take a lot of faith in the Indian postal service. My parents have received a parcel from me here and so I figure that they should be able to get a parcel to me but it is proving a little difficult. I’ve been in and out of the post office nearly every day and while Australia post seems to be able to tell me that its in India the indians have no record of it. Hmmm. The inside of the post office is amazingly dirty and I wouldn’t want my dog to live in the conditions those people work in. They spit all over the walls and floors with the red spit of people that chew beetle nut. Its a pretty universal habit here and absolutely disgusting. The piles of red spit are everywhere and you can’t touch ANYthing because of it. The place also smells of months old urine and there are piles of rubbish in most corners. Its amazing they can even think about delivering mail let alone surviving a day at work.

We caught the train into Kanpur as we couldn’t take the riding in this country anymore. Nic was being constantly harrassed on the bike and there was no room to breath as every where we stopped a crowd of 10 to several hundred people would all push in on top of us to stare. So we found a hotel in the town of Shinkohabad (the only hotel in town and its marked as a restaurant not a hotel, we stumbled across it as it looked like the only place clean enough to eat at). One of the waiters was easily the best in india and could have worked a high class place anywhere and spoke perfect english. man he was wasted in that town. In shinkohabad while waiting for Nic to check out the train schedule (a monumental task in itself as no one in the train station can agree on times or prices) I was asked to sign numerous autographs for some reason. Apparently being white means that you are “rich, clever and famous” according to one of our admirers. I just wish that they’d stand back a mile if they feel the need to stare. They are so invasive. The train we caught was the cheapo regular passenger train and the 200 km journey cost us $1.30 and then and extra 75 cents for the bikes. It took 7 hours to get the distance and we spent that time perched a little uncomfortably but out of harms way on the luggage racks above the other passengers. It was a train full of all types and goats and everything. It was actually quite good as for the most part everyone left us to ourselves which was the first time that had happened outside our hotel rooms.
We’ve been spending most of our time hiding in the hotel in Kanpur to avoid the heat and people. We did go out for a few errands and to see a bollywood movie at the cinema. Hilarious stuff and they seem to speak a kind of hindi mixed with english in the movie. apparently speaking english is a bit of a status symbol.

Also one of our outings today ended in quite an adventure.
We went to fruitlessly check the train times out of the city (the guy kept asking me what train I wanted and I couldn’t make him understand that that was what I was asking him.). So on the way back from the station we thought that we’d get a rickshaw to avoid further sweating (which is profuse in the humidity). A few metres down the road a guy on a motor bike reached out and grabbed Nic fair on the boob. Needless to say I was a little upset about that and dived out of the rickshaw and gave chase. I could only see red and I therefore caught up to him at the next intersection. There was a guy on the back of the bike and I nearly took his head off. His mate, still on the bike, took off and the bloke I grabbed kept pointing at the guy on the bike. I saw him on the other side of a large roundabout laughing at me. I knew then that it was him that had done the dirty dead and I wanted to make him pay so I took off. Only someone that has had a massive adrenaline rush will know the power that it gives and with that power I knew I could get him. Logical thinking would say that a bloke on foot would never get a guy on a motor bike but my god I did. As I caught up to him in the traffic (that he was vainly trying to push through) I took a swipe at his head and as he ducked he reved hard and ran into an auto rickshaw and crashed the bike. I’d been running hard and had to jump to clear the fallen bike and as I turned back I saw that an undercover cop or very concerned citizen on a motorbike had also been giving chase to the excitement. He collared the guy and lifted him off the ground by the shirt. There was noway now that I could take the vengence that I wanted but I don’t feel bad as the treatment that he got at the hands of the police made me feel that justice was served. The undercover cop slapped him around pretty nicely and gave him a few good punches to the jaw and then the uniforms turned up. They all carry large bamboo sticks and let him get closely aquainted with a few of them. As all this was happening some guy tried to run off with the bloke’s motorbike. (what an opportunistic bastard) and off trotted 2 cops and they gave him a frightful smashing with their bamboo sticks. (note to self: don’t piss off an indian policeman). The sticks are used to beat people, clear crowds that gather, move traffic along by smashing lights or poking the drivers and finally as leaning sticks when things are a little boring. After the offender was litterally thrown into the back of the police wagon and carted off they wanted a statement from me. I had to get back nd let Nic know that I hadn’t killed the guy and a mob hadn’t turned on me and so I had to drag a few police back to where I’d left her in the rickshaw with a very bemused looking driver. They then drove us to the police station in a commandeered rickshaw (another use of the sticks is taking peoples property for police use) and drove to the station. We spent a while filling out the statement. The male cops who understood what happened couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about but by the scandalised looks of teh female cops we definitely have some friends in there. After that they droves us back to the hotel and we’re not leaving unless we absolutely have to for the next few days until I can track this parcel down and leave the city.

So that was our adventurous afternoon in sunny india. We’re such a great tourism ad for teh place aren’t we. Its also really ironic as there is quite a few articles in the papers over here about Indians being beaten up in Australia and here I am over here setting a fine example for my country by doing it here. I hope that I don’t make the papers or The Australian reputation is sunk.

Also as an aside we’re not riding anymore in india. Its become too uncomfortable and I’m going to do more damage if the behaviour doesn’t improve and so we’re avoiding it by catching the trains. IF only we can find a timetable somewhere.

Love and hugs to all

Tc

09.21.09

Taj Mahal

Posted in The journey journal, india at 3:20 pm by Administrator

There are some monuments in the world that everyone raves about but they turn out to be a let down. The leaning tower of pisa is one of those. The taj mahal is not.
At the risk of sounding like a woose it is splendid. It is an amazing dedication of love that shows that feeling in every detail. Some structures make you feel small and that one did to me. truely beautiful. See… I’m not a complete pesemist I can say some good things about india.
No photo can do it justice. I feel the same way when I stand under teh eifle tower. That mainly because it is using engineering form as beauty and that is the nerd in me but this contains such great simetrical detail on such a grand scale.
I saw the agra fort today which is a very cool fortress that would have cost 2 armies if you wanted to take it.
Today has been much more of a positive than the previous days so hopefully things improve as we head east. Its 290 km from here to Kanpur and then a couple more to the border and Nepal. Hopefully the strategies that we’re developing to cope with the negatives will work out.
Tc

09.20.09

Going to the toile.. oops I mean delhi.

Posted in The journey journal, india at 2:14 pm by Administrator

Well after the fun of being scammed good and proper by americans and the people in azerbaijan were too dumb to help we final made it to India. The flight was great despite a few more hassles at the airport because the guy couldn’t figure out how to charge my card for the bikes and after an hour of messing around I literally forced him to retry the card and.. wow it worked. Gee we were glad to be out of that place. As the turkish airlines business class was only 35 euros each extra we went for that option and wow its gunna be hard to fly with the plebs again. Also turkish airlines offers free sightseeing tours to people in transit in istanbul so we took the opportunity to see a few things that we missed earlier and got into them for free. Yay for free.
Then we arrived in Delhi. The airport isn’t the worst in the world so I wasn’t expecting what hit us in the streets once we got there. We landed at 4 am and so the street around our hostel were literally full of people sleeping in the streets as they don’t have any shelter what so ever. It was so much poorer than anything I’ve ever seen. Even Ethiopia had a slightly higher standard than most of delhi. The sights of delhi are pretty cool but having to step around people pooing in the streets really turns you off a place. The poor are uber poor and it really tested my resolve on giving to beggars. but still I won’t give as it makes it worse for all the others in the same situation. The smell in Delhi is quite amazing to say the least but the number one thing that has pissed me off (sorry for the language) is the men of india’s attitude to Nic. They don’t even bother to look at her face. Just straight at her body and then sometimes they’ll look up to make a kissy kissy action. That is kind of amusing because they totally miss the fact that I’m walking directly behind her and consequently they don’t see the elbow to the back of the head. I got ten in a one hour stretch and missed several more.
Once we got on the road we had to quickly change riding tactics. Its true that the indians can’t drive but they are used to people riding all sorts of human powered vehicles and so aren’t surprised by us The thing is that if nic rides behind me, car loads or motor bike loads of morons will cut her off to separate us and then stop and stare at her while making rude gestures. Its been a real struggle for me to control my temper here. I can take anything myself but if someone hassles Nic then I see red and I’ve already punched through the windscreen of an autorickshaw (it was already broken a bit so I’m not a superman here). The indians seem in no way violent, just disgusting, and are pretty intimedated by me. I kinda tower over them which is a nice advantage but I’m doing lots and lots of breathing excersices to sort myself out. There is one thing that I think that I’ve realised. I can see why arranged marriages need to happen, as no girl in her right mind would marry a jerk with this sort of behaviour. I can also see why budhism is a religion of trying to find peace. I might try to take it up here. I think that I need it.
Also its extremely difficult to do anything here without gathering a small horde of onlookers that make no action to communicate other than to just stare at us. My tactic to combat this is to give them a minute to gawk and then I pick the ringleader and stand a few inches from his face and stare back. It usually takes 30 seconds of that and some hand gestures and the crowds dissipate. Still it sucks when you’re mega hot and tired and just want to sit under a tree for a few minutes.
The positives of india are there. They are a long way down this blog but they are here. The colours are amazing and the women seem nice and friendly to us both and the saris are an awesome way of dressing. So colourful. The food is great when you can find a place clean enough to think of eating in and the remaining medieval history is spectacular. We’ve found the sehk guys have been quite gentlemanly and good blokes.
Whne you are in a hotel or something similar then the service is pretty first rate. Things are cheap here and you still get smiles from the service crew and thats great. I’m sure india would be great if you did it in a completely confined tour and had a hotel to hide in every afternoon but its a hard slog on a bike.
The fresh friut here is keeping nic fed and happy and we’ve been doing the vegetarian thing here as we’re not too sure about the meat products.
Anyway thats quite the novel and we have to be up early to catch sunrise over the taj mahal so will be back in a few days.

Nic and Tc