Sunday, January 6, 2013

The end: Rishikesh

My last few days in McLeod Ganj where literally freezing. Got a good taste of what the Himalayas are like in winter. And they are beautiful and full of wonder. But too cold for me!
I did a bit of volunteering picking up garbage with the great Waste Warriors. A bit of a never ending task in this country where rubbish bins simply don't exist. Even if you find one you know that it'll finally be emptied right on the street.
During this insightful activity I met my new friends Sid and Oscar. We shared the only pot luck dinner I enjoyed in India. A great dinner cooked in the fire, under the rain. Next day we woke up surrounded by snow! Great walks and conversations and sweet masala chai!

I left the heights looking for a bit of warmth and more yoga. Destination Rishikesh, where even the guy that owns the grocery shop will tell you he is a yoga teacher. The walls are full of information on courses, ayurvedic treatments, workshops to wake up your Kundalini. In the tourist cafes (plenty of those around), every third word is the name of a yoga pose.

For a while I had a beautiful daily schedule. I would wake up real early and go for a good walk by the Ganges towards my morning yoga class.
Then walk back, bask in the sun if available, do some reading, have some lunch. And then again walking across the bridges full of monkeys, the streets full of cows and sadhus.
One afternoon yoga class and then back through the peaceful darkness. A delicious Paneer Dosa and early bed.

My neighborhood was a bit distant from the main activities. But I loved those walks to and fro, and waking up to the bells of the temples that surrounded me. Temples full of monkeys. More learning about them, eg: If you leave the door open while hanging your clothing, when you come back there might be a monkey in your room stealing the bananas.

Different kinds of yoga around.
Some extremely athletic Ashtanga in the morning. Jumping around, ending up with the toes on the head.
Some peaceful Hatha, deepening detailes extensions.
Some strict Iyengar with the great Usha Devi yelling with the germanic accent.
Some meditative and restoring Sivananda with the beautiful Japanese lady.
So much to learn and discover.

But also time for some sightseeing with the great Ceci and Anuska. Climbing high temples to get a view of the Himalayas. Or climbing by the river by never ending clear waterfalls that comb the thick bush hiding paradise valleys.

And also a bit of suffering. The one and only sickness in a whole year of travelling. Lying in my cold hard bed for 4 days with no way to heat up water and no shower but some bucketfuls of warm water.
Oh the body, and the amazing fever mind that is totally incapable of processing even the simplest tasks (like getting up and asking for a couple of extra blankets).

But slowly slowly getting better.
Enough to attend a couple of talks by the Portuguese Prem Baba that recommends emptying yourself like a bamboo so the divine air can flow through you.
And also enough to keep on discovering Rishi's beautiful ashrams full of life-like statues and historic details.
I especially liked the "Beatle's ashram" where they stayed for a few months back in the day. It is like a magic land full of domed huts that are being eaten by the forest (it's abandoned now).

I left Rishi after 3 intense weeks. Full of memories of visions in the mist, of the beautiful characters in the street, of new friends and spicy chai.

And now, after a couple of sleepless nights in buses and airports, I am back in Bangkok.
How I love this city which for me translates in peace and relaxation.
During the last 3 days I've done nothing but eat delicious and colorful fresh fruit, get massages and even do some shopping in the enormous Chatuchak market.

And thus ends this journey.
I am infinitely grateful for this amazing opportunity to travel around. For all the angels I found and found me on the way. For all the learning that will always be with me.
Also grateful to be heading back to beautiful NZ to see some dear people.
And to continue with the static journey, which is just as exciting!

Whomever has been reading these entries: Thanks for joining me!
The trip always continues, inside and out.

1 comment:

  1. Felicidades hermosa!! Estoy segura que estos angeles seguirán contigo muy adentro, pues es ahí que la unión entre ustedes permanece, aunque la percepción física engaña. Me da una inmensa felicidad de leerte tan en paz, tan contenta, de haber leido uno que otro de tus viajes, y de ver que quieres seguir viajando. Ojala y la vida te regale muchos dias mas, para que podamos reunirnos fisicamente y me platiques como te fue. Mas aun, para que vivas muchos anios mas, regalando amor y buena vibra como Katia. Te quiero mucho!!