Saturday, June 6, 2009

India Trip (video)

Sorry for the shakiness of the video but here we are starting off. Notice the paved roads....it didn't stay that way for long.

video

Friday, June 5, 2009

India (Part 2) Into the Himalayas

The continuation on India (part 1)

So, after Taj Mahal we made the journey back into Delhi to stay at our guest house for the night. We were staying at a Tibetan Refugee Camp/Complex. It was quite an interesting stay. Twice during the night we heard knocks at our door which didn't help me sleep very comfortably. Throughout the day at the Taj Mahal and on our drive back into Delhi I constantly found myself hiding my face and my hair behind my hooded jacket because anytime we would stop at any point on the road for an amount of time beggars would bang on our windows. We were instructed not to look at them but only hold up a hand and wave them off. Outside of the Taj Mahal a little boy, who wasn't more than 10, came up to me selling something. I am not sure what he was selling because I wasn't interested in his merchandise but rather, his story. This was a first for me....a child beggar following me for 20 paces or more begging and pleading that I buy from him. Whining and exclaiming and pleading for my money. How did he get here? Was he doing this willingly? Does he get to go to school? Does he do this everyday? The begging happened on so many different occasions....an old woman outside of our guest house in Delhi, the little boy, the teenage boy who beat on my window with a force that I thought it would shatter, the little girl wanting me to buy newspapers, this all happening in the first day and of course, it wouldn't be the last. So, when the knocks on the door of our room came late at night I was just sure someone was looking for us and any money we had. My fear is ridiculous...these people (for the most part) aren't criminals....they are the poor. I fear that maybe some where along the way I have merged the two....or at least I do when I am confronted by them which causes me to not see them. Sigh.....i have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Early the next morning we hopped into another van and this time headed for a much longer trip into a village at the foothills of the Himalayas called Manali. It was about a 12-14 hour (can't remember exactly) car ride but thankfully this time we had AC! From Manali we would begin our motorcycle ascent into the Himalayas. Our route was initially meant to take us into Leh which is in Kashmir State but upon our arrival in Manali to discuss our travel plans with our guide we learned that there was civil unrest and protests in that state and it would no longer be safe for us to travel there. So, we had to plan another route. Which was actually really great as the altitudes on the new route were lower than those of the original route and I, because I was pregnant, was unable to take the altitude sickness medication. However, we would still be reaching altitudes of around 14-15,ooo feet. I had never been this high before in my life. I was worried about altitude sickness as it is NOT something to mess around with.


The next morning we began our 9 day journey. Now, I have to brag on my husband....he had NEVER driven a motorcycle before...well, actually he had but only two times and not on any long excursion but rather up and down a small street in tokyo on our friend mike's bike. Flat paved streets cannot compare to rocky, pot-holed "roads" of our Himalayan trek. and Jason worked it like a pro. Jugdish (not at all how you spell his name but that's how i remember to pronounce it) one of the 8 member crew told me by the end of the trip that Jason was a very good driver. I can attest to that too. Jason had to drive across some rocky passes through rushing water. If he had made one wrong move he would have been over the edge.....to say I was nervous during those moments is an understatement. Terrible scenarios were playing in my head at such crossings. The common one...."my child is going to grow up fatherless!" But, praise God for His faithfulness for He protected us in SO many ways on our excursion.

Now, I won't break down every day of the journey, that would take to long and become a little monotonous because the days (for the most part) went something like this.....get up, eat breakfast, climb on the bikes, bike until lunch, after lunch we would bike until we made it to our camp grounds which was usually around dinner time. The things we saw and the people we met are something I will never forget. Nor will I ever forget how sick I was. I was more sick than I had been in all of my life and this is no exaggeration but I will get to that part later. I have some very....um, unique stories to go along with that.

So we left Manali and wound our way up into the foothills of the Himalayas. They were astoundingly beautiful. Also along the way I got my first glimpse of a Yak! He/She didn't do much. ;)
Here are some pics of our first few days of travels.....

Here's where we began....Manali


This is a view from our guest house of Manali.


The Helmets....protecting our heads for only $3 USD!


One of Jason's shots of our bikes....


Starting off...


As we rode up a heavy fog began to descend over the mountains and brought with it some cold rain.


Our camp grounds on night 1....and there are our wet clothes drying after we got soaked from the first day's ride.


The next morning....can you believe what we got to wake up to? We arrived at dusk and under fog so the clear skies were a wonderful treat the next morning. The blue in the skies was some of the most clear blue skies I have ever seen.


View from our campsite the first morning.





Three of the eight crew members that followed us and set up camp for us. In this picture (L to R) is our cook, our mechanic, and the driver that followed us with our clothes and water. These were some fun guys and super helpful.


Day 2...I'm not smiling. Not for any particular reason....I guess I just missed the cue.





Stopping for some tea. India has the best tea. Chai...but it's not your Starbucks chai or anything else found in the grocery store....it's just delicious beyond words.


THE YAK! with a saddle...which cracks me up! and I can't help but sing to myself..."yakkity yak...don't talk back"


Jason...this is actually a day 1 pic but doesn't he look good on this thing!? :)


Encountering a heard of sheep and goats. There were lots up there.


And here is our campsite for night number 2 where I got SICK as a dog. I climbed in and out of that tent approximately 8 times during the night to go throw up and well....you know. And yes, it was all happening at the same time!!! I woke up dehydrated and feverish. So, morning 3 began with a mad dash to a small village hospital about a 3 hour drive away.....I'll pick up there next time.