Tuesday, November 15, 2011


With all of 5 minutes to spare we made it to platform 1, as far as a platform could possibly be from the booking desk, surely i cannot be scorned for feeling even slightly mislead at the time. We had evidently made it around to the backside of the train station en route to Amritsa. So be it, I enjoy a little stressy run about.

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE rules! You thought you saw Sikhs in Delhi well move over Gurdwaras there are enough Kirpans in this town to raise a second, more silver in persuasion, temple in the remaining holy pond area.. Right off the train we were hijacked by a super free bus service that dropped us right to the gates of the beautiful pilgrimage, Golden Temple. We walked into the tourist dorm and were welcomed with open arms and bone crushing embrace by the jovial Santa Clause of all Sikhs who spoke 2 words of English. "Good BOY" He put us in beds and said a great many things in Punjabi and hung about untill we left for the afternoon.

We took a share van out to the famous Amritsar: Pakisthan/India border closing ceremony. Performed every single night, opposing sides try to drown each other out with pop music, ridiculous vocal challenges, commentators and crowd chants and a very physically impressive military dance performed with hat mounted fans and choreographed predominantly of high kicks. Really high kicks.

When we got back to the temple we had another one of those 'cosmic Indian encounters' with a friend from Wellington Alice Mac and here Bo Dan. Goldie marched into their dorm thinking it was ours and muttered profanities at the "Fucker" who'd gone and stolen our beds. Alice if we'd only known it was you we would never have assumed. We tried that Choc Walnut cake in DS you raved about by the way and that shit is GOOD!

We ate dinner with the other pilgrims. It was hearty and delicious and particularly free. The enormous kitchen is open to volunteers at all times and as i understand it most tourist generally pay their food dues in doing duties but i do think most all people start in the dish washing arena WHICH is MENTAL. Indian babes Frisbeeing stainless steel plates into each others heads by accident all the time, some how unavoidable, wildly loud crashes of angry spiritually affirmed volunteers hosing and chucking, dipping and dunking, splishin and a splashin..
I didn't want to join in on that soapy mess.. I feel really bad about it actually.

Breakfast. Indian food. Woah!
One day Amritsar gone the next. We'd gotten off to a good running mountain start. Ha running mountains. Sure.

We took a government bus up Punjab State to Pathankot. In Punjab they drive insane rickshaws converted into sort of squat batmobiles that have wings coming off back and sides for extra passengers to stand on in peak traffic and bird beak nose cones for aerodynamics i guess.

We passed a few of those.

How many Indians can you fit in a Punjabi Auto Rickshaw? Like 35 no shit..

From Pathankot we started the windy hills trail into the mountains. Daram Shala and the Himalayan Mountains. I had tied our bags and the bags of the 6 other tourists on board to the roof. It was a hack job at best and this bus was absolutely off the rails. A young lady had an epileptic seizure due to the strange flashing colored lights in the ceiling and her baby was entrusted to Goldie for the remainder of the journey.

On the bus we met a lovely French couple, Gregory and Lea ( Mon Ange )
We also laid judgements upon an awful American couple that were talking loudly about producing some kind of India wank stop motion movie with lego. It may have actually been their conversation that indirectly caused the seizure.

Delhi Agra

In Delhi Goldie and I stayed with amazing Varun, the brother of my co worker, Rohit, in Wellington. We blasted around 10 world heritage sites in 4 days and i don't mean that we bombed any place we just jogged around form palace to palace posing for photos. The pictures are great..

Varun insisted we hire a taxi to Agra, for a Taj Mahal day trip, one with suspension and air con. One with a meter and a spare tyre. We drove for an hour out of Delhi and into Upi. The tyre burst and was replaced. While we ate parathas at a roadside chow house the driver went off in search of a tyre repair garage and had his burst tyre melted back into 'road-worthy-ness' 3hours later we stood barefoot and punch drunk confronting the worlds most beautiful tomb. No one is technically allowed the privilege of "clicking pics" of the two royal caskets laid side by side in the central hall, the central hall however was alight with the flashes of cameras and smart phones, pic clicking prevailed. Army officials with uzis and hand guns made a half pint effort at holding off hungry lenses by whistling.

It was amazing. Really, the Taj is a spectacle of mammoth mammothian proportions and there was more. We rode on to see the glam over the river Agra Fort from which we could spy the Taj again perched on it's white marble plinth and cornered by awesome Muslim Masjids. The Masjids of the Agra Killa were as beautiful and impressive as the Tajs' and everyone love a massive wall but Agra Killa was a mere 20 minute pace through with good measure of 'Clicked Picks'.

Faithi Puri Sikiri which as of right this moment I have no clue how to spell, was spellbinding. Oh dear. At gorgeous plump sunset we were injected into the deepest tuna pinking maroon sand stone garden. The thickest and most arduously intense of stone jalis, carved stone archways and astrological behemoths. The stars were fat in the blue sky and the horizon sat blind and orange. Muslim architecture in truly incredible. Incredibly loveable.

The spare tyre burst on the motorway maybe only an hour from Agra. We were positively cursed.

After a week in Delhi we were metro pros and were tossing around rupees like we owned the cycle rickshaws. We had to leave. We booked a beautiful FAST train to Amritsar.