Monday, July 26, 2010

So, Rishikesh...from outside the desk

The Beatles came to Rishikesh perhaps to transcendentalize, perhaps to drop more acid than allowable and actually see Lord Vishnu appear under a mango tree, to write the White album, or just to hang with the Maharishi. In any event, they chose a town at the headwaters of the Ganges (the A is pronounced like you say caterpillar, or like my friend Angie) Headwaters mean that the water has just rolled down the Himalayas and is begining to take its course to the rest of the Indian waterways. It also means the water is COLD, fresh, and crisp. You hear tales of the disgusting disease ridden waters of the Ganges, but if you get 'em where they begin, the water is beautiful and you can safely take a dip. Stay near the edges, though, especially after rain, the current is strong and will take you to parts unkown (to me, anyway) Remember too, that especially when you're hot and sweaty, getting your feet wet changes your life. No kidding. and there's something especially cool about being where the Beatles were. For me, anyway. I walked the streets where George, John, Paul and Ringo hung out. And the holy waters of the Ganges, give holy a whole new meaning. There are ashrams, mangos and cows galore...I wonder why they never wrote about that stuff-
Now a word for the traveller: should you decide to go to Rishikesh, arrive by 7pm. If you do not, your transport will take you to some big parking garage looking thing, and point you in 'that direction"...Your hotel is probably about a mile and a half away, across a two lane footbridge, spanning the shores of the Holy Ganges. There is a bright spotlight to guide you across, and that's it. The signs on the roads aren't a huge helper, and the people walking the streets are friendlier than you, traveling alone, you may not think this to be any event. I thought getting the luggage of 25 tired sweaty vagabonds to the hotel in this manner would be a grand event at the very least...turns out I was the only one scared crossing the bridge, and we paid 900 rupees(about 20 bucks US) to three guys to haul ALL of our stuff the mile and a half to the doors of the Green Hotel. Three to a bed and Italian food. No kidding. The Green Hotel boast being the first ever to bring Italian food to that's something they'd been waiting all these centuries for.
Anyway, I will leave you with a little known fact...Chandon, the hotel manager, clued me in and I have already put it to good use. "One hundred percent, madam, if I speak to you from behind the desk, it is lie. Coming out to do business, is the truth."
Which translates to, they can say whatever they want behind the desk, and it's meaning is left to interpretation, once they come out from behind the lying barricade, the real business begins...just ask Ahmed from Hotel Victoria Dx
(let me remind you, if they have to put Deluxe in the title on the outside of the hotel, ummmm..probably it may not be deluxe on the inside)

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