Sorry it’s been so long since my last post… And I’m also going to have to apologize because my camera stopped working entirely, so I’ll be posting random videos instead of pictures from now on.
After the Kumbh Mela, we spent a few days in Varanasi, most of them slightly miserable because it was pouring the whole time and we were sleeping on a cement roof. From there, we went to the small town of Bodhgaya to see the tree were Buddha was enlightened! There’s nothing more magical than meditating under the Bodhi tree amongst Buddhist monks and pilgrims from all over the world…
At this point, the four of us decided to split up for the next month, as Niki and I are interested in settling down in one place while Rachel and Laura want to keep travelling, perhaps even to Sri Lanka! All four of us were headed south, so we did get to spend at least the first stretch of our journey together. And what a journey it was!
Leaving from Bodghaya, we took 2 rickshaws and 3 trains for a total transportation time of 59 HOURS. The longest train ride was 38 hours long, and we were stuck in general admission the whole time. General admission is an experience like none other: hundreds of people pack themselves into one little car until everyone is literally pressed body to body. While we were lucky enough to have seats for most of it, every square inch of floor space was taken up by someone standing, sitting, or sleeping, so we couldn’t even put our legs down on the ground and were confined to a space of 4 square feet for over 30 hours. I couldn’t move, sleep, or eat for most of it, and just had to stick my nose through the barred window to try to escape the stench of sweat, poop, and body odor. When we finally got the chance to eat, we made the fatal mistake of ordering an egg curry. I won’t/can’t talk about what was in that egg curry, but just a few bites of that was enough to make Niki and I sick for days afterward.
While this may have been the train ride from hell, we got all the way across the country from Northeast India to the southernmost state of India, Kerala, for a grand total of $15 dollars! I love rupees!
Now, here we are in the lovely tropical greenery and not so lovely humidity of the south, and I’m loving it already! We’ve been staying in Kochi, a beautiful town sprinkled with cool cafes and adorned with giant Chinese fishing nets hanging from the docks by the river. For the last few days, Niki and I decided to treat ourselves to some much deserved luxury. We are staying at a nice homestay with hot water, enjoyed relaxing Ayurvedic massages, attended a cool Kerala Kathakali dance show (see video above), went boating through the backwaters of Kerala… Last night, we even went out to a fancy restaurant and ordered seafood and chocolate souffles as a sort of celebration for my mom’s 50th birthday (at least that was our excuse)!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU!