Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I arrived Haridwar this morning. The train from Dehli left problemlessly, and the train station posed no threat as I entered with ticket in hand. As retribution I got to waive off everysingle person that asked if I needed assistance. Oh well, some lost friends, perhaps. Had the opportunity to delve into Alexander McCall Smith's second installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 'Tears of the Giraffe'.

Arriving in Haridwar I had not made arrangements for accomodations, but I knew the city was busting with hotels, and relative to other places it could be cessed out on foot. How's that for everyone that knows how anal I am about planning? I'm beginning to come into my own here in India. Travelling is taking on a very relaxed feel for me, and I am comfortable to make my way around and see what is available. Tourist Bureau can be quite helpful for the this that and the other that guidebooks don't always offer. A nice complement for successful travel.

After settling into the cozy 'City Heart' hotel, with a great rooftop terrace Haridwar became my oyster. I took a ride on the chair lift that quickly climbed the hill to the temple on the hill, Mandevi something or another. It was Hindu kitsch. Either that or I am at a complete loss for the meaning. It is so odd to want to offer a religious service immediately followed by a requested donation. The effect seems lost to me.

The particular reason I chose to stay here in Haridwar before moving along to my intended destination was to witness the aarti. This is everynight at sunset that the Ganga (Ganges if you like) is revered for its holiness. It was a beautiful ceremony. The blarring speakers could have been a bit clearer. I learned the hymn for puja while in Lucknow. The tune cares a nice melody, but tonight it was a bit staticy. The farm version and the Ganga version differ each with their own charm.

So, I am headed into the foothills, and from tomorrow forward I will attempt to clear my head with a bit of yoga, trekking, perhaps rafting, and other activities like reading. Without constantly being told to read and decided how I want to occupy my time I have taken a fancy to reading. I am thoroughly enjoying reading a variety of topics. Although, David, I have to tell you, I am having a hell of a time getting through Development as Freedom. Amatrya Sen has me at a loss for the way he articulates himself sometimes. People have said the same for what I said, so on my more focused days I try to delve a bit further there.

The air here can't be cut with a knife like Dehli, and I undoubtedly will not be going out like I have for the past several nights. There's a time and a place for everything, and this time happens to be quite mindful.

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