Sunday, July 12, 2009

June 4th "The Real India" - Holy River Rafting in Shivpuri

June 4, 2009

It begins to feel warmer and I open my eyes and see the sunlight through the tent after a good nights sleep. Uday is up as well and we are both excited to go white water rafting today. We enjoy the beauty of this camp at Shivpuri before breakfast, as they said breakfast will be ready in about 10 minutes...

After about an hour we have breakfast and see Alok and Rahul but they are eating in a different area. Rahul tells us that he slept outside and the bug spray we let him use really helped. Before we get ready to go on our rafting trip Uday feels bad for our driver Raju and sneaks him some Chai and breakfast, since the camp people want our driver to fend for himself.

Preparing to go white water rafting down the holy river Ganga, I feel nervous but very excited. I am surprised to see two young Indian girls in their twenties on this rafting trip, as well as one of the girl's parents. It is a pleasant surprise to know that this is not just for males in India. These two Indian girls appear more modern and adventurous. They are also very friendly and we compete with each other on this adventure as they are on a different raft.

It is so much fun rafting and we hit three cycles of big grade-three rapids. In between some rapids we swim on our own outside our raft. We have the raft guides take pictures and video of us. Our guides were fun and full of energy. My helmet and life vest are a little big. My helmet is falling down to my eyes and my life vest is floating up to my neck but I am having so much fun, I don't care.

Here is a picture of us with Rahul in front.

We stop at another place where people can jump off a cliff into the water. I take video of Uday. Uday is afraid to jump in the beginning but when he saw Rahul jump he said, "Man if he did it, I have to do this now". So thanks to Rahul, Uday jumps and does it again another two times. I am too afraid to jump thinking water will get into my mouth, since I usually scream as I jump. I do not want to take any chance of swallowing water in India.

Here is a short video clip of Uday and Rahul jumping off the cliff... and Rahul being funny. Click on the arrow in the center of the clip below:

Finally as we are coming to an end we see the temples and bridges we saw yesterday from the road. It was so peaceful and exactly how I imagined this area of India would be. I feel refreshed and feel that this is my favorite experience in India so far.

Our rafting trip ends at Rishekesh and we are hoping to exchange numbers and emails with Alok and Rahul but unfortunately when we get off the raft we have no pen and paper. As we go looking for our driver, the rafting group takes everyone back to camp before we get to exchange information. We decide to move forward to our next destination instead of driving back to camp. I am sad we didn't get Rahul and Alok's contact information. While we are at Rishekesh we decide to do some exploring before leaving and it was amazing to me...

The Crowd

The Bridge

My First Temple...

The Monkeys around Town

The many "Holy Men" also called "Babas"

The Interesting People

and The Shopping and Bargaining...

I want this peacock fan that I see and Uday knows they are charging too much since I am American. We see this family with their fans and we ask them how much they paid and of course they did pay less than the price the seller is telling us. We buy one of the fans from them for the price they paid. They then ask me to take some pictures with them and they give me their second fan and will not take any money for it. They are so nice and they even ask for our phone number to keep in contact. I don't think that would happen in America.

Below is the picture of this very nice family and me alongside of one of them.

We buy a few things even though Uday told me they are overpriced since I am a tourist and before we know it we are back on the road for our next adventure.

Here is a photo of me wearing the Hindu beads that Uday bought me and also a photo of Uday with the Ganges river and the Temples in the background.

We meet up with our driver again and then have to wait about 45 minutes for him to drink his Chai (tea) which annoys me since he had plenty of time to drink it while we were rafting, shopping and walking around. Even though I am annoyed by our driver I continue to take my pictures when an oppurtunity arises.

This photo was taken of a family who was happy to have their picture taken in the parking lot before we left.

This is a picture of Uday and our driver Raju on the way back towards Delhi. Raju wanted his picture taken here.

Raju and I have had some differences during this trip and he was trying to talk Uday into having him continue to drive us for the rest of our tourism in India. What I do not like about Raju is his entitelement and lack of professionalism. He expects to take us places when he feels like it instead of when we want him to, many times he is not around when we need him to pick us up, and he expects us and the places we stay to pay for his meals and let him sleep for free in their lodging. As we drive back this comes up in conversation and Uday finally confronts Raju. They speak for a long time in there language. Once again I feel like Uday is not on vacation with me but rather with our driver. Later Uday told me most of what they discussed and it convinces me even more that Raju is not only entitled but also not that wise (to put it as nice as possible). I say this because he told Uday that the poor people in India are not really poor and they are just "acting"... He also said that he drives straight towards the cars that are coming straight towards him on the other side of the road because it shows "strength", so no one will mess with you. I do have to admit that it seemed like everyone drove like this.

Here is a picture to help explain the driving in India taken while we are in the car.

I also take a few more picture of people on this road trip...

We finally eat our last meal with Raju at a restaurant that has exotic plants and animals around the outside of it but I am feeling too tired to take pictures. We eat Dosa and vegetarian Briryani since Raju is a vegetarian. Uday thinks the restaurant is over priced by Indian standards but Raju tells him the prices are regular here. I think to myself, "how would he know since he never pays for his own meals?" Once again Raju does not offer to pay and Uday pays again.

We finally make it to the bus station just in time to go to the bathroom and get on the bus around 10:00pm for a 4 hour bus ride to take us to Jaipur, our next destination. I cannot wait to have fun on the rest of our trip without Raju and I know it sounds bad but I really could not wait to get rid of him because he feels like extra baggage. Uday offers him a very low tip at the end because he gave us bad service and Uday paid for his meals but Raju refused to take it as he appears to feel insulted by it..."Good", I think to myself. "More we can use to spend in Jaipur".

Click on the picture below to see all of our pictures in Shivpuri and Rishekesh:


Richard Jones said...

Hey, sounds like ya'll are having a blast. Glad God has blessed you and your wife. I am taking a trip to Florida the first week of August to visit some family. Hopefully Penny and I will be able to visit you guys also, so keep in touch :)

Richard Jones
(Uday's friend from Louisiana)

Amit Puntambekar said...

Hey Uday, Nice one, keep them coming. Enjoyed reading Amy's blogs !!

Amit Puntambekar
(Uday's friend from India/Louisiana)

Andrew Walenstein said...

Cool! Thanks for keeping us updated. I'll call my wife Lorena down here and we'll look through them. Hope you two are doing well. We're visiting our folks at the moment but I've had to take some of my work with me.

Andrew Walenstein
(Uday's co-worker from Louisiana)

Abhijit said...

Hello Eric, it seems that you are having a very good time :)

The photos are really nice. Staying in India I haven't been there. But
looking at the pictures I would definitely like to plan a trip there.

Best Regards,
Abhijit (Uday's acquaintance from Quickheal, India).

Luis Rodriguez said...

Wow! This is awesome stuff man! Great pictures and great blog! :)

Luis Rodriguez
(Uday's co-worker from Authentium)