Indian Travels
2001-10-14 07:31:01 (UTC)

Rafting the Kali Gandaki towards the holy city

1 week later. 34 hours of rocky busrides. 3 days on a
river. 2 days in the holiest city of india. 18 hours
towards the taj mahal.
Here we go again. After enjoying Kathmandu for the last
time on this trip we boarded the first exciting bus towards
pokhara, the famous lakeside resort in nepal. you would
imagine something like geneva or lausanne - think again!
the main road is not paved, not even closed to it and cows
coexist with dogs, tourists and the regular trying-to-sell-
at least we got some tourist food (meat!) and a nice hotel
and the next morning we already started with our class 3/4
rafting experience! We were a group of 20 people in three
rafts and our raft was the boat of choice for every crazy
nepali raft-captain on this trip. whereas you are supposed
to approach a rock in the river by cautiously passing it,
we went straight into it usually and managed to flip the
raft on day two. the rafting was great fun and we all
survived without major injuries. even the food was good and
camping along the river was a great experience. after the
last day of rafting we hit the bus again and moved on
towards the indian border and crossed it, almost missing
the indian border guides chilling lazily in their office.
having reentered india we expected better roads (which we
got) but even worse busses (which we also got). combined
with maniac drives, this was quite something for the next
ten hours to Varanasi. everyone who has experienced an
indian busride knows what i am talking about... so here we
are in varanasi, the holy, eternal city of the hindus. you
could expect something like a little vatican state or maybe
jerusalem, but all you get is dirt, noise and hassle. this
may sound a bit harsh, but there is really no beauty in
this city. the ganges is just dirty (250.000 times above
WHO standards) and the animals living in the streets (cows,
dogs, goats, monkeys) contribute to the dirt in a
substantial way. this morning we took a dawn boat ride
along the ganges which was interesting, but now we have
decided to move on towards agra and the taj mahal and will
therefore board our first indian night train later today.
hoping everybody is safe and doing fine, read more about
shetti's, bird's and monkey's adventures in the next