Saturday, June 14th
But it is totally worth it. Pitch black is the night as we go out to the little landing overlooking the Ganges river, the mist rising up like spirits. Ever so slowly, the light begins to deepen as mystical chanting over on a bridge begins. We could see forms walking slowly across the bridges, the mist covering their figures. As the sunlight grew, we go down to dip our feet in the holy river. It is cold. The current is so strong! I walk down the steps a bit to my ankles and say a little prayer- not sure it for anyone, but just the world in general, saying how much I love it. We sprinkle water around us in an arc and say "Namaste!" to the river and the sun. Jess and I do some sun greeting yoga moves, then drink chai on the little landing as the mist rises up with the sun.
Back to bed for a little while...of course Frenchie doesnt offer to sleep on the floor and we cramp 4 in a bed. Around 10am, we pack up and leave for Haridwar just as it starts raining. We hire a rickshaw to take us into the city center, with massssses of pilgrims everywhere.
But nothing beats the presence of the sadhus, in their bright, sometimes faded, orange robes, dreadlock hair (sometimes in big buns, or beards!) and soul-piercing eyes.
We eat a nice big breakfast at Big Ben restaurant, where a "continental" breakfast included toast, tea and juice. How HUGE! Not.
As Hannah and I smoke a Gold Flake outside, a crowd gathers just to stop and stare at us. That's right. They take 10 minutes out of their day to just stare at us from about 10 feet away. I should have just stared right back like some crazy person just to make them uncomfortable. I even wave at one person, who looks so confused and awkward. Inside the restaurant is GREAT for people watching, cuz they cant see us! Sadhus, men as old as death look carved out of stone, and old women with big 60s glasses, no teeth and boobs hanging down to their waist hobble along the streets, shaking their canes or saris. One woman takes 15 minutes out of her day just to stand at the window and stare at me. HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!
In the street is even crazier!! I nearly get pickpocketed by all the children- and the beggars were insane, unmerciful. Shoppng was fun but Jess wants to go into every store so it gets a bit hectic. I start getting overwhelmed by the constant flow of human traffic, the staring, the nonstop begging. Amanda and Hannah were truly wonderful is taking care of me- they each stand on either side of me and take my hand. It feels nice that they are worried about me and see how overwhelmed and disoriented I am. Hannah tells me her secret to crowds like this that she picked up in Thailand- take BIG, long strides and walk fast. Some guy wards off a beggar that WONT leave me alone by yelling at him!!
We hop in a rickshaw quick as we can to take us to Rishikesh- only 200 rps. On the Ganges, thousands of people are bathing, men standing on the side of the road in Speedos and wet undershirts.