Chandygar, Ameritza (Dewali at the Golden Temple) and the Pakistan border

 

We are currently in Chandygar, as a stop over before Ameritza, the golden temple and Dewali.  The bus from Ambala to here was very interesting, in that it was like a pneumatic drill was placed under every seat; it was quite fun to go up and down for the first five minutes, but then it got old and painful; occasionally we would go side to side though, just to mix it up; that was for one hour.  Anyway.

 

  Chandygar is the first modern-ish city I have really seen here in India.  There is not really much to say about this place.  We went to the only tourist attraction in town which was Nek Chand’s rock garden.  The rock garden was very much like David Bowies Labrinth (Copyright Lauren); some of it was totally disturbing and it looked like allot of it was closed; I choose to believe it is because it is to crazy, but more likely it is to dangerous and falling apart, as with much of India (like our hotel room, with a collapsing ceiling).

 

 

 

 

 

 

  We where asked to have our pictures taken again; one dude asked Tom if he could take his picture, and he then positioned him away from us, for a solo shot… probably for his private collection.  We have had the usual rickshaw craziness, but we got to try the pedal versions last night J they actually feel more dangerous than the put-puts especially when the whole thing is leaning towards 100KG of me at an angle, with no place to hold onto.

  

 

 

  We went to an Indian gay bar! It was very, very strange.  We walked in there, and I was like “this is not a gay bar” and Mike then insists I have a second look: the place was full of guys only, but it was the old guys in Turbans at the entrance that threw me.  It was the most conservative gay bar ever, because they are not allowed to touch, they all just sat there talking and that’s it; one guy went crazy and started dancing in his chair and another guy touched another’s shoulder.  That place got a bit scary after a while so we made our exit, it was especially scary as Tom’s chair was empty (on the phone) and no doubt someone would make an attempt to fill that space, with the wrong idea.

 

(Boring internet cultural reference warning)

 

  I had Indian “Junior spesh” for 16RS, which is about 20p.  For those who have no idea what that is, it is a song on youtube by Jaxor, about his chicken and chips for 1.50, except I beat him; I had a vegi burger obviously.

 

(End warning)

 

  We got back onto the bus back to Ambala (the super bumpy one), this time with our bags on our laps L, then we jumped on a train to Amritsa for dewali.  The AC on the train was broken this time, so I was neither freezing nor boiling, wohooo.  Anyway, the first thing that happens when we got here, was the usual “you need cab”, “room, room”, “baba, baba” etc, etc , anyway, we where haggling with a rickshaw driver and he was breaking our balls for excessive cash as usual, but this time we managed to upset him and make him walk away, and not the other way around! I was actually quite shocked; we where haggling over 40 rupees (30p approx). 

 

  We managed to haggle another guy down 10 Rupee to 70RS from the station to our hotel; that is still way to much, but we where tired and hungry.  I got to sit in the front of the rickshaw! It was so awesome I can’t explain; obviously you usually sit in the back, but you kind of become detached from the crazy driving and roads ahead; but in the front you are right there in “the shit”, avoiding head-on collisions etc; he was going to let me drive it, but I was to scared I might get everyone killed.

 

  We get to our hotel, which we pre-booked with days before… they only have one room; the guys inspect the room and the extra room they managed to pull out of their as… hat.  I was standing with the bags and the guys inform me the place is a building site and the one room is not ready; they expect us to pay 400RS to stay there, which is a joke.  The rickshaw driver is still hanging around, as no doubt he smells commission; he then takes us to another place, where we are staying now; it seems very good so far, but before we settled on this place, my self and Tom “bartered” in another hotel, in which the guy informs us three times 550 plus 550 for two rooms, is 1100 with discount for multiple purchase… I think he broke something in my mind, because after being messed about by so many people and then having him demean us with that, it has left me fuming for a few hours; watch Ren and Stimpy’s “happy, happy, joy, joy” if you want to get an idea of how we where feeling.

 

 

  The Golden Temple! We spent all of Dewali in the temple, which apparently is the only place to spend dawali.  Jaz from Canada adopted us for the day and showed us around; we would never have found the food hall with him and I doubt we would have had the balls to use it: the communal kitchen is absolutely huge; they serve you buffet style, whilst you are sitting on the floor; the dal etc is served to you straight out of a bucket, plopped onto your plate prison style (the only way to serve thousands), but the food was very good.  I was happy we had the opportunity to sit and eat there. 

 

  We visited the something Bagh memorial to 2k protesters killed by the Brits in 1919 (was in Gandi the movie) and we did get a few sideways glances, but that was a misinterpretation on my part: there was no animosity, just a sense of guilt on my part and curiosity on theirs, as we had many snaps taken with the locals there, after a few approached us.

 

 

  We have all had many pictures taken with the people here, they seem to pick and choose who their personal favourites our and select us as individuals more than as a group, I imagine this is so they can personalise a story to go with the picture (maybe).  You really our made to feel like a superstar, which is very tiring, but flattering if they are polite about it…

 

  The evening Dewali celebrations where spectacular; we where told that they would be using less fireworks to prevent pollution, but if they have scaled it back under that rationalisation, I can’t imagine how much more spectacular it was before, because it was crazy good. 

 

  On our last day here, we took a cab to the Pakistani border… at Atari for the daily traditional face off, between India’s border army and Pakistan’s.  We where ushered into the VIP area for foreign tourists, so we got good seats.  Basically the Indians and Pakistani’s all shout very loud and then the troops open the border, and swing their arms and legs very high.  It is all very reminiscent of British tradition, which I guess would explain why they both ware the same type of uniform.  I had two, ten rupee vegi burgers there also, so I beat my previous cheap eats record.

 

 

 

We are going back to Deli tomorrow so we can move onto Rajistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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