Tyson´s Travels

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Happy New Year – Happy Diwali

>It's a little bit early for the rest of us but the Indians are in full
swing celebrating the biggest festival of the season. Diwali otherwise
known as the festival of lights or New Years is here and it is making
life interesting. Buildings are festooned with colourful Xmas lights
and fireworks are the order of the day. The fireworks aren't just
those wimpy do it yourself Canadian style ones but also professional
ones and ones simular to concussion grenades. Even kids set them off
and it is amazing entire cities aren't burning from misfired
fireworks. It feels a lot like being in a war zone while Christmas is
in full swing.

In other news Jen has finally arrived and we set off North to see the
Taj Mahal. On Jens second day in India we departed from a train
station crawling with rats and surrounded by slums. The surrounding
slums were booming with fireworks as even the poorest of the poor
celebrated. Not the best intro for an India Newbie. The over night
train went well and we decided to stop in Varoda to break up the long
journey to the Taj. Unfortuantely Varoda is a town which looks a
little like a cow infested open sewer. Often it was very difficult to
breathe from the stench. Even the decrepid bus station was covered in
slippery cow crap from the roving cows. We headed out of town for a
delightful day hiking in the country side on a trail that resembled
the Grouse Grind lined with tarps and snack stalls. We took a jeep
back crammed with 20 people. The front bench that we were on had five
people across and the driver drove the stick shift vehicle with barely
an inch of his backside on the front seat.

Back in Baroda our attempts to leave the city were thwarted at every
angle. Even sneaking onto a train without a reserved ticket proved
impossible. We got the okay from the conductor and he showed us to the
usually pleasant sleeper class. Every single bed (stacked 3 high bunk
bed style) had 5 passengers and the corridors were beyond standing
room. Getting on was like trying to move through a game of twister
with a large backpack on. I don't know how many feet I stepped on as
their just wasn't space to step on the floor. Despite his urging that
we would indeed fit we gave up as the journey would have been 14hrs
long. Too long to be standing on someones feet in an akward position.
Despite all this we still had lots of fun and both survived the
experience with our health and sanity intact. Jen has been incredible
not only taking India in stride but dealing with the locals like a
pro. The locals have shown us nothing but kindness.

Now headed South. We snuck onto a sleeper train and slept sitting
upright on the floor. A well spoken Indian computer programmer
offered me his prime floor space spread with newspapers and I managed
to catch an hour of sleep before we switched positions. It isn't only
the poor that sleep on the floor here. Sometimes there is no other

Just another day in India. The surprises never end.

Tyson Brooks

In India –


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This entry was posted on November 8, 2010 by in India.

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