Right on time, Rishikesh (pt. 1)
My trip to Rishkesh began with a little bit of a shock when I figured out that I had booked the carriage where only a floor, a roof and mattress are supplied. heading North-East, I soon began to suffer the cold, but fortunately had enough clothes in my bag to wrap up like a travelling tortilla and got through the night. Everyone else, rather more wisely, had brought blankets, pillows and general comfort wear. Lesson learnt.
Arriving in Haridwar at 6am, I did not expect there to be much activity, but the town was already bustling. The usual dozen taxi drivers tried to pick me up, someone tried to sell me peanuts, and woman rather forcefully attempted to paint my forehead while holding a donation box for Lakshmi – as much as I like the god of money, I still had to dodge her attempts muhammad ali-style. I found my way to the bus station, and the bus driver found his way to me: “RISHIKESH!” was shouted in my face, I paid my fare and completely passed out on the hour ride to the mountain village with a few other freezing locals.
Rishikesh was similarly busy, schoolkids heading to class in their uniform alongside cattle and rickshaws zipping past fruit stalls and vendors shouting their wares and best prices across the street while enjoying their morning chai. I came across a tributary to the Ganges, rather less impressive than the great river itself, but caught in the mist of my sleepiness and the morning, I think the first words I said were ‘is this it?’ before being nudged by a donkey to get off the street. It had right of way, to be fair.
A monkey stole my breakfast. While looking through the lens for the photo besides, this time of the real Ganges looking glorious in the morning, the bastard dropped down from the balcony and picked up some bread. Rishikesh is overrun with monkeys all over, and if you stop to stare, they will do a double take before facing you and opening their jaws. I tried to face one down but these guys are terrifying, and I doubt I can parkour my way out of a situation against a monkey somehow.