Bodhgaya, Puri and Pondicherry travel blog

December 31, 2014

I feel tired. I am sure I look it too. I am reminded of a couple I had met in South East Asia. I don’t remember where. Either a bus or a plane. We were in transit. I will never forget the spent look they possessed. They were in India for a great deal of time and then in Asia. At the time all I could think of was, “CORE”. Now I know there are no such words that can describe any traveler. What is it?

This makes me think of myself and my position in India. I may feel like an Indian but I was born in Canada and thus accustomed to its norms. I have been in my adopted country for five months now. How can it be? I have stopped taking my anti-depressants. Everything makes me cry now. Thoughts of Tyler, giving puja, Suukyi and her suffering, everything. I have hid it from Cara. Sometimes my voice cracks when we talk of certain subjects. Annie had sent me an email a few days back. I got too emotional to read it. I will. She is a person whom I admire the most. Dad, mom, Jeff, Derek and Wendy are a close second.

It is the end of 2014. The world can claim itself to be at relative peace. More so than anytime in Human history at least.

The drive from Mallapuram to Pondicherry was short [91 KM’s] but crazy. I am not sure if it was just the drivers along this section of road. It was very dangerous. Pondi is a Union Territory thus not really part of Tamil Nadu. Therefore doesn’t have to pay the state liquor tax. It’s kinda tike Dui in Gujarat. Gujarat is a dry state other than the small island of Dui. Lots of main-landers coming to get pissed. Here booze is half the price so everyone flocks here and drives home drunk.

Lately everything has been a “fuck off”. I sit down and my riding gear clings to my legs not allowing it’s knee pads to raise. Fuck off. I can’t light a match, fuck off.

At this point I am done with this shit. All of it. It’s not a good feeling. Has India beaten me? Nah, I have been here too long and so many times to let her get to me now. It’s impossible. Am I getting too old for this? Now crying. This is odd. I used to relish the way other travelers would look at Suukyi and myself. Now - FUCK OFF. Looks are sooo cheap. Don’t man. Come over and shoot the shit with me. There has not been one single overlander I have not spoken to when backpacking. These are the most interesting people.

I am just getting over what I believe to be bronchitis. I got it once before in Phoenix while going south. Then, on day two, I took a cab to a hospital. I was better in three days with the meds they gave me. I almost went to the hospital this time too. We parked ourselves at a nice hotel because of my health. They claimed to have a doctor on call. As it turns out all they would do is call an ambulance. Mallalapuram is only 20,000. I know very well what I would receive on top of the ambulance fee. A stethoscope to the chest; “Breath in, breath out, breath, in breath out”. “Here is a prescription for antibiotics”. I have antibiotics. Now is day six. I can barely speak.

I feel bad for Cara. Five days in - she only has about 28 in total.

January 2, 2015

Computer is fucked again. Maybe it’s the humidity. Fuck its hot here. I must get my gear cleaned.

I am feeling better. I can still barely speak but I am no longer coughing as much. I would like to stay here but realize we must move on due to Cara’s time here is short.

I still don’t know what to do of my expiring visa. As I see it there a two options. The first being leave Suukyi in Chennai and fly to Kathmandu to get a new visa. To do this I would have to change my current return flight. Also there is a chance that I will have to wait two months in between visas. No one seems to know the current policy. Some websites state two months others state the policy has been done away with while yet others claim it to be up to the embassy in which country you are applying. Knowing my India it’s the latter. My other option is to leave her in Chennai, fly to Delhi and go home as planned returning in two months to pick up Suukyi in Chennai and take the slow ride north home to Delhi. I am leaning to plan two. With plan two I will get to see Tyler and hopefully make amends with Wendy, get going to A.A., get to see the kids and start work on Malala.

The BIGGEST problem for me will be weather. Who knows, maybe I can get a visa right away.

I also want to get a personal update on business. Income statements, balance sheets and 10 minute monthly phone calls only go so far. I have been thinking of business a lot lately.

I had two seizures the other day. Neither where localized to my hand. My arm and leg suffered as well. It was not violent or traumatic. I was in bed and rode it out. Tension and the drink were the cause. The drink counteracts the dialatin. Tension via the travel. Maybe it’s India. I not had one since Colombia. It was, perhaps, the most violent incident outside of October 2, 2008.

Shoshi’s husband is undergoing treatment for cancer. I wish I could do something.

Pondi is in no way, shape or form India. The French quarter anyway. Here are the very wealthy Indians and foreigners. I don’t see too many backpackers. A few. But even they seem to have money. Most backpackers packs are scuffed black or have the jungle earth dusty red clay on them and/or showing some sorts of long terms abuse. None of these packs have seen such endurance. All are all off the rack. Of course I can’t be witness to all. Taylor has been here for Christ’s sake! His pack would have been worse than a Sunday morning hard on. He’s been. And is so cool about it. Of all friends lost and not forgotten his is the one I miss the most. Clearly the most intelligent. Then there’s Timer. If I was gay. He equals or exceeds Taylor’s intellect. Albeit in a different form. I am very aware of Tim’s ability with digits. Not just to cox white pee from his fifth appendage but also his prowess with the numerical digits. Everything I own is damp. My nylon stuff sacks are oily.

I wish Cara was not dependent on me to show her India. One, two three months in yeah great. After this I am too in my head.

Pondi is why I hate coasts. Hot, humid and one can only do a few things, beach and drink. Even going for a coast on Suukyi is gummy. I must go inland from here. Away from the Indian Ocean and it’s humidity. I am ok with heat to a limit. But humidity – nope. Plus I’m ill.

There is not one person, gorha, gorhi, NRI or Indian that I nor Suukyi receive the same stares from. I have become impervious to it.

A young lady just walked by wearing a healter top and yoga tights. I was fucking disgusted. Really really discusted. She passed us on the way to the shitter. I grabbed a waiter and asked him what the fuck was that? I said to him, “This is not America or Europe, why do they come here like this?” He spoke perfect English but did not reply. Stoic. And so would have been if this was my country of birth and then had an outsider question it. I began to tell him how disrespectful this was of India. He turned 90 degrees and whispered to me, “Yes”. This came from the “asshole’ waiter. Now that he knows that I know we are cool. Then the slab of Handi arrives. How more disrespectful to Hindustan can I get? I can no longer look at anything other than his feet.

I just covered what was left of Handi on my plate with napkins. I am now revolted at its sight. How can I explain this to Shiva? It cannot be explained nor forgiven.

In an instant one knows they have done wrong. Whether a car accident a comment, a gesture. Here, in the confines of the restaurant the damage is limited to proximity of those around me. But what of me? I ventured from its proximity. I consumed Handi. Shiva sees and knows what I have done. The creator and deystorer. Here in the limit of the restaurant only these here bear witness to my fault but I will leave the restaurant someday. I have to forever live knowing I got cessation upon the killing of Shiva’s Handi.

Spend enough time in my India and this is how I feel. I dilute my Indian religion when entering the west.

It’s such a fucking bad seen. I need the west because after several months at home. I need to go home. When at the latter I am disrespectful to all that I respect in my India. I need India because it gives me. But as a western born believer how long can I be exposed to the west before I crack? I suppose it’s the same in India. I wish I was back in my USD$3.00 a high room. After examination this, this is where I was.

I have now written seven pages on a legal size tined notepad.

There are a lot of French in Pondi. I did not find this to be the case in Phnom Penh. Phnom Pnem architecturally is much more significant than Pondi. I thought Pondi would display a greater French injection of French architecture. Nope. And there were very very few French persons in Phnom Penh. All of those I saw where NGO’s. A French traveler was no more the norm than a German.

I have been fine in India. there is a presentation on TED TALKS called ‘This is life’.

January 5, 2015

Wendy wrote me the most beautiful letter I have ever received the other day. Every word was filled with love. I was amazing. I will keep it forever. I have a few letters like this from a couple of others. I save them all. Her’s was special.

I will be going to AA when I return to Canada.

Fuck its hot here. We are still in Pondi. I don’t do anything. I am done traveling. On this trip. Plus the tension is getting to me. I have had two seizures.

I have to respond further to an email Annie had written me a week back. I could only read part of it. It had made me sad.

I would pay to be with Liza and Lucy right now. I miss them so much. I think they are what I miss the most of Canada. My two cats. My girls.

I received November’s financials from Sam the other day. I went over them briefly today. All looks good. Electra’s volume was a surprise. Skeena’s a disappointment; Kamloops was on par and Kelwood… fucking kelwood. I had heart to heart with Jeff a couple of weeks ago. Kelwood owes us CAN$1,000,000. Only Jeff and I have the capacity to absorb its losses, Mark and Derek, on partners, don’t have the capacity to float her. Done. I call Jeff for assurances. He tells me things are getting better but he too is wanting to pull the plug and any minute. Even Mark, Mr. optimistic, was indicating to Jeff the same doubts. There are only so many charges one can make to a business model that only sells one product. Mark does work it.

I find Indians to be the most helpful people in the world. If one falls down, they will be the first to pick you up. Whereas anyone else I have met, regardless of religion as country, will stand by until the last minute. This does attest to the greatness of India. It is one of those things I can’t explain perhaps to be of the volume of people here. For example if I drop Suukyi [noise travels at about 600 kms/hr] before the noise of her side attaching to the ground there is an Indian there to help us recover. Of course, this is an exaggerated example. A literal example is as such - Kevin had too many drinks one night at a very high end restaurant in Pondi. Because of the cost of everything in the restaurant, the restaurant was predominantly Caucasian. However there was a beautiful Indiam man & his wife sitting behind us. I had gotten up and fallen in my ass AND not only did I fall in ass, I had fallen off of a 6 inch step. Not one, not one foreign tourist came to my rescue as I lay on my back turtling, grasping the only man who come to my assistant was the Indian gentleman, of about 24 yrs old.

When he pulled me up, I had said “Dhanuwat, Bhai” I find as far as South India is concerned , there seems to be a lot more people here in Pondi, speaking Hindi than the rest.

My wane of travelling, due to the extent I’ve been on the road, has affected my relationship I Cara perhaps I’m wrong this time I really wanted to show her more this time than when I was all drugged out & she had to fly back to Delhi because of this. I feel that after experiencing my India for a certain length of time, everything blends into one another. One Mandir becomes the same as the next. I have been to 21 states in India now. I’m sure if my Hindu brothers have had seen as many Mandirs as me, they would feel the same as I. It’s not only Mandirs in India. What of the countries churches my mind is full of on my way to Columbia and the hundreds of temples I have visited in South Asia? Does not this expend one’s self regarding religion? I suppose this would depend on ones endurance of the Gods & what one has been exposed to.

There is only so much religions a person can be exposed to before they have to make a decision for certainly there is something. Do I choose Christianity or Muslimism? I have questioned this is for a long time. I have chosen Hinduism. If I have a weakness in a certain aspect of my life, I have a God on that. If I need to excel in a certain part of my life, I have a god that I can ask for.

If I had the capacity to be anything it would be Jain. For this belief is the ultimate attainment and should be for every human on earth. For this is a belief that will carry humanity.

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