Go goa full power shanti

Going to Goa is kind of like stepping out of India and dipping your toe back in. Its the melting point of Indian culture and western freakout. Its the clash of traditional values and new age thinking. The result is nothing like India in general, and nothing like we find back home, its a beautiful chaos of two worlds colliding.

Coming from Varanassi was not only a move from shit-cold to pleasing-warm, but also from slim-to-none amount of westerners to packed streets of annoyingly white walking moneybags (me included).

My destination was Arambol, sometimes referred to as “Arambubble”, for its reputation of sucking people into another zone of reality. You are blessed (or doomed) to stay, and even as i planned on a three week visit, it turned into a three month blessing.

The first that strikes you is the heat, the second is the amount of westerners, the third the amount of Russians. I shit you not, they are probably as many as all the other tourists put together. They are everywhere, all the time. There will be Russian menus and Russian food, Russian keyboards and Russian language spoken, wherever you turn your head. I don’t know what their up to, and its hard to find out, as they mostly don’t speak English, but they are taking over by numbers, and growing as a group. I had a few encounters, some of them really nice. Two times i was asked by Russians to donate money for petrol, which i found kind of odd, but money was handed. Maybe its like handing a cigarette, i don’t know. The other time i was really making friends with this cool guy, but every meeting turned into a game of charades, we simply did not understand each other. Good guy though… good guy.

No matter what you think about them, you will sooner or later ask yourself why the Russian women are so absolutely stunning by looks, and the men so tremendously bad looking. We will never know, god bless them.

Lets leave the subject of Russians…

Arambol is the perfect place to relax, the food is great and the hangouts/chillouts are allover, some of them serve superb coffee.  Its an excellent place to do nothing, and the perfect space to do alot. The place boils with creativity. You have your morning coffee surrounded by musicians, performers, artists, teachers, jewelrymakers and party organizers.  The walls will be covered with advertisement to get you activated (or to shut off). Yoga is by far the biggest player in the game, just ahead of meditation, self-consciousness and other spiritual practices. Massage, get massaged or learn how to give massage. Dance, bellydance or funkydance. Cook food, eat food. Tantra courses or laughing class. The list goes on.

On top of it all you find the posters for the next big party event. Party on the beach, on the top of the hill, in the jungle, wherever actually (not underwater, but you just wait).  I have to admit the party posters tempted me the most, a big part of my stay was dominated by playing at parties, dancing at parties or making parties. Lets for the book include 4 day clownschool, a dancing lesson and some self-conscious mindbogglingly (i wrote “mindbalacing”, but the spelling program corrected me in a way i cant deny) activity at the “Balanced view” center. That was enough for me this time around.

What struck me most though, was not the amount of different activities available, but the fact that its all happening in this small area at the same time.

The stories you will hear from visitors of Arambol will be everything from “I woke up 6am every morning, doing Yoga all day and eating organic vegan food every night” to “I didnt eat, i didnt sleep, and partied until i couldn’t move” And they will both have spent the same period of time, within the same small place.

You will find the most amazing backyards and rooftops, with the most random activities you could ever imagine. You will have a full on party on the beachclub, and the Yoga center just on the backside will ask you to stop the music. You will enjoy some food accompanied by 30 people exercising their vocal chords ten meters away behind some bamboo fence. A cow will turn up and observe a farmer carrying 20 kilos of coal on his head next to a guy walking down the street balacing crystal balls on his head while playing the flute. Walking down the beach one morning allowed me to observe everything from people fighting imaginary monsters (or ninjas, what do i know?),  to people practicing Capoeira, Tai-chi and others standing on one leg trying to sound like a horse crying over legs hurting. I didnt really feel like engaging, but I loved it, and at the time i reached the XXL german guy fishing naked in a hat, i wasn’t even surprised.

It strikes you everyday. Whatever you do, just take a peak over that fence to the next place, and prepare to be amazed, they might be opening a gateway to another galaxy there, and you dont want to miss out! Its shanti and full on, at the same time. Two words used a lot in India, but defined in Goa.

There’s a great crew for parties in Goa, and its growing. The area is famous for its Psytrance (or goatrance whatever you prefer), but with a growing movement of techno, which is fantastic. Nonetheless, it seems a lot of the locals seem to think that Psytrace is all we want to hear in the west. They will play it at every beach restaurant you go to, and in some shops.  Its insane. You will have a candlelight dinner at the beach with newly caught kingfish, and who knows, maybe a glass of whine, looking at the sunset wearing nothing but shorts and sandals listening to the waves of the ocean. You will think “This is fucking epic” and then you count from ten and down, because in ten seconds you can be sure that they will ruin your whole experience, your meal, and your last amount of love for this type of music, by blasting it in your face, until you either pretend to not hear it, leave, or make a complaint. You complain, you get Bob marley. They will play you Bob marley until you pray for Psytrance. They will repeat that shit until you wish for a world without red green and yellow. My point is: They CRAVE for new music, and if you bring it, the doors are open to be a DJ, or just the selector of the night, its a supernice gift to a place you visit wouldn’t you agree? Bring music if you plan on visiting.

So where are the hippies? Its the number one thing I expected to find there (Except cows, and they are indeed all over).

Id say the Hippies are still around, in sterotypes, partially as older people who’s been around since the 70’s and 80’s wave, but mostly id say theres a new wave of Hippies. A wave of bikers, and salesmen. They work their way during the season of Goa by making Jewelry  for sale on the markets and driving on kickass bikes between the parties. A bike or a scooter is a must have, if you want to look around, or go to the parties. In my lifetime i don’t think Iv’e seen so many women on motorbikes, and so many new tattoos popping up every week, they make tatoos like we buy new clothes. Its a mix of mad max steampunk and hardcore faeries.  Picture leather clothing, feather hats and cogwheel earrings. In my personal opinion its epic.

Lets add that most 0f them probably does not refer to themselves as Hippies, just like the Hipsters. They WILL though call each other just that, from time to time. Perhaps its like black people: A niggah can call a niggah niggha, but a non-niggha cant call a niggha niggha. Its complicated,  lets leave it. I guess im a Hippie on a scooter when it comes down.

The bike to get is an Enfield. You live in Goa, you get an Enfield, end of story. People there are experts, they will discuss the Enfield down to the size of a bult, or the orchestra of sound from the engine. They will remake, pimp up and redefine the bike until its perfect, and then go again.

When i arrived, an Enfield to me was a machinegun, and nothing else, its the same company making the guns and the bike, so it makes sense (the model below is called “bullet”), but i was puzzled when a man i met said to me “well, the only true way of getting around India is getting an Enfield”. For a moment there i thought i was drinking chai with a terrorist.

I want to add that these are the most awesome people Ive met on my trip, some of them got to be lifelong friends, and some of them soon to be. I lived with them, partied with them, talked a lot of shit and a lot of non-shit, got inspired to create and inspired to stay for longer thanks to them. These guys made my trip.

Driving in Goa? Its a mess. If there is any such things as rules on the road, then people spend most of their time on road breaking them. “Thats what the police are for” one might say, but they are not. The so called “Traffic police” of  Goa are not interested in your well being, their interest is in your wallet. They will find a reason to get you to cash up. They made me pay stupid amounts for stupid regulations that turned out to not exist, at one point a guy claimed to be a police when he in fact obviously wasn’t.  You get used to it, and you learn how to hassle with them, but its another “P” to the list of groups that scammed me in india:

– The people
– The priests
– The police

There are no such things as red lights, instead they put speed bumps that will break your bike, send you flying, or annoy you. Some cars have good suspension and they are unaffected by the bumps, allowing them to go full speed whenever. You get used to keeping your senses on a high, dodge the cats, dogs, cows and tourists running the streets, the tourists are the most lousy drivers around, probably because they are used to rules, signs, red lights and roadmarks. We simply don’t teach common sense in driving schools in Europe…

If you go to Goa, make sure you visit the markets in Anjuna. The wednesday market (daytime) and saturday night market (obviously in nighttime). The stuff for sale are amazing and the nightmarket is HUGE, with two dancefloors, livestage, endless amount of food stalls and bars. Oh, and shops.

Get a house, share it with some friends, cook food together and get involved in the local people around you, they are lovely. Whether you’re the beachtype, the partytype or the spiritual type, or all of them combined, this is your place, get over here, get into it, and bubble yourself Arambol style. Im booking a returnticket to this place, its fucking amazing.

THANK YOU! (And hello to Nepal, where im at right now)

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Holy river had me quiver

So its been some time since writing, mostly because I’ve had such a great time doing nothing. I spent a week in Varanasi, which is the holy city where they burn corpses along the river Ganges, its the final path your body takes until you reach nirvana, then i suppose you end up as a cow or something, Im not sure about the details, but its only the rich Indian people who can afford the wood. The result of that is a high suicide rate along the river, with people trying to ensure a cheap ticket to Nirvana. Women are not allowed around the burning fire, if they are not accompanied by their man. “If they lost their husband, they will go down just do throw themselves into the fire”, someone told me. Getting a new husband is simply not an option…

One of my strongest moment by the river was walking alongside of it during evening time, and feeling a bit frozen (winter came with me, so it was really cold during this time). I saw a big fire and people around it, i went down a few steps to join them by the fire. As i stood by it, just about to hold my hands out to gain some heat, i noticed two male legs sticking out of the right side, toenails in place, skin a bit boiling, and the rest of the body going into the fire under all the wood. Lets say I’ve never felt so inappropriate by a fire…

The streets of Varanasi are cowded. Yes, cowded. Theres cows everywhere, and dogs. And an occasional monkey.

One monkey attacked me on the rooftop of a house, i had to pull a chair. The cows walk down the alleys even when there’s no room for them and one of them kept popping in when i had morning coffee, you get used to it. The locals just smack them with sticks when they go to far. The dogs spend the night trying to settle who is going to get the last bark, they just never stop. One time i think there where 20-30 dogs barking for an hour.

So far Varanasi was my favourite place, everything was half price from where I’ve went before, and food was superb!! I learned more about Indian scams, and how the process of “Comissions” work. Basically a guy walks with you, and you enter a shop with him, they automatically raise the price of all items and give him money from bringing you. You basically pay the man without knowing…

Knowing this i had to spend half of my time walking down a street to make Indian guys stay the fuck away, which is not what i prefer to do, but it was much needed.

My train from Varanasi left the 17th of December, and i was looking forward for a 36 hour trainride in general class (The cheepest one).

I  shared a tuk tuk to the trainstation with a spanish guy to save money. Along the road our driver would pull out money of his pocket, and hold them outside the vehicle. Somewhere in the middle of a road came a man, collecting the cash, and going to the next car. This was obviously not a police, or a man working for the government, so we asked the driver why this was good for.

“Oh no problem! This Mafia. No police here, only Mafia sir, we pay no problem.”

I found it astounding that it was so close, and somewhat so accepted that some areas are ruled by mafia, some by police. He also told us that one driver got killed the week before from not paying. I agreed that it could be worth the 10 rupees, for not risking getting killed.

I came into the train station, not expecting my train to actually be there, so i was amazed when it was. Turned out i was sleeping next to a Russian guy i already knew from the breakfast place i usually go, and a Spanish guy who brought his motorbike on the train. The rest of the people where Indian people, mostly men, getting from or to work.

Its very special to fall asleep in a train, wake up the next morning, knowing that you will spend the entire day in that spot, and then fall asleep again the upcoming night, wake up in the same spot, and then finally get off at your destination. Talking with your fellow passengers is necessary to maintain sanity during this period. I loved it, its during all the traintravels that ive gotten to meet normal, casual, working class Indian people. Finally some Indian people not talking to me because the have profit in mind, but because they are actually interested in me! They are such wonderful people, and they share everything they have from food to stories. Some of them know no english and they will basically just sit and stare at you the entire time, which you get used to. When there where too many people around engaging in us “white people” the Spanish guy would go mental and stand up and scream in Hindu (he knew some of it) and they would all scatter back to their beds, peeking back at us trough the curtains. I found it hilarious.

The 19th of december morningtime, the train slowly entered the trainstation in Goa, ON TIME! I have no clue how they managed this, but they did, we where on the fucking minute! I wanted to applaud but did now know where to direct it. The heat struck me, and it was for sure hot hot! It had been so cold in the north, i had to sleep with all clothes on and double blankets, now it was back to sleeping with just underwear again, and having to take swims to keep the cool. In Goa i have friends, and a house to stay, they sent me a driver and i was picked up straight to the house. Wonderful times coming up….

 

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A train of relief

So as my times in Jaipur came to an end, i wanted to move on to Varanasi, where my ticket to Goa is due to 17th of December. I heard great things about Varanasi, and decided that one week in one place would do me good.

Booking a ticket in India is special. There are forms to fill in for everything, and the cuing can turn into an endless mission (even if you end up in the right cue). Of course you can have the tourist office help you, but from previous experience its just not what i prefer to do…

There where no tickets to Varanasi available, so i ended up picking one to Agra, its about halfway there. And from there on i got a ticket to Varanasi, with a three day stay in Agra. The first morning of Agra my stomach was inside out, this kept on for two days and its only the last day of visit i actually could get out to have a look.

I kept to my room and had a lovely old man named Moin who drove me to the guesthouse, bought me medicine and kept me company. Its the sweetest guy I’ve met so far, and he barely wanted money for the medicine he bought.

So my train was due to leave the 8th, 17.00.  Id booked a sleeper, meaning i get a bed. Its a 12 hour trip so this felt appropriate.

I arrive 16.45 to the station, just in time to check which seat i was assigned.

Looking at the digital boards i couldn’t find my train, which instantly had me worried.

I went into the office and asked. They started asking different people, looking at my booking paper, making phone calls and having mass discussions.Time was closing to 17.00 and i was getting a bit stressed.

The man behind the counter smacked the phone down and looked up at me. “Your train in 24 hours late sir”. Now i dont even know how a daily train can be 24 hours late, to me that’s cancelled, but who cares.

“So i come back 17.00 tomorrow, five’o’clock? In the evening”
“No sir in morning”
“I come tomorrow morning at five, so its 12 hours late?”

He just made his indian headshake at me. (Shaking the head in a way making it impossible to understand if its a “yes” or a “no”. Its simply a “maybe”.

I asked again. “Should i come tomorrow at five in the morning?”

I got a “yes” from him and thanked them, on which i went outside the station. I had a cigarette to make a new plan, and some feeling in me had me turn around and check the digital borders again.

There it was, my train number, departure 17.00. Shit.

I just burst into the station, running almost on top of people. Rushing to my platform. I heard people screaming “cigarette sir, cigarette” around me, and i couldn’t believe they where still trying to sell me stuff, at this moment!

Then i realized the “non smoking” train stations they have in India, and threw my cigarette to the ground, still running.

I came down to the platform, and there was no train, just another digital sign displaying my train number and: 17.00 / 03.00. There was nothing declaring whats what, so i asked a guy. He was glad to help.

“03.00 is the delay time, so you just add that to the current time and there you have it”. Great. So the train leaves at 20.00? I was puzzled, the next display showed another train, saying 18.45 / 18.55. As i doubt a train being 18.55 hours late, i asked again, saying “Are you sure this is not the new time, and my train actually leaves 03.00? “No no sir, delay time, delay time, amount of hours.” I really tried explaining to him what i meant, and we just went on and on. More people gathered, all had different theories and i was getting a but frustrated, which turned into total laughter. No one had any idea, we where six people looking at a sign, that they looked at many times in their lives, but obviously never understood. I left smiling.

My train was now (probably) one of the following:

  • Missed due to the people at the office and my late arrival
  • 24 hours late
  • 12 hours late
  • 10 hours late
  • 3 hours late
I decided to trust my own logic, thinking that the new time for the train is 03.00 AM, and thus 10 hours late. A time no one at the station would confirm for me, but i stuck to it.
I had Moin pick me up again, and drop me of at a guesthouse for  a few hours sleep, i was still a bit knocked over from being ill.
2.00 AM my alarm went off, and I quickly took my pack and checked out, just to find a completely dead and silent street outside the hostel. I waited and waited, i was really not feeling good at this moment, i wanted to get away from Agra, and everything kept me. My health and energy was down and my spirit and smile with it.
From a far i could distinguish a sound, as if coming from a club, there was disco music, but it came closer.

.
Running down the street was a rickshaw (like a tuk tuk) with pumping music, full speed. As it was about to pass, I jumped out in the road signaling for it to stop, which it did about 20 meters after passing me. The sound turned silent, the lights went black, and walking over there i felt like a police stopping the poor driver for playing violent music.

Inside where two really young Indian dudes, one probably 18 years of age and the other one a few years younger, and they promised to take me to the train station.

I jumped into the back of it, and he started the machine for another go.

As we went off, the music came back, and WOW what a sound system. I had the speakers just behind my head. All the tiredness in me quickly blew away and the fresh winds of the road took its place.

The music in India so far has not gotten into me at all, its beautiful in many forms, but has not giving me that feeling that id like music to give.

This music, however, let me tell you, was fucking awesome. It was probably what i would normally consider to  be crappy eurodisco dance music, but i guess the moment, the soundsystem, the situation i found myself in just made it the tune of my life. I could not keep my smile away, my head shaking, hands drumming and almost trying to sing with the vocals, which where in Indian standard manner with one woman singing high pitch and some dude responding. It was so cheesy, but so good. We where driving faster then I’ve ever been in one of these vehicles, and streets where empty so this was the time to do it.

The feeling i got from this whole experience brought up memories from my number one favorite movie growing up, “The neverending story”. A movie that brought me the first feelings of fear, curiosity and happiness from my childhood (that i can remember). There’s a scene where Bastian (main character) goes flying with his new found friend Falcor, the Dog-dragon. Its a scene that gives hope back into Bastian, and the soundtrack still talks to feelings deep inside of me, i was king of the world at this moment, and felt true love for the country for the first time.

I arrived to the station, handed some rupees to the driver, and quickly went inside, where i talked to an Indian guy. “Oh, that train is canceled sir…”

I smiled at him. “No its not, thank you”. I went on, and my train was standing on the platform, ready to bring me on 03.00, “on time”.

Inside, I quickly fell asleep, making sure i would wake up in good time for the arrival, 15:00.

From 10.00 and on i was awake, reading my book, and watching the landscape pass by. I love going by train.

Five hours later i started asking people when my stop is, and answers differed from “one stop away”, “three stops away”, “half an hour”, “one hour late”, to “three hours late”.

I just waited, and kept asking new people. I kept looking at my watch and was really thinking that the next station is the one, keeping my hopes up. I was starving from not eating for three days, and had no water left. I was running empty on everything, patience included.

Around five’o’clock i stumbled into one man, named Prabin. He asked me to have a seat with him, and we talked.

Prabin spoke really good English to me, and explained that trains are nothing to trust here (no shit), they rely on good weather, and now its foggy. Also, because we are late, we have to move the train aside from time to time, and stop, in order for other trains to pass (so they wont get off schedule). “we are the lucky train”, he said, and smiled to me. I smiled, but wasn’t really truly, i didn’t enjoy the situation, and checked my watch again, telling Prabin about my food situation.

Prabin offered me some crackers, which made my day, what a lifesaver! At the next stop he jumped off the train and quickly ran to get fresh water. YES!

He told me that there might be some more time before we arrive at my station, and it was in this instant i just had this great feeling of relief coming over me. Just let go, let go of the whole feeling of trying to figure out the train arrival, let go of the inpatience. Let go!

I gave up, there and then, all that is time on a train, all that is planning and all that is expectations.

I put my phone down, and engaged in my new friend.

He brought me over to another cabin, where three old women and one small girl where sharing it. They where so kind and did their best in speaking English with me. There was a sense of family feeling in there, and they gave me so much sweets and munchies i couldn’t handle any more, i had to take a rest.

I rested for another half an hour, read some more, spoke some more with my new friends, and some other people in the train, I knew Prabin would make notice of my stop.

Hours went by, but this time without any impatience from my side. We just kept stopping and stopping to let other trains pass. I had one driver calling me now and then, he was waiting for me at my station (a friend of Moin) and had been waiting since 15.00. We laughed every time he called. “I think i’m there in an hour”, “I think its gonna take one more hour”, and his last calls i just said “Man, i really don’t know if we are ever gonna come there”, and id stopped caring really.

We arrived 23.00 pm, with a delay of 8 hours (on top of the previous 10 hours), and i went of the train, more chill than ever, more in tune with the Indian vibe than id never been.

My driver literally came running. “Are you KEB?”. “Well, i’m Kenny, but take it…” and before i had time to tell the man “Shanti” he took my arm, threw me in the back of a Rickshaw and drove me trough another insanely speeded drive trough Varanasi.

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Trust the smiling eye, and you’ll avoid the coming lie

So I ended up in Jaipur, another big city like Delhi (but still not). I was dropped outside the railway station and the traffic was killing me, I had to get away quick.

I just headed straight in between two houses and started walking, instantly shouted at by local people, wanting to bring me there and sell me that. I’ve learned so far to just keep my eyes straight forward, walk with security (not necessarily quick) and to just be polite and short when they talk to me while I’m walking. This works fine.

I went to a Internet spot, figured I might google some good backpacker hangouts. Nothing.

As I walked out on the street, I was greeted by another Indian guy, Zakir. He would bring me to a hostel, and I agreed on the basis that the car ride would be free if I decided to stay on the hostel. He looked at me with a face saying “Who do you think I am? A hustler? A cheating man?”. That’s exactly what I thought…

We took a ride in his car, great car by the way, and the place was just around the corner, literally. We could have walked there within two minutes. He spent a while explaining that his car is everything, and that its “more important than life and wife”. I asked if he was married. “You want to know if I have wife?” he replied. “No are you married to your car, I imagine a big wedding”. He laughed.

He took me to a expensive place (500 rupies), which I declined. I wanted to go down in prices now, down in quality.

We got to a really shitty place, I mean, there was nothing even indicating this was a place to stay (Except some small sign). I felt like turning around and leave, but decided to not judge the book by its cover, and had the owner show me around. There was a English guy sitting in a corner of some dark concrete part of the area, and talking with him gave a lot.

The rooms where OK, and for 300 rupees I got a room with hot water. Trash can and toilet paper was not included. I felt excellent!

Zakir was very eager to follow me wherever i went, and sometimes this was great, he would get down prizes for me in the shops in a way I’ve never seen before. He’d buy stuff with me, and then send me off to the shop and ask myself for prizes. They where always more expensive when I didn’t bring him.

Zakir was also very eager to tell me that he saw me as a “friend and as a brother”. He told me that money is no matter to him, and that I should follow my heart. A good reminder I thought, but I told him. “Zakir I appreciate your words, but they are just that, words. You show me in actions who you are, and in love, and I will trust you.” I think he understood, and actually the only thing I’ve given him so far are cigarettes and beer. For me this is friendship, and not hustling.

The second day I spent here new travellers arrived, from Israel, Germany and the U.S. We all had bear and played a board game (Kerum). Great game! I’ve played it in Thailand before. Its like pool but on a board, and you use your fingers.

Zakir kept taking away the newcomers on “private talks”. I heard the words “friend” and “brother” coming over and over again. It didn’t surprise me… He talked to me several times about the “friend and brother” thing, and once when we had Whiskey he just went loose. “You follow your eyes and your heart sir” (he told me for the tenth time)  “and you decide who to trust, you are like friend and like brother to me”.

What he said was true, but for me, when a person tells you ten times to trust him, I loose the trust.

I looked into his eyes, felt with my heart, and decided to not put trust into him, how ironic it may seem….

The owner of the hotel (Liyakat), on the other hand, was a old man, full of joy and age. He put no energy in trying to talk me over, but gave me confident in his smiles when we talked, and good advice when needed. His eyes where shining, and as the days went by he proved to me great honesty, and little to none eager for money. I went down from 300 rupies to 250 rupies in price of my room (moving to one with no hot water).

One evening Zakir wanted another “private chat” which I agreed on. He told me new tourists are coming by train, and they will go by car to try and get them to stay at this hotel. “Help us bring the tourists here, and I will get for you 50 rupees discount”. I gave him a clear “no”, and explained that for me, its important to not give “good advice” to people when you’re actually being paid by someone to give that advice, its just not honest. I realise now that working with advertisement back home, this is exactly what I’ve been doing for 6 years…

Zakir respected me, and they went off. I sat down and had some beer with the German man. One side of me was proud of the fact that I stood up for my honesty, and one side felt that I actually would like to recommend this place to coming travellers, mostly because of the owner. However, going there with the pressure to bring people in, was just not the way.

The next day I went to the train station to get a ticket from Jaipur to Agra (On my way to Veranasi). Standing in line, I could see a group of four travellers, quite confused. I guided them to the “Foreign tourist and freedom fighters” counter, yes, its actually called that. Its a shorter line for tourists to get tickets. I helped them out with the form, realising they where from Russia, and just arrived. They where happy to meet me.

Fifteen minutes later I walked in at the hotel, accompanied by four Russians with big backpacks. I smiled at the owner, and he gave me the biggest smile back. They loved the rooms they got, and everyone was happy. I’m getting free coffee  morning time now, that’s a good deal in my way of seeing things.

Jaipur is to big of a city and a bit do hectic for me, so leaving this afternoon will feel good. I’ve spent my days walking a lot, smoking cigarettes, and working my way down in prizes. I’ve gone from 300 rupees western breakfast, to Samosas on the street for 10 rupees each (two of them are enough!).

Nonetheless, its been a good stop, and I’ve spent time with a guy from the U.S called Brad. He’s been travelling with his girlfriend for a few months, and the information I’ve gotten from him is just what I’ve been looking for. Just the feeling of having a good place for Coffee when I arrive in Veranasi is super! The coffee in this country sucks (so far)!

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Never engage in a package deal that includes the words “package” or “deal”

I woke up the next day from a good nights sleep. I spoke with some Danish girls living next door, and as usual, i had to instantly ask them to speak English with me. I simply don’t get Danish.

This was my first good talk with people from the west, and it felt comforting. I talked some about where ive been and what I’ve paid, they looked at me and one of them said “Sorry, but I think you are paying way to much for your services”.

I had overheard them talking to the hotel manager the other day, they paid 600 each for their room, I paid 1200 for mine, and at this moment I realise Im paying for a double bedroom. I should have looked for this when I got the preview of my room!

After this chat, I really started to think alot about all my previous payments, my “deals” and if I had put way to must trust into some people.

When my coffee was finished my guide had appeared, with a motorbike. He would take me around town, a “deal” that only included some minor tip to the guide , as it was arranged by my driver Sanye. He introduced himself as Locash, I figured he must have low amounts of cash.

I asked him to take me to the ATM, and then to buy sunglasses. After the ATM machine he took me to the city temple, and I was asked to leave my shoes and cellphone outside, I didn’t really want to leave my cellphone, but could see that others was doing this. I also had a simcard inside that was indian vodaphone, and no money charged, so i couldn’t really see any way of them getting anything done with it, except stealing the whole thing. That would have been stupid of them.

I was given flowers to keep in my hand (wrapped in some paper) as we entered the temple. It was really nice inside, decorations where beautiful, and people where praying. We rang a bell, and Locash kept touching the stairs with his hand, upon which he touched his forehead, some kind of blessing.

We donated flowers to different gods, for luck and who knows… I mostly went along, with biggest respect. I just don’t mess or make fun of religion, especially not outside of Sweden.

Locash told me to keep some flowers, we where going down to the lake to donate them there. I kept the flowers, we went by bike, and as we arrived I once again put my shoes away. I looked down the lake. The whole city seemed to be surrounding it. The water looked as if someone had put oil into it, big spots of fat and dirt floating around all over. An old Indian woman was washing herself in it.
It reminded me of the Boom festival in portugal, where 50.000 people during five days where using the same small lake, to wash, to take a bath, and of course, some used it to take a piss and a shit. The last day of the festival it truly looked like shit. We saw this after taking a cooling bath (me and my crew). We where all sick for another 5 days. I decided to take no holy swim in the Pushka holy-water, if I would be asked to.

After donating some flowers, I was to meet a priest. For me, even if I don’t consider myself to be bound to any specific religion, I find life holy, and I have much respect for priests of all religions, they have a calm way of talking, and love for everyone.

The priest came down the stairs to me, dressed all in white. He sat down, and the following 15 minutes he guided me trough different prayers, that he had me repeat. Some of them was in Hindu, some in English. I was blessing my family, my luck, wealth, and business. I found the business part quite funny, how do i bless bussiness?

“Bless you, computers and system development, design and photoshop, may you bring me great fortune in google hitrates”

I thought this to myself, but its obviously not what we said. During the whole period, i was holding a coconut, and the man put a mix of yellow and red powder on my forehead. “For good luck he said”. It felt good.

“Now it is also important to know, that the holy people who meet in Pushka have no money, and come here as pilgrims, in need of food and drink” he continued, “The cost for this is covered by donations from people in the villages, and everyone who come here to get blessed”. He told me the cost for all holy people to share a meal for one day was 1000 rupies. The common thing to do is to pay 1000 rupees for all members of my family. Now depending on how I count I would have to pay +4000 rupees for that. I reached for my pocket and gave the priest 1000 rupees. He said “What about the other family?”, I quickly said “This is what I can give”.

“You happy sir?”.
“I’m happy” I said.

He went away and I got picked up by my guide again, we went and bought the stuff I requested: A small book to write in, a pen, and sunglasses. On top of this a small bag to carry it all. Everything was bought at shops with people obviously in connection to the guide.

We arrived soon at the hotel again, I tipped him, and he went off. I was greeted by Sanye, and he told me tonight we drink Rum. “Sure thing!”, I’ve had fun drinking with the Indian people, Sanye included. I told him that the camel-ride I took, had only been one hour (instead of two) and that there was no one there to take the money from me when I got back. “Dont worry sir you pay me and I give them later”. Sanye told me the previous day, that the prize was 600 rupees for the ride, and I figured that it would be less now that I only took one hour.

I went up and spoke to the Danish girls again, telling them about the temple thing. They laughed at me. “They made you pay 1000 rupees!?, we paid 100!”. Turns out a friend of theirs paid ten. I was angry, I was being fucked over again, by a priest! The irony of it also struck me, being blessed “for good luck”, and then getting scamed by the same priest, he must be laughing his way to the bar.

From this point on all my mind was thinking was:

  • How to get rid of Sanye
  • How to not buy the “indian traditional suit” he insisted on me getting. It would get half price at certain places in India, and it would protect me from getting scammed. I realize today that this suit is probably rather an invite to scammers. “Look at that looser, he bought the suit, he will buy poop if we sell it as chocolate”.
  • How to not let him take me to any more places after Jaypur (that I’ve already paid for).
  • How to do this without creating a fuzz. The man looked like a fucking pimp, and I had overherad him screaming at people over phone. I really don’t wanted to make any type of problem with this man.
Later that night we had some rum to drink. As with the Whisky the previous day Sanye was paying for it, and he called some guy who brought us Cola, mineral water,  and soda, to use for making drinks. Someone came with Papadams (like crisps) that where great. I appreciated this and we made lotsof jokes. Some of his friends joined us.This far of my trip I had more or less stuck to the hotels food, it was always clean and well cooked, a bit more expensive but it felt safe to keep my stomach away from the worst dirt at this part of my trip. I noticed that Sanye was always wanting me to stay at the hotel, and not go anywhere by myself. I figured this is to maintain better business for his friends at the hotel, which Isn’t that strange. He made it sound like other food wasn’t safe…

This night, I really wanted to go off myself, I wanted company by NO ONE, and I wanted to eat in town, and meet other people. I was looking forward on Sanyes reaction to this.

As I told him, he simply said “Ok!”, and I was a bit surprised. He added “bring me back a girl ok?” he laughed. I looked at his friend, and told him “Ill bring back Mr.John” (My camel the previous day). Sanyes friend was laughing his ass off, I was laughing, Sanye didn’t laugh at all, and it made me happy somehow to insult him just a tiny bit. I’m so tired of the Indian men insisting that they are constantly surrounded by women, when they are in fact not. Their full of shit when they talk about women, and especially western women.
Sanye was now talking to his friend in Hindu, which happened alot, nothing strange about it, but I was quite alert at this moment, even after half a bottle of Rum. I noticed Sanye was waving the palm of his hand in my direction under the table, while talking to his friend, who was just listening.
.
One minute later his friend turns to me, “I like you, you are like brother and friend to me, nice to meet you”. I appreciated his smile, and we had a toast. After this he continued. “You should not go to town yourself, its dangerous you must understand, many people rob, many people get sick from food”. It was so clear to me what they where doing. Sanye added “You should listen to this man, he is like brother to you”. I just kept thinking “Fuck off….F U C K   O F F”. I kept my calm, insisting that I will go to town, myself. They said something in the likes of “Ok, suit yourself sir”. “Dont mind if i do!” i said, drank my rum and went of for my room.
Up in my room I was making all sorts of conspiracies in my head. Would they send someone to rob me? Would they send someone to my room while Im away?
.
I couldn’t care less, I was angry and eager to get out (and a bit drunk). In my room, I took 1000 rupees, put them in my pillow, another 1000 in the top drawer (for someone to find easily). The last 3000 I put with my credit card and my ID, put it inside my passport, and taped it with medical tape on top of my AC machine. It required me to stand on top of the bedroom table, and stretch all i could. It would be impossible for anyone not taller than 1,75m to get there. In my pockets I kept merely a few hundred to spend in town, as I went in. At this points I was fucking James bond going on a mission.
In town everything was starting to close, and it was hard to find a good place to go. I stumbled upon some people from England, having Chai. I was invited and we talked. Once again everything I was concerned of going on got confirmed by them. I had paid way to much for everything, I should not trust this man, and in fact no Indian people trying to act as if they are helping. I had paid 15.000 rupees for having my driver for three days, taking me to two different cities.
Most likely even half of that price would have been a scam. This means the whole “tourist office” I went to was a scam, and so was Ricky who brought me there.
.
I was spending some time thinking about how the scam went. I met Ricky on the streets of Delhi, earning my trust by expecting no money from me at all, joining me and showing me to different places. He insisted on not getting the train-tickets from the station, as it was a mess of cues and hectic Indian people. He took me to the tourist office (a place i expect to be honest).  They told me that trains to Varanasi was impossible due to a conference, everything was fully booked. Going down south would be a problem as half of the trains where canceled due to “the big Indian fog”. I realize now how stupid this is, but when you talk to a guy in a tourist office, you expect things to be true. They told me it might take weeks to find a train again. I took time with Ricky outside the office before making decisions, having a cigarette. He told its wise of me to not book the hotels trough them (as i had already insisted on not doing), but that the price for the minibus was a good price (15000 rupees). I felt Ricky was on my side, Ricky probably felt like a poker player with a royal flush. His pokerface was priceless! I wonder what percentage he got from the “package-deal”…
Anyhow, I went back to the hotel, no robbers, and no one had been in my room, good.
The next day I was fully focused as I had my morning coffee, focused to get out of this. When I was about to pay, the people at the restaurant gave me a bill including 4 colas, 4 mineral water and 4 sodas, for order the previous two nights. Sanye was having me pay for everything but the actual whiskey and rum, meaning i probably paid more than him, and its stuff that he had ordered! I told this to the people at the restaurant but they talk their way around it. FINE. I paid it.
I went down and sat in the car with Sanye, time to go to Jaypur. I told him we should stop by the camel safari and pay. “Dont worry sir i pay yesterday, you pay me”. I said “Ok”, as Id seen this one coming. I then replied “so you get me good prize?”. “600 rupees sir, as agreed” he said. “Yes I know Sanye, but I went only for 1 hour, and we said 2 hours. You give me good prize for this no?”. He just did the classical Indian head waving thing and said “It’s OK sir”. This time I raised my voice a bit, “Of course you say its OK, you’re not paying!”. He went silent, I went silent. He kept his eyed on the road.I dont care about those 300 rupies, my main idea of this was to make him understand that I’m putting down my foot. He knows now I’ve talked to other people, and gaining understanding of whats going on. That was enough for me.
.
Arriving in Jaypur he tells me “Ok sir, i take you to one temple, then we go shopping, you talk to your friends and you think about i take you to Agra (the next city of his marvelous plan)”.
I said “no”.
“No what sir?” he replied.
“No shopping, no temple, no Agra, you leave me in Jaypour, thank you very much”.
.
He had no problems in letting me go, he must have understood the situation. He was making a fuzz about the tip I give him (to small). He said he was not to be held account for tourist office prices, and that he had bought me whiskey. I told him he already owe me from the initial payment to the office (He had no change the first day, and i was testing if he would remember this, which “he didnt”). I also told him that I’ve paid for everything but the whiskey. He was silent. I gave him an OK tip, and we said good buy, no hard feelings.
I learned alot from this experience, and it cost me shitloads, but i consider it my donation to India, and something that should be calculated in every budget of a person going here the first time. You will get scamed, dont take it personally. Sanye also thought me the following, not by saying it to me, but by his reactions to my different ways of speaking:
People in India will not give you the amount of respect you deserve. They give you the amount of respect you demand.
.
When I was insecure and over-friendly, he fucked me over. When I was very clear of what I wanted and nailed my eyes into his, he would show me full respect. This probably goes for the whole planet, but it shows so much here, and Im grateful to Sanye for being my master in this.

Sanye you fucking hustler, have a nice life ( I do wish you the best), come to Sweden and ill show you to the gamblers at Drottninggatan. You can win loads of cash from them…

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Mr.John – the camel, and superb ice-cream

The day of arrival in Pushka we drove into the hotel just after noon, and where told a Indian wedding was to take place in eveningtime. I was instantly invited and looking forward. I really needed a nap, as the experiences from the previous days had sucked the energy out of me.

At the exact moment i was to fall asleep, i was clear awake again, listening to the rehearsal of the wedding orchestra. This included a horde of military drums, trumpets and god knows what (I’m sure he does). It all sounded off-key and like a total mess.  I was sure it was a rehearsal, cause’ by the sound of it, they needed just that…It was no rehearsal, they where going on until the evening.

The wedding was great, beautiful, and superb! Home-made ice cream was given to me, probably the best ice-cream Ive had. They also gave me soup, which looked like broccoli-soup, but was in fact some other vegetable thing, with enormous amounts of sugar, which ive gotten used to in India now (and I’ve only spent a few days).

Here’s the Indian recipe for success in the kitchen:

  • Make a thing
  • Put shitloads of sugar into it
  • Enjoy

I mean Im a sugar lover, but these people are killing me, i have to order black coffee, cause even the white coffee without sugar taste like chocolate.

I also went for a camel safari, which Sanye had arranged to pick me up at the hotel. A small boy (8 years old) was in control of this huge animal. I was excited, but quite soon felt very uncomfortable in the situation. The ride itself was very confy (i cant imagine another animal or vehicle that will keep you sitting straight up, when they walk up 45 degrees of hillside!), but the way they treated their animals was just not giving me a good vibe. They pull and twist a rope that is attached to some pierced metal stick going trough its nose. The camel looks constantly in pain (but i don’t know, all camels look like they are to old).
However, my camel safari turned out to be a walk of shame. As we walked trough town i felt as if everyone looked at me thinking “How can you do that” “How are you thinking?” or “Do you torture children too?”. I was 2 meters above everyone, a position i did not enjoy much as i felt like some diktator, and an animal torturer who was proud of it.

The camels name was Mr.John.. what the fuck? I renamed the poor bloke to “Lonesome warrior of struggle” and made sure my safari would only be half time of the original plan. I don’t regret the safari, as it thought me something important:

If you love animals, don’t make profit on them

Coming back, my dear driver, Sanye, had proven to be quite a man of planning. As the day went on he was basically making a schedule for me. Including trips to town with a guide, upcoming travels to other cities,  visits to temples etc etc. I told him later that night when we drank Whiskey, that I’m not in India to make plans, its not what i plan to do. He had a hard time understanding this, but respected me.

However, the next day he asked me to join his friend on motorbike, around town, to get the sunglasses and small book for notes i had expressed a need for earlier. This was a free ride, with a small tip to the driver only, so i agreed. I don’t know where i should have had my alarm going, my hustle alarm, but no matter what, i would later understand i was already deep into the hands of big hustlers…

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Blowhorn is not the name of a trucking-company

Waking up 5 AM is nothing i expected to do this early in my travel, but wasn’t really much of a problem. I spent some thoughts on whether i should steal a towel from the hotel, seeing as they where very small and handy. I decided not to, even tough it was a expensive hotel that could easily afford losing one. I went down to the lobby and checked out, paying for the cola i told them I’ve taken from the minibar. 5 minutes went and he said “Excuse me sir, i believe you’ve taken two colas”, he was holding the hotel phone in his one hand, and i praised the fact i stole no towel from these guys, they had just sent someone to check my room.

Five minutes later my driver appeared, and i took a seat in the car, reminded of the fact that its on the “wrong” side, just as the Englishmen (crazy colonizing people spreading mirror wise mentality and cricket all over the planet).

It was very dark outside, and barely no people. I asked if i could smoke inside the car on which he replied
“well of course sir, this is YOUR car, you do  what you want, Im your driver, Im Sanye pleased to meet you sir”.  I started to realize what Ive paid for, this man was going to follow me for 3 days, driving me to two different cities (Pushka, and then Jaipour). It was a pleasant surprise, seing as i felt very insecure in the new environment, doing my best to not show that. Sanye knew….

Stopping at the ATM machine, we discussed the traffic, which was a lot less this early hour. I expressed my feeling of the crazyness in having no rules whatsoever on the roads. While i took place in the front seat of the car again, he replied

“We have to keep focus and eyes open, there are cars everywhere, and if we dont, we loose life, and life is good, life is
sacred, we should keep life”.

Having said that, there was a sense of agreement between me and Sanye as i fastened my seat belt. An agreement in the importance of life that is, not on using seat belt, Sanye has to this day never used seat belt, he must have other ways of showing how life is important.

Hitting the roads was wonderful. Having your own car to stop for coffee and breakfast was great. Sanye was good company, we talked some and felt no problems in keeping quiet (it was a 6 hour drive). I could see the sun emerging, and the landscapes of outer Delhi appearing. Huge office buildings of glass, large and tall. Sanye informed me that those where the call centers and other outsourced big-business, not so much people living there.

The vehicles appearing on road consisted mainly of large trucks, motorcycles, and jeeps, carrying large amounts of Indian people in the back. They looked like jeeps carrying people of to war, only the people where often women and children, obviously getting to work. Most of them had a good time observing me from the back, laughing at how i look, i always smiled back. One smile i got from a woman made my day, and i could see her bringing back a friend to observe me.

The first truck i noticed when we where driving up to the highway, had big letters painted on the back, graffiti style. To the left it said “BLOW” and the right side saying “HORN”. I saw three more trucks instantly with the same words, and figured this must be the biggest trucking company in India, carrying large goods and trading materials.

As we went along the high-way i was amused by the amount of honking. Basically you could say that every car you pass, you honk. Every car that passed you, will honk. Every car you drive behind of, you honk at. I was laughing at this at the beginning, especially the way some honks sounded, like a messed up circus-tune, from some horror movie, they sounded just…broken, like a ice-cream truck on speed.

I realized now that “Blowhorn” was for sure not the name of a trucking company,
but rather something all trucks expect you to do, whenever you are around.

This made me feel stupid, but at the same time, why tell people to do something they all seem to know and apply? I kind of don’t blame them, im reminded everyday In Stockholm to “Mind the gap”. It doesn’t make it less stupid though. Perhaps ill be proven wrong, one day they will stop telling us to mind the gap, and we will all fall into it, creating major death all over Stockholm.

On the roads there where roadkills, quite a few, mostly birds, but also dogs, and a goat. It reminded me of death, and how close it is here. In Sweden we keep margins, to stay away from death. Here they use the margins to push in an extra car, and put their hope into something completely different. The margins between are so close, Ive noticed that a lot of cars have only one back mirror, if this is to save space, or if its because its been smashed off, ill have to figure out.
Quite often you find yourself driving heads on with other cars, driving in your lane, its like a chicken race, but both drivers know that biggest goes first. More than one time we went off road to let trucks pass. I seriously don’t know why they have lines marking where to drive on the roads, mostly you drive on top of the lines, having them pass under the car.

The language between the drivers is great to observe, a hand sticking out of the window of a truck, signaling to pass by or to hold off. The honking is a way of speaking, and they do it with no bitterness attached, its fun to watch and listen.

There are also cows on the highway. Cows are holy in India, and BOY are they holy. They are so holy, and they KNOW IT. They hang around pretty much everywhere. Sometimes it looks as if they are cuing to a shop, sometimes just in a crowds of people. They stand in the middle of the highway, and everyone just adjust to their position. They hang around in gangs (i suppose i should call it herds, but “gangs” seems more appropriate) around bars. And the cows look cool, they look at you with eyes saying “Hey, im frekkin holy, watch my tail, even the flies respect me. Feed me”. People do occasionally hit them with sticks when they get too fed up with themselves.

I think cows know they are holy in Sweden to, but we agree only when they are sold half price at Lidl.

In India they are holy because they are the reincarnation of gods. If you get to choose your reincarnation form (which i assume a god gets to do), id also choose cow, seing as how they are treated. But wow, must the gods be dissapointed if they turn out to be a European cow, sliced into peaces, blended with a hundred other cow-meats and served to a crying 5 year old and some hamburger-shop! What a way to spend your next life! I think I’ll be a bird…

While i was spending time thinking about cows, i felt a tickle by my feet. Looking down, i quickly kicked my foot, sending a rat flying into the wall of the car. My spontaneous reaction was to laugh. As the car seemed high-quality, i was not expecting this. Sanye was laughing, telling me a rat was no problem for me. Thank you Sanye, for telling me how i feel.

Three times so far has the Indian people laughed at me:

  • Getting a rat running on my foot.
  • Telling Ricky the day before that you are not allowed to hit your children in Sweden (when he claimed his mother would smack him if he didn’t finnish the meal)
  • When i told the man at the tourist office i wanted to go somewhere peace and quiet.

The rat was never seen again.

At one point Sanye wanted to take a tea-break, and i ended up with a beer. I was thirsty and drank it all in about 10 minutes, this made me shitfaced. I’m easily affected by alcohol and i realized Ive been drinking 0,8 liters of 8% beer. The feeling was pleasant of course, but i also reminded myself of that a drunken mind will not observe the possible hustles i might get into when we arrive. I started making funny remarks to Sanye about the surroundings around the car and he was not the least amused by them. This reminded me of being drunk with a sober person back home, none of the participants thinks its the best way to party…

We arrived in Pushka just after noon.

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Bring pen and paper, you will make new friends…and they might supply you with carrots!

My airplane came above Delhi nightime, turning into Sunday. It had been a good flight, stopping in Moscow, as i was flying with a Russian company. They are not that different from ours, other than i was expecting vodka to be served (which they didnt) and they had hip drum’n’base music while a video displayed how to safely get out of the plane if we where to crash. Crashing never felt so cool.

Flying in over Delhi, I was feeling a bit dissapointed about the fact that i couldnt see the landscape because of the darkness, but what a beautiful view a large city is nighttime! The lights coming from Delhi was all but the same as you would see crossing stockholm. All lights where shaded as coming from a fog (turning out later to be dust and dirt), and there where lights everywhere.

I landed, and spent one hour waiting to get trough the lines and applications i needed to fill in. Standing by the officer, i was concerned by the fact that i had no return ticket. He looked at me, asking “are you married sir?”, on which i replied “no”. “Girlfriend?”, “No”. He stared me in the eyes, put a mark on my paper. “You POOR POOR bastard!”, he laughed. I laughed.  Then i quickly took my stuff and left.

Coming to the hotel i was smashed, i basically went to sleep right away. I slept waaay past breakfast and woke up thinking “shit, this is it”. The next 15 minutes i spent peeking out my window trough the curtains, like a secret observer.
I could not understand what was going on outside, and im not going to try explaining it here, cause i still dont know. Its just dirt dirt dirt, and people honking with their random veichles.

I went outside, and the coming day was just laughter and laughter. Laughter of the fact that im fuckin free to do what i want, and laughter of the fact that this place was just to much to handle. All the honking was killing me, where people really that annoyed with one another?

I was expecting people to be asking me for money, and they did. I respectively resisted my urge to give, i know what happens when you do (they form lines), some of them went hostile when i did this, to me, this was only a reminder of keeping away from charityservice on street.

I’ve also been told indian people in areas like this are hard to make friends with, as the social and economical gap will make this impossible, they will, in the end, only be looking for cash.
I had this in mind when i was invited to another table, having a beer at the local bar. Two indian guys where spending their afterwork there, watching european football. They knew barely any english but did their best in speaking with me. They paid my beer, gave me peanuts, offered me chili (to soon for that!), and supplied we with a carrot outside of the bar. I laughed at the fact that this is the aquivilant of grabbing a cheeseburger after getting drunk in Stockholm. Point of this: These guys had no plan of grabbing any of my money, they where just partydudes.

The upcoming day i met another indian guy “Ricky”. He was following me, asking question after question, and in my polite manner answered all of them, and being polite i also asked him a few questions, he was a English student, and lived in Delhi.
He kept following me “Where are you going sir?”, “Train station” i replied. “Ill show you the way!”, “Thanks but i know my way, i saw it yesterday”. He kept up my pace. “I want to inform you sir, that im in no need of your money, i meerely want to practise my english. You be of my service, and i can be of yours.”

Well enough, i teamed up with Ricky, and we actually spent the day. The trains turned out to be canceled pretty much everywhere because of fog (i still to this moment do not know if im part of a big scam, but i think not). He took me to the tourists office, where i was recommended a “minibus” (turning out to be a car) that would take me to Pahkba. This was expensive as shit, and i had to insist not to let them book expensive hotels as “part of the package”.
After closing the deal, i asked Ricky to take me to the barber, and he did. A truly local barber, with fat indian men being taken care of by other young indian men, carrying razorblades. We shook hands on 100 rupies for a haircut, and off we went. After cutting my hair (a good job) he asked if i wanted a shave. “Bring it on” i said! I was shaved, and then asked if i wanted face massage. Bring it ON! Getting massaged i noticed Ricky was getting his hair cut as well, he was smiling at me, i smiled back.

When done, Ricky started negotiating the price with my barber. The barber looked a bit unpleasant, i was happy with this, because i assumed Ricky was getting me a good price. He now wanted 400 rupies, for the full treatment, and i (by honest means) have not gone far enough in my travel to start hustling prices. I paid and we went, Ricky told me i look like a moviestar. I felt like a moviestar.

Later on we had dinner, and Ricky brought his friend. We drank beer and ate food in large amounts, only me and Ricky ate, his friend insisted in not eating. I was expecting to pay for this, to thank them for good company and for help with getting me a ticket out of Delhi. Turns out Ricky, as well, expected me to pay for this, i did not even recieve a “thank you” for doing so, when they dropped me off at the hotel.

Later i realized i probably paid for the mans haircut too… What a hustler, i love him for it. He gave me alot for that dinner and haircut, so i seriously dont feel bothered about it.

Off to bed i went, pickup 6 AM with minibus!

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