Catch-up post: Rishikesh, last Wednesday (Aug 16)
We arrive in Rishikesh and sign into our hotel. It's around $100 for the 4 of us, which is a fair bit in India, but we're only going to be here for a couple of days and it's a nice place (the Aussies, who we meet later, have their jaws on the floor when they see it; they have a modest but perfectly acceptable place they're sharing that works out to $6/person).
We go out and grab some lunch at another hotel's restaurant that was recommended to us. In a schizophrenic fit of adventurousness and craving, Sam orders "Ice Cream Noodles". It's really interesting to see your culture's cuisine butchered to the point of parody after having done the same to other cultures your whole life. "Ice Cream Noodles" is a water glass filled with spaghetti noodles and mostly-melted strawberry ice cream. It's every bit as terrible as it sounds, but still commend Sam for his conqueror's spirit.
There are monkeys waiting for us outside when we're finished, but these still aren't the dangerous monkeys. Those monkeys come later.
Sam, Meg and I check out some shops while Ryan is in an internet cafe down the street. We figure it's about time we picked him up but by the time I get to the internet cafe he's not there and these huge drops of rain are intermittently plummeting to the ground and exploding. The rain is no longer intermittent when I reach the shop, and the three of us go out on a balcony behind the store, overlooking a 50m drop down to the shore of the ganges, to watch the rainbows.
On the next balcony, around a wall, are two aussies, Mike and Dan. We make friends and end up hanging out with them for the next couple of days. Dan, who we meet first, is an animation grad. He's researching for a project he's been working on for a while about the Silk Route, the ancient network of trade routes crisscrossing southern and central Asia. It sounds like an interesting project, a kind of avant-garde fiction rich with historical fact that borrows formally from the drawing and animation styles of ancient and contemporary cultures in the region. Maybe he will add a comment to this blog entry with some more info and links to his other work (are you reading this Dan?).
Dan promises to take us up to this mountain waterfall tomorrow, which sounds like it might be cool. Little do I know, it totally is.