Friday, August 14, 2009

Roopkund - Tales from a Distant Land..

Aug 13

So This is Delhi..!

5:10 AM - Am up before the alarm .. Fresh!.
As I switch the geyser on, I decide I have a lil more time to myself..
So lie in bed and do a mental check of everything... I'm ready I decide.
I charge my phone again. Lots of last minute calls last night. Thank God I have a basic model...The battery lasts a lot longer than most fancy phones..

The entire household is up..the other two Venkataramans are heading to Chennai..
Appa makes Coffee.. Cab calls.. Give him Directions..We are on track..

Shower quickly.. Thinking about my next bath.. Wonder how it would be to go for two whole weeks without one.. Not a very appealing thought.. Brush it aside..

Subu drops me off at the cab... Unwieldy bags.. A huge Backpack.. A Sleeping bag.. And a smaller bag.. 3 pieces in all..

Bangalore is at her best in the mornings..She really is a morning person.. :)
We cruise along the roads.. Not too much traffic.. We get to the airport in a hour..
My flight is only at 8:30.. I check in and grab some breakfast.. Really have developed an addiction to Hot Chocolate.. I like the new Bangalore Airport I decide.. Its Shiny and The seating areas are nice and comfortable..
Good to see the sparrows chirping..

Sit down and make my first entry in my journal..

Finally its time to Board the Flight..

We land in Delhi at around 12:30.. Slept through most of the journey.. Spicejet doesn't serve food, so wasn't woken up..

Get my Bags and Call Bianca from Basecamp.. I still don't know who am going to be trekking with..Shes still on the train and asks me to get to Canaughts Place.. Am not too happy..The idea of lugging these huge bags around is not very appealing..
Mentally am wondering if its okay to venture out in Delhi considering how Safe it is... !!
Take a prepaid and get to Canaughts Place..
Delhi is Hot and Sultry and Everything in between..!!!!!... ITS So HOTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!
The Cab is Funny...A Maruthi Van with Lopsided seats .. A Grouchy Driver and Orange turkey towels as Seat Covers.. Makes the heat worse.. Make a Futile attempt to close some of the Windows... Theres Hot Air blowing on my face as the Cab driver decides that his Ferarri really is in shape for as much speed as it can muster... !

We hunt for a Mc Donalds there.. Its too Crowded!..
So settle for a coffee day instead.. Order some lunch.. Devour the Sandwich ..
Decide never to let them grill my Sandwich.. Cold Cheese tastes a lot better.. Go over the itinerary once more.. Only says 10 days.. Are we getting here earlier I wonder.. Make a mental note to ask Bianca once she gets here..
Go easy on my cold Coffee..I have to make this last till Bianca gets here!.. :)..Its too bitter I decide..

After an hour and a half of killing time.. Move downstairs to meet Bianca..We spend sometime on the phone attempting to locate each others coordinates.. Finally we meet..! Shes so young I think to myself :)

We take a Rick to the Youth Hostel. Freshen up.. Grab some tea..
Bianca tells me about Basecamp and her mountaineering experiences..
She also tells we that Swine flu has decimated the group size... With more that half dropping out , there are only three participants now.. I don't know what to think!!.. :)

At 6:30 we take the metro to Kashmir Gate from where we take a bus to Rishikesh..
There doesn't seem to be a system... For Anything.. We are still figuring out how this place works..
Theres a bus later tonight..We are asked to come back for Tickets..
We meet the rest of the gang.. Dr Kelkar and Bobby from Pune..
We have dinner and chat about the trek..
When we get down to buying tickets we are told that its all sold out... WHAT? HOW? WHEN?
Theres no system to reserve tickets, but all the tickets for every subsequent bus are sold out..SOMEHOW!?!?!

We Finally opt for a private bus.. The guy gives us tickets to Rishikesh... After a really crazy night... of sitting on platforms and finally fighting our way to seats we are told the bus will only go until Haridwar... Thats before Rishikesh!?!?!..The Guy wont Budge..
Have to say this... There is ABSSSSSSOLUTEEEEEEELY no INTEGRITY to anything in this place...
There were no numbers on our seat tickets.. The private operator had sold more tickets that there were seats available which meant some people would go without seats.. And every time a bus arrived there was a mad rush .. By what can be called a mob to secure seats.. Everybody would make a dash... Young Old... Everyone!!!
Thats the only way you could get a seat on the bus.. And that's what we did Finally!

Once we are inside the bus, the seats are straight.. Almost 90 Degrees.. No Leg room.. Cramped for space.. We try to steal some sleep.. In vain!... Ah how can I not talk about the Cell Phone Etiquette of this place.. For the benefit of your Co- passenger there were some extremely sweet people who decided to play some random horrible music on their Cell Phones.. For those of you who don't know what its like... Music from Cell Phone is like little men screeching into your ears.. in an attempt to be heard... It drives you wild.. No comments on their Amazing choice of music.. Tastes after all are Subjective...
After telling couple of people to turn off the the music blaring from their cellphones.. I give up...
The Night Stretches on...
It will be better once we get to Rishikesh I decide...


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