This was originally a reply I wrote to Story Teller on the last post, but it got kind of lengthy and seemed more like a post, so here it is:
Hey story teller, where in India are you located exactly???
It seems the droughts have been a pretty big problem in Sikkim.
So, not on my way home yet. In Darjeeling now, and tomorrow flying to Delhi so we can take a train to Amritsar (and I think we'll also visit Lahore, right on the Pakistani border while in Amritsar, I'm certainly hoping to. From there we go to Bir and McLeod Ganj, and after that, our group has two weeks of free travel, and we're pretty sure that what we'll do with our free travel time is go to Ladakh, it was a pretty clear consensus.
It's interesting because, seven years ago when I was in school, taking a class called Environmental Humanities, we watched a movie called Learning from Ladakh (which is also a book, which I was psyched to see cited in my good friend Janet Thomas' bibliography to her book The Battle in Seattle, about the WTO Demonstrations). The video was about how Ladakh was for a long time untouched by western civilization, partly because of how remote and how high altitude it is.
The movie went on to show how drastically the place changed once they were in touch with modern civilization, and how it had a devastating effect (despite some advanced medicine and other more positive things) on cultural tradition and preservation, and how disrupted and polluted it got. I brought this up during our free travel talk, and someone else mentioned that yeah, tourism can have pretty bad side effects in that region, so we're looking into low impact ecologically sound travel.
It sounds like there'll be some really cool things to do there, it's a spiritually rich place, and there's also some trekking and rafting, and camel trips that involve camping under the stars, way high in the Himalayas. I'm interested in all of the above. THere's supposed to be one intense 6,000 meter (I think?) hike that goes to really high altitude, but is supposed to be a pretty easy hike. If there is ANY way I can do it, I'm all fucking for it! It'd be such an amazing and rare experience to be there and experience that.
After that we're going back to Delhi for our flight home, but getting back there a day or two before our flight so we can go to Agra and see the Taj Mahal before leaving the country.
So there's still over a month left!
Well, via others' iPods I have recently heard Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Tool, Damien Rice and a few others to feed my need for music I love. It struck me the other day, and struck me as symbolic, that I haven't thought of the song "Scratch" that I mentioned in the very beginning of my India journey. It was stuck in my head immediately upon landing in Delhi, mainly the lines, "I have ended up in India, with no lamp to guide me home, the strangest place I think I've ever been..." but I haven't really thought of it since sometime in Varanasi, and that seemed so fitting. I don't know if there's anything in particular I'm craving at the moment, but I will be happy to be reunited with my music soemtime next month!