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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WAKKA WAKKA

HOLI AND QUEST FOR THE TAJ

I can't claim to be an expert on DJ'ing. I know that DJ's often wear the headphones so they can queue up music, perhaps mix the music so that one song goes out while another comes in.

They don't do it that way here. With the speakers turned up so loud they distort, I was rousted out of bed at 8 AM by a DJ who went through songs like one of those maniacs who has a thousand channels on their TV and wants to flip through all of them.

Super.

I know a lot of people like Indian music, but for me the appeal is a little less than the sounds of cats being tortured.

So, I could see where the distorted music was being blasted out of speakers from the roof. I had climbed up there to see the wildly cavorting, dancing figures throwing powder on each other and spraying each other with water and... You guessed it. There wasn't anyone. In the distance, I did see a couple small boys chasing each other around but that was about it. There were actually more people hanging out on rooftops hoping to just witness the festivities than actually participating in them. The people on the other rooftops looked bored and disappointed. I'm sure that just out of the range of my vision was a malestrom of epic proportion going on - but I didn't see nor hear it.

I discovered from the people who operate the guesthouse in which I'm staying that Muslims don't really like Holi (and usually don't participate) and since this is a predominately Muslim neighborhood it was ending at noon. Bad for Hindis, good for Logan who could go out and wander the streets. Out of curiousity, I asked Mohammed (runner of guesthouse) if the Muslims had any 'fun' holidays. He came up with Ramadan. I'm not sure - a month of fasting and prayer vs throwing colored powder and water spray guns. Which could possibly be more fun?


Well, now Holi is officially over and I have ventured forth from my room. I've grown wary of the Lonely Planet guide lying to me so I went and did it Logan's way. Find a bunch of locals eating at a place and belly up to the table/counter/etc. Locals mean that the food will be reasonably priced and I have a good shot at not getting poisoned.

I kept track of the number of times I was bugged for money in some form or other. Come into my shop, get in my tuk tuk and beggars. Over twenty. This is why tourists have a burned out look. Well, that and dodging trash and shit is my guess.


Ended up at the "Food Cafe". It was pretty average, but for 70 RS I don't have a lot of room to bitch.

I advise not ordering cornflakes. They don't give you many and for some odd reason boil the milk and bring it to you steaming hot. It just didn't appeal to me.

Later, I journeyed past the tourist streets surrounding the Taj. The area just beyond it is 'slum flavored'. Further along is the actual functioning town but I didn't see anything super cool there.


To get to the back end of the Taj is a moderately long walk or ride. They tried for 100 RS, got 50 RS (bargain). Because the guy was annoying in trying to sell me a return ride (I wanted to walk) I sat in the back and through fat thoughts while he pedaled my fat ass there.

The back of the Taj was 'meh'. Christ, I'm glad I didn't pay 750 RS. But, I made a video of it for you guys.


After seeing the ass end of the Taj Mehal, I made my way back to the tourist zone and to a restaurant. "Treat Restaurant - serving healthy food with love". I can't make this stuff up. I don't know if they made it with love, but I did get to eat a steak made from cow. In India. That was nice. It wasn't all that expensive at 120 RS.

Me: "This is India! How can you serve beef?"
Proprietor: "We are Muslims."
Me: "Well, thank God for Muslims."

I made a video of that as well. Good times. The steak was OK but the mashed potatoes were absolutely shitty. 120 RS. I also had a chocolate shake (30 RS) with the meal. Keep in mind that shakes aren't made like they are in the US. It is pretty much chocolate milk, sometimes with some inedible ice cream like substance in there. Just drink the chocolate milk and you are done.



INDIA STRANGENESS

Some people may be worried about eating at 'street vendors'. Find one that a lot of people are eating at and you should be OK. Trust me, none of the kitchens I've seen would pass a US Health Department inspection. You are simply paying for the ambiance or convenience. Cleaning usually involves hitting something a couple times with a dirty rag. Or smearing shit around with the same dirty rag. That's about it. But, it's cheap!



PHILOSOPHY

So far, I can handle while disliking 'squat toilets' and 'bucket showers'. The only thing I still really hate is cold showers. I need hot water. I've had Indians tell me that cold showers are 'healthy and good for you'. That sounds like the kind of crap people who are too poor or too lazy to heat up water say to justify why they are taking a cold shower. It's amazing how many myths people come up with to justify all kinds of crap. The most heard ones involve why they are poor. They say things like "Money isn't important to me." Yes, it is. Unless you have a very unique lifestyle, you use money every day. I don't know anyone who has under a couple million dollars who couldn't use more money. It's just a rationalization. I realize people may have different priorities - such as job satisfaction over more money. I only know one person (Amy L) who actually turned down a higher paying job in order to get a lower paying job closer to her family. Usually the job someone has is the best their skills/education/laziness/ambition will let them get. Motivational speakers say things like "Good is the enemy of great!" I say "I would rather watch more TV than be more monetarily successful."



STATS

For the month, the country of India has moved into number six among countries that read the blog. I can feel people plotting on me!



INSANITY FROM FACEBOOKThanks TJ!



VIDEOS

Smoking view
Sticks for sale
Die Cow Die
Pedal Beyotch 1
Pedal Beyotch 2
Pedal Beyotch 3
Pedal Beyotch 4
Special Pigeon
Taj Whoopie



COSTS

Dead cow piece, 120 RS
Chocolate milk shake that isn't, 30 RS

Also, see menu pics in photobucket...

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

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