Day 1: Flight into Delhi India
We landed at 3 am into Delhi with tired legs. For we were called to Virginia Beach to do 2 weeks of contracting work for John Hewitt, CEO and founder of Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax. John has always treated us very fairly and we couldn’t leave him down. So we did 6 consecutive 16 hour work days and then took the 10 hour car drive home. Next day we gathered up our stuff needed for India. We took off and flew for around 30 hours. Sleeping a little on the plane. So when we arrived in the giant city of Delhi we were tired and honestly scared. We knew no one and had no one to greet us and escort us along safely. We ran into a very handsome Indian with cowboy boots and a warm heart who was picking up his cousin from America. His cousin drove taxi in NYC. They said “welcome to India” and we sensed they were good men. We said we needed to get on the train and take an 11 hour trip north. So they helped us get our tickets. However there were only general tickets for sale. They said it is illegal for foreigners to travel in general train cars (standing room only) however the other more comfortable train cars were unavailable without reservation. So with our general tickets we were to bribe the conductor for a sleeper car. Our attempt at bridery didn’t work so at 4 am we were stuck. So we had tickets we couldn’t use. Another friendly Asian immigrant who worked for the government said get a refund at a place 3 kilometers away. Too far to walk with each having a backpack and two bags in hand. And we were a curosity to say the least and had groups of men follow us which we didn’t know their intentions. So the Asian fellow got us on a rickshaw and we traveled through the city rapidly beeping as we bored through. Were we going to an office or to crime scene 2? Very scary and fortunately we ended up at an “Office of Tourism.” Where we were told no sleeper trains without reservation, no buses due to landslides, and ONLY taxis. In which they just happened to have drivers and plenty of cars ready in wait. Being scared carrying cash and belongings we acepted their terms. $570 (US dollars) for an 11 hour taxi drive to Dharamshala. The driver was nice and the biggest potential race car driver we have ever driven with. Beeping, weaving, bopping his way through the most insane traffic I have ever witnessed. Once we settled down outside of Delhi Jodi fell asleep spread out across the back seat. I stayed awake only dozing off for a minute here and there. And the driver was fighting sleep and dozing off also. So I was ready to yell and grab the wheel at certain times. The driver informed me of what a tip was and it should be 10%. So we arrived at in Mcleodganj a city in the mountains in the Himalayas at dark. The driver had not found our destination Ayurveda House, for our two to three weeks of panchakarma detoxification and rejuvination. So the cabbie promptly stopped and opened the trunk and ejected our stuff and said you are here. I said we are not here at which time his English failed him. So we walked looking for a room in the dark. We found one for $2500 rupees which was three times what we should spend. We were so beat that we accepted the hosing and FINALLY showered and like Rip Van Winkle went to sleep for 12 hours.
We walked with backpacks and a bag each hand up steep mountain roads, cars and bikes beeping as a courtesy to make you aware they were passing or going around hairpin turns. For the roads are very narrow with steep drop offs at the edge. A truck was broken down with three nice Indian gentlemen. So I dropped my packs which included rudemantary tools such as drills, tape measures, hammer, and 200 watt generator for a homemade bicyle powered generator for the school power source. So my backpack weighed 90 pounds! I stripped off my shirt on a chilly morning down to a Tshirt and their eyes stared in utter amazement. A ‘rich’ westerner who cared enough to push a heavy truck full of stuff up a slope until it FINALLY went down a slope. Jodi kept here heavy backpack on and pushed also. We made it and they thanked us very very graciously. We then went to the clinic and a man selling potatoes on the street out front said Ayurveda House was closed. that the doctors (Dr. Kusum and Dr. Ashish Rana) were NOT here. They were on vacation for one more week. They said there is a newer clinic and their home on the other side of town. So we walked there asking where it was. A nice Indain gentleman called the clinic number and YEAH someone answered! They sent Ravi to fetch us up in 15 minutes and he helped carry some of our bags to the clinic. We met the very friendly husband and wife Ayurvedic medical team. We settled into our room. At this time is when we realized that most Indians have no central heat for winter nights which drop to around 35*F. So with only two blankets we shivered through part of the night dressed in our street clothes. Dr. Ashish gladly gave us more blankets and we learned that you DO NOT take a shower without running the exhaust fan; for the first night we increased the humidity greatly. So we got it down and still sleep in sweatpants, sweaters and socks. I also throw my winter jacket on top of the blankets. And we are now grateful and warm snuggled up together.
We start our treatments drinking small amount of oil and getting massage and steam box by the very freindly staff (Ravi and Malti). They also adminster drops into our nose and massage our head and steam the head. Dr. Kusum advised me to get off caffiene since I am a caffeine fiend drinking 3 to 5 cups a day. Whipping the tired horse to survive and thrive. After treatments we go mountaineering through the MOST AWESOME nature walks on earth!!! Period!!! We met two Tibetan monks one being 6 foot 5 inches tall! We told them we want to help by funding a small school perhaps for the Tibetans. They said they would take us to the Dali Lamas office. So…
Quite severe headaches on forehead and back of neck as I unwind to a caffeine free Jeff. Most of the Indians and Tibetans are very friendly and warm. And in our short stay we have been smiled at and greeted to what would amount to a years worth of warmth in USA. Although there is somewhat of a worm in the apple for some just view as a walking bank 🙁 Paradise is close but not complete.
Day 5: More panchakarma treatments with increasing oil drinking each day. Toxins in body are stored mostly in fat tissues so they increase oil in your body, massage and steam to loosen them up. We really love Dr. Kusum and the staff!!! And we LOVE the many cultures and the majestic Himalayas!!! We will want to come back many many many times if possible!!!
Day 6: Dr. Kusum has informed us that Tibetans recieve lots and lots of foreign aide and also goverment help with free schooling. So no need for school here 🙁 The Tibetans have nice motorcycles and smart phones and are much richer here than the Indians. Foreigners sponseor kids for around $600 for each kid who remains here at home. Some families have 9 kids so this makes them very rich here. There is also a potential place for a school at a migrant worker camp. However school is free for them and most go that route. And the migrant workers do hard labor building homes and businesses here. They have decent incomes and unfortunately most of the men drink lots of alcohol every night to relax spending small fortunes on booze. So I didn’t sleep much last night worrying about where do we go for starting a school. Also this is a tourist mecca and has been “Westernized” with drugs and increased crime 🙁 So its lokoking like after treatments we may have to move to remote parts of the country where government schools are not available.