Thursday, January 17, 2008

Patna

6AM Friday morning, in my reasonably comfortable hotel room in the reasonably uninteresting city of Patna, Bihar: my phone rings... Wondering if maybe it's my parents not quite getting the time difference right, decide to pick it up: turns out it's only Cyrus... clearly unaware that I have little desire to be awake at 6 in the morning, while away from the rickshaws! So, an update on the caravan: after dropping me off in the afternoon. continued to make good progress towards Darjeeling, and stopped for the night in Purnia. No problems with the rickshaws, and will probably be reaching Darjeeling/the border crossing later today. Depending on how much time they want to spend in Darjeeling, I'll fly back from Dehli either to Darjeeling or to somewhere in Nepal to meet back up with them (the second option involves Lott being able to take our rickshaw into Nepal without me there, which should work, but may bring up some extra questions...)

In the mean time, I'm in Putna. Getting to Putna involved navigating the Indian railway system, which is actually not as terrible of an experience as one might expect (if you're only on the train for three hours). Met a guy there traveling all across the country from Nagaland, in the very, very eastern part of the coutry all the way to Mumbai - that's a multi-day journey I don't want to try... The guy, Imtinungkum was actually quite interesting - he is a Christian missionary (Nagaland is mostly Christian) working in Mumbai, and was just on the way back after spending Christmas back home. They also don't speak Hindi in in Nagaland, so he was also using mostly English to communicate with the others on the train... And he spoke rather good English. And was appropriately surprised to hear that I was in the midst of driving an auto-rickshaw across India, much like everyone else here!

Now finally in Putna... Lonely Planet isn't particularly impressed with the city, struggling to find a couple of attractions to see - one being a granary built by the British over two centuries ago, which should offer great views of the city and the Ganges river, but instead was offering great views of the haze covering the city and the river this morning! (not sure how much of it was pollution and how much was just clouds, but I'm fairly certain it was a combination). The other is a Sikh temple, which I may still go to, but it's 11km away, so it's a fairly long ways away... Then again, I don't have much else to do right now! 7:30 tonight, fly to Dehli. On one hand though, Putna is quite refreshing - after the tourist meccas of Varanasi of Bodhgaya, it's nice to not be immersed in a sea of beggars, eager salesmen, and competing rickshaw drivers (actually those are still here...). But I have found that most people that say 'Hello' out here really are just curious to see a tourist, as opposed to trying to sell me something...

3 comments:

John said...

Enjoying following your adventure, great posts and pictures...somewhat jealous.

John said...

John being Cy's dad

Cyrus said...

Actually I called you intentionally. Didn't want you to feel left out from all the early morning starts since after all you are half of team LoPak!