Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Varanasi

Well, it has been kind of a time warp, for sure. Here is a little recap.

I left Austin at around noon on Monday. My flight took me to Newark airport for a three hour layover and then I got on a non-stop plane ride to Dehli. What was great about that was that it was an empty flight and it flew through the night. So after I ate dinner I got sleepy and laid out on 3 seats and pretty much slept through the night. I woke up right when they were serving us breakfast which was morning Austin time but was 8:00 pm in India.

The group was waiting for me in Agra which was another 5 or 6 hours in a car from Dehli. I managed to sleep most of that ride which was great because I avoided thinking about the possibilities of what might happen to me if any of my "handlers" were less than honest. (I could be sold into white slavery, I could be robbed, I could be...well, you get the picture... sorry, Dad, don't worry, nothing happened worse than having to hold my pee for a really long time before a rest stop could be found. I refrained from telling the guy "just pull over I need to go really bad.")

I got into Agra around 3am and talked to Genevieve briefly. She informed me that the group would convene at 6:30 for a trip to the Taj Mahal at sunrise. I decided that asana, pranayama and meditation would serve me more than a few hours sleep. So I practiced and then took a bath-there was hot water, which was a thrill-- and met up with everyone.

The Taj was great fun. Very impressive. We took lots of silly pictures and even I, who generally ahtes site seeing, liked it. After that, breakfast, some down time, some more site seeing and some shopping. Later I taught a yoga class and then we ate dinner and got on a train bound for Varanasi.

The plan was that we would travel through the night (12 hours) in the sleeping compartment of the train that was to leave at 9:00 and get there in the morning. All this was going well until 4am when the conductor woke us up and told us that the train was going no farther and we had to get off. So we did. But we were still 7 hours from our destination.

After a long wait in what turned out to be a mens' area for waiting and less than sanitary, but which is another story all together, we got on some rickshaws which took us to a bus station and we boarded a public bus for Varanasi. (think old, dirty school bus, not greyhound bus here) The 6 hour trip was actually more like 9 and we didn't get to our hotel here until 3:30 or so. Epic.

We had enough time to get some food and make it the scheduled philosophy talk with Mark Dycowski. Other than begin very tired and road weary, the talk was great and particularly fantastic was the walk along the ganges on the way to his flat.

So the time has been pretty grueling and also pretty fun. We have a great group assembled. People are really doing the inner work to roll with the challenging circumstances. Across the board the folks on the trip are smart, funny, sincere and kind. I am looking forward to being in the same place for a few nights.

Tomorrow we will sleep in and eat breakfast at our very nice hotel and then I will teach asana before lunch. There is a lot to see and to feel here but first is a good night's sleep in a bed that is not in motion!

3 comments:

Anne-Marie Bowery said...

Glad you are there. It sounds like travel Hell takes on new dimensions of meaning when travelling in India.

Love, Anzy

mandy said...

What an adventure. Sounds exhasting yet fun.

Mike Frosolono said...

Christina,

Glad you dealt successfully with the travel hell.

All is well in Sun City. I'm approaching breaking below the 150 lb stage; Andrea is now below 140 lbs. The exercise facility continues to entrance us.

We had supper with ANZY last night. She was commuting from Waco and had time to stop by our place and still make her yoga lecture.

Send pictures of the Taj Mahal as we are not likely to tour India unless we can find a tour group that will make the trip painless.

Love and blessings,

AP1