the world at my finger tips

the world at my finger tips

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh India!

Varanasi - a city where traffic laws don't exist. The streets belong to pedestrians, cows, dogs,rickshaws, cars, bikes, motorcycles, and anything else that wants to be on the road. 
Our arrival to Varanasi was just like any other. We got picked up by our tour guide and brought to our hotel.  Upon our arrival we got greeted by some locals and a traditional Indian ring ceremony. We checked in and within 15 mins we were out the door again. This time our bus was not transporting us instead it was the infamous rickshaws. (what were we getting ourselves into?!) a rickshaws is a bike driven by a local with a little 2 person seat thingy attached back. Let me just mention that the seats our comfortably made for 2 people but somehow Indians find a way to fit 3-5 people on it.  Well for us that wasn't the case. So off we were with 8 rickshaws to the Famous Ganga River. Every night they have a traditional Ganga seva Nidhi ceremony.  At the ceremony they had 7 devotees pray to one of the MANY gods of India. This was definite sight to see. There were many locals along with hundreds of tourists. Of course you can't go to any country with beggars and people trying to sell you things. I was convinced into buying a packet of bindes and some color stamp set. Once you bought from one person you were pressured into to buying from another but I wasn't having it. After watching this religious for about an hour we headed back to where the rickshaws were parked to being us back to the hotel. On our way to the dirt lot, our group of 16 became a main attraction to the locals. We had to maneuver through them as well as the cows who were trying to enjoy the ceremony. Walking was a great nightmare! Locals followed, stared, and tried to sell us more stuff. We finally made it to the dirt lot and got out of there quick only to be stuck in traffic.  I'm still trying to figure out how they do it. The driving it ridiculous - everything and everyone sharing the same road with little to NO type of regulation. Needless to say we saw and were almost in many accidents but nothing happened. The adventure and experience was absolutely amazing. As anxious as I was coming into this country I'm really really loving it. Back at the hotel we had dinner and headed straight to bed after a long day of traveling. Everyone was super excited to sleep until we discovered our beds were just as hard as table tops. Haha but we all made it work and at this point it didn't matter, India was growing on us. The next morning we were up, ready, and out the hotel door by 445 am. We were headed back to the Ganga River but this time is was to witness the morning ritual were locals and 2 Asian tourists ( that I saw) bathe in this funky water as a form of clearing their sins. Go figure. While on the little boats on the rivers we were approached by other little boats that tried to sell us more stuff. Ganga River supermarket as they called themselves.   Watching the sun rise was awesome - back to the hotel for breakfast and back out to see a Buddhist   Temple ruins and silk factory. Finally to the airport for our flight to Delhi.   

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mauritius or One day in port equals total disaster.

Mauritius is a beautiful island off the coast of Africa, about the same size of RI.  We were in port for 8-9 hours. Having that been said, most of the student population booked Catamaran Cruises.  Off we went on this awesome boat with 30 students with unlimited drinks and food. - probably not the best idea.  Any who, all 6 Catamarans met up in a body of water and it felt like Spring Break.  Students swimming, drinking, eating, taking pictures, jumping, everything you could imagine happened.  Of course you can't leave out those who were intoxicated by 11am.   After partying it up, we started to make our way back to the ship so that we would all make it back before on-ship time.  Back on the gangway, the scene was disastrous.  Picture over 200 college intoxicated students trying to board the ship.  Not only was that a scene in itself, but we had a very SERIOUS incident in which a student had to be quickly transported to a hospital.  To this day we know very minimal about his recovery but from what we were informed, he was suppose to be a "goner."  Due to immediate response, he regained consciousness the next morning.  The student had to stay in Mauritius and we are unaware if he will be allowed to resume the voyage.  If they are, they will meet us in India. 
March 2nd 2011
Early this morning we were woken up by "the voice" & the captain over the intercom.  We were informed that the ship had been going at full speed for the past 2 days due to some medical issues that needed to be assessed rather quickly.  The MV Explorer was granted permission to enter the island/lagoon of Diego Garcia ( a US and British military base).  Here, two female passengers and a crew member would disembark and be airlifted to Singapore for medical assistance that could not be addressed on the ship.  The morning was quiet hectic with passengers looking overboard to figure out what was going on and to check out the scene.  There was armed military on board to scope out the situation.  Although it was sad to see these people go, it was an interesting, exciting, and nerve racking morning for the MV Explorer.