It was so hard to get up this morning. We were still moving at around 0620 so we hit the snooze one more time, Andy gave it up totally. We were still far away when Jimmy and I made it to the observation deck. It was hazy so we didn't stay up there for long. We went down to wait for food to come out. As we finally made it in line there were all these 4-7 man fishing boats pulling in their nets. Their boats (if you can call them that, they were more like rafts) were filled with water and most of them didn't have paddles, they had 2X4's. They waved, but it didn't look like they were catching any fish. The port is a real industrial port. Our ship looks out of place in it. No one in our room stayed up for the mandatory in-port briefing. We turned on the TV but it just sounded like the normal crap so we all went to bed. I didn't get up until the ship was cleared which was around 1030. I was having a dream that Andy and Jimmy had stolen a TV and an extra bed for our room. It was so real that when Jimmy woke me up I was looking around if we had returned the stuff. I walked around the union looking for people who I knew to go out with but there wasn't really anyone. Everyone was either changing money (which was taking and hour +) or was going out all day, I had to be back around 1500 for my trip. So I headed out on my own, which wasn't recommended but I don't care. Most everything was closed being that it is Sunday. I had wanted to get to the post office but it was closed. I don't want to mail anything! There really wasn't that much to see, anything cool that is there is down farther than I wanted to walk. I ended up doing a big loop through the city. The whole thing was one big market, and all it had was crap! I did see some goats and a couple of guys peeing on the street. This place isn't the cleanest city in the world. But no one bothered me that much, at least not much more than any other port. I was out for about 2 ½ hours before I came back for lunch. Some people are such wusses, you can't let these people push you around. These tow girls who were eating at the table next to us had a hard time with a taxi driver. They set a price but when they got where they were going the guy wanted a lot more money. Now they ALL do that, you just give him what you agreed and leave, and if he tried to stop you just push your way out. They ended up giving him like 10 dollars and they cried afterwards. Well hell, I'd cry too if I was so pathetic. What a bunch of losers, haven't they learned to be tough yet? How many ports is it going to take before they suck it up. I'm just happy I'm not stupid. After that there wasn't enough time to go out again so I stayed in and packed. I know I brought too much stuff but you have to be ready. I mean, what am I going to need a long sleeved shirt for? It's a hundred degrees out! Had to take our camera batteries out for some reason, bombs I guess. Everything went smoothly with the trip. Most everyone was there on time. We got out on time, waited very little in the airport, and flew out. The plane is nice, it's a Boeing 737. Dinner wasn't that great. Fairly spicy yet not tasty, I only ate about half. I'm also taking Cipro with all my meals, no chances with diarrhea. I don't want anything even close to what happened after Salvador. What a horrible time that was. The hotel was extremely nice, they had drinks and a buffet dinner waiting for us. I had been assigned a frat boy roommate but happily we traded. So I roomed with this guy Tim, he's cool. I'm glad I got him and not the other guy. We didn't stay up too late, watched some CNN and when to bed. Wake up call is at 0400 tomorrow.
No wake up call. Evidently 115 didn't get one. Luckily Tim got woken up by people outside. We got up at 0440 and were in the lobby by 0445. Neither of us packed much so it wasn't so bad to leave on the spot. It's good to be male. I don't understand what these girls are bringing. My Road Rules bag was only about ¾ full but some of these girls have tow huge bags. I just don't get it. The train station was rough. There were so many people that it was hard to keep the group together. There were quite a few beggars in the station. There was a man with one leg where we were gathering. Had the usual kids asking for money. You've just got to suck it up and not give. The station was very dirty and had people sleeping all over the place. It wasn't that long of a wait to board the train. Needless to say I was happy about that. As we started out we passed through some squatter camps. Looking out the window I saw all sorts of people squatting on the tracks. At first I didn't know what they were doing but it didn't take long. The train tracks were the bathrooms of these camps. What do you really thing when you see something like that? You are shocked, amazed, and appalled, yet not surprised at the same time. Is there a word for that? If there isn't there should be. The windows are so filthy that they look tinted. Past the camps we moved into a farming region. Looks like wheat. The train car is air-conditioned. Three seats, and isle, the two more seats. Most everyone is asleep. We got a bottle of water (which I'm afraid to drink, even bottled water can make you sick) and tea. Are there no bathrooms in this country? The man in front of me is meditating or something. What a strange place. Got some more food; peas, rice, and some brown stuff. Nothing that great. I slept for most of the way after that. When I wok up we were in a desert climate type of place. Jaipur was there about half an hour after I got up. The bathroom was unbelievable in this place. All it was is a hole in the ground (which opened onto the train tracks) with tow places to put your feet. The busses were right there once we got off. There wasn't much time for the children to mob us. Most people didn't give anything except for some left over food from breakfast. They are running a tight ship so far, I'm impressed. We drove through Jaipur which is called "the Pink City" but really isn't pink. The streets were packed but it could have been worse. There were cows walking the streets, real funky looking ones. Our first stop was Fort Amber. We were going to take an elephant up to the top but first we had to get past the hockers. They had hats, wooden elephants, and these cheep elephant pokers. They were aggressive but if you just ignored them they went away fast. Saying "Oh it's beautiful" or "How much?" is the trap words. Then they won't let you alone. Eventually we got on an elephant and started up. I had three frat whores on with me so that was annoying but they weren't so horrible. The elephant would splash what from its mouth on it to cool off but everyone on it got it goo. All the way people were trying to sell us stuff, they also took our pictures to sell to us at the end. The ride wasn't that long but we had to wait until everyone got up. The hockers were going nuts but I didn't care, they don't bother me. We had to pay 50R to bring cameras in. The inside was nice but I wouldn't say breathtaking. It was old and not in the best of conditions. It was a house for the royal family for centuries but it was more like a graveyard now. The hall of mirrors was nice, there were little mirrors about 1" by 1" all over. The view outside was nice. You could see the city and the mountains. There wasn't else much worth mentioning, we toured the rooms but there wasn't much in them. It was like looking at a great man's tomb stone, you just couldn't understand his former greatness. We walked back down while being pestered but the hockers. I sort of had my eye on one of those elephant pokers. They wanted 100R and I said 50R. Now I know what was going to happen next, after some more haggling he was going to say "OK 50." Then when you gave it to him he was going to have a fit about "What! 50! That's too little!" And that is exactly what happened. He followed me for a long time trying to work me up to 100R. I just kept on saying, "Fine, give me back my 50 and I'll be fine." Finally we reached the drop dead mark, he had to give me up now or lose a chance at selling more. He tries to grab it and says, "It is impossible." And he wasn't going to give me my money back either so I held on. I just said, "What's impossible is you getting this back with my 50." He knew it was no use and stomped off. Overall, the thing was a piece of crap. I shouldn't have gotten it but oh well... We got back on the bus to eat lunch at the Holiday Inn. It was the nicest Holiday Inn I've ever seen. Huge and luxurious inside, with a nice buffet. Actually, I haven't been that crazy about Indian food. It's spicy but not tasty. I got some stamps here. We had to hit the rest of the city before too long or they would close. The first place we went to was the observatory. When the guide said observatory I expected something modern, nothing could have been farther from it. It was built by the courts astronomer/astrologer, the same one who planned the city of Jaipur. There were small stepped type things with an arch running perpendicular to it. These things keep time in major cities in India. There was one big one but we couldn't go up the step part only the arch. They had devices there but not knowing Hindu put you at a disadvantage. We didn't stay all that long, we needed to get to the City Palace. It wasn't the more than a 150 yard walk. There were some snake charmers on the way. They wanted money but who cares, everyone does. They had all lined up waiting for us. Post cards, film, even the elephant picture man was there. Once we got inside the palace it was the normal stuff, pictures and come back. I didn't get to see everything, we didn't have enough time. There were these huge silver pots used to carry water from the Ganges to England in 1902. They are the largest silver objects in the world. Some painting and such, there was a cool mirror with an image of one of the Maharaja's in tit whose eyes followed you around the room. The royal family still lives in part of the place. Our next stop was a carpet makers. Though it was more of a tourist place, we did get to see them putting the thread in, burning the back, washing, cutting, and finishing it off. Then the real show started. We went into the showroom. It reminded me of a fashion show, they were rolling out carpets at the same time, giving prices, the works. And there was nothing for under 100 USD. They did give us a free soda, so that was good. We walked outside to where they were stamping fabrics. We had a beedi with the guy while he worked. There was another showroom for these stamped fabrics. They were nice and far less expensive. After a while I ended up getting a table cloth for 22 USD. It was nice, though I don't know if it is really functional. It was late so we started to make our way to our new hotel. It was dark and everyone was so tired. We got there about 1945, there was a guy with a trumpet thing and a drummer. They have us lays of marigolds and drinks again. The rooms were not as nice but they were OK. A guy from the hotel came into our room, he turned back the bed and stood there like I should give him money. He stood there some more before he realized I wasn't giving him anything. We went to dinner some after that, it wasn't that good. Some were going to look at jewelry. I wasn't interested so we went to bed. I was falling asleep at dinner anyway. It was about 2200 when we turned in.
We actually got a wake up call today. We ate breakfast and left by 0545. It was going to be a long bus ride to Agra. We did stop for a while at Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted city. It was built by Emperor Akbar as the new capital in honor of the holy man who had helped him have a son. The city was abandoned by the 1580's because of lack of water. I don't really understand that, didn't they know that while building it? It must have taken years to build, if they hadn't figured it out by ten I just don't understand what was wrong with them. It was all made of sandstone and was really red. We walked around for a while, I went through the main buildings. Panch Mahal is the only one's name I can remember. It has five levels of towers all had columns. It was nice. Walked through the treasury, a religious temple (all the heads had been cut off by the Muslims), and this neat building with a huge pillar in the center (I never did find out what that was). We had to hurry back to the busses though, it was going to take a long time to get to Agra even through it was only 40 more kilometers. The road was fine but it was just too crowded. There were all types of trucks on the road which slowed it down, plus there were cows in the road. We stopped when we left the state of Rajasthan. There was a horrible site there. These guys had these dancing bears, no what wasn't too horrible except for the way they had them muzzled. There actually was no muzzle, the guy had put a hole though the things nose and out the back of its head (it's teeth had also been bulled out). No one wanted to see it, we were happy just to get the hell out of there. Why is it that people are so upset over animals and not people? I think it is because of the cruelty involved. Poverty can be justified intellectually but stringing a rope though a bears head can't. I don't know, I don't really wasn't to think about it. Another long way of driving. I just can't sleep on a bus, and it was even worse on this one. We were nearly hitting cars all the way. It was quite terrifying. By the time we got to Agra it was even worse. The streets just couldn't handle the traffic. We stopped at the Hotel Ashok for lunch. There were a load of SASers there, again nothing good to eat. No "real" Indian food. They are catering to us like typical Americans I suppose. People complain if they do and if they don't so they can't ever win. We couldn't stay for that long we had to get all of Agra done in one day. Our first stop was to Agra Fort, again I would have liked to stay longer but this is coming from the guy that spend 8 hours in Carnegie Natural Science Museum. Took some pictures in the courtyard where people would be introduce. Next, and this is the main point of the fort (tourist wise), is where Shah Jahan was kept prisoner. He was imprisoned there by his son as the Taj Mahal was completed. He was kept on the left hand side (in my pictures). Legend has it he could only see it in a reflection from his room. Next to it were three connected buildings. The one on the left was for his daughter who never married, the one on the right was for another one who died, I don't know what the middle one was. They were quite impressive and the view outside was great. The river was very low at the time. The Taj in the background looked unreal, you'd think that it was a movie set if you weren't really there. I got a really corny picture of me "holding the Taj" I am a real dork! After walking around for a bit more we headed back to the busses. I just walked by the hockers, I don't care. It was just a couple of minutes to the entrance to the Taj. You had to walk a ways but that didn't really bother me. We got in fairly smoothly, security was tight but was it really? You walk through a corridor and boom there it is. It looks strangely unreal. I think that comes form the symmetry being so perfect. Nothing is that perfect, when you see something like that it looks unreal and somehow out of place. We got a few quick pictures then moved off to the left a bit. Anand, our guide, told us a little of the story of the Taj. It was made in the 17th century for his wife who died giving birth to their 14th child. She said she wanted a tomb that would be awed all over the world. I think she got her wish. We took a group photo which in the end I did get. Then we broke up to walk on our own for a while. We set 1700 to be the time back. We had about 1 ¼ hours to walk around, that was nice. We walked right up the walkway to the front of the building. You were not allowed to wear shoes into the Taj so we first started to take off our shoes then we saw the little shoe booties. I figured that it was better to pay 10 Rupees than get my only pair of shoes stolen. You could see the real tombs from a stairway in the front, they are under the ground. As soon as I got in a man came up to me and started to give me a "tour." Like Cuba I knew it was a scam but I went along with it. He pointed out the stones, the mosque, guest palace, and tombs. He was like "I'm not a guide, it's up to you." That means "Give me some money you rich American pig." I gave him 10 Rupees, so for 25 cents I got a little bit of information. I didn't really mind. From there walked around the building. The river was quite disgusting, brown and polluted. Completed my circle around it then walked to the mosque on the left of the Taj. I never knew that Islam had no religious icons in their temples. I had to remove m shoes before going in, I was nervous leaving them there but oh well. A guy inside tried to give me a "tour" but I blew him off. He said, "You don't have to offer me money" my reply was "Good, I'm not." He got the message. I sort of feel bad about the way you have to treat these people but you are forced to forceful. After that I strolled the grounds for a while, it is so impressive. 1700 rolled about fast enough. We bought group pictures and left. That went quickly, what went slowly was the walk back. The hockes were on us like flies. They tried to sell us everything but I bought nothing. I don't want any more crap. This guy on the bus got five sets of seven Kamma Sutra figures. It was so funny, he's on the bus shouting "What the hell am I going to do with five sets of Kamma Sutra figures!" People were sick of having to deal with those people. We were ready to crash. We made our way back to the hotel to wait for our train ride. Some slept, others wrote in journals. We were there about two hours before we left. We had a boxed dinner of fried chicken, cheese sandwiches, an apple, orange, and two eggs. Lots of SASers were there so it got a bit hectic. The trip leader Pete bought me a drink so I'll have to remember to pay him back (which in retrospect typing this journal I never did). It was only about a 10 minute drive to the train station, One thing that freaked me out was this guy with crippled legs. They were all atrophied, they only way he could move around was by doing this crawling hop type thing. He would tug at you and ask for money. I had seen other guys like this earlier but this one really stuck out. I'm not sure why but I think it was the lighting in the parking lot. He reminded me of some kind of human spider (or maybe a crab). This was really the first time something had freaked with me. I was happy to get away. We got to where the train was to come in fairly quickly. I think all the SAS groups were going back to Delhi on the same train. I met Steve, Alyce, and RD Mike. The train ended up being delayed for about 40 minutes. We were all tired and very happy to see it come. It was nice and all but I couldn't get any sleep. First thing was that the A/C made it way too cold. Second there were too many stupid SAS kids. It never fails that they will do something to sicken and humiliate me. They had music playing, loudly, and this retard was getting up and dancing. He's basically stripping to Vanilla Ice and "When I Think About You I Touch Myself." Our guides were disgusted an so was I. The stewards were watching us trying to figure out what to do. Someone finally came up to him and threatened to arrest him. What an idiot. I though, "What an embarrassing image of Americans." When you really think about it, that is a good representation of Americans. Foolish, unthinking pieces of trash, yup that's a fairly good picture. Every time! We got to the hotel and everything went smooth, we grabbed the keys, went up, both took showers, and went to bed. We did see on CNN that NATO upped the bombing in include targets in Yugoslavia. I wish I knew a little more about what is going on. I don't want to make and opinion without knowing all the facts.
Wake up call was the latest it has been on the trip, 0715. We gathered our stuff up and were the first to breakfast again. We brought our stuff with us, I didn't want to leave my things in the room. Who knows who could come in there. Not everyone got up for the city tour, they had a heavy night of drinking. God they make me sick! The weather was nice, not too hot and a nice breeze to go with it. Delhi had been reading 100 degrees for the last couple of days. Our first stop was at the War Memorial, Parliament House, and residence of the President. We couldn't get up close though. It was a holiday so the government buildings were closed. The holiday was some kind of mix between presidents day and the anniversary of Sikism (300 years old this year). The streets were clear as compared to regular days in Delhi. This stop reminded me of Paris. The War Memorial looked like the Arch de Triumph and the President's house and Parliament of the Vatican. There is a lot of European, especially British, influence in the city. The streets are wide and have a lot of circles (just like London). Our second stop was Qutab Minar, or the Tower of Victory. The place was built in the 12th century. There was a huge mosque which was the first on built in India. The building had been destroyed but the arched were still there. The building must have been huge but I suppose that if you had just conquered a county you would want a huge monument too. In front of the arches was an iron pillar. This pillar outdated the arches by a long time. It's inscriptions were form Hindu, they were about a king conquering his enemies with the help of Vishnu. I want to say it was from the 5th century but I am not exactly sure. In all this time it has never rusted, it is nearly pure iron. The pillars were originally Hindu and had Hindu religious icons on them but the Muslims disfigured them when they took over. The place reminded me of the Roman forum except that it was made of red sandstone. However impressive the other things were the site was dominated by the Tower of Victory. It is a huge pillar hundreds of feet high which was made to celebrate the Muslim victory over the Hindus. I can't say I've even seen anything like it, pictures will not do it justice. I wandered the place for about a half and hour before we had to go. This complex of buildings was part of on of the older cities of Delhi. The current New and Old Delhi are the 7th and 8th cities respectively. This place has been around forever. From there we made our way across Delhi to the Bahai House of Worship or Lotus Temple. This temple was constructed about 25 years ago. It looks like the music hall in Sydney Australia. It looks like a Lotus Flower, it symbolizes spiritual purity. The Bahai religion was started in Iran and is based in the belief that all religions are essentially one. Their temple is open to people of al faiths and is used for silent meditation and prayer. You were not allowed to wear shoes or speak inside the temple. They had an underground place to story your shoes. It made me a little less nervous but it was better than the Taj. The inside was all white marble, it was nice to sit in but it didn't hit me like Qutab Minar. It just hasn't passed the test of time. Maybe in a couple of centuries I'll come back. Got the shoes back nice and easy. There was a Hindu temple close by, it looked like we could have walked to but we decided to go shopping again. I knew it was going to be a nice place so I wouldn't be able to get anything. The place had nothing in it under 100 dollars, and figuring that I had 90 Rupees there wasn't anything I could get. The other poor kids and I sat on a couch and talked about salesmanship in India. We got out of there as soon as possible. I think only one person on the bus got anything. We needed to get back to the hotel if we were going to be at lunch on time. Regrettably I went straight to the dinning room instead of hitting the room. I had to sit through the most boring lecture I've ever heard. It was on Indian tourism but not on anything interesting. We focused on the government and tourism. This had to be the worst planned thing ever. First it was the last day of our trip, no one wanted to hear it we were all so tired. Second was the issue off why are we hearing this. We were not business majors, I'm not sure what the point was. Last was the fact that all the food is sitting out ready for us. Everyone in there is staring at the stuff just waiting for him to finish. People asked a couple of questions at the end and everyone was groaning. It was like pulling teeth. The kicker was that the food didn't end up being very good. Again there was very little "Indian" food. The bast thing was in the desserts. These things were like donut holes in syrup. Man were they good. It was now about 1400, and we had until 1630 until we had to be back. Tim and I set out on the town. There were quite a few shops open but many were closed. We walked down to this circle of shops. There wasn't really anything there plus there was the fact that neither of us had any money to spend. It was much more laid back here. No one really gave you a hard time, one "no" was good enough. We made our way around the circle once then Tim took me to the underground shops. My tour guy hadn't told us about it so I was surprised. It was nice. It wasn't that clean but it got you out of the hot sun which is a big plus. There was an Internet place around somewhere but it was so hard to find. The signs for it were very confusing. We looked upstairs, downstairs, we asked and still couldn't find it. Finally we found it but it turned out to be one computer in the upstairs of this store. There was already someone on it so it was going to be a 20-25 minute wait to get on. By this time it would be too late to wait. It was about 1520 so we could be cutting it very close. We found our way outside back into the heat. The change was shocking, it was so hot but it wasn't humid so the heat wasn't really gross. We slowly walked back. We passed a Pizza Hutt and Mc Donalds, they looked fairly nice but we didn't really want to go in. One thing that is nuts is that every bookstore and roadside book seller have Mien Kamph. No one can figure out why, it is so strange. We got a little disoriented when we were almost there. We took one extra street down at one of the circles so we were a little off. It didn't really matter though, we more or less knew what we did once we realized it. We had about an hour to kill before leaving so we got some sodas and went to sleep. The bus ride was smooth, everyone was here on time. Not a very long wit for the flight. Security was a little tighter than normal but I didn't have any problems. Once we got on the plane I found out why it was tight. There had been a bomb threat that morning on one of the flights. Also Pakistan fired off there own mid range missile. India had launched one of their own two days ago and I had told this girl, "I bet within one week Pakistan fires off one too." Yep, I was right. It's like a mini cold war going on. I'm worried for this region, I could see it turning into another Balkans. They have got so many groups within their boarders it has to be hard. Now one group pulled their confidence form the leader of parliament so there will have to be new elections. Now can you ever expect to have a stable country without a stable government. Oh, and there is rioting in Malaysia. Some political leader was convicted of adultery and sodomy charges. Oh yeah! That make me want to go even more. The food on the flight wasn't bad, chicken, rice, and curry. The airport went great again, we had our bags and were out in no time. It was so much more humid in Madras than Delhi. Everyone on the bus was sweating big time. Even though it was dark it was still close to 100 degrees. When we got back on the ship it felt so nice, the cold air was so refreshing. The room was even better it couldn't have been over 68. Took a shower, put my stuff away, and was just about to go to sleep when Andy got back. He had ditched the group for a while the last day and had a good time. We were both happy to get back though, it had been a lot of traveling. Set the alarms to get up at 0800 to cruise the city the next day. I don't have a plan though.
Got up, ate breakfast, but couldn't find anyone to go out with. Actually I could have gone out with some people but I wanted to go out with more "adventurous" people. So I hooked up with Andy, Ryan, Tai, Margot, and Colleen. They didn't really know where they wanted to go either so I thought that was a plus. They said they wanted to do a little shopping. I figured "cool" I wouldn't mind looking around for a little while, besides I've got some Rupees left over. Well I didn't quite understand what "a little" shopping meant. We spent the first half of the day at this mall. Getting to this mall was the best part. There are motorized rickshaws all over the entrance to the gate. They way they will take you where you want to go but they don't. They take you to a place where they get commission. We kept telling the driver, "No we want to go to Spencer's." He'd say crap like, "Shopping, yes I'll take you shopping" and "No, Spencer's is closed. I'll take you somewhere better" or "Just look for five minutes." They took us to some place, god only knows where. Tai was really mad, she's yelling at her driver. I wasn't mad, I knew that was going to happen. I totally expected it to happen, it happens to everywhere all the time. You just don't pay them. So we started to walk away, so they followed us all around. We finally, after some more yelling, got back in. This time they took us to the right place, then they pulled typical trick number two. They changed the price from 50 to 400 Rupees. We just said take it or leave it we don't care. Big surprise, he took it. There was a lot of nice stuff in the mall but I didn't really want any of it. I had wanted to e-mail some people but the line was too long. I haven't been able to make any contact with home since South Africa. Making calls here is very hard , you have to go to a special place for an outside line, and of course it costs money. I ended up getting tow Hindustani classical tapes which were really cheep. I paid about 1.50 USD. I also got a 1.5 gallon Limeca and some trail mix type stuff. We collected out group at about 1245 to get something to eat. We just walked down the street with nothing in mind. We met this guy as we were crossing the street who said he'd take us somewhere. We walked down some side street to this fairly nice vegetarian place. There were no SASers there so it was really good. The food was even better. We got five side dishes, tow appetizers, and eight drinks and it only cost 208 Rupees (which is about 5 bucks). One thing that we saw for the first time was the head waggle. Instead of shaking their heads yes like we would in the US the waggle is back and forth. It messed us up for a while before we could get it down. We would say, "Do you have any Fanta?" They would do the waggle and we would think it meant no so we'd ask , "OK, do you have any Limeca?" They'd do the waggle and we'd think, "Man, they don't have anything!" It was funny. I don't know what we had to eat, I couldn't read anything from the menu. Margot ordered for all of us. All I know is that we had orange stuff, green stuff, and this brown, bean stuff, and that is was all great. There was no silver ware, you got bread and scooped it up. From there Andy, Ryan, and I headed back to the ship to write some letters and stuff. We were all going to meet back at 1630 at Spencer's to go to the Kapaleeswarar Temple (at least I think that is what it was, I'm still not really sure). I thought that we were going to be late getting there however, we got there right on time. We had all written some postcards and it had taken longer than we had expected. We only had about 15-20 minutes to get there on time. Luckily the richshaw driver we got didn't mess with us, he took us right there and used the meter. We walked in right on time. The problem was that everyone we were meeting was late. We waited around for almost 20 minutes before they showed up. They said they had some trouble using the credit cards. The problem I had wasn't the wait, it was the fact that the temple closed at 1730. None of us knew how far away it was so we were not sure if we would get there on time. Again the rickshaws were fine, no one gave us any crap. We got there at around 1710 so we had time to at least see it. As soon as we got out this kid put a string of Jasmine around my wrist. I tried to stop him but it didn't work, he just put it on. He wanted some candy or pen or Rupee or something, but I didn't have any of it. I tried to take it off but he said keep it. I felt bad that I had nothing, I don't want to take something from someone with nothing. I didn't have time to dwell on it until now, and now it's really bothering me. I, the person with everything, took from the Indian boy who has nothing. What would 10 Rupees have been? Nothing! No more than 25 cents. I could have parted with it, I SHOULD have parted with it. I didn't think about what 10 Rupees could have met. But then again is this just another form of begging? No, not here, not at this religious place. I was wrong, but it's too late to be sorry now. And I'll never go back to correct it either. How thoughtless, how careless. But enough of that, it's done, just correct it next time. To get to the Temple you had to walk under a huge thatched walkway which had shops on either side. It was weird walking through there, I really got the feeling like I was totally foreign. It showed me the depth of my ignorance of this society. Coming to the temple itself was unreal. It was a pyramidal building with these carved and painted stone gods all around. It was packed with gods. There had to have been 35-40 on the bottom layer alone. The colors were spectacular. I can't say I have seen anything like it. I don't know how you can keep things straight in Hinduism. It must be hard to keep track of all the gods. But I guess it isn't really. It's just what you grow up with. The whole complex is a big square so we walked around to the main entrance. The main arch was just like the main temple, covered with statues of gods. Some of us would go in while the others waited outside with our shoes. This was another cultural goof we made. You should pay for someone to keep your shoes, there was a stand to the left of the building. People came up to us and tried to tell us but we didn't understand them. We are so ignorant. The inside was unbelievable. It wasn't just a temple of one god, but for many. There were multiple shrines all around the complex. IN the front people would get down on their stomach or knees and kiss the floor. The main part was in the center but it was for Hindus only. I wanted to go in but I think we had disrespected them enough. There was a golden pillar in the front which had a flag at the top. A man there tried to explain it to us but his English was so poor that I couldn't understand him. I walked all around the place. It strikes me like these me like these people are much more religious than Westerners. These were just everyday people yet they had such devotion to the gods. I haven't seen anything like it on the trip so far. Brazil had tons of beautiful churches but I just didn't se the true faith that I did here. We were all awed by the experience, it was a very powerful place. If we hadn't went I think I would have missed something very important. It didn't close at 1730 like we had heard. It was about 1815 by the time we started walking away. We went back through the covered market to get a taxi back. We were not sure what time to be back at the ship. The green sheet they passed out said 2000 but the gangway said2100. We figured it was best to get back at the earlier time just to be safe. I had almost 300 Rupees left over so I had to get something or lose it. I didn't know what to get, I wanted something functional but I could tell that just wasn't going to happen. I settle on a cheep statue of Ganesh, the god of wisdom and health. He is very big in India, I'd say Shiva is the only one that rivals Ganesh's popularity. I am happy I got it, it fits well in my collection of trinkets. Andy got a book on meditation from a bookstand. Colleen was playing some hand game with some kids there. It all made us happy until they asked for money, that soured it. It wasn't a problem to get back, we picked up a rickshaw quickly. We drove past the church where St. Thomas the apostle is buried. I would have liked to have gone there but we just didn't have the time. We took some pictures of each other from the rickshaws. One thing that was funny was seeing these women dressed in these nice saris riding on the back of these scooters. We were back soon enough. We asked what the real on ship time was and it turns out it was 2100. It was just as well, we got back right before dark. I got the only other thing which was left on my list when I picked up some beedies. There were R90 for 500. It was about 1915 so we had some time to kill. I met Dave and Jen outside so we walked around for a while. Jen and I had no money but Dave ended up getting some camera lenses. We finally got back on the ship at 2000. There was a dance program going on so I went to see that. The music was good and the dancing was really neat. At the end she did a dance on this metal bowl. I was happy and content after it was over until I heard the announcements. All I caught was, "bla bla bla....passports" and I knew I forgot to turn mine in. I hurried to the pursers office to turn it in but by this time it was about 15 minutes late. I can't believe that happened, I am so stupid. I put it down on the counter and asked if this meant dock time. She was like, "Ohhh, we don't do that, I don't really know." I just said, "It's OK, you can say yes." She said, "Yes, probably." The worst part about the whole think was that I didn't even use my passport. They made us take it to the Taj but no one ever looked at it. What a waste. As long as we have a money changer and post office on the ship in Malaysia it shouldn't be a big deal. I'll just do that, I would have to do it eventually so I'll just get it out of the way early. I'm so disappointed in myself. That put a damper on the rest of the night. I didn't feel much like talking anyway so I just went back to the room. I put on one of my tapes and Dave and Jimmy came in. We talked for a while then Alyce came over, then Diana. It was a virtual party. We talked about what we did and what we liked in India and about some people on the ship. It was nice, it picked me up a bit. The tapes were both really good, I like them a lot. It couldn't have been later than 2330 when we went to sleep. I was so tired it was incredible.
Went to Geology but skipped CORE. I ended up sleeping until 1245. Read some Geology then went back to the room. I had to fill out a form about myself for the Japanese homestay. It was just general stuff but it took a while, I wanted it to be good. Nothing else of any importance, until the open mic. Someone had passed out an unsigned letter directed at the frat boys. It said how they were sickened by their actions and pleaded with them to control themselves. Well, hello! They don't care how their actions effect other people, that is obvious. Writing a letter isn't going to change them, nothing will, they are worthless. There were some good points but most of the time it was just squabbling between those who liked the letter and the frat boys. The whole thing disgusted me. People get up and say how much they are changed and how they won't ever be the same. What crap! They are not going to change a thing. They will still be shopping at the Gap, going to frat parties, and not caring about anyone but themselves. I hate it when people say how much they were changed when they know they haven't. I came away very angry. Luckily Dave and Professor Warring played a little jazz after. We talked and calmed down. Jimmy and I played a little cards with Heather and Jill before going to bed. Some people just make me so angry.
Classes were fairly uninteresting today. Got some Psychology reading done and got myself back on track in the journal. It's unbelievable that we will be in Malaysia in one more day. We just left India! I think I like the old way when we had a week off after each port. This is just to hectic. I need time to settle. Dave, Jimmy, and I had a little bit of a deep discussion about India and the people on board. Maybe I shouldn't hate them so much. Everyone can't be strong, you have to have the weak. Maybe we can just prepare ourselves better or that we intellectualize more while other feel more. I don't know. The only thing I do know is that I know nothing. I just can't say anything for sure, it's all just too complex. But then maybe flexibility and openness is what should be the goal. Not getting too fixed in one set of values or feeling may be the key to true understanding. But who am I kidding, I'm no Lao Tzu. I got a chance to look through a lonely planet guide book for Malaysia. It shouldn't be a problem going from to Penang to Kuala Lumpur then on to Singapore. Plus, it shouldn't be expensive either, the traveling costs should not be over 25 dollars. We would travel at night so we wouldn't need any places to sleep. The only expenses we would incur would be food, and that is really cheep too. We could pull of a trip that would be 500+ from SAS. I'm looking forward to it big time. At night after the cultural preport the Students of Service had an auction. They raised a ton of money. I don't know where people were coming up with these huge amounts of money. The last beer at the bar went for 200 dollars. Insane! I put money on my shipcard for the first time today. I got six shirts from the campus store and tree pins. I had to get something for my homestay family and I needed some things for other people too. Advanced the clocks another hour, it really bites.
Went to Environmental Geology then right back to bed. Got up again at around 1230 and took a shower. Got caught up on Geology reading and actually got ahead on Abnormal Psychology. Jimmy and Dave made me furious today. They say, "Oh, it's too much travel for only four days." So I had to scrap my trip. Man it would have been the bomb. I tried to get people to go with me but no one would, they gave the same reason Jimmy and Dave did. I was getting worried that I wouldn't have anyone to go with, plus I had a pounding headache. I eventually asked Shabby and Christina if I could go with them to the Camron highlands. I didn't really want to go there but I really didn't want to go to some island and hang out, that would be the worst. I can't really say I'm in love with the idea of traveling with them either. I don't want to go first class. Budget travel is much more fun. I was also mad because of the dock time not I got. I couldn't figure out if it was real, I suspected that Andy wrote it. I turns out it was real and that Jimmy had drawn a heart on it. Played a little hearts at night and met the interport student. By the end of the night I wasn't feeling so bad.