Saturday, February 18, 2023

Toronto to Saskatoon, February 17, 2023

I’ve been thinking about these things for a while: what I’ve learned, what I liked and didn’t like and what future travel might look like for me.

This trip ended a bit too soon as I was really looking forward to Southeast Asia - the climate, the food, the green, but at the same time, I’m glad to be going home.  I’m tired and not sure if it’s the hernia, if I have a bug or if I’m just played out.  A 5 month trip is better than no trip but from now on, my trips will be shorter - 65 days maximum so I can use my retired teachers medical insurance and maybe come home with some energy.

I enjoyed a lot of this trip- my favorite thing was definitely the Camino.  That’s so funny for me to say as someone who doesn’t, or didn’t like walking.  I met many great people who will be friends for a long time, I learned more about myself, I enjoyed great wine, beer and food, got fit, saw nice scenery and had a spiritual experience.  Malta was good, as was the Middle East but Israel was exceptional.  India, not so much.  I expected more of a spiritual time in Varanasi and Rishikesh but it’s hard when people are constantly annoying you, every day there’s  a struggle or two and English isn’t always spoken.  My yoga school was a disappointment, not just because of my hernia but because of the food and some of the teachers except my two yoga instructors were exceptional.  Perhaps I didn’t exactly understand what I was getting myself into.  

I missed my grandchildren, my family and friends, the end of golf season, subbing and the life I became accustomed to the past year.  Maybe that is the root of the problem - did I get lazy and too complacent taking that second year “off”?  Or, have I done and seen enough?  Would I enjoy it more if I traveled with someone?  Was I lonely? One thing I know for sure is my long term tenting days are over - I’ve become too soft for that but I’ll be traveling even lighter than before using my camino backpack which will avoid checked baggage fees and wait times plus make getting around even easier.

I’m not sure what the answers are to my questions but as my last long trip comes to an end, I know I’ve been lucky and I have so much to be thankful for.  I’ve seen a lot, learned even more, had loads of fun, met many awesome people from all corners of the world and created good, good memories.  What more can a person ask for?

Friday, February 17, 2023

Rishikesh to Delhi to Toronto, February 16, 2023

My last day here and what am I feeling?  I can’t wait to get out of here.  Breakfast was the same crap- chunks of papaya - if I never eat papaya again it will be too soon, watery, non salted oatmeal porridge and paranthas- a stuffed roti; it was supposed to be stuffed and I watched them being made outside in the tandoori oven, but once it was cooked, it was hard to taste the inside potato mixture and even harder to see it.  

I had a tab at a local cafĂ© for 340 rupees and believe it or not, they did not have change for a 500. 160 rupees is $2.50.  Can you  imagine a store almost anywhere not being able to make that small amount of change? And it’s not like everyone pays with a card- this is pretty much a cash only society. That’s a little bit of what the last month of my life has been like.  Yesterday I asked Gopal, one of the owners or managers, if they had US dollars so I could get rid of my last rupees.  No, was all he said but he did tell me where there was a currency exchange, just a short tuqtuq ride away.  People pay for their school in all kinds of currencies so I was surprised by his answer but whatever.  I’ve found him unhelpful the 2 weeks I’ve been here.  The main money man, Sandeev was in his office today when I came down with my backpack.  We had a nice visit and he explained he is soon coming to Canada to look for the perfect location to set up a yoga school.  He has friends in Vancouver and Calgary and the Calgarians told him some kind of fairytale about only having to pay 2% tax so he thought Calgary might be the place.  I told him I would send him some ideas- I wish he’d have mentioned this sooner because I had a lot of time I could have spent with him.  Anyway, as he’s the money man, I asked him if he had any US and he said I should have asked him yesterday.  I told him I’d asked Gopal, who just happened to be in the next room, and Sandeev came unglued at Gopal, in Hindi so I couldn’t understand.  He bought $40 worth of rupees which really helped me out.

My ride came at 2:30 and we drove in silence for 5.5 hours.  It took that long to go 224 kilometres.  The drivers are so patient- no one shoulder checks but some do occasionally use their mirrors.  Most just cut from late to lane whenever they feel like it.  Indian people seem to have no concept or care for anyone but themselves.  Horns are honked but dirty looks, hairy eyeballs and flipping the bird don’t happen.  I’d go mental.  Anytime in class when a teacher would ask us to come closer to see a demonstration, we of European descent would form a “U” so everyone could see.  Not the Indians.  Twice a woman stood right in front of me- right in front of me!  Excuse me I said!  She turned around and saw me and apologized and moved.  Walking on the street, they will stop mid stride in a crowd, not taking care to get out of the way - they are oblivious to others.

Yesterday there was some sort of Hindu festival - there’s always a Hindu festival! There were a lot of trucks outfitted as men haulers-

and many walking on the shoulder of the highway carrying flowered arches or flags-

Sugar cane being taken to the sugar mills-

and animal feed-

My driver randomly stopped twice to pay some unknown fee and there were numerous tolls.  Once we were close to Delhi, the smog/fog appeared and so did the smell.  How could I forget the smell?   The best way to describe it is a toilet that you forgot to flush for a few days.  That’s Delhi.  By this time it was dark but my driver kept driving around tuqtuqs, bicycles, horses pulling carts, pedestrians, trucks and other cars, with such patience.  I was glad he was driving and not me.  We turned a lot- I saw few signs pointing to the airport but eventually we arrived.  Companies sure take advantage of insurance.  The school could have gotten me a cab for $75 US and CAA paid $600 US instead.  Such robbery!

Even though it was more than 3 hours before departure, there was a long queue at checkin but soon I had my boarding passes, was through passport control and security - with an unopened can of Coke Zero and sitting in a restaurant having a beer.  So wonderful! Because the flight left at 11:15 pm, I had no idea if we would be fed or just put to bed so I went to McDonalds, of all places.  I had a McChicken and large fries, died and went to heaven!  It was so good and my body thanked me, over and over.

I wanted an aisle seat but could only have a window seat but was told there was no one in the middle which is a huge bonus on any flight let alone a 17 hour one!  When I got to my row, a man was sitting in my spot.  Once he understood where he should be sitting, he was more than happy to stay by the window.  Bonus!  He’s a Sikh, originally from Punjab but is now a trucker out of Windsor.  He’s been home since January 1 and also said his body didn’t like the food either!

They did serve supper and of course it was Indian.  I ate the chunks of chicken but left the rest.  We are so lucky to have such selection - I’ve had enough of garam masala!

I hope to sleep a lot and not be sick.  There are only a few bathrooms for 200 passengers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Rishikesh, India, February 15, 2023

No phone call, no email!  What an outfit!  One email that did arrive was an evaluation of CAA and they failed, big time.

I called again this morning and finally worked with someone who knew what she was doing.  In less than an hour, I had my flight-

It’s a good one too - 2 direct flights.   They’re going to send a car to take me to Delhi too which makes a lot more sense than trying to fly out of DED to Delhi and then onward.

The tailor was finally open.  What a job!-

How he happened to have perfectly matching fabric, I don’t know!

I said farewell to my class-

They’re from America, the UK, Peru, Germany, Finland and India.  

My favourite teacher - Sonu Ji-

It’s nice to finally have a plan and a day to get organized and say my goodbyes.

I had an Ayurvedic massage which is different from the massages I usually get.  In Ayurveda, the 5 elements found in all living things - space, fire, earth, sir and water are the building blocks of life.  They combine to create doshas which are mind/body principles.  They are vats- air and space, kasha- water and earth and pitta- fire and water.  During a massage, the doshas are balanced.  Sounds kind of hokey to me!  The masseuses used a nice smelling oil and rubbed and tapped almost my whole body.

I don’t feel well, and it’s not the hernia.  I feel like I’m slowly being poisoned and or starved to death.  I’m desperate for food I like - salad, grilled meat, berries, eggs, Greek yogurt, and on and on.  I’ll be glad to be out of here but I am disappointed to be missing the last month.  However, just the idea of moving on every couple of days exhausts me.  I think I’m too old for this.  

Rishikesh, India, February 14, 2023

It was nice to sleep in and I had a leisurely morning. I checked my email constantly for a message from insurance. Nothing. Then I started thinking that maybe I hadn’t bought the right insurance and they were not going to fly me home.  When did I become a worrier?  I don’t like it. Yesterday I looked through my policy and believe I bought repatriation but CAA is not World Nomads.  After my forms had been submitted for 24 hours with still no reply, I started calling. I’m not sure where they are located, I presume in Canada and I was on hold numerous times until finally 8 o’clock Eastern someone answered the phone. I was put on hold again and then transferred and now my case will be discussed with the nurse to make sure it’s safe to fly with this type of hernia. I told her the doctor knew I was going to go home to have the surgery and there was no issue so she said she would call me as soon as she knew something which I hope is tonight.

It was a beautiful day so I walked down to the Ganges.  It’s a beautiful color, before it gets to Varanasi and all the ash and corpses-

They will honestly do anything to make a rupee-

I carried on the rocks and came to a bunch of deserted hotels-

with no access up so had to walk back.  The only problem with walking down to the river is that it’s a long climb back up and I was sweaty and tired once home.

There’s another wedding tonight-

Later, I went down to the main road to The Beatles Cafe for lupper-

It’s in a lovely garden but even though there were at least 8 employees- all men, I still had to go in to get a menu then back up to the counter to order.  I hate to be writing this but I had a veggie burger and it was delicious!  It might have been the caramelized onion and fried egg but it was excellent.  Never think though that I will be looking for the recipe!

So, hopefully I’ll get a phone call tonight and get my flight booked!  

Monday, February 13, 2023

Day 11, Yoga School, Rishikesh, India, February 13, 2023

I had a terrible sleep and was awake an hour before my alarm so it’s been a very tiring day. I went to yoga from 5:30 until 7:00 and meditation from 7:30 until 8:00,  then took a tuqtuq to the hospital for an ultrasound. What a gong show!

I stood in line 30 minutes to get registered and pay $.85. People cut into the line continuously. I went back to room 21 and explained that I was there for an ultrasound. It was a different doctor so I was directed across the hall to room 18 to the surgeon. He didn’t get to his office until 9:30 and by then the waiting room was packed-

Once the receptionist moved into the hallway, people mobbed him trying to give him their form. He put them in the order he received them and that was the order of seeing him.  Once collected, he called us one by one, took our blood pressure, then numbered the form and that’s the order in which we saw the surgeon. 

I’ve finally remembered to take a picture of a typical lock on a door-

Once in the doctor’s office-

he felt my stomach and confirmed I had a hernia but I still needed to have an ultrasound. I went to counter number two and paid $12.90, then proceeded to the radiology area-

It was a zoo too and I waited about an hour to get in for my five minute appointment. There is no privacy – I was called into the small room while another woman was lying on the bed with her belly exposed and she no sooner was up that I was told to lie on the same bed. A woman did a quick scan and I was sent back to the waiting room. After about five minutes I received my ultrasound photos and report which I took back to the surgeon. By this time it was 12 o’clock but the surgeon had been called out to do a couple surgeries but would hopefully be back in an hour.  So I waited and people watched-

There was lots going on-

She crawled in-

Finally at 2:30 he arrived and everybody pushed towards his office door just like a first come first serve event.  After about 20 minutes it was my turn and he confirmed that yes I have a hernia, that I need surgery as soon as possible and that I should no longer do any yoga.  There is potential to get a kink in the area and that could cause gangrene and a bigger problem. I had no idea a hernia was dangerous as I have had this since Christmas time and just carried on with life as normal but after Saturday’s ashtanga yoga class it started to hurt and I thought I better get it looked at.

I have sent all my forms to insurance and now I wait. I hope CAA is as good as World Nomads. I also hope I hear soon and that they agree to send me home for the surgery. I do not want to have it in India because afterwards, I can’t lift anything for a while and how will I move with my backpack?  I guess I could lounge around in my room here at the school until 27 February.  It isn’t that I don’t trust the doctors here, I just would feel better being at home if I have to have surgery.

It is disappointing because it means I will miss Cambodia and Laos AGAIN!, I will be home for a longer part of the winter and I need surgery. That’s not fun.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Day 10, Yoga School, Rishikesh, India, February 12, 2023

Sunday is our only day off and I enjoyed every minute of it. I had hoped to sleep in but I was awakened at 4:20 by a bad/good dream. I was in a golf tournament and waiting for my group to arrive. Meanwhile, I was called into an office for a telephone call and all of a sudden I was in India. It was my mom on the phone, very frazzled. She was a bit incoherent and crying and obviously upset. She was trying to tell me something about dad and all I could think was that he had died and then all of a sudden I heard his voice in the background. What mom was trying to tell me was that dad had stumbled and found a lottery ticket under his chair and they had won 10 million dollars!  I did not get back to sleep after that!

I had a leisurely morning, washed some clothes and then decided to go to the hospital. I have had a small bulge above my navel since the middle of December. Dr. Google tells me it’s a hernia and I think I got it from chronic coughing at that time. It hasn’t hurt or bothered me much except sometimes I feel bloated. This week however I have felt a burning sensation around the bulge and I have had a lot of diarrhea. I am keeping it at bay with Imodium and don’t know if it’s part of the hernia or what or if I’ve just had it with the food.  Come to think of it,  I haven’t taken Imodium for 30 hours.  Anyway, I decided to get it checked out.

Walking to the main street to find a tuqtuq, I walked very closely by a young heifer who had about two inch horns. I did not see she had a young calf beside her and she butted me! She knocked the phone right out of my back pocket but luckily she didn’t hurt me. Cows are everywhere and sometimes it’s hard to avoid them but she was just protecting her calf. I’m going to make a wide detour around cattle from now on, that’s for sure!

Nirmal Ashram Hospital is about 4 km away and fairly modern looking. I had to register and pay $1.33 to see an emergency doctor. I walked into room 21 which had four occupied beds and many people milling about. As I waited, the room practically emptied. The doctor had me lie on a bed and he pressed on my stomach and agreed that it was a hernia but he suggested I come back tomorrow morning at 9 AM for an ultrasound. He wrote “cancelled” on my registration sheet and my $1.33 was refunded. I contacted my insurance to make sure I am doing things properly and will go back to the hospital tomorrow for the ultrasound. I’m a bit torn because I only have another six weeks until I go home and I would really like to complete this trip but at the same time I don’t want to endanger myself. I will wait to see what the ultrasound shows.

On my way home, we crossed a dry river bed-

There was a lot of traffic and going was slow.  I don’t know if that’s a typical Sunday in the neighbourhood or if it was because it was a beautiful day.  I found a Burger King but it only served chicken and veg sandwiches so instead I ate chicken momos which are dumplings and very delicious at a nearby Thai place. I spent the afternoon lounging in my room, reading, playing scrabble and drinking coffee.

I’ve had a good day and I’m hoping for an excellent sleep so I can face the gruelling week ahead.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Day 9, Yoga School, Rishikesh, India, February 11, 2023

My intention for today was patience: patience with myself in doing the poses, patience with the clock- not to watch it too much especially during pranayama and meditation, and patience with my teachers and their pronunciation.  I’ve run out of patience with the cooks.  Supper was disgusting- hot and sour soup but not really, white rice, lentils, pasta with what looked like ketchup for sauce and big chunks of green pepper and the straw that broke the camel’s back - blended spinach with chunks of cooked mushrooms.  I only took soup and spinach and after a mouthful, dumped it in the garbage and went back to the Israeli place for falafel. While there I was listening to the table next to me and eventually joined Finn from Ontario, Ashley from Dublin and Joseph from Germany. They go to a different school and so we were comparing. My school was on sale so rather than $1300 US I paid $1000. They paid $1300 but their day doesn’t start until 6:15, meditation and pranayama are only 45 minutes each and they only go half a day on Saturdays and have all day Sunday off.  They finish on the 24th. Joseph, who is also 61, said that he is not even the oldest person.  They are pleased with their food, but so are probably some at this place so that is subjective. I know the grass is always greener but in some ways I wish I was there, just for the camaraderie with people my age.

Our pranayama instructor took us outside with our neti pots-

The first time I heard of this concept was when I lived in Paynton. I had a terrible cold and Dr. Dyck  in Maidstone told me to snort salt water up one nostril to help with my sinuses.  It worked but I don’t think I’ve ever done it again until today.

It’s not always easy to copy notes-

This is also the guy who opens up the attendance book and asks us who is missing, counts the class, counts the names on the list and closes the book. However, he’s not as bad as the anatomy teacher who told us today that you can get scoliosis by carrying a shoulder bag or by using a mouse a lot and these kids are just breathing it all in!  

Yesterday in philosophy we drew a picture and today the prof offered to interpret everyone’s. You would have thought he was giving out free candy the way the kids practically ran to the front to be able to sit right beside him. I rolled my eyes.  They were so desperate in fact James, the child in the man’s body who farted horrible lentil farts all morning, asked quietly if he could record what the prof had to say about him but once the prof got going, it was evident he was really full of shit so James decided he didn’t need to record. I just shook my head. And what’s interesting is how the prof feeds off this adoration from these children-

The sun represents spirituality, mountains- goals, the snake power and sexuality, the house love, the river emotions, birds freedom, trees family and the path desires.  I drove over my snake and killed it ( I hate snakes!).  The best thing about the exercise was that it used up to full classes! I am just sounding so negative but I am very disillusioned.

My physical ability is coming along pretty well. It’s amazing what happens to your body when you’re physically active more than three hours per day. One thing I cannot do though is lie on my back and roll forward to a seated position but then continue to stand up.   Today’s ashtanga class was more like gymnastics and we did a lot of partner work, similar to what I remember teaching in gym class years ago. One partner lays on their back with their arms and legs straight up in the air while the other partner gets on top of them and extends their arms out like an airplane. We also were back to back, hooked arms and then using our butt in the sway of the back of the other person lifted them up and then let go. My partner Seema could not lift and hold me but she can do the forward roll and stand up into chair pose. It is funny how differently our muscles work.

Tomorrow the group is going on an excursion to a waterfall but I am not. I need some unorganized time.

Only 2 weeks to go!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Day 8, Yoga School , Rishikesh, India, February 10, 2023

My intention was to just once again enjoy my time here, and, I had a good day!

As I get stronger, remember the poses and am able to execute them, I am having more fun. However I hate the breathing class. Apparently the meditation teacher thinks he’s also teaching breathing because today was two hours of it. The classes are so boring unless we get to lay down because then you can hope you’ll fall asleep.  It’s so uncomfortable sitting on the hard cement with an infinitely thin yoga mat. Today the real breathing teacher made us breathe 50 times in a minute with our arms raised and bending the knees up and down. That was only one of the exercises. I kept my eyes closed and tried to look like I was doing it but there’s no way I am hyperventilating over and over and over. He said we will feel lighter and our arms may tingle. Duh! That’s a buildup of CO2 in the blood causing that, it isn’t anything yogic or spiritual.

Lunch was once again raw radish and cucumber which I am very tired of, white rice, lentils and kofta which means blended carrots, capsicum, potatoes, cauliflower and green peas according  to the Internet recipe but I doubt all of that was in it.  We probably got potatoes and carrots.  No way are they going to spring for the other vegetables!  The food processed vegetables are rolled into meatball sized balls, fried and then cooked in a sauce, always a sauce which they call a gravy, with chilli powder, coriander powder and always garam masala. It actually tasted pretty good but I’m so tired of the gravy and breakfast was just two hours before so I wasn’t very hungry.  I am though looking for the perfect sweet lassi,  I’ve tried 2 different places but so far, no luck.  

After lunch I took my pants to a tailor to get the hole fixed in the leg.  The man took a look at them, walked to his cupboard and pulled out a piece of cloth almost identical to my pants! He knew exactly what caused the hole as did everyone except the guy who did it and for Rs.200 which is $3.26, I will have repaired pants tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday I noticed they were setting up a huge tent by a restaurant.  Today it was completed-

and there were lots of people in fancy clothes milling about. There’s a wedding! As I carried on down the street the groom and his family were on their way.

Leading the group was the music machine and DJ. The cart was pulled by a motor on wheels that did not have enough oomph to get up the hill so men were pushing it a few feet at a time and then blocking the tires and dragging the DJ stand up the hill –

Next came musicians and dancers –

and then the groom –

The procession carried on up the hill-

Once the groom arrived at the wedding hall, there were fireworks but I didn’t hang around.  

The afternoon classes always come along too quickly.  Anatomy was boring - hyper and hypo lordosis- as if I care or as if I’ll ever have a client that has it.  And if I did, wouldn’t they already be seeing a physiotherapist for proper care?  Then Mr. philosophy who thinks he’s funny and these young kids giggle at him to encourage his not funny behavior, had us draw a picture including a snake, mountains, a river, the sun, a tree, a bird, a house and a path and then told us what each symbol stood for. Now he’s Mr. psychology apparently. So we looked at each other‘s drawings and then of course I end up in the group with the nerd of the class and she starts analyzing everybody as if she knows what she’s talking about. I reminded the group more than once that this was just for fun!  He mustn’t have felt like talking about the usual boring stuff.  My last yoga class was very difficult because my muscles are absolutely exhausted. That’s good because you’re supposed to fatigue your muscles like that, only thing is there’s no rest because tomorrow will be another gruelling day. I couldn’t do half of what we were supposed to do because my body was just mush. And, we have to know the Sanskrit numbers from 1-17!  Frick.  I’ll never teach Ashtanga yoga!  What a waste of ink even writing them down!

I had a good day but I don’t really belong here. I have no intention of teaching yoga so why am I putting myself through an hour of breathing and an hour of meditation, an hour of anatomy and another hour of philosophy when all I want to do is practice yoga?  Oh well, I am 38% done and I think I can stick it out until the end.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Day 7 Yoga School, Rishikesh, India, February 9, 2023

4:45 came very early but my day was 8/10 which is pretty good, all things considered.   My intention was just to breathe - take each class as it is, do my best and try to enjoy.  I think it worked pretty well!  

The morning yoga class was good and I feel myself getting more flexible and stronger. We do a lot of chanting in Hindi or Sanskrit in the second class and I don’t understand a word of it of course and so he may as well be speaking gibberish. It is apparently some kind of a prayer but there’s nothing spiritual about it for me.  In the third class we did breathing exercises and had to deeply breath and exhale 50 times in one minute. That’s hyperventilating and I said fuck that and just faked it.  I didn’t need a headache or to pass out from some exercise like that.  I am finding my actions reflect my awareness of not wanting to be injured and so an activity like that is something I am not doing. I found the same thing with a pose we learned yesterday. It really isn’t dangerous but I have the feeling that I’m going to do a flip and I can’t afford that because who knows what I would break.  Thinking like that makes me super cautious which I don’t think is a bad thing.

Breakfast was so good I did not have to go across the street for eggs.  The purchaser must be lazy though because all we had was papaya and I know there are oranges, bananas, watermelon, and apples one minute walk away. We also had oatmeal porridge but they don’t put salt in it and so it could be better, and paratha which is stuffed chapati. These were stuffed with potatoes and were very tasty especially with the white and green chutneys.  After breakfast we had teaching methods which went fine and then it was lunch or what they called lunch. It included steamed broccoli, white rice and lentils. That was it. I heard John from the UK talking about the eggs he was going to have as soon as he walked out of the dining room.

I went looking for a place to put money on my Sim card because it’s expiring soon and found four shops that were all closed for lunch. They open again at four and close at eight but I am in class until seven and then have to eat supper then walk 20 minutes to the shop so I will have to wait until Sunday. Meanwhile I found a gold mine. This store looked interesting from the outside so I went in and found they have energy balls the size of a tennis ball for a dollar and as I was paying the clerk, who is a white foreigner, asked if I had been upstairs. I said no and he said oh you have to go up and see what we have. Just out of the blue I said do you have tuna? and he said yes!  I said really? and he said yes, so I ran up the stairs. I bought 3 cans of tuna, a jar of peanut butter peanut and a can of hummus. I am in heaven and now at least have something to fall back on.

Anatomy was anatomy – it is so boring and I can’t imagine we will be asked much if any of the information she tells us. Philosophy was OK – the prof thinks he’s funny and maybe he is. My last yoga class was good too but not once did the instructor comment on what I was doing or make an adjustment so I started feeling sorry for myself thinking one of two things – either I am a hopeless case or else I am too old that he doesn’t want to bother with me. When he does demonstrations he picks skinny, young, good looking girls and it seems he is always adjusting and helping them whereas me he seems to ignore. So after class I went up to him and asked - am I to assume that because you do not comment or adjust me that I am doing everything right? and he said yes you are! I was very proud of myself and left the yoga hall with a smile on my face instead of tears.

Supper was lame.  We had steamed broccoli for lunch and broccoli soup for supper.  It was tasty though.  Then we had raw radish.  Their radishes can be the size of your arm and are very white and mild but you can only eat so much of that. Of course there are lentils and white rice and then some kind of a pumpkin stew. I could only stomach about 1/ 3 of a cup so thank God I bought my peanut butter.

Unfortunately the meals are not going to improve and that information will certainly be reflected in my review.  I’m hoping for a good sleep and as good a day tomorrow!

Day 6 Yoga School, Rishikesh, India, February 8, 2023

I had a great sleep and an excellent day. I was awake before my alarm which I like because then it feels like I’ve had enough sleep.  My intention for today was to just go with the flow, take what comes without judgement and see what happens. My first yoga class was very good and I am really liking my teacher because he is a kind and gentle man.  He’s not the best “teacher” but he certainly knows his stuff. He will demonstrate and then tell us to work with a partner rather than have us go through each step slowly as he goes through it. There are so many questions when we are working with partners that could be avoided if he simply had us do it with him once or twice before he turned us loose.

The meditation class was also good because rather than breathing in through our right nostril and out through our left nostril for 10 counts and then reversing it – that is so boring, he taught us yogic nadri for which we laid on our backs in a comfortable position, covered up with a blanket and listened to him take us through 5 different steps.  We had to become conscious of 32 body parts, then we imagined we were somewhere in nature - he talked about being by a river, near mountains etc. and then I fell asleep! I had a feeling like I was awake but floating above my body. The class flew by which was a bonus because it’s usually painfully long.

Unfortunately there is a child in a man’s body named James from Rhode Island in my classes. What a piece of work!  He never sits still and today he sat almost in the instructors lap. Rather than sit respectfully and listen, he’s always doing some sort of contortion which is really annoying and distracting. Of course he won’t stay at the back of the room and do his whatever it is he does because he wants everyone to see him.  He also has about a 6 inch long red beard that he combs and plays with - a lot!  He puts beard balm on it too.  In class! He’s absolutely gross.  And some of the girls are so pathetic. They just melt when one of the two guys who talk to girls here talk to them. John from London is a nice man – friendly, smart and outgoing but for a while he was talking to a girl who laughed at everything he said and so loud the whole building could hear her. Get a grip. I sure hope I never behaved like that!  Wink, wink. James from R.I. was talking to the girl beside me and telling her about his therapist and his spiritual and emotional growth and she was just buying it hook line and sinker.  Pathetic!  

I’ve been visiting with Seema from Delhi.  Unfortunately her English isn’t that good so our conversations are limited but she is a lovely caring woman who will become a grandma for the first time next month!  

I’m across the street, which is about four steps, to a restaurant from where I ordered eggs for breakfast. I brought them back to eat in the dining room but later this afternoon I was told that I am not allowed to bring outside food in because others will look and see it and want some. Huh? Eggs are not allowed because they are non-veg. I thought you cheap bastards! Lunch was absolutely disgusting. It was raw cabbage again with nothing on it, white rice with coriander seeds - gross, lentils of course- fart, fart and a soy sausage stew- fricking hell!  I couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t eat anything!  I tasted it all but no thanks.  Luckily I wasn’t hungry because we just had breakfast two hours before and I think that might be their intention. Give us cheap breakfast food and then cut back on lunch food. I also asked for another roll of toilet paper and you would think that for US$999 from February 1 until February 26, that they could give me more than one roll but no, I got one when I arrived and from now on it’s up to me to buy the rest. I’m surprised they don’t charge me to get a new towel or to change my sheets! After lunch the owner asked me how the food was. I describe to him what we had had and how there was little to no nutrition in it. I asked why we never had eggs and he said well eggs aren’t vegetarian. I said what? You are talking vegan. He said the only animal product they use is occasionally milk in black tea. I said you need to change your website because it says vegetarian and I expected to have options for my protein instead of beans and soy sausage. I expected to have eggs and maybe cheese. If I had known this was a vegan school there is no way in hell I would be here.

After supper, Seema and another Indian woman (she told me her name but I don’t remember – Indian names are so foreign I have nothing to relate to) and I hopped in a tuq tuq and went about 6 km to a sweets shop. Indians love their sweets. I had gulab jamun, my favourite and Seema bought a box of something for her room. We took another ride to the Lakshman Jhula suspension bridge which was built in 1929 and is 450 feet long-

Seema’s friend and Seema-

walked across the Ganges and visited a Hindu temple-

It was a bit of a drag because they chatted in Hindi most of the time.  We got back to the school at 9:29, just in time because the doors are locked at 9:30!

I really enjoyed my yoga classes and the lectures were OK too. Physically I felt good and that makes all the difference. I’m looking forward to a great sleep and another good day tomorrow. Maybe my intentions are working?

  Cancun, Mexico to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,     December 31, 2023 I was up at 4:30 and walking to the bus depot by 5:30.  I wore my headlam...