Sunday, November 23

Day 87-Jhansi


What is most notable about travel in India, is the uncertainty one faces as one enters the carnival that is the street. Will one find a scrupulous driver, will he take you where you think you told him to go, will he please god not hit some Brahma bull or beggar woman sitting stubbornly in the street, will his vehicle not rattle apart beneath you anxious ass?

Testing my own destiny, I traveled to Jhansi, a non-touristed transportation hub, necessary in order to connect to my next destination. This town is not listed in my guidebook, and is therefore off the map, anxiety level 1. Upon arriving, I am informed by the throng of hungry drivers that festival is taking place and there will be no rooms, I must move on, anxiety level 2.
Nonetheless I make my way to center and begin the search for a room, and after 3 fruitless attempts I am truly sweating bullets. My fourth proved available and I settled in for the afternoon, only to be roused from my nap by the most godawfully loud contraption I have ever heard, a megaphone multiplex blasting Bach fugues pecked out on some cheap Casio keyboard. Seems a wedding party had arrived, and I would spent the night haunted by a most celebratory cacaphony.

Not dissuaded, today I made the short journey through the scrubby plains, stands of sycamore and locust broken by random intrusions of granite blocks and boulder fields, to the serene and magical village of Orchha. There I was greated by a colorful panapoly of odd characters, dressed in robes of saffron, flowing suits of embroidered beige silk, or nearly naked and smeared with ashes. I eschewed the crowds however and headed for the abandoned temples scattered about the countryside. There I would find the peace and quiet I have for so long needed, amoung the soaring spires dripping with the hives of wild bees (African killers?), hidden coves concealing screeching parakeets, their long abandoned buttresses overgrown with shrubs and weeds (snakes about?). As I traversed their flanks, a small group of dogs deemed to follow (rabid?) and turning a corner, a very large badass male langor monkey cussed me out for my intrusion. It seems the anxiety of the street had not altogether left me, still I was feeling apprehensive, after all, those vultures with their 8-foot wingspans were wheeling overhead for some reason!

2 comments:

Sandy said...

Hi,
My name is Sandy (Taos, NM) and I have just read some of your travels.
Fascinating!! I spent 20 years in the Air Force traveling and I can appreciate what you are experiencing.
Now, I currently work as the restaurant manager at Doc Martin's in at the Taos Inn and rarely get away.
Thanks so much for taking me on your travels.

Anonymous said...

Hello big brother,
I'm glad to find you in northern India or beyond? with the news of Mumbai today.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the States and we will be thinking of you as you continue to travel on down the road....
Love,
Kim