i'm in rishikesh, home of yoga, the ganges river (the clean part), massive ashrams, tons of israeli tourists (i don't know why, but they dominate here like nowhere i have ever seen), cows and monkeys galore, and hindu pilgrims passing through on the way to the 4 sacred himalayan temples in the far north of the state. there are probably a few beatles prilgrims around as well, i suppose, as the beatles made this place famous to us westerners.
it's all very annoying, really. and made more so by my (perhaps bird?*) flu and my days of delerious fever. tomorrow i hope to go white water rafting on the ganges. this will be the first time i have rafted on God, as a few saddus have explained to me that that the ganges is god and mother. Saddus, for those who don't know, are holy men who smoke loads of ganja (legally--saddus only though) and often prance around naked abusing their genitals. a saddu might, for example, wrap his penis around a stick and then tug on mercilessly the stick. this is sometimes even done in public. i'm pretty sure they also abuse themselves the way a 14 year old boy abuses himself vigorously and frequently. these two activities bring them enlightment and/or closeness to god, and i suspect, much nap time. oh, they also ask for money and food (for the munchies). i bought a saddu some chapatis the other night, because he was so mellow (pot) and had such a friendly smile (pot) and followed quietly beside me (pot), such a welcome contrast to the other 9 people chasing me down the street for their handout. i wish the entire country were stoned.
*[i was speculating that i had bird flu becuase i actually ate a dish (many times) in sikkim that contained not only chicken, but CHICKEN FEATHERS. people kept proudly buying me the chewy green dish at a cultural festival (and i kept eating it), until a local dignitary explained to me that the dish was made from feathers. when he saw my face he told me that the feathers were very clean.]