So here I am back from my little trip. Two weeks holiday. Gone in the blink of an eye.
I’ve been to both India and Nepal in that time and seen some breathtakingly wonderful things. Also some breathtakingly weird ones.
The Taj Majhal. You know the Taj Mahal don’t you. I did. I knew what it looked like, what it was for. I knew the backstory. I’d seen Princess Diana sitting on a bench all lonely. I’ve seen it on TV documentaries and in magazines. I knew it. I knew what to expect.
Apparently, no I didn’t. The Taj Mahal is possibly the purest most perfect construction I have ever had the privilege to set eyes upon. It was misty on the morning we visited. The whiteness of its marble glowed through the gloom, ghostly and ethereal. A perfectly iced cake. The size of the thing is overwhelming…yes, monumental. Up close, the marble glistens with colours and striations unimaginable from a distance. To think that the main building was designed and built in just eight years. Puts our cathedral builders to shame. I’ve already told Chris that I’m expecting an equally impressive memorial. He’d better get cracking.
You emerge from the visit feeling as if you’ve been to another dimension, especially given the melee of people, animals, vehicles, etc that meet you at the exit. Cows, pigs, monkeys and Camels amongst the motorbikes and rickshaws.
Everything in India seems to be done in the open. Haircuts, shaves, dental work, shoe mending, clothes sewing, cooking, eating and all manner of ablutions (don’t even ask) done at the side of the road for all to see. Now, this wouldn’t suit us all. Not me anyway, I like my privacy (and safety), but our lovely local guide assured us that
‘India is fun to live in, no health and safety rules and regulations. You can do what you like, when and where you like. You can drive anyhow you like. Everybody gets on and goes about their business as they like’
Well, doesn’t sound too bad. And I witnessed an extraordinary acceptance, by most individuals, of life and living and their place in the world that we in the West just don’t have. This may be to do with religious belief – Hindus and Bhuddists both believe in reincarnation and that this life is just a path to the next. I’m sure we could learn more than a little from both.
Nepal was different. Calmer, less cows in the road.
I didn’t really know the meaning of magnificence until I saw the mountains there. Everest from a teeny tiny plane. Just sixteen of us, all with window seats, all invited to the cockpit to view the vista from the front. The mountain range went on and on.. glistening below and beside us. More icing. More cake. (I must have been hungry a lot – everything looking cakey). I now am the proud owner of a certificate to say I’ve taken the Everest flight. Ok, not quite the same as climbing the thing, but as it says on my bought-on-the-plane-never-to-be-worn tee-shirt:
‘I didn’t climb Everest, but I touched it with my heart’
Then there was the splendorous Annapurna range with orange tips at sunrise (Jaffa cakes??) worth getting up at 4:30 for.
These are but a couple of things from my brilliant adventure. I won’t bore you with more right now. Soon though. Off now to find cake.