Monday, February 22, 2010

From Gujarat to Uttar Pradesh.

Okay, so since I last wrote, which was too long ago, we have done and seen quite a bit. Good internet connection can be very difficult to find, not to mention finding a decent computer that has a USB or dvd drive so I can put my photos on here. I can't believe that almost everyone here has a cell phone, even people on remote islands with only 3 hours of electricity a day, but finding a good internet connection to update the blog is difficult.
Anyway. We went to Sasan Gir by train. It was a romantic Valentines day! My wonderful husband surprised me with chocolates and flowers, so the train ride was extra awesome. Not to mention I got to listen to Tammy and Marvin on my Ipod so it was just a wicked Valentines Day. I heart Tammy and Marvin, lol...and I heart my husband! Here is some photos of us on the train riding is 2AC, which is our favourite class. It's the most comfortable for the cost, sometimes a little chilly, but that's what the sleeping bag is for.

In Sasan we stayed at a resorty type place which was expensive (for us) and over rated, so the next night we stayed with a man named Nittan and his family. It was much cheaper and a much better experience (except the bed was very uncomfortable and the room was a little dodgy.) He invited us to a huge religious Hindi celebration that the village had for a boy, it was some sort of Right a Passage thing that we don't quite understand, but it was AWESOME!! The music was really loud, the Saris were soooo colourful and the people were sooooo welcoming! They had us dancing with them. The photos that I took are going to be amazing. Just lots of colours and movement. The children were too adorable for words.
In Sasan Gir we also spent two days searching for Lions and we were lucky enough to see a lioness!! She was beautiful! I was able to snap a photo and Julian was able to get the video footage and then she ran off into the jungle. The government claims that there are over 500 lions lefts here, but apparently the truth is more like 100-200. But the government also tries to claim that there are over 5000 tigers left in India when the truth is more like 1400. And with China opening up their borders again for buying tigers, there will be more illegal poaching going on which will make it harder to protect and increase the population. Anyway, here is a video of the beautiful cat we saw!

Aside from the countless spotted dear, wild boars, monkeys and samburs we also saw some crocodiles! They are way uglier and bigger then alligators. I actually can't believe HOW close I got to some of these things, maybe 2 meters. Sometimes with a lens in front of your eye you can get carried away, lol. But I got some really excellent photos. Of course all the ones here on the blog are from our point and shoot because I shoot in RAW, so I will have to wait to get home so I can process them through Photoshop.

On our way back to Ahmedabad we took Sleeper class, which was maybe too much for me. The space was extremely limited and the smells were something else! I suppose it's 'cuz the windows are open and all over the train tracks is human waste 'cuz you go to the toilet in a hole on the train and it literally just falls out on to the tracks. And with over 1.1 million people riding the train a day, you can imagine what it's like! On Sleeper class there is no air conditioning, which I usually prefer, but the heat really adds to the stench!

When we got back to Ahmedabad we visited the incredible Dada Hari Wav step well. It was so big and very impressive. It is no longer functioning as a well, but it was all hand carved in 1499. The tombs of the Muslim architects that were commissioned to build it lay atop it, and they were killed after the well was finished so that they wouldn't be able to make a replica. They did a very beautiful job, but how fair was that?!

As for the food, it's INCREDIBLE!! I know I have said that before, but I can't get enough of it. It saddens me that after we leave India we'll never have food like this again 'cuz you just can't get it in Canada or London. We just don't have the proper spices and FRESH food available to us.

Here is Julian with my favourite dish called Chana Puri!! MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Here's a dish called Thalis. I am unsure what most of it is, but whatever, it's delicious and nutritious!!

And here I am with freshly squeezed pineapple juice! Don't like Pineapple? Where there is so much to choose from but the fruit has to be in season otherwise it's not fresh. There is sweet lime, mango, papaya, orange and apple and squeezed right in front of your eyes!

We have learned so much about nutrition and now I know even MORE about why the western world is soooo unhealthy and why we are all medicated. Here in Ahmedabad we were with a family made up of doctors and pharmacists and they were shocked when I told them that homeopathy wasn't covered by our medical care. They said that they feel that the natural way is best. Not only is it cheaper, but it fixes the root of the problem instead of masking problems and then causing future problems. He also talked a lot about how important diet is and I know we all know that, but in Canada there are so many "health nuts" and they eat diet foods, exercise like crazy, don't eat past 6pm or 8pm and mean while most people still struggle with their weight and health. People don't even eat dinner out here until at least 9pm and finding an overweight person is far and few between. Julian and I haven't even seen a gym, though there is lots of yoga and meditation available. The farmers fields are much much smaller and still family run. They don't use chemicals or steroids or antibiotics to mass produce their food. The food is hand planted and hand picked. In the last entry I showed you a place where people take their milk for selling. It's unpasteurized milk that they're drinking. In Canada there was a man who was drinking and selling unpasteurized milk to those who WANTED it and the government put a stop to that claiming that there are health risks...okay what? But pumping your cows with chemicals and filling your milk with chemicals is healthy? It just doesn't make sense! Food here is fresh and fruits and veggies are picked when their ripe. I know that in Canada we live in a place where the climate is too cold for growing foods all year round, but that just means that the fruit and the veg are all prematurely picked which means that it's lacking many vitamins and essential sugars that are cancer preventing. Not to mention the size of our fruits and veg are much much bigger thanks to the shit they grow it in. It's no wonder that so many people in the western world have health problems. Just think of all the people you know that are medicated because of hyper activity, depression, digestion problems, back problems, heart problems...the list goes on and on. Good luck finding a child out here on Ritalin. And Alzheimers and Dementia aren't nearly as common as they are at home. Neither is digestion problems which are on the rise at home. Certain spices and foods can prevent all these problems, not a prescription from the doctor. Almost every meal I eat here is full of ginger and chilis and other spices. When you eat fresh spicy foods it gets the stomach ready for digesting, sorta like when people take digestive enzymes, but this is a natural way and a better way for your body. I have a very serious case of acid reflux which the doctor wanted to put me on this drug that would cost me $60 a month and I would have to be on it possibly my whole life. Of course I refused. Though I have problems at home with food regularly, I have not had a single problem since I have been here. Not one. And for me, this is a miracle. Eating is not a chore right now, it is a pleasant and wonderful experience with a constant party in my mouth!!
I could go on and on about this topic, but I think I will stop here. I just wish that India and Canada could combine their efforts (not just in the medical world, but everywhere) and if they did, it would be the perfect place to live. But for now, the idea will remain a utopia.

On that note, we are in Delhi right now, we just got back from Agra and I will update you next time I write (which won't be long from now) on the sloth bear rehabilitation centre we visited for the dancing bears that once filled the streets of Agra for stupid tourists to pay and watch dance. The abuse these animals took was disgusting!! I will also post photos of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. We have just been so busy enjoying the last week sitting on roof tops drinking Indian chai or lassis. So I will leave you with a photo of the streets of Delhi that I took from one of the roof tops.


Anonymous said...

I love you, Heather! I agree with everything you said - can't wait for your return so we can talk about all of these things you are learning and experiencing! Miss you tons!


John said...

By any chance, is the dancing bear rehabilitation centre called 'Wildlife SOS'? I saw this short video about a guy who apparently convinced all the bear owners to give up their bears. Here it is, for anyone interested and in range of a decent internet connection.

Looking forward to seeing your pictures when you guys get back.

Also, I am very jealous about that food!

Heather Bays said...

Thanks you guys!! And thanks john for that link. It is Wildlife SOS who are responsible for saving the dancing bears in India. Read my next entry where I wrote more about it!!!

See you guys in one month from now!