BootsnAll Travel Network

June 8th, 2008 – Shimla, India

So the rafting trip was rescheduled for today and the weather appeared to be cooperating with us so far.  I got up at around 715pm, got ready for the rafting, packed the necessities and went down for some breakfast.  We were supposed to leave by 8am, but everyone was late including the tour company who arranged the jeeps for us to take.

Once we were all situated and ready to go, we headed down the ridge to where cars are allowed and typically the meeting spot for our jeep pickup spot.  We piled in to two jeeps and space was tight.  Two of us had to sit in the way back of the jeep facing sideways, that would not be I.

The ride would take approximately 2 hours or more, it took forever since we had to get all the way down the mountain and to where the river was located.  Also as I have said before roads are extremely narrow and hard to navigate.  Often a supposed two lane road looks like a one lane road so space is tight and what makes it even worse is that often there is not a protective barrier to guard cars from getting knocked off the road.  Also I should add that probably 85% of all curves and bends are complete blind curves so the drivers honk excessively to make sure the oncoming drivers are aware that you are coming around the bend.

One of the girls on the trip Heidi, who is from the University of Denver was scared shitless the whole time and was severely anxious.  At one point we got really close to hitting a huge trunk she started screaming a little bit and the driver clearly was upset because he turned around and gave her a death look like if you scream again I’m throwing you out of the jeep.  When driver is this intense, drivers need quiet not screaming.  This reminded me of all the times Dad would be driving and mom would say “oh my g-d!” which would make Dad flinch and she would be listening to her radio or would be reading something, haha.

When we got real close to the river the only way down was on this pure dirt road.  It was real intense and luckily we were in a jeep that could handle the bumpiness and off road terrain that this road was.  We eventually got to the bottom, unloaded the stuff, I loaded up my bag, made sure my waterproof bags were sealed, and left my camera on the jeep.  I was not going to risk something happening with the rafting guide’s waterproof bag and mine was not big enough to fit my camera and other necessities I wanted to take along with me.

I went shirtless since I didn’t need to have another shirt wet and smelling of mildue.  I got my helmet, my life jacket and my paddle and made my way down to the river, after a few photos was snapped of my hot looking self.  Once we got down to the river, the guide gave us some safety instructions.  Many people had not previously gone white water rafting and while I am no expert I have been several times dating back to sleep away camp down the Delaware, which could be the most calm river in the world.  Next we loaded up the rafts, I was in the front since I was a “strong looking paddler.”  The strongest paddlers are typically in the front when the raft is controlled by oars.  If the boat is not controlled by oars the strongest paddler is in the way back to help steer the boat and propel it when need be.

It was disappointing that the trip only took 50 minutes.  I didn’t care how tame it was because I just enjoy being out on the boat rafting, but 50 minutes blew.  After the rafting we got dried off, took some photos, I got some really nice stones from the edge of the river and headed up for lunch.  I also want to mention that we had some pretty nice rapids but nothing major and it was fun to paddle through them and I was really paddling hard, great workout.

The boxed lunch we got from the tour company was absolutely awful, a hardboiled egg, a disgusting sandwich on white bread, a nasty warm juice and awful fries.  Needless to say the others were not pleased either and I had to get a cold fanta softdrink, glass bottle of couse, and a bag of chips that I wouldn’t eat till I got back to my room at the hotel.

After lunch the group had to decide who wanted to continue to hike to the Shiva Temple and who wanted to go back.  Of course the majority of the Indian students wanted to go back, why would they want some extra social interaction with the rest of the non-indian students?  They never do and that has been quite disappointing, but I’ll leave that rant for another post.  So along with myself, five others including professor subotnik wanted to hike to the Shiva Temple which was about 10 kilometers in the wrong direction.  Since 7 of us wanted to go, this meant three people would have to squoosh in to the back of the jeep and so the others needless to say really screwed us on that one.  After some negotiation with the driver who wanted more money we agreed to pay the driver 400 extra rupees (a little less than 10 dollars) for the extra ride.  I personally thought it was included but I guess not.  When I first asked the driver about the Shiva Temple he pretended not to know where it was, I guess money talks and helps remember.  So we all piled in to the jeep to head off to the Shiva Temple.
When we got there it said 700 meters to the temple.  Apparently it was a difficult hike according to one of the professors, it turned out to be quite easy.  It was up and down mountains, but nothing crazy and I was able to pick up a walking/monkey stick and make my way out to the temple cave.  Once we got to the temple cave high up on the banks of the river, we were greeted by some guy who gave us this red dye bindi between our eyes and we proceeded in to the temple cave.  The temple cave was quite small but powerful.  Arrindum explained to us that Shiva was the goddess of destruction, which made sense considering a lot of the stones were covered in red and some had pitchforks next to them pointing up.  After absorbing the culture of the Shiva Temple Cave, I gave the religious dude an offering from us all, some others gave a little, snapped some photos and we hiked back down to the jeep.

The ride back was tiring and I had to sit in the middle since both girls on my sides needed the window to help mitigate their degree of being car sick.  I had no problem with it, I don’t tend to turn down cosy seats between two lovely ladies 🙂  On this ride home I fell asleep briefly, chatted a little with a girl on my trip who I hadn’t really talked much with and we got back around 530PM.  Dinner wasn’t till 8PM so I decided to relax, Cait took a shower, then I did, and then I did a little reading and walked around the hotel chatting with random students in the program I could find.  I had class tomorrow so I wanted an early night and got it as I went to bed probably around 1130PM.  It was a real long day, great day, I got some sun and some burn, but overall the tan is looking nice.



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