Delhi is in our rearview mirror. I'm not saying it was a bad city - there were definite highlights. But staying in Paharganj meant touts, lots of touts. They're like mosquitoes on the tundra. You are OK as long as you keep moving fast, but the moment you slow down they are all over you. I like to think that I taught MNB the fine art of ignoring people and shutting off sales pitches quickly.
Our exodus from the city did not go smoothly. Despite having train tickets that said New Delhi, our train was actually leaving from the Old Delhi station. One harrowing autorickshaw ride later, we made it to the right station. I'm not sure which my physical therapist would disapprove of more - my wearing a 30-ish pound pack all day after we checked out of our hotel, or my running for the train with said pack on. MNB and I had a less-than-stellar moment during all that, yelling at each other as we tried to find the right train. Then we yelled more as we tried to find the right car.
One top-of-the-line 1AC overnight train ride later, and we are spending Christmas Eve in Rishikesh. We splashed out and are paying Rs1650 for a room with a balcony overlooking the Lakshman Jhula suspension bridge and the Ganges. Through the open door, we can hear the sounds of the bazaar below. Monkeys cavort on the roofs. And MNB made the mistake of telling me that he kind of likes the sound of the Indian music pumping in the streets below.
After we checked in, I dragged MNB down the road until we found a massage place. Since there were both male and female massage therapists, we shared a room. Rs450 each got us more than an hour of abusive massage. I have never been so relaxed, nor has my hair ever been so greasy. I hit it twice with shampoo and am debating attacking it with Dr. Bronner's tomorrow.
We only have one more day of bliss here in the foothills of the Himalayas, and then we're off to Agra.