Hi… I’m high…up in the Himalayan foothills. Just got here & my shoulder is still fuckin’ killin’ after some hard, bumpy travl’in… but I’m getting’ ahead of myself. Varanasi was cool, one day I got a boatman to row me up & down the Ganges while I skinn’d up & wrote a sonnet about the birth of Buddhism, which happened under a tree here round these parts. It was pretty special til we drifted past the burning ghats & the smell got up my nostrils. Another incident sticks in my mind. It began when a young monkey got struck by a car. Suddenly there was a huge kerfuffle as all his tribe turned up to rescue him, stopping the traffic for a good thirty minutes! Finally, my last night in Varanasi was spent watchin DVD’s on an Amstrad green monitor – very weird indeed.
I took another massive train ride (8 hours) to Lucknow, where I was soon book’d into a plushish hotel & wandering about the ruins of the Residency, epicentre of the great Indian Mutiny in 1857 (xxiv). The next day I caught a sleeper train to the mountains. The gauge is narrower in the north, meaning less space in the carriages – we were pack’d up like sardines in a Kwik Save tin, mate! This morning I had to travel by cycle rickshaw & jeep to Naini Tal. It was cool entering the Himalayas, when all of a sudden the plains gave way to lofty peaks – a mixture of English fells & Alpine heights. After another 45K we arrived in Naini Tal; it is like the inside of an ancyent volcano, with a lake & surrounded in forest. I’m not gonna be too active, no treks or anything, on account of my injuries, but I’m gonna go on a trip to gain a glimpse of the Himalayas at a place called Almora. By coincidence the guy who I bought the liquid acid off on the Calcutta boat is gonna be there. Now that is interesting…