Land of Viruses
Adding insult to gastrointestinal injury, my poor little camera’s flash drive became infected. Perhaps it felt left out. Either way, it requires no immodium and I’m cleaning it up now.
Today was the day of walking for me. Bara stayed in to rest, so I headed up to the eponymous waterfall to stretch my legs a bit. It should have been a pretty short walk, but I decided that I had to climb to the top of the waterfall, and promptly lost the path about 2/3 of the way up. I figured I had a break when a low fence appeared and followed the muddy rut uphill and directly into the top of an apple orchard where a nice old man stood sharpening his scyth with an unsettlingly vacant expression on his face. The potential slasher star aside, the view was spectacular.
Four hours or so later, I wandered back into the Dharma Guest House a little muddier but quite a bit happier than before. On the walk I met a group of Nepalese kids working as porters and followed them back down using the proper path. Sadly, the little trip was wrapped up by crossing the gorge right outside of Vashisht where all the locals throw their trash. Oh well, I guess they say, the spring thaw probably washes it all down river anyway.
The interview with Tito, the palm painter, went quite well earlier. He laments the lack of understanding the local people have of the history of Vashisht. Evidently, it was the home of Rama’s guru back in the day, and various ancient altars and monuments have been discovered here. He showed me a model of one he’d carved from marble and advised me to go visit the temple which is “somewhere over past the waterfall.” Maybe tomorrow 😉
Talked with Jigme from Ceylon for awhile when I got back, and he agrees that in about 10 years, no Western people will be able to visit India if they keep up at this rate. There’s no motivation for the little guy to try to make a difference when faced with the teeming masses of magors out there. The only hope, it seems, is that the oceans surrounding India eventually become so clogged with PET bottles that a JG Ballard “Drought” situation occurs, or that Vishnu (or whichever) decides to re-incarnate finally in the form of a superhuman garbage collector/smiter. Either way, these people aren’t going to do anything about it, and the constant stream of tourists sucking down the only thing safe to eat anymore – packaged chips and bottled water – seem unlikely to demand/suggest/beg for anything to be done. It seems silly to be critical of this stuff, but then again, it’s a classic example of “first they came for the guy down the street…” It’s not our country, sure, but pretty soon we’ll be able to smell it from Prague, and it’d be nice if some of the new little maharajas they’ve got here would deign to give a sh*t about the country they got rich off of. Instead, they float around like little princesses, sticking their noses in the air at everything and rushing back to their guarded compounds.