Friday, April 28, 2006

Buses, Trucks & Donkeys...

I returned to the city of Dehradun last night. My journey from northern Uttaranchal started at 5:30 am when I work up for chai and then didn't end until thirteen hours later when I finally stepped into my home. As the bus I was travelling on, made it's way up the last mountain range before the start of the plains, a mammoth storm began to approach from high hills. Dark armaggedon-esque clouds preceded by ferocious gusts of wind, spewing up storms of dust hit us on the last leg of the day long journey. The sky was an untucked, bunched up, down comforter of grey and black clouds. It reminded me of a Minnesotan storm just before the tornado siren sounds.

My five day journey was fun and relaxing. I left Dehradun on Sunday. I should have known that transportation woes awaited me, as the first bus I jumped on broke down within minutes of boarding.

Before my trip began, my friend, Kriparam, and I loaded up a truck with cement, pipes and other materials for the construction of the primary school in Tati. The truck was driven by Kriparam's buddy, Ashish. Our destination was two hundred kilometres away, through horribly dusty and bumpy Himalayan roads.

The drive took two days. The truck was filled with cement and thus, very heavy. The engine overheated every hour and we had to stop and look for a water source to cool down our hot horse power. Adding inslult to injury, we had a punctured tire late at night and attached to the roof were six metal pipes, each twelve feet long- all of which needed to be continually re-tied. We trip frequently came to a halt.

Forty eight hours later, we finally made it to the trailhead at Tati. After a lovely meal of rice, chapati and daal, we went to sleep at a local resthouse. When we woke the next morning, the mountains were still covered in the black of night. We spent the next three hours following three donkeys carrying cement up a five thousand foot mountain.

Ah yes, the true joys of living and working here in India. If only to wake up at dawn to follow donkeys up a mountain!

The first two photos are a few of the workers who build the school. Some are local fellas and others have come from far away states and places- Bihar, Faizabad... The third photo is my friend, Pandit-Ji, in the middle of a bathing session. The fourth is a hill I retreated to for a nice nap and a friend who came along. The final photo is at the start of my day long journey back to Dehradun, cruising on the roof of a jeep at nine am.

Love to all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a great hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Blogger Sahir said...

give a word up to my bihari bhai!

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Anonymous Sam Lenzner said...

I am feeling the beard's growth. Put up more pictures of you.

Much Love,

2:42 AM  
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