First week of July. It’s time to leave Gurgaon with the family, at least the time of a long weekend. Four months since we have moved and we haven’t really ventured outside our society! Gurgaon is not the most entertaining place and we somehow get super lazy to drive one hour to go to Delhi …
My friend was in favor of flying (to Dehradun) and I booked train tickets (to Haridwar). So that I would not have to experience more turbulences than necessary! And you should see how much they feed you in this 4 hour train with full on AC: chai, toasts, chai, breakfast, lunch and more if there had been time! However it was a little less funny on the way back when we were nearly 2 hours delayed...
We went for three nights in Rishikesh. It was completely off season, with the rain, and most of the guest-houses were empty. Especially those oriented outdoor activities – for example, it has become very trendy to do rafting on the Ganges. I would have been really happy to stay at the Glasshouse on the Ganges of Neemrana (cf the posts and photos of my previous trip in 2008) but it has become far too expensive, monsoon or not monsoon! For half the price we stayed at the Rainforest House, a guest house, which doesn’t look anything fancy from the outside, but the rooms are very nice, the family room open to the outside, offering a completely vegetarian cuisine which tries to incorporate Ayurvedic principles, a great yoga room, monkeys jumping around and the Ganges at a few minutes’ walk. There are a few disadvantages, mainly the quite dicey 500 metre walk down from the main road (and up on the way back), the owners (an Anglo-Indian couple who built the house), nice but they really keep to themselves and a more than fluctuating phone network – although personally I see it rather as an advantage!
Despite the humidity, Rishikesh is definitely charming during the rains... Including the ‘Beatles ashram’ (Maharishi Mahesh Ashram) and the Vashishta caves which are by the Ganges and offer the opportunity of a nice walk along the river, with more nature than in Rishikesh city.
Well, not so easy easy to adapt to be honest... Be it only because of the climate and the wildlife.
For example from May to June it was hot. So hot even the mosquitoes did not survive here, and it was nice! At nearly fifty degrees, you are at high risk of liquefaction, at least of your brain. Even the pool water becomes too hot. One or two sandstorms to spice up everything and give a little fun to the cleaning lady, as the house is apparently completely permeable to dust. From time to time we can spot a snake looking for water, possibly in the pool, even he is hot the poor thing...
End of June – beginning of July there were ups and downs, and a little rain. Just enough for flies to hatch. Quite a nuisance these flies. Obviously, when it gets hot the AC guy comes by to check that everything works well in the office. And as everything works well, he decides to be a bit zealous and loosen some valves. Following which he creates a water damage and flees the crime scene, letting water flowing from the ceiling cheerfully. How nice was it, all of us sweat profusely in the office during the following week!
And then mid-July it began to rain a little more, almost once a week. Just enough for mosquitoes to resuscitate this time! And at the end of the month, a day or two of heavy rains destroyed a lot of infrastructure – well, they forgot to put a drainage system when they built the city so I don’t get how everybody got so surprised by the flooded roads – and left Gurgaon stranded for almost an entire night (cf below what the poor rich of my society had to go through, tough life!). And gave life back to the... ants! Yes yes! So at the moment there is a waltz of flies, mosquitoes and ants. And the temperatures are quite pleasant (minus the humidity otherwise it would be too much happiness).
Apart from all these summer, climate and entomological considerations, life isn't so bad in our big quite house. What is a little painful is that nothing is at a walkable distance. But hey, we can’t have everything!