Thursday, March 06, 2008

North and Northeast

"Don't eat the yellow snow."

This turned up while I was googling for tips directed to folks travelling to wintry places.

Big friggin' hello from the northerly city of Amritsar (which means "The Pool of the Nectar of Immortality" by the way) in the Indian state of Punjab, a veritable Mecca for the disciples of Sikhism. It is the home of the Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, which is supposedly even beat the Taj (that one lah)in terms of the number of visitors it attracts on a daily basis.

I like this city verily, but I can't quite place a finger on why. Maybe it was because I made a stop in New Delhi prior to coming here - and New Delhi has got to be the most unpleasant, maligned and diseased place I have ever been unfortunate enough to step foot onto. If there's ever a piece of real estate on earth that needs a Great Flood v2.0, it's New Delhi - and someone better page God to toss in an oil tanker's worth of air freshener in along with the deluge. Every breath of air is torture and I could quite vividly imagine my lungs blackening with every passing minute. The haze in the air was so... so... so plagued that visibility does not dare venture thirty feet in front of my eyes before it screamed in fright like a Japanese schoolgirl and came running back through my corneas. If the smog gets just half as bad back in Malaysia, the government would probably declare a State of Emergency.

I just returned from the daily (I believe) border-closing ceremony at (where else?) the India-Pakistan border and it was a supremely entertaining experience. Imagine stadia being built around the border gates both on Pakistan's and India's side which (I was told) are capable of seating more than 10,000 spectators between them. Imagine soldiers in full decorative uniform from both sides marching as if they are trying to kick themselves in the face with the grim determination to out-class, out-shout, out-salute, out-scowl and out-every-bloody-thing the other side. Imagine the throng of drunkards patriots watching the spectacle chanting nationalist slogans over and over again at the top of their voices trying to drown out the spectators on the other side (I think on the Indian side, they were chanting "Hindustan, Hindustan; Buy Capathi, Buy Capathi; Banzai, Banzai" - or at least, that's what it sounded like). And the grand finale when the Indian and Pakistani soldiers slammed the border gates in each other's face, the crowd went absolutely bananas.

Seeing how the Indian crowd outnumbered the Pakistani one at least 4-to-1 (and thus having 4 times the lung power), I half expected the Pakistan side to just lob a grenade over in frustration. I know I would.

I love to stick around and chat but unfortch, I - yeap, you guessed it - am on the run again. I'm leaving in less than an hour for Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan refugees and the Dalai Lama. I wonder if he's home.


I blow this way,
k0k s3n w4i


gaL said...

u still traveling? *jeles*

bring me along next time please. haha. Life's bored here.

bevE said...

omg different font *just realised*