Sep 01, 2009
Mar 01, 2010
TOUT - this is the new word I learned on arriving to Shimla around two in the morning. This was about 4 hours before the planned time. The moment I got off the bus I was attacked by several touts. One of them, a quite elderly man, was really sticky and didn't let me go alone (not that I had a plan where to go:). The first thing I went to LP's recommended Gulmarg. There it was a servant who slept in a dark foyer. I used the situation and dropped my big backpack here, using the foot in the door principle. My private tout wasn't ready to let me go and I needed to walk out to get rid of him. At the beggining it seemed to me that he understands English, but then I discovered that he only knows to repeat the words which I was saying (in adding to the "good hotel" that he was saying all the time). I felt sorrow for him, walking at 3 in the morning with a tourist for some 30-50 rupees, and allowed him to walk me to two "good hotels", which were stinking and overpriced. But after all I was tired, and returned to the bench at Gulmarg - I just need sleep for 2-3 hours.
At 6a.m. the morning shift arrived. The folks woke me up and moved me into a room, a strange one, but I barely cared. The checkout time is 24 hours a day, they told me.
In the daylight Shimla reminded me very much of Manali, extended with lower & middle markets - a hard-core low end markets for locals. The upper market - the Mall street seems for tourists only. For the first time in India I saw a notion of "Rs500 fine for littering" - a very modern-day concept here in India.
LP mentions an interesting temple at the top of the hill. The Jakhu temple is dedicated to the monkey god - Hanuman, which helped good fellows fight the bad fellows. LP also warns about the monkeys which loiter around, harassing devotees for food offerring and proposes to walk armed with a stick.
But come on! What a funny rhesus macaque can do to brave person like myself?! The walking uphill was demanding. But I managed to do it in 25 minutes (very stupid, but it's a different story). It's never possible to enter a temple with shoes. But here it was also forbidden to wear anything made of leather :). There was a special room for shoes, which was guarded by a dog. Dogs are not fold of monkeys - chasing those which are on the ground, and barking at these which are on trees. After walking out of the temple I had a chance to feed one of the speices there, it was scaring but come on! Then I wanted to take some pictures of the location. As I point the camera suddenly I feel a slap and understand that my sunglasses are not on my nose anymore - it was an evil monkey that just has stolen it. Gladly it was not only evil, but also a smart one. She climbed a tree and was looking down at me. An Indian guy next to me told me to wait, and thrown her a small bag with some snack. The monkey catch it and dropped the glasses - she needed the second hand to eat, and the glasses are not tasty anyways. So I was saved!
I was infected with that cellular modem idea. I went to Tata Indicom shop, and got myself the latest model - Photon+ by Huawei EC1260 - up to 3mbps downstream! The only problem is that there is no unlimited rate for this model, there are only two choices - limited time or limited download. For the first month I'm choosing the limited download - going to be in Nepal the most of the time anyway.