Climbed the lofty heights of China Peak this morning. Well I say climbed but really I rode, as I had my trusty mount.
It was a pleasant journey up through the wooded paths to the top with its wonderful views over Naini Tal and surrounding mountains. Sadly the Himalayas were hidden by mists but it was amazing anyhow. I had a quick photo shot by my guide
and after savouring the view and the absolute peace that being high up above everything brings, we descended. Me slightly intoxicated by a few spliffs at the top. The way down was not as calm and steady as going up had been and I began to feel less like a cowboy from the west, relaxed and in control, and more extremely aware of what would happen to me if the horse slipped, which it was constantly just managing to resist. After that I caught some cricket on the flats and have just ventured to the other side of Naini Tal to look down to the depths below and contemplate my journey through the night - back to the hectic chaos of Delhi. Till then I have postcard duty to do.
I think I have started to relax too much and things have caught up with me again. Take nothing for granted in this country. I returned to my hotel, passing the remnants of what was when I arrived a fully functioning public convenience which has been systematically demolished during my stay, to get some extra clothing as the cold is starting to move in. My bag however is locked in a room. I am assured I will be able to retrieve it by 8:00pm. I retire to the restaurant only to discover that I am unable to order food as it is only 6:55 and they don't start serving till 7:00. I wait and I'm sure they think that this is all just a little strange. I met some of my fellow travellers earlier, who had experienced similar problems to myself with Gulf Air. Well at least it stops me feeling picked on. The people who have just sat down at the table opposite are all completely smothered in blankets. All the Indians seem to be suffering from the intense cold, but as most of them are wearing jumpers and coats in the midday heat it isn't really that surprising.
To spend a little time mulling over my travels and seeing if I have gained from this experience as I'm sure I must. On travelling I learnt that already well know fact that to have as little stuff as possible is always the way and as always I have had too much. The clean clothes quickly turn into a bag of dirty washing that has to be carried around. My medicines luckily are just another bag of crap to cart about. My camera as ever heavy and I don't have an adequate bag for it. I have learnt again as when I inter-railed that travel is tiring and that a good nights rest is important.
More than that I think it has reinvigorated me a little to do some things. It doesn't really matter that much what the details are. Just using my skills to some end. This I have also known and it is always something I have always failed to maintain, letting myself slide into some repetitive nothingness or other. It is that realisation that if I have come here to find anything, to explore myself and my place in the world it is that I have already known whatever answers I have found, that I have obtained no great insight or enlightenment into my existence, just a reminder of who and where I am. Life still slips by and I can choose which currents to take and I know I never will but also to fight it is pointless. Whichever way I go I must go with purpose and energy. Immersing myself into it and making it richer for my presence. Whether it be whatever. It will be nice to have a decent conversation again, and beer and women. I go back renewed not reborn. In my mind the same questions I came here with but maybe the answers are a little clearer like the air here. I think this will be my last bit of contemplation for a while as the bus and Delhi threaten to take a lot out of me in the hours ahead.