Month: October 2014

The Nightlife Experience in China

Previously I have discussed many topics, concerning India, it’s people. How they think and how they live their daily lives. And my association with it. The difficulties, good and bad things. Or in fact, the melting of the two when you can no longer distinguish the difference between the two. This is actually kind an optimal situation as it gives you a much more carefree life, where you just live in the moment. That is pretty much the essence of India.

But with all the chaos and activity around me. There are quite a few places where I go to escape the country. If not the Himalayas that is mostly inhabited by Tibetans. But I like to go further, travel further inorder to gain distance and new aspects to life. As well as India itself.

So naturally, I want to discuss these things too in my India Bath blog. In a global world, bathing has spreaded wide and far with a lot of new and exiting things that it can offer. I am always there, where the holy bathing takes place, looking for the ultimate experience that leads me just a little bit closed to enlightement.

China, is very much like a neighbour to India. It doesn’t feel like that, because India is so big. But it’s right there, a next door big sister always lurking on what we are doing. Especially after meeting many Tibetans in the Himalayas, I was naturally very curious about the Chinese.. and wanted to know what they are thinking! =)

So I headed out, from the Delhi airport.. towards the buzzing city of Shanghai. It is the most modern city in China, so it was quite a shock to me after being used to the smelly India. For some, even Shanghai is too much, but I felt very comfortable. Like being in some rich western country with the luxury of underground sewage!

Street Life of Shanghai

I was a little worried about the language barrier, since in India you are used to speaking English everywhere you go. But that was fine, the Chinese are happy and open people.. it’s easy to get a long and at least try to communicate with them. Being such a long time outside of the non-comfort zone, I just simply had to witness the Nightlife in Shanghai! And it was wild, with many colors and sounds.. there was no lack of things to do in Shanghai. In fact, I ended up going to the theatre for the night. Boy, I hadn’t seen something like that for a long, long time. It felt like “samsara”, like an illusion or dream that simply could not be real! That is I guess, a big part of the Chinese big dream. To create the unreal, which is fascinating in endless ways.

Had I not met up with my great friends at “Show Shanghai”, things would be different. But that’s my style always, go with the locals and you can experience things the way that exite you. Unfortunately, all this left me with a big hangover. I was more than happy to be taken to the local pharmacy for traditional Chinese remedies. They cured me alright.

Next stop, was another big city. And this time I was almsot crying because I had to leave my new friends behind. But that’s all part of the experience. The train ride was extremely fast, considering the huge distance between Shanghai and Beijing. Anyway, I arrived and I thought to myself. No more nightlife venues but, uh-o! Sooner than I realised, I was in one. Because my good friend, I had met. A Chinese backpacker, who was travelling from Mumbai to Delhi, living in Beijing. I had just arrived, he took me quickly to the hotel to put down my bags and off we went to the night of Beijing.

Street Life of Beijing

The very first stop, was to get a snack of some birds sneck and other delicious protein I wouldn’t dare to eat in India because of safety issues. But China seems one up ahead, on that problem. I also had a good beer with it to wash down all the energy and get ready for the challenge that was ahead of me. Soon enough, we rushed into the Chaoyang Theatre Acrobatic Show which showed us the light to acrobati stardome! Not that I would normally go and see such shows, this was totally all paid by my good Chinese friend. And I enjoyed it more than I could have ever guessed. The acrobats were just too skillful to be true, and the stunts were scary as hell. Basically, for that one long but short hour, you are glued to your seat. And holding on to it, as you worry about if this guy is going to be alright or not. The women are so flexible and can do everything, in such a perfect way. It really shows how developed chinese acrobatics are, from the ancient times.

Just the smell of the grand Chaoyang Theatre hall was enough to set me in the mood. Probably the beer was working too. After the final act, the acrobats entered into a cage with a dosen motorcycles. Not long after, they turned the lights out, leaving them circling around the huge metal ball in pitch black. Now, that left me with the hairs of my skin standing for a good ten minutes.

I still thank my friend for that experience, and say that I will never go to another one. But I know, that if I end up in Beijing again.. probably I will anyway. And while your body is still a bit shaking from the show, you go to eat drink eat drink. That’s what Beijing is all about. Good company, good friends.. nobody wants to be alone in China. That I have noticed. I am someone who can enjoy both very much.

We had to Beijing duck. It was delicious. And I must say, that I was very positively surpriced how the English skills of the youth there had developed in such tremendous ways. And for those people that didn’t have the skill, didn’t lack in courage. We ended up in the Karaoke, and parties until a morning. A night I will never forget.

More about my China trip in later posts. My heart is racing just from writing this part of the story. Hope everyone liked it, I for sure enjoyed writing it. See you soon my dear friends! India and beyond.

Bathing in India,
Timo

Being Disconnected to Connected

Like I always say, India is the land of contradictions. Especially because the history is so ancient, so deep filled with customs and religion.. yet it has been modernised in all the ways possible until today. And then, there is the British colonisation that changed everything, in between. It is as if they created chaos within the country and after such “westernisation” people have forgotten many things about their roots.

It’s an incredible situation really, how everyone has adopted Indian traditions to their daily lives, yet with a westernised mind. A huge contrast it is. Unlike in China for example where I have visited many times, the traditions have been cut off in a much efficient way. So the contradiction is less. At least compared to India!

But in every contradiction, there is a contradiction. After all, it is a cont.. ok, ok I understand you got it. But it’s true. Being an outsider, a non-Indian that is interested in their country. I couldn’t help noticing all this happening around me, it’s quite obvious that the behaviour of many locals are very strange. So naturally since I am here most of the time, I wanted to understand them more and this lead to an understand about myself and the roots of India.

Later this spread to a whole new way of thinking, always looking for “the roots” instead of the truth that never exists. By understanding the background and history of things, it becomes very easy to read people and know how to exist in peace, together. So all the horrible things that many people hate about India, well it does have it’s positive sides. And accepting that and learning about these things make you accept all those difficult things. I believe, is that this is very the true India journey begins not only in the country but inside your mind, soul and spirit.

Timo

Why I Came to India

There are many reasons as to why I came to India. In some ways, they were very typical and in someways not. As with anywhere, there are places where most people go to and places where not so many people go to. It can’t depend on the time of the year, or just the place itself. While I can enjoy all kinds of situations, I do tend to avoid those places or situations where a lot of tourists are attending. In India, there are plenty of visitors, but with such a huge country.. why go where everyone goes when you have the perfect opportunity to have a great adventure!

And adventure was the main reason why I came to the country. Little did I know, that I would get an adventure and such a huge one too. Like for me, my best times in Goa were just before the monsoon. When there are absolutely no tourists around, just empty hotels and indians preparing for the rainy season. Everything becomes extremely cheap too!

And the other, was meditation. There are a lot of meditation centres with all kinds of acclaimed gurus. I am not so much into that, also yoga is really not my kind of thing. So you need to be careful in India about where to go. Luckily people tend to reflect their true colour very easily, and you can spot if someone is truly sincere or not.

So that pretty much sets the basis of why I came. But nothing ends up like you intend it to, especially in India. And that my friends, is the secret of the adventure itself.

Cheers,
Timo

Love Hate Relationship

Hello everyone. It’s been a while. India is a busy place and internet access is everywhere, but it just isn’t the same as in the west. You have electric shortages, wifi is not widely spread and internet cafes are not that comfortable. Small and crowded I would say. Also, when you travel in India, it’s not like you want to carry with you all the latest electronics. Camera and such is fine, but if you have something that’s valuable you really have to watch over it. India is all about relaxing, being in the moment and enjoying life in the now. And constantly watching over your valuables, isn’t suitable for the India style!

That being said, India is not a worry-free place. There are a lot of problems and things you will eventual have to care about and to watch out for. For example food is often not clean, so you can end up having stomach pains and all kinds of deseases. Hospitals are crowded, not to mention streets! I don’t mind the busy streets myself, but sometimes it’s difficult to escape the noise. There are lot’s of places however, like the Himalayas which is one of my favourites places in India.

People can really get to you sometimes, all the time staring at you (about that later), and annoying you buy trying to sell something to you. It’s great that people can feel freely to come up to you and talk to you, but the only problem is that often times it’s because they are with commercial interest.. trying to get friends with a “rich” white man. We’ll I’m poor and happy to be on. Trying to teach that the Indians often, that not all of us are wealthy.

To sum it up, my relationship with India is one of love and hate. Love because it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. Hate, because I care about it so much and I love it so much. Do you know what I mean? That’s just the way India is.

It grabs hold of you, or it doesn’t!

Timo.