Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sacred Rapids

Hello hello, I'm now safely in Xiamen, China. It was a long, tiring string of flights but now I just appreciate my bed that much more. Not much has happened yet, we had an official campus tour today which was nice. The campus is huge, supporting over 30,000 students in attendance. Our International Exchange Home is near the main gate which is nice. My room is on the 6th floor and is a basic hotel room. Of course, it doesnt look much like a hotel room now. Within our first 10 minutes, Alex and I had rearranged the beds, tv, and desk in a way that is much more homelike. More on Xiamen when things begin happening.

As for Rishikesh...after our ride to the top of the mountain, we through our stuff in our room and were met within the hour by a truck full of locals and a river raft. We had met the guide on a pitstop going up the mountain and made the deal. For 700 Rupees (Roughly $23 US) he rounded up some coworkers and a few of the local kids to help guide us down the rapids. They put Alex and I in the front which was great, and let us on an hour long ride down the Ganges River.

The river water is about as cold as possible, as it is all recently melted glacier and snow caps. It was fun for a first timer like myself, as the rapids were considered category 3s. We caught a good drenching of ice cold holy water and had a handful of harry moments filled with good laughs.

An equally pleasant part of our trip was the ride our guide offered us after we reached the end. He was happy to give us a life back up the mountain side on his 200cc motorcycle. No towels, just a sip of hot tea before we left was all we had to help us through the cold. But it was strangely relaxing and less scary than the initial taxi ride. It was getting late and there was hardly any traffic. The moon was near full and bright white, lighting our path as we winded up the mountainside. Looking down I could see its reflection in the river hundreds of feet below.

It was great to get back to the Glass House. Unlike most hotels, our room was its own seperate little cottage with a front porch and incredibly large bathroom. And thankfully, the shower water was quick to get up to a heated temperature!

Our Rishikesh trip was the perfect ending to an invigorating and once in a lifetime type of trip. India was full of surprises, colors, people, and none of it would have been possible without the help of a loving family and friends, thank you to all!

From here on out, my focus is schooling in China. My first class is tomorrow morning, "Modernization and Economic Development." It is taught by a local Xiamen Professor and should be very interesting. I will continue to update my blog here as much as the rest of the trip.

Keeping an eye on home and my interest in journalism, I found this blog entry regarding the current state of our media and the ethics that it is obligated to uphold very interesting. It is worth checking out as it effects each and all of us.

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