Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where I've Been Lately....

Looking For Customers on the Ganges

After a brief trip to Thailand to drop off materials and patterns for my tiers myself and my beloved Leah hopped on a plane and flew to India, a country I've wanted to visit for a long time.  I had an idea of what to expect from the numerous stories Leah had relayed to me after her previous journeys to there.  I was excited to land in Calcutta after a couple hour flight from Bangkok on Air Asia and taste the air of India.  And it tasted how I thought it might....not too good.  But a city of that size and level of poverty is going to have shitty air, there were a lot of old vehicles coughing and spewing there way through the Calcutta streets. After a few days in Calcutta we hopped on a train and headed for Bodghaya; the site of the Bodhi tree where the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

The town of Bodghaya is poor, intensely poor and there had been a massive Buddhist pilgrimage to the town just prior to our arrival so the town had been pushed to it's already meager limits and there was literally excrement in the streets; in a small gutter on the side of the walkway, one false step and you'd be in it....a far cry from the gravel freestone riverbottoms that my sandles are normally used to stepping on.  They were not happy about that experience. Aside from that the temple grounds surrounding the tree was beautiful and full of devoted Buddhists who had made the pilgrimages from northern India, Bhutan and other countries.  It was a powerful feeling to be there and I will hold those moments in a special place was beautiful.

After Bodghaya there was a brief stop in Veranassi, perhaps the holiest city in the world and certainly the focal point of the holiest river in the world the Ganges.  I liked Veranassi and although I had heard the city was dirty it was quite a step up from our two previous stops of Calcutta and Bodghaya. The level of devotion of the Hindus to their holy river the Ganga is impressive.  Every day hundreds of thousands  of Hindus bathe in the river, a river that has a cholera bacteria level that is off the charts.  The banks are lined with 'ghats' which include a burning ghat where their dead are burned and then put into the river a process which cleanses the soul. 

This rivers cholera bacteria count is 3000 times acceptable levels and water tests indicate that the river is septic.  Still miraculously and perhaps magically, there are quite a few fish in the river, one of our guides mentioned catching fish over 40 pounds, some kind of cat fish. I witnessed quite a few fish rising in the river which amazed me.  Biologists are stunned that fish do live in it and I watched a few people sipping out of it!!

Laundry on the Ganga--the Spin Cycle
Ahmdebad was our next stop and it was a nice one. It's a clean city that seems to be experiencing some economic growth and has become one of India's business centres.  This is home to Aura Herbal Wear; a company that Leah found  years ago owned by Arun and Sonal Baid.  Aura is a natural dyeing company and produces large quantities of natural dyed fabrics like organic cotton and silk. It was beautiful to watch the fabrics run through the dye baths and walking through the factory felt healthy as all products are made from plant dyes.  There fabrics are gorgeous and feel great on the skin, Joel and I wear a lot of shirts made from their dyes guiding and I would love to see a company like Patagonia using there product for the 'organic' clothing line, cause really what's the point in having an organic cotton shirt when it's been soaked in a chemical dye bath.  Kind of kills the organic side of it.  They are taking this to the next level and are hoping that this will become the way of the future for the garment industry as they have seen first hand what the many chemical dye factories can do to the water of their homeland.  They are lovely people with big hearts and clear vision, it's nice to see that some people are working towards positive change.

Organic Cotton Running Through Indigo Dye Bath

  We spent another week in India before flying into Singapore and then on to Bali.  It was an amazing contrast going from Chennai in India to Singapore.  Singapore is spotless, the pollution is minimal and the city is strikingly modern.  The Marina Bay area might be the nicest section of a city I have seen, some amazing design concept went into the construction of that place and I'm looking forward to returning to the city on my way back to Canada at the end of the month.  But for now it's beautiful Bali and my introduction to surfing and yes I've been getting crushed out there.  The surf was rough the first five days and the ocean really beat the shit out of me, but it's settled down quite a bit and life on the board has been a lot easier and a little more's not the easiest sport to learn tho.

In my previous blog entry I mentioned that I hadn't heard from anybody in my angling world, not a peep and that entry was followed by a rash of good bookings so that was nice.  Almost all of the bookings are for August and that month is getting full in fact the 8th to the 16th is fully booked.  Snow levels are low at the moment but the last few springs have brought some late snow so we'll see what happens there; but if things continue as is then we'll be looking at some good angling on the Elk for opening day in mid June and the West Kootenays will be happening in early June as long as there is warm weather to get the caddis moving.

Joel is currently editing another fly fishing video and I will be posting that on my site and on my blog in the next few weeks and I will also be doing a gear review based on our experiences with what we played around with last summer.  We all got to try some new stuff last year and there are definitely some standout items that I don't mind plugging.  'Til then.....

Life in The Fast Lane, Ahmdebad

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