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The Scruffman Chronicles: The Scruffman in India and Nepal

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Feb 3rd, 2010, 08:30 PM
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The Scruffman Chronicles: The Scruffman in India and Nepal

This thread continues the story from three previous threads:

The preparatory thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-the-uk.cfm

The United States adventure:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...e-building.cfm

The European adventure:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-europe.cfm

To set the stage for newcomers, my very personable, adventurous 21-year-old son Greg, he of dreadlocks and scruffy beard and thrift store clothes - now dubbed the Scruffman - is engaged in a trip more or less around the world until his money runs out. Because he wants to be gone a year but doesn't have the usual sort of funding required for that, he is hitchhiking, ride-sharing, couchsurfing, and camping his way around. He left home (San Francisco Bay area) on September 27, 2009.

I'll be updating here as I am able. I am dependent on the Scruffman's very intermittent internet access and willingness to correspond with his mom.
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Here I am!
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 10:43 PM
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I should have know you'd be first! I have an update, just need to write it up. Thought I'd get to it tonight, but I haven't got the energy. Soon!
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:03 PM
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Me too
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:22 PM
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I think I'll just paste the latest e-mail in here. Greg writes so well, sometimes there's just not much to add.

Here to Mumbai, gone to Goa

I'm leaving Mumbai for Goa tonight. So far India is profoundly amazing, though overstimulating at times. I had a good time at the airport negotiating a cab fare from 700 rupees down to 350, though I'm amazed I actually survived the ride to guest house. Seemingly, the only rule of the road is that there are none. We nearly killed at least a hundred people while we careened through the streets.

Well, India is a land of extremes. Extremely dirty, extremely crowded, extremely smelly (both in good and bad ways), extremely humid, extremely loud (I have yet to count five seconds without hearing several car horns), but all in all extremely beautiful in its own unique way. The night time soundtrack changes from the hustle and bustle of human foot traffic to the sound of fighting packs of stray dogs and birds. There is no privacy here.

The poverty is both extremely depressing and extremely beautiful, depending on which part of the city you are in. When walking through a tourist area one can barely walk five steps without being hit up for money (or offered hashish thanks to my wild set of dreadlocks). Lots of hungry mutilated kids and women holding babies asking for money which is pretty hard to bear at times. But believe it or not, when you actually walk through a slum, no one asks for anything. In fact people often approach with no agenda but to be acknowledged or just to shake your hand to satisfy their curiosity.

It looks like I'll be heading to Goa for a few days to chill out on a secluded beach and decompress from Mumbai. Then I'll probably head to Kerala before going to Kanyakumari on the southern most tip of India where two oceans meet. The sunsets are supposed to be breathtaking.

After that I'll probably head north. I'm thinking maybe Varanasi for Holi (the festival of colors) or maybe Agra where the Taj Mahal is. From what I've been hearing Jaipur is not to be missed, so that's definitely going to happen too.

As for Africa I'm starting to think it's a lost cause for this trip. I've done some investigation and from what I understand it just isn't set up for budget travelers (which would be a generous description for me). I've been thinking about spending more time in Nepal and Thailand and definitely Laos because I've literally never heard anyone describe it as anything but amazing. I guess we'll see how far the budget goes.

I'm not actually finding India that cheap. To be fair Mumbai is the most expensive part of India, but while most things don't cost very much, nothing is free. But there is a bit of a learning curve so I'll probably do a bit better down the line.

Some people describe India as a different planet. I would go as far as to call it a different universe or even dimension. But I guess that's the fun part!
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:23 PM
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I, as well.

BTW, not to pry, but are you still employed? Some of your posts mentioned the dread word "layoff", and I would hate to have both you and the Scruffman without visible means of support.
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:26 PM
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bookmarking
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:29 PM
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The bad news arrived today, about when I expected. I am employed until the end of the month and they're going to pay three months of COBRA after that.

On the bright side, I have an interview tomorrow for a job I don't want that doesn't pay enough. Wish me luck.
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:57 PM
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"Overstimulating" -- perfect one word description of India!

(Good luck, artsnletters!)
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Feb 4th, 2010, 02:11 AM
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Hi!!! The fan club pops in...

(Good luck with the job problem!)
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Feb 4th, 2010, 04:49 AM
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Feb 4th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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I've never been in the Asia forum before, but I need to read the next chapter of this story.
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Feb 4th, 2010, 05:45 AM
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Hi artsnletters - sounds like the scruffman is doing just fine in India. Do tell him not to miss Varanasi, and consider Cambodia as well as Laos.

[Much sympathy over the job situation - good luck!!!]
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Feb 4th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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I'm still following, too!
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Feb 4th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Interesting reading!
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Feb 4th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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bookmarking to follow the further adventures of the Scruffman!
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Feb 4th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Enjoying reading this thread. Please keep updating often.
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Feb 4th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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If Scruffy goes anywhere near Chennai (Madras), I highly recommend some relaxing days in very tranquil Pondicherry:
http://tinyurl.com/yzspzhu

And in terms of Laos, Luang Prabang is heaven on earth, even though the dreadlocks crowd will try to entice him to settle in Vang Vieng.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...photo-link.cfm
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Feb 4th, 2010, 11:56 AM
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Artsnletters,

I might be getting to embroiled in The Adventures of Scruffman, but the subject resonates with me. One of my Sons, who reminds me a great deal of Greg, went to Thailand years ago after working a summer on fishing boats in Alaska. Soon after getting off the plane someone saw a naive soul and soon separated him from all of his money in a "sure fire" gambling scheme.

He was stuck, almost penniless, with only a return air ticket. Against his proud nature, he asked me for help. I sent him some money, of course, and told him if he quit it would disappoint me, as I saw his adventure as a wonderful thing which I wanted to continue. He wandered around the country, before settling in Samaui to work at a beach resort teaching wind surfing. He lived for a surprisingly long time on the small amount of money I had sent, but it eventually ran out. He was too proud to ask for more, and had to return, rather than continue his exploration and growth.

I guess what I am saying is that I have regretted that I was not able to give the kid a few more bucks to continue what I thought of as a lifetime experience that could only result in a richer future life for him. I will write you directly to explore this thought a bit further.

Dick

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Feb 4th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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I have switched forums too, I am loving reading about Greg's travels.
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