Rishikesh, 2014 – Arlene Ang

We were lost the moment we arrived. An ear cleaner offered his services, but we waved him away. What we lacked in hearing we made up for in chatter. We drilled through one alley after another, burrowing deeper into the city. Cows and motorbikes jostled us into cul-de-sacs. We tweeted selfies, took snapshots of fenced-in garbage, and burbled voice messages to friends every half hour. Monkeys sat on walls, eyeing us the whole time. Some were eating bananas. We only had a bottle of Evian, which made us feel like prisoners. We asked directions from a swami in saffron robes. He rubbed his white beard and nodded. How you find way? You stop looking. It was late, but we exchanged high fives to show him we were cool. Along the way, we stopped for samosas, wok-cooked popcorn, and a midnight footbath in the Ganges. The moment we arrived at our lodgings we were lost again.

guesthouse sign—
gate lock after 10 p.m.
no entry