Continuing with my recent dream, the one about being lost somewhere in Nepal.
To recap – I was on some tour of the country, got some problem with a paperwork, had to travel to the local immigration office on my own, and got lost on the way back. The awesomest part was trying to return to my hotel on foot when the bus broke down and the driver took me through a local Hindu temple. I just can’t stress enough how amazing that experience was.
The temple was perched on a mountain slope and looked like it was from Middle Earth, with no level space anywhere. There was a town grown around it and it was the same – multilevel, very crowded 3D puzzle. Mostly dingy and grimy, with lots of nooks and corners that have never seen a sunlight, and yet it was strangely cheerful with temple deities raising everyone’s spirits.
The tour of the temple was done on a sort of suspended roller-coaster, flying from one hall to another, past the shrines, past the deities, above the crowds of worshipers, left, right, up, down. Awesome.
Then the ride was over and we were back to navigating the puzzle on foot, and that’s where I lost the driver, or rather the driver finally shook me off. I wasn’t angry at him, he was a nice enough guy, just caught between his obligation to get me, the tourist, to the promised destination, and his other plans for the evening. Yesterday I stopped when I finally got out into the open space and saw other westerners there. I sighed with relief but that wasn’t the end.
It was a sort of camp with small booths selling stuff and groups of tourists parked here and there. To the left were Americans but there was something off about them. They definitely weren’t devotees and they couldn’t have been Buddhists either. They were all dressed in white kurtas and dhotis as if some sort of a New Agey cult. I couldn’t see them all clearly as they were behind a row of makeshift shops but one of them came out to look at me and he immediately said that if I finished the pilgrimage I must offer my obeisances to this holy place, which I did.
I distinctly remember the ground – reddish clay with spots of yellow sand, the kind I’ve seen in Cambodia. When I got up the American returned to his group and I was alone again. They didn’t look like they wanted to help me with anything else so I turned to the right, where there were Russians.
They were ISKCON devotees but were busy with their own preparations. I tried talking to them but those who spoke English avoided me and others just ignored my presence altogether. Nothing useful came out of the conversation with them either. The thing was they came specifically to this place but I was asking them about some hotel way out in Kathmandu. It was too far from their minds and they thought I was a nuisance.
I then turned to locals, many of them quite friendly but still useless. Some didn’t speak English well enough to understand what I wanted, others just wanted to talk to a tourist and sell him something, not get involved in solving his problems. One or two took up the challenge to make sense of my requests but came empty handed.
To be fair, I wasn’t very articulate myself. I didn’t know where I was, like at all, I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I was too confused by the whole experience and my only desire was to see the street leading to Kathmandu so that I could orient myself. I kept asking about this street, I remember seeing it from the top already, but down here it was something no one recognized.
At this point I woke up and went to the bathroom. I returned determined to solve my dream problem and approached the matter more systematically. It was kind of difficult to get back into the dream and conjure the same people I unsuccessfully talked to earlier but I manged to recall one. “What is this place?” I asked. “Gilmatzarolic”, he replied. Or something sounding equally Turkic.
I don’t remember the name now but it was good enough for me in the dream. I also got hold of a local map where I could see Kathmandu, the “Love” place where the immigration office was, our tour’s destination “Vividdya”, and this “Gilma” place as well, it was kind of where I thought it was, off the straight way the bus supposed to follow.
It was getting more and more difficult to stay in the dream so I went to the post-dream analysis. First, I opened Google Maps. The local printed map wasn’t very useful because all the places were printed in a mix of Latin and Cyrillic so I couldn’t just type them into Google search. The map, however, had latitude and longitude lines and I had to scroll Google Maps until I found the location. It didn’t make sense, I checked again and again, I thought the problem was that I was getting the numbers wrong but no, everything was correct. Finally, I was sure that I found this exact same region in Google, everything matched. Except it was not in Nepal but in South America!
I’ll be honest here. When I woke up I did go to Google Maps for real to check if it exists. It doesn’t. In the dream it was acceptable, though, because I knew there was a big Hindu population in Guyana and Suriname, they might have the temple I just seen. In real life this part of the South America is somewhere in Venezuela, not further down the cost where Guyana is, and I checked – there are practically no Hindus in Venezuela. To be sure I’ve checked Hindu temples in Suriname and Guyana, too. They are nothing like what I saw in my dream.
The temple I had seen was thousands years old, everything about it was ancient, but Hindus were brought to South America only in the 19th century and their temples are of a modern Indian style, with garish clay statues which look like they were sculpted by eight-year olds out of wet newspaper pulp. To be fair to Guyana, their temples look a lot better and less corny but they are still very far from what I saw.
Noting the location in my mind I thought that my dream was finally over and I could sleep in peace. I’d sort it all out in the morning, I thought, and so it’s good time for me to stop, too, and leave my morning analysis for the next time.