Amritsar – day 5

A day of extremes!! Spent time today chilling out, doing laundry, sightseeing, holding on for dear life in a TukTuk and arguing with the idiots at HSBC. 

Had a lovely nights sleep with not a sound to be heard apart from the whirr of the air conditioning (and me snoring, apparently!!). Spent the morning and early afternoon doing washing and watching a bit of TV to make sure Jayne was feeling well enough to do a bit of sightseeing. Managed to flag down a TukTuk and with some hand gestures, we were on our way! Decided to head to the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) around 5pm-ish so we could see the sunset and watch the difference that the changing light has on the appearance of the temple. Considered the holiest temple for Sikhs, the walls of the temple are made of pure gold and it is surrounded by water on four sides.  

There are four doors (gates) to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolise the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. We spent time wandering around the outer perimeter of the complex between these gates watching people pray and bathe in the holy water. There were also some massive Koi Carp in the water. There are three holy trees (bers), each signifying a historical event or Sikh saint. We decided to sit next to the one held together by lots of concrete to enjoy the peacefulness of the place, despite the number of people.  

Once we’d left the temple, we went to a restaurant recommended to us by our hostel owner. £5 later and we were both stuffed with 6 different types of curry, 3 different types of bread, mango lasse and lime soda water. A distinctly bumpier TukTuk ride home (the shattered windscreen should have alerted us to his ability to hit EVERY pot hole in Amritsar) and a quick stop at the local ice cream shop, we were back at hostel. Meet a couple who have driven from Amsterdam to here and were planning on driving down and shipping their car back in Mumbai before carrying on with their gap year. After an exchange of stories and various travel recommendations, I got a text asking me to call HSBC. Long story short, they’ve blocked my debit card and need to send me a new one. 15 minutes later and a continuous explanation of ‘no. I’m not in the UK’ and ‘no. I’m not going to be in the UK soon’ – I am now without a debit card. Hopefully they won’t block our joint account cards anytime soon! Apparently, HSBC (the world bank) won’t send my card anywhere in the world cause it’s too much of a security risk… 

Anyway, off to watch the India and Pakistan border closing ceremony crossing tomorrow before deciding about where we will head onto next in India!

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