Rishikesh to Amsterdam 3, from lockdown to lockdown, the first week

Rishikesh to Amsterdam 1, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 2, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 3, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 4, from lockdown to lockdown

You may have noticed that my news about the corona virus coincided quite often with news about Trump, the president of the USA.
Already since he was elected I follow his presidency.
And especially his handling of this crisis has shown how detrimental it is for the population there, when the popularity of Trump is so important for him that he is not willing or able to listen to the experts.
This is only two month ago:
On Feb. 26, Donald Trump said there were only 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, and he predicted the number would soon be zero.
Today Amerika is the hotspot of the world:

World / Countries / United States

Last updated: April 28, 2020, 19:27 GMT

 United States

Coronavirus Cases:





Another apparent blunder of Trump was the promotion of a malaria drug.
The last day before the Janata Curfew I posted this report by Rachel Maddow on facebook with this comment of myself:
I keep thinking ‘How is this possible’? Later, after the upcoming wave of victims in the USA will have been buried and cremated, there will be made estimates of how much of those deadly victims are on the conto of this so called ‘president’, the main producer of fake news that I know of. Of zoiets.


In response to my report of the upcoming lockdown and the airspace of India being closed, a friend wrote enthousiasticly: ‘This will be the time of your life.
I answered her, quite realistic methinks: ‘Yes, and with a bit of bad luck it will the last time of my life. Don’t you follow the news? And I just heard from my Guesthouse that I am under house arrest by order of the police.’

I wrote this the morning after this India wide one Sunday exercise called Janata Curfew.
What I had not seen coming was that overnight several states had decided to prolong that from the next day on.
A good title for the post I wrote later that day on facebook could be this sentence out of it, expressing another thing that I did not see coming:
And guess what! They closed the bridge.

March 23

 I answered someone in a way that I can use the text to put up on Facebook. Here it is.

Hey man,
Good to hear that you made it back home.
(“Hi, I’m back in Germany in Hamburg my hometown. It was a long trip thirty-six hours Via Moskau and Amsterdam. It is very cold here but Sunny. It is a quiet atmosphere, people stay at home or go for a walk
All the best good luck”).
My situation as per yesterday night I have described in a Facebook post that I will add to this mail as a PS.
After the Indian-wide lockdown yesterday that I spent basically in my room on bananas and oranges and a surprise dal with chapattis from my hotel, I was woken up at 9 by the boy of Nigah, his message being: open now, open now.
As he does not speak English, I went down for the details:
The state (and many others, I know by now) has prolonged the lockdown. Everything stays closed and if you come now you can buy a few things at the grocery store at the opposite side of the street.
Also a fruit man was there and I asked for bananas and oranges. No oranges, so that became a large papaya. He delivered his goods a bit later at my room.
Later I went down to ask about my home arrest and the police.
I could go out and walk around to see if my breakfast place is open.
But always wear a mask, she added.
My protesting the futility of this is simply countered with that the police says so.
I happen to have a mask. The one that you told me to buy just in case.
Well, the case has arrived, sooner and in other places than expected.
I walked out through a amazingly deserted place.
And guess what! They closed the bridge.
At the other side the door is locked and when I was there, there were police men with the standard stick in their hands, basically shouting down some people who were trying to have them open the gate by giving arguments and reasons.
Later I have seen the door being opened once and also have seen people climbing over it.
On my way back I decided to take the longer road up, the one passing by Sachadam Ashram.
And saw the roller shutters of a place where my nickname is Mr Porridge not being down completely.
So I found a restaurant not closed.
After my habitual porridge I walked op to their rooftop.
From there a beautiful as always view over the Ganga and the bridge.
Totally devoid of people.
Just a while ago they asked me to sit inside because from higher up you can be seen sitting on the roof.
‘We provide in silence’ one of them said. (They even were doing that yesterday).
I have made myself known at the Dutch foreign affairs organisation that is working on getting us Dutchies home again.
We’ll see what happens.
Well, the unravelling of the situation in the world you for sure can and will follow.
So far my update.
Again, happy that your journey ended at the place where you intended to go.
Here we are.

Virtual hug,


The next day, March 24, I posted a so called Facebook memory. It is a picture that I took the year before along the Ganga, close to the Dayananda Ashram.
I added: India is turning into a quiet corner like this one.


The next day, March 25, I shared another socalled memory from the year before:                                                              Ganga view.
I added this comment: “No more cappuccinos these days. Lockdown of India is prolonged till half of April. After 10 am no one is allowed to be out on the street. I am in a secretly open restaurant where I intend to spend again my day till after dark. So basically from 9.30 am till 8.30 pm. Today I brought my drawing gear. We’ll see.

That same day I posted a few more things.
One is the TED talk by Bill Gates about a possible outbreak of a new virus that he already gave in 2015. (Look it up if you want to see that).
And two pictures that showed how fast the idea of social distancing was landing in India.

Social distancing somewhere in India in circles.
Social distancing somewhere else in India, squared.

And a picture of the first lockdown drawing, as you can find in part one of this series of reports. For fun I crop part of it out for here:

I posted this comment with it:

Made during another stay for a day in the same place as the last two days. What a blessing that those guys keep there place and kitchen available. During the day I was most of the time the only guest. The atmosphere about not being in the streets felt very strict today. And I expect it to stay this way.
So, lockdown drawing no. 1.
Time for dinner.
Now surrounded by seven other eaters. In an hour or so I will walk home through the already dark night. Cheers.

On March 27, I posted a short video, with this text:
A rainy Laxmanjhula, ‘the other side’, completely devoid of people. This is most probably, except for this corona virus janata curfew period, never ever to be seen again.

Already for a few days I had been buzy with gathering info about and taking action in the direction of ‘getting home’.
I had applied for that at the newly created website www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl
Also on March 27 I wrote:
Yesterday evening received a first email from ANWB ALC BUZA Repat Flight India.
Have replied in the affirmative and provided the requested information.

Also that day I posted a message that I found in the facebook group Rishikesh Community:
The times of India tuesday 24th reported information about embassies trying to take their people home.
Contact your embassy.

Also on March 27 I posted a picture of my view from the restaurant with this comment:
View to the left in pre evening sun, 20 minutes ago.

In one of the remarks someone kind of blamed me for still playing the tourist. She had done this once before, so I took my chance to clear this up and answered like this:
Are you only looking at my pictures or something?
I laughed when I read your remarks. I suddenly understood your mistake. You wrote something like this before, under which I wrote the question where the fuck does this apparent criticism come from? Now I get it. You don’t read what I write and you only see tourist pictures.

Let me clear this up for you. I spend 23 hours and 30 to 35 minutes a day indoors. I walk around fifteen minutes in the morning during the time that shopping is allowed.
A friend of mine wrote that my behavior in the Netherlands would be called antisocial because I spend part of my time in a restaurant.
I wrote this to him 5 days ago:
I understand your reaction.
But here the tourists who stayed behind are quite inconvenienced.
We don’t have a kitchen, we have a hotel room.
This restaurant where they know me remains open very carefully.
That’s a blessing to me and a few more people.
Most come through a skylight and the rooftop of the adjacent guesthouse.
I myself walk in before 10 am and stay until after 9 pm and go back to my room in the dark.
I spend most of my time here alone.
And at regular intervals a few people come in for a meal.
Most of’m coming down from the rooftop, as I mentioned before.
At the moment we are four guests, nicely socially distanced.
There are four men working in the restaurant.
They cannot go either way.
Their situation is that they live, work and sleep here in the property during the months of the Western tourist season.
They cannot go home. I know from one of them that he lives near Gangotri. That is high in the Himalayas about 300 km from here.
Just like me, they fill their time with internet and looking around.
And occasionally prepare something to eat or drink.
And so earn some more.
Economically, these are desperate times for everyone, anywhere in the world.
Except of course for the wealthy speculators, who will get richer if they don’t die of the virus.
So something like that.

The next day I wrote this day report:

 March 28
Not much news from my side.
This morning I found a working ATM. I cashed twice the amount I expect to need for the rest of my stay. But what do we know? So, what else to call it, a little bit of money hoarding out of pragmatic laziness.
I mean, it was quite a walk up to and along the main road to find three ATM’s roller shutters closed. The third was only for use by clients of the bank next to it, a elderly bank employee told me through the half closed door from behind his desk.
But the second, he said, would open from 10 till 15, so you just wait there. It was 9.45.
So I walked back less than 100 meters. There is also a bank next to the closed ATM. Their glass doors fully closed, the steel curtain doors so far closed that you could not walk in, maybe sideways. On the glass door in between those iron ones a note. (Sorry, my journalist was fully asleep then and there. No pictures).
‘Dear customer. Please sanitize before you enter. Be safe.’
So, that is what I did, very visibly. Then I knocked the glass door.
Inside the shady office, they had no lights on, something moved. A young bank employee wearing a black mask approached the door, kind of. Took his time to put on a pair of white latex gloves and opened the door and he looked at me questioningly.
Is the ATM open, I asked about the roller shutter locked ATM nextdoor. He went back inside, came put with keys, opened the shutter and the glass door of the ATM box and said ‘wait’ in response to my starting to move forward. He walked back into the bank, came out with a colleague and they both pinned Rs 500 for themselves.
Then it was my turn.
I took out twice Rs 10.000.
Yes, we are living in different bubbles.
For the rest it is just another day in the cafe.
Yesterday was the most expensive eleven hour day in the cafe. I had to pay Rs 1010.
For that they have served me with a fruit salad with curd and muesli, three chai, three black coffees with hot milk aside, a kofta with a plain naan, a matar and palak paneer with a plain naan, and a pancake with nutella. The nutella on the side, because I wanted to eat half of it with sugar.
Lockdown drawing no. 2. of which I give here a zoomed in cropped version:

For a change, view to the right in pre evening sun, 15 minutes ago.

The next day,March 29, I shared two Facebook memories. The one with the tree, although apparently out of context, I offer it here too. It is a much appreciated sight and I might never see it again.
Two years ago it came with this comment of mine:
You may have missed it in the other picture: in the wall is
the only tree that i know having its own balcony.

To which I added: “Yeah, the tree is still there, motionless and very alive overseeing the world from it’s very own balcony“.

I  also reposted a post that I had read in the group Rishikesh Community. It expresses the irritation with and the astonishment about all the conspiracy stuff that started popping up since the day after the virus popped up.

March 29,

Sound sympathetic enough. And all those conspiracy nonsense coming along!!! My goodness.

Sharing a post a friend recently made….
I just want to say I’m really bored with all the conspiracy theories being shared indiscriminately. Conspiracies are just easy answers to complex problems that leave us average people helpless because they say power is held in secret places beyond our reach. The truth is often more obvious and sadder than we expect. Obvious because we can usually see the truth of corruption right in front of our eyes, and sadder because we barely do anything about it and instead give our attention to make-believe conspiracy theories that make us feel better (in a weird backward way) because conspiracies tell us the problems are beyond our reach and we are helpless to do anything…
Don’t forget the average people have the real power on this planet. We just have to be smart and work together. We have to realize we all are hurt by the corruption on our planet. We have to stop being apathetic and find ways to cooperate. And realize these rich authorities pretend like they are invincible, but its all a trick to make us feel like there is nothing we can do.
I recommend checking out Platform Cooperativism which is a new style of cooperative business with the potential of reclaiming the power of the internet and redistributing its immense wealth to the people.
Imagine Uber owned by the drivers and riders, Amazon owned by the producers and buyers, Spotify owned by the musicians and listeners, Airbnb owned by the hosts and guests. The list goes on and these platforms already exist as start-ups waiting for your support. Check out the coops Fairmundo, Resonate, Stocksy, Up&Go and FairBnb as a few examples of what could be OUR online businesses, literally owned by us, instead of giving our value freely to the internet monopolies who just see us as numbers.
This is why I am annoyed by conspiracy theories because they distract us from what we could actually be doing to make the world a better place. The People United Will Never Be Defeated! El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido!
So far, so good.
One more week to go.

To be continued.

Rishikesh to Amsterdam 1, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 2, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 3, from lockdown to lockdown
Rishikesh to Amsterdam 4, from lockdown to lockdown
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