A morning of rain

For the first time since I’ve been in kasol, this morning we got a very heavy rain for a few hours. The river next to alpine guesthouse is rushing noticeably harder than normal. In addition there is a very cool fog surrounding the riverbeds and engulfing the trees and such.

A very beautiful morning.

Today im going to check out some of the natural hot springs in the area as everybody recommends them.

There is also a big after party going on today in kasol, started at 10am this morning. The bigger party was in Kalgan for the last 2 days. (kalga is a 15 minute walk or a 1 hour taxi from kasol).

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Hot springs

I went to the hot springs right near kasol for an hour today, it’s actually a very different hot spring experience than I’ve had in the past.

The men’s and women’s hot spring baths are separate from each other. In the men’s hot sprig, everyone wears their underwear in (nearly every other hot spring I’ve been to where men’s and women are separate, most people are naked).

The hot springs themselves are located within a … And donations are accepted but not required.

One very strange element is that the water itself is so hot that it’s not possible to actually get into the bath, but rather people use small buckets to dump the hot water over themselves.

Music Storage fileserver (Revsion 2)

A little over 3 months ago I had issues with my OpenSolaris RAID-Z array which resulted in he loss of most of my beloved music collection. Since then i decided to do things a bit differently.

Requirements for the new solution:

  1. Must be stored on hot-swap, single drive acceptable failure storage of some sort.
  2. Around 7TB of space iniially needed. Should be expandable if possible (even if it just means swapping out current drives for larger ones).
  3. As I no longer have a stable home, this should be able to be collocated and accessed remotely.

Storage Array

Having always had a small interest in the drobo project, and having the opportunity to pick up a Drobo-S 5-Bay array for less than half price on craigslist, I decided to give it a shot.

Setup was very easy, took only a matter of minutes to get the drives initializing in a redundant array (where one of the 5 can safely fail).

All 5 drives show up as one logical drive within windows (the appear as one hard disk), and i’ve things connected via FireWire 400 (I know 800 is available on the Drobo but its not on my machine at the moment, i don’t believe this to be te primary bottlekneck though. I have single disk USB enclosures that operate faster).

*note* The drobo software will autoload with whatever user first logs onto the computer, so if running in a shared environment (like when running in a terminal services session remotely), if you login and cannot launch drobo dashboard, its likely because its already running under anoter login.

UPDATE: After over 3 months of running, I’ve found this drobo to be extremely slow. Doing anything with my collection takes hours to days while the storage slowly reads and writes.

 

Software

For now i’m playing with Subsonic ( http://www.subsonic.org ). It’s a free, multi-user music server that is compatible with web browsers, and most cell phones. So now I can login from my living room, or a hotel room, or on my blackberry and listen to my whole collection (even in flac quality), from anywhere.

This also solves the cross platform player issues. Now everything is always the same, no matter what computer i’m on.

 

 

 

The River Rapids

I’ve spent most of today just sitting next to the river relaxing and reading. The sound of the river itself starts to become a droning, as its just really loud, constant, white noise. Its like being at the datacenter for hours on end, it really plays tricks with your mind.

 

The river is beutiful though, and the current moves quite quickly. I was able to try some trout that was caught out of it earlier today, which was also excellent.

I got a shave today at the local barber for just under $1, was quite interesting because half way through the shave the power went out, but he just kept on shaving as if it wasn’t important to see what he was doing at all to my face with that razor blade!

 

 

Alpine @ Kasol

So i’ve relocated from the guesthouse out on the road to a guesthouse called Apline, which is situated right alongside the very fast moving river. Its really nice actually, the sound of the water overpowers all else, its all one can hear when going to bed/waking up. (As opposed to the traffic and horns and such over on the road)

 

Kasol is a very peaceful little town, it is very much geared up towards tourists, but still a very small town (compared to anywhere i’ve been so far). I’m going to spend a few days here as I like the really relaxed vibe. The only thing i’m not too fond of is the fact that it’s 95%┬áIsraeli tourists here right now, so everybody’s speaking in their native language at all the cafe’s and such.

 

Finally arrived in kasol

Well finally after leaving at noon, it’s now just after 4am and I’m finally here. Quite a drive.

Not much open at 4am so this is the guest house I was able to arrange for 300 rupees, tomorrow I’m going to move over to alpine guesthouse (right next door actually) per multiple recommendations.

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A lesson from rishikesh

For years when someone screams hello in my direction it has grabbed my attention.

In rishikesh the locals take advantage of this natural instinct on every westerner they see.

As such I will no longer even acknowledge anyone who greets me by screaming hello, nor anyone who within the first minute of meeting me uses the word friend.

Also, the auto rickshaw drivers in rishikesh are among some of the most greedy, greasy, and unhonerable people I’ve met in my travels in long time.

Vodafone 3G

So after another gevey sim gone bad, I’ve finally found a replacement gevey and the phone is working again. However due to some reason or another, if 3G is enabled, after about 10-15 minutes, the phone loses service and will not find it again until I fully power off and back on, then unlock again (all in all around a 4 or 5 minute process).

I’m not sure why this is the case, but have noticed if I leave the phone in edge only mode (Ie turn off the 3G), it will stay connected until I’m actually out of service, and then not let me switch towers without power cycling and re unlocking).

Problem with edge is that I get 20-30K/sec instead of 800-1000K/sec (8-10mbit) that I’m able to get with 3G. Thus not fast enough to stream flacs from subsonic running on my music server in the us, not fast enough for skype video, and choppy with skype over edge. Luckily it’s only 2 rupee a minute to call the us, and incoming calls are free, am together with jahjah I really haven’t had too many voice call issues, but video calling is back off the plate until I get this 3G issue figured out.

Of course it’s also annoying in the capacity that I still have around six gigabytes of data left on my prepaid plan, and there’s no way I’ll be able to use that without 3G (with 3G I’d easily finish it before leaving India).

Going to see if there’s a Vodafone gallery (corporate store where thy can do more than just add credit) in kasol (unlikely) and if not give their toll number a call and see if they can figure out what’s wrong (and yes I did say toll number, to call Vodafone, u have to pay them).

Longest taxi ride ever

So I messed up and ended up in the wrong part of northern India at the wrong time. I took the wrong 35 hour train, and am now in a 15 hour taxi on my way from rishikesh to kasol (left at noon it’s after midnight now and we’ve still a quarter the drive remaining).

Getting around northern India is difficult as there are only roads in very bad condiion; few airports, and all the trains head to and from Delhi.

Now the issue is that we will likely be arriving in the middle of the night, so finding and checking into the guest house Kevin recommended may be a more difficult task than i originally assumed.

On a second note I could really to for some meat about now. Any type of meat (not necessarily cow). I’m getting pretty tired of cottage chess cubes, vegetables, and bread.

Rishikesh

So i’ve been in Rishikesh for a couple of days now, and while i’d like to spend more time here (I may return if i have time), i’m going to head over to Kasol and try to meet up with some friends. At this point it looks like its going to take a 19 hour over night bus, but i’m looking for faster options.

Rishikesh is definately an interesting city, there’s no alcohol anywhere, but there is still alot of hash smoked (though nothing like some other places in India).