Friday, November 18, 2011


Rejoice, rejoice!

I'm back, for now. It's been a bit troublesome to get to type or get any alone time with the computer as Jordan and I have been traveling and fulfilling tasks. We rafted on the Ganga, traveled back to Haridwar to get to Ambala, moved on to Kalka where we boarded a smaller gauge rail "Toy Train" and visited Solan, and finally settled in Shimla, where we'll be residing for about a week. We plan on taking a week-long trip to the Kinnaur Valley, northeast of here, where we can camp and rock climb. Our hotel manager has spent the last few days organizing the weeklong excursion to this Tibet-like region.
I've inferred more Indian nuances since I've last written. While some are attributed to my presence as a foreign "other" to the general populace, I feel some are more specifically related to the sub-continent's mentality. For one, I've felt the constant inquisitive staring much more than when I arrived a week ago. Every public arena features scores of social tiers intermixed. These classes intercept my being with varied differences depending upon their status. The homeless, impoverished bodies, who rest under layers of dusty, tattered blankets and seldom shift or show any signs of life, as if to reinforce the defeated nature of their economic position, only glance at me if they happen to be awake. Groups of either gender and age promenade, chit-chat and broach topics I cannot access, only to pause their discussions and reflect to another that Jordan or I are amongst them. Children, clad in woolen overcoats affixed with badges of their respective schools, grin uncontrollably, giggle and shout or tug their parents' hands when we pass. Shopkeepers who watch me often smile when I nod or acknowledge their presence. Single males approach me and ask, "From which country are you from?" "U.S.," I respond. We may further this discourse when specifics like jobs or cities are revealed, dependent on their English-speaking abilities. More often than not, we end talks there, after an extended handshake reminiscent of those that elders like to have stateside. I've been handed several business cards and told of factories that these men manage. All seem to focus on products India's touristic avenues haven't properly exploited. We've had many aggressive touts advertise to us but firm rejections and walking away ends their spiels.

Jordan and I have been trying to restrain our affection in public, though I have a harder time keeping my hands off of her than she does. I was warned by Asha and Fran that Indians may not kindly receive our personal gestures and reject them physically, by spitting or scowling or as they've experienced, tossing water balloons. We're unsure how much of the positioning of our bodies affects these responses but we try to maintain a distance. Our repugnant host in Ambala Cant mentioned to us that we do not appear as if we are married, which we'd told him at first, and that we must be "just-friends." We went to a discotheque last night, remaining the only patrons in a spacious hall for nearly an hour, and discussed our observations with Guillermo, our Argentinian companion. "You are expected to be affectionate as foreigners," he noted. So, in my attempts at a sociological experiment, I scooted Jordan into my space and embraced her intermittently. The ambiguous stares she'd gotten since I've arrived near-faded after that moment. The bar was filled with bored servers who never seemed to interrupt their deadpan stares at her, felt uncomfortable continuing to do so once I'd established the nature of our relations physically and they somehow found work to do. She's mentioned that I shouldn't contact her because men glare at her, possibly insinuating that she's loose or behaving inelegantly.

But from last night's discovery, I want to continue displaying this sort of dominant male behavior to strangers, if it will lead to less lecherous looks. Perhaps this is due in part to ascribed gender roles the Indians make for themselves and we are to take part in this social order ourselves. I, however, am going to grow tired of acting on the defensive if I have to stare others down all the time. The taboo against staring at people which adults abide by in the West isn't felt here. The so-called bar we sat in at Solan had a young man locked onto Jordan for the duration of our hour-long dinner. He refused to break his stare, even when he started to advertise his tourism business to me. In fact, most men speak to me solely, splicing conversation with how beautiful my occidental female companion is. These actions must regard more common gender values held here as the only people genuinely interested to speak to both of us are Westerners or those that deal with them on the regular.

But all is not victimizing social lancing here. Many of our interactions are from purchasing goods. Service is exceptional and the interest people have in us is not limited to just business transactions. Though some seek monetary gain from our piggy-bank reputation, many just want to know what life is like for us back home or what we think of their India. The cost of things seems to be normalized towards perceived product value and not the actual work performed in working with said items, so few seem bitter about the market price despite the effort it takes to sell something. Peeling fruit, brewing sugar-free chai or clearing tables throughout meals doesn't demand any more of a price than if we'd stuck to default options from lazier, poorer attendants. Sometimes, the cheapness of the same products elsewhere surprises us and makes us lament returning to the States to pay our domestic prices for the same things. Blue collar work doesn't seem to be beyond anyone here either, unlike our entitled culture back home. Shimla features porters who carry colossal loads on their backs, uphill in battered flip-flops, and make less than Rs. 300 a day.

We've gone to not tipping unless awkwardly implied upon us and though 40 cents to a dollar on the total sum isn't much, I think inflated prices will take care of any discrepancies on our part. I don't agree with the tipping system as it exists in the U.S., substituting itself for a livable worker wage as through an arbitrary percentage. That being said, I will continue to take advantage of it for my own income as I've had for the past year. Why should any service automatically expect tipping if nothing exceptional was performed for the customer?

Our host here is ineffably gracious in setting up the tour to Kinnaur. Without him, we'd be wracking our noggins on how to tie together every confounding factor for the trip, especially transportation. Though I've had no problem navigating trains and buses by asking strangers about destinations, rates, and schedules, places like the bus transit hubs are a nightmare. They are a cluster-fuck of luggage-clad Indians and aloof Westerners, scrambling to make sense of a completely unreliable transportation system. We re-seat ourselves several times in varying buses as drivers change their minds about the routes. I'll ask a few times how to get to where we're intending to go, grab seats inside, and then find that the whole bus is emptied when the driver reneges on their choice. Rickshaws don't post average rates and our own suggested prices are the only way we parse their fares. Even the elegant booking system of Cleartrip, which we use to book every train, has let us down. We booked seats that were five times the regular price of a lower berth yet we sat in an unmarked rail car with every other traveler. This was, coincidentally, where were met Guillermo and other nice backpackers. Though I've never been on the underground rail in Delhi, which I'm told is a display to be experienced as hundreds shovel in and around the cars with furious fervor, I've felt the calamity Indians seem to experience when getting in and off trains and bus stops elsewhere. There's a harried, uncompromising attitude where you're shoved and boxed in every time the vessel stops. It's quite amusing from my perspective as I'm used to polite and cautious embarking and departure. So, I shove along with the best and tell Jordan to hold onto my pack. Working in a nightclub, porting large loads in betwixt crowds, for the past year had prepared me better than I expected.

Our trip is unfathomably fortuitous. We get bang-up deals and meet sweet people. We spot glorious sites and marvel without interruption. We're alone here, in between the varied interactions with strangers and daily purchasing queries, and we couldn't have envisioned it better. Sparse contact between my friends and family back home has left me with a lot of relief that I'm able to enjoy my months with Jordan fully without worrying about home. I've looked into hashing here somewhat and it seems Delhi is the only option but with their web page covering the calendar up til 2010, I'm hesitant to believe there will be any opportunity to yell, “On-On.” I've spotted the hasher feet stuck to running store entrances and hotel doors but that may be an association I'm making fallaciously. The night I “raced” Jussi in Ambala was the closest I'd come to hashing since I'd left. I was hammered off of the last of our Maker's and the Seagram's Blended Scotch our pimp proprietor Rajesh kept offering. I stepped into heaping, muckish cow shit numerous times in the pitch-black before I ended the quarter-kilo drunk endeavor. Formally, I've run twice here, scantily clad of course, and have never felt more gallant in my life. Everyone is staring down at my junk, as foreseen, and girls have been covering their eyes. There are people on every main drag. Alabaster thighs flexing below a billowing, empurpled running skirt might be too much for the Indian populace. Though the hilly views, bowing roads and crisp air all the more make running less of a chore. I look forward to our trek this coming week and will hopefully write shortly afterward. Below are my various snaps, which take such effort to post online here that you should be licking my heels, detailing a taste of my every day sights. There're fewer cows here in Shimla and the ban on plastic packaging has made approaching subjects less intimidating.

Until later.
Delhi from above. I obtained panorama software after the last entry.

A Languor in Rishikesh.

A very local source of building framework.

Dust covers everything beautiful.

These estate houses look menacing.

The idyllic Ganga.

A colossal sprouting Agave on the mountainside.

Agave where you'd least expect it.

Our entry to the Ganga.
We'd later lose sensation in our phalanges from neglect on the Ganges.
Camping outposts on the Ganga.
Jordan and our technologically-devoted raft guide.
Rafting teams floating behind us.
A temple on our approach to docking.
The Russian presence is strong here. Found inside Topi Wali restaurant in Rishikesh.
A schoolboy who ate breakfast at the same time as us daily.
Preparations for a wedding.
I don't usually take cow photographs, but when I do, I make sure they're the most interesting in the world.
The most lecherous, gag-inducing host ever.  Vile. So vile.
Jussi, my RACEist hasher and Rajesh's slave.
Unforgivably ugly progeny.
Unrestricted observation on our toy train from Kolka to Solan.
Terracing in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Glamor in Grunge, Solan.
An engine car for the narrow rail train we took from Solan to Shimla.  Our train was 2 hours late.
Jordan's first reconnoiter of Shimla.
A coffee house where M. Gandhi used to frequent.
Array of Punjabi pickles in Shimla.
A British-built church from the colonial days in Shimla.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mister Guy.

I could use a lozenge.  A liter of Maker's Mark from the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam has stepped up instead.  En route to Haridwar last night, on our second seating tier berth, we inhaled fumes and filth from fermented cow patties and incinerating trash heaps.  Little people threw cookie crumbs on our laps and knocked over spent tea bags from our chai cups.  We didn't bat an eyelash.  I began writing this last night but the sleep deprivation we've been feeling, Jordan from a newly minted sleep regiment and myself jet lagged, coupled with transport exhaustion made for two very sleepy backpackers.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  There's a plethora of things I want to tell you about but I'm not sure I can keep half of them up in my head for so long.
Schiphol moving walkway. The ceiling is exposed between those shims.

I'm going to try to narrate through my photography, interspersing with captions or the like.  It's tough to snap photos of everything without gagging on the cheapness I feel when living the day to day here.  You're lucky to get a view, if anything.

I started my journey hungry.  My ma had broiled fish and rice from the night before but I'd neglected to peek inside the fridge.  I shouldn't have stressed; the Dutch airline KLM served me disgusting amounts of meals and booze.  I sneaked off a half liter of wine for meeting Jordan Monday night.  I sat between two middle-aged women on my first leg and two Punjabi grandfathers the second.  The grandpas remarked how I looked Indian later, explaining why the older one spoke solely in Punjabi to me.  He was ancient and quiet and smelled of caramelized onions.  I buckled his seat belt and turned the lights on for him.  He would just grin toothily and rattle off sentences I couldn't parse.  I barely spent any time moving those two days and my tailbone was quite sore.
So anti-paleo, I almost ate there.

747-400, two floors of Indians and Dutch people.
When I left the gate in Delhi, I inquired about coming in again because I felt as if I'd missed the driver.  I'd scanned the nametags held up by the numerous taxi operators but couldn't find my own.  Three security guard requests later, they'd managed to let me back in to search.  India's airport security seems to be run by military grunts who carry rifles and conversation hand in hand.  It reminded me of the IDF presence throughout Israeli public arenas.  I found my driver whom Jordan and the hotel in New Delhi had arranged for my pickup.  I lamented the fact that I was phoneless and hadn't written down Jordan's cell # either.  I wasn't sure of the plan for meeting and assumed Jordan was with the driver but when she hadn't shown up, I'd figured she was waiting for me at the hotel.  Little had I known she'd been on transit all day as well and was intending to catch the taxi with me there.  A phone call came through him and we'd turned around to grab her, waiting at the international arrivals gate.
Our cabbie.
He insisted I hold this.
Delhi seemed quite groomed around the airport.  Gas was filled for us at the gas station where we had to exit the vehicle, presumably so we don't drive off with free petrol.  I saw horse drawn carriages, three-wheeled rickshaws and motorbikes carrying three too many on junky roads.  I experienced the frightful proximity that drivers practice here, stopping uncomfortably close between road bump queues and other traffic stops.  Jordan and I tried our best to restrain affection, having been told by Asha that some unscrupulous Indians will spit or throw water at us, protected in the anonymity of the crowds.  It was intermittent finger petting and exasperated grins that got us through until we arrived at the hotel in Pahar Ganj.  Tipping here is customary with a roughly 10% mean.  Because the driver had to turn around to pick Jordan up, we gave closer to 15%, Rs. 70 on a Rs. 600 fare.  Our driver was downright distraught at such an amount, most likely thinking he had a piggy bank to crack in his midst.  He shared his disapproval with the audience at the hotel downstairs who hadn't seemed to share his sentiments. 
View from our Delhi room.

We walked past what appeared to be a water filter machine and hot plate coils.  Our room came with a large key lock, several deadbolts, a king sized bed clad with sheets and blankets, a sitting toilet and bidet nozzle, supposed hot water shower and buckets for washing.  We wasted no time to crack into the Maker's and cuddle into the wee hours.  It was remarkable to finally be in each others arms after all these weeks of anticipation.
Day Tonight Pose.
Our next day required a top-up of our internet plan, Rs. 999 for achingly slow browsing.  I brought a classic Nokia cell to use here but with us never planning on separating, it's dead weight for me to carry.  I exchanged $100 at a spice dealer at an unofficial rate, losing approximately 2 dollars as commission. 
Our breakfast view.

We had breakfast at a restaurant that Jordan had eaten at before and ended up eating someone's plate as it was served to me.  A masala omelet, some Israeli dish of tomatoes and eggs, a Chinese noodle fry and two teas came out to be roughly $3.75.  We chatted with the server, who told me I was quite lucky that day, eating someone's meal.  He inquired about my flip-flops and tried them on, remarking about their comfort.  I tried his on, hesitantly, as I'm not used to such an exchange.  He spoke Japanese to me after telling me the story of his Japanese ex, and me mine.  We took down his contact information in case we'd see him again. 
Breakfast, complete with a stolen dish.

A companion like none other!

After checking out, we went out to obtain some polarized sunglasses.  I scored a pair after bargaining down from an initial Rs. 1000 to Rs. 250.  I was just as lucky finding a pair for Jordan for Rs. 10 more.  They were 20 cents superior to mine as I'd noticed later I was missing a nose pad.  Jordan enjoys having me beside her because the touts harass her less.  There's a lot of bustle down any street with these shops.  Everyone is pushy about selling some crap and some follow you indefinitely.  I ignore most of these offers; I'm not in India to buy shit.
A main drag in Delhi.
We found another exchange place, this one with a more preferable rate of Rs. 49.50 to a $1.  Someone else invited us for tea, wherever we could meet him, as he was leaving Delhi in a few days.  We took down his information, unlikely to see him again.  I bought some more secure flip-flips as I was on the quest for rafting sandals.  They have several gimmicky branding marks but at Rs. 150, I don't care how they appear or what happens to them.  This line of logic might be appalling to the impoverished denizen without a pair of shoes to their name here.  The destitute individuals don't evoke any special emotions from me; I was prepared for it.  I try not to gawk at the limbless but I feel justified as everyone else stares us down, especially at transit stations.  The unusual, Northern Indian stranger, a persona I'm adopting, seems to be coping well with the culture shock.  Kenya certainly prepared me and I draw many similarities from my experiences there, though never direct comparisons. 

Our server friends at the Everest Restaurant.
Is good, no?
An excellent juxtaposition.
We walked up 3 flights of stairs to have a lassi before our train ride, hoping to overlook what appeared to be a less busy day in New Delhi.  Our Nepalese server quietly mentioned beer after we looked through the menu.  "They probably don't have a liqueur license," Jordan remarked.  Two tall Kingfisher bottles, wrapped in newspaper, came out along with a couple of ceramic mugs.  Jordan ordered a lemon mint water too.  I spotted a hawk amidst the lighting fixtures.  I told another server this but he was unimpressed.  "It's there every day. Pigeons, see?" he pointed.  This led to our introduction.  A lengthy conversation about New Years, prog and classic rock, deejaying, and beaches held us together for nearly an hour.  Alox, as he's known in the bars he plays at, dated a Russian woman for a while.  We conversed in Russian, and I snickered at my thought, a few days earlier, about how I'd probably never use Russian here in India.  I poured a shot of Maker's for him, under the table, but he refused on the grounds of his inability to stop after just one.  So the restaurant owner drank it down and requested another minutes later, wanting to feel a buzz so that he could dance to the music being played. Alox said the owner's always dancing. We headed down and out towards the train station after attaining Alox's number.  The navigation was quite simple to find our train and I even got into a tiff with some cargo porter as I was trying to take a photo of the tracks below.  He mouthed off something about India not being my country so I should move and I told him to promptly fuck off and find his own way around me. First fight in India, check.

The Delhi train yard.
The train ride was quite long but we hadn't taken down the estimated arrival time so we were forced to guess 7 hours.  It cost us Rs. 214 to go all the way to Haridwar.  For those counting, that's about $2 a head.  We drank several cups of chai as the attendants came down the walkway chanting, "Chai, Chai, Chai." They offered Veg Pizza, cookies, chocolate and chips.  I thought this was perverse and refused to even think about trying them.  Still, everything was done in a very Indian way for something completely foreign.  The shit smell wafted throughout the cabin and my throat and eyes itched for quite a while as soot entered  my system.  A virus entered too, as I've been achy and sick for the past few days.  As we exited the train, we made our way down to an alley where a man offered a room for Rs. 300.  Unwilling to argue over the price, we settled.  That's a $3 room, again for those of you with me.  Most of my bargaining is about being fair, not cheap.  The next day someone offered the same quality stay for Rs. 250 but we weren't aghast at the loss of a dollar between the two of us.  We passed out on what felt like butcher paper lined mattresses and slept the whole night until some cacophony of loogie hawking and water splashing woke me up. 

We enjoyed cauliflower paratha, black dal stew with butter and cheese, and teas.  We strolled through some backroads and entered a schoolyard where the principal met with us and told us about primary and secondary schooling.  I mistook a pregnant dog for a goat and found bitter gourd growing in the street.  After checking out, we hopped on a bus to Rishikesh for Rs. 23 a piece.  From there, we found a rickshaw that took us to the commercial part of town and we made our way to our home for the next few days, Krishna Cottage.  Jordan met some of her fellow students from the program and we headed to our very pleasant room and balcony on the second floor.  The hot water works here and the floor is a clean marble plate.  The walls are pink, something we've been seeing a lot of since we got here.  Baby-making shades, I suspect.  You get either baby pink or blue, and no free bowl of condoms as I was led to be deceived.

The bus ride from Haridwar to Rishikesh.
The bridge over the Ganga to Swarg Ashram, Rishikesh.  Limbless beggars every 20m.

We had a tasty breakfast this morning at the nearby Oasis cafe and separated for our morning duties: Jordan went to do yoga and I came to write here.  We're going to inquire about the hiking opportunities nearby with a special emphasis on the possibility of bouldering.

Splooge, like someone did on our wall.
I get strained trying to remember all of the details and day-to-day itinerary regurgitation.  So, I'll most likely post when we get to somewhere new or do something interesting.  My cultural examinations are to come but first impressions lead me to believe that India works without a lot of people complaining.  Business is innovative, interspersed with Western practices, a kind of remodeling of ideas to fit the culture here.  This is consistent with the rest of the world importing foreign ideas, I'm sure.  I'd like to date the buildings or trees here but even that proves difficult.  The idea that a billion plus people make for a crowded living situation hasn't made me claustrophobic yet; everything is demi-urbanized and people are inhabiting space everywhere but not to the degree of stepping on another.  You wont find much quiet space anywhere we've been.  I'll see what the mountains offer.  I'm thrilled to be here and hope to find inner solace with all the tumult going on for me this past year.  I'll post again soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stuffing it.

Sabbath is over, at least for this atheist.  I'm in a forest green robe, pondering over my coming months with Jordan and the subcontinent.  I've said this to her but feel inclined to share: I believe this voyage will be my greatest undertaking yet.  As daring as my uprooting to Phoenix felt, sleeping on the floor of my step-brother's and knowing none, I feel like I can balk at the mood I once felt.  I'm delighted to be doing this with someone who rides the same tonal waves we emit.  She helps me forget how tone deaf I appear to everyone else sometimes.

I'm a minimalist.  Sometimes, when I acquire a lot more than I feel like I can chew through, I desert the material cache without guilt.  It's insensible for me to latch on to anything more than memories. I have less these days than the past and the list grows smaller.

In honor of my glutes and the small of my back, I'm going to try to pack as lightly as possible.  I will acquire little more than postcards and chatchkis over these next few months so spare space will need to accommodate little else.  I'm going to bring less electronics than I've had during previous vacations but the necessities of having the web and a phone are already taken care of there.  I'm following a stranger's packing list.  It's not that I lack confidence in my own but reading site-specific recommendations is more useful.  I borrowed this one from the forum.  I'm posting it, word for word so that you have can reference it too, should I see you there.

My Backpack - What goes in and how (with pictures)

I thought I'd contribute to the packing forum for the first proper time with a guide to what I typically pack on an extended (say 1 month+) trip in Asia.

The following is pretty much exactly what I've taken with me on a number of trips across Asia. It assumes a diversity in the climate of the places I'm planning to visit, but also that any extra items required for activities such as trekking may be rented on the road with no need to account for them beforehand.

It assumes that on occasion, I may actually want to look somewhat smart and acceptable for things like special occasions or night-clubs.

It also assumes that while traveling between places, I'm wearing the absolute minimum:

1 pair flip-flops (or thongs), 1 t-shirt, 1 pair underwear, 1 pair shorts and 1 money-belt (w/ passport, cash and cards).

Here is the 55 liter backpack I've used for the last 6 years:

It is divided into 5 sections: 1 at the bottom, 1 in the center, 2 smaller side pockets, and 1 in the lid of the bag. In the above photo, it contains the following:

Bottom section:
1 towel
1 pair thermal underwear
1 sleeping-sheet
1 pair shoes suitable for hiking (but not full-on hiking boots).
1 pair sandals
3 (unread or finished) books

Side pockets:
One side carries 3 pairs socks and 4 pairs underwear
The other side holds my phone, camera and ipod chargers, along with my belt.

Central section:
1 pair light trousers or jeans
1 light hoodie or fleece
1 long-sleeved shirt
1 pair shorts (normally use 3/4 length when traveling)
1 pair swimming shorts
4 t-shirts (including one with collar)
1 bathroom bag (see below)
1 shoulder bag (see below)

The lid
In this section I carry just my guide-book, and whatever book I'm reading at that time. I leave space in this part for things I pick up along the way, as it is the most accessible section of the bag while traveling.

As noted above, I leave space in the main central compartment for my bathroom bag (right) and shoulder (day) bag (left), which each carry a number of items:

I use the shoulder bag as a day-pack for sight-seeing, wandering around etc.

It carries:
1 iPod
1 camera
1 mobile phone
2 pens
1 note-book
prescription glasses
1 lighter
1 padlock (preferably combination)
1 antibacterial hand-gel
1 penknife
1 headlamp


My bathroom bag holds:
1 toothbrush
1 toothpaste
1 floss
1 razor w/blades
1 shampoo/shower gel
1 sun cream
1 mozzie repellent
1 roll-on deodorant
1 small medical bag, which includes:
(water-purifying tablets, painkillers, plasters, bandage, antiseptic solution, antibiotic powder, swabs)


What I don't bring:
I don't travel with a sleeping-bag, mozzie net or anything to deal with rain barring a rain cover for the back-pack which is in a hidden pocket at the bottom. But I generally travel in hot places where rain isn't such a problem. When it does rain, I get wet :D
When it gets cold, I layer up, with the thermals being particularly useful. Only in Nepal have I had to buy extra items, and that was in advance of a 2-week trek.

Note: for many people, the above will be either too much or too little. Everyone has their own preferences and style when it comes to packing. On my first backpacking trip around Europe 8 years ago, I carried an 80-liter bag which contained all of the above and a whole lot more, including a tent and sleeping-bag, and eventually a Moroccan rug. It took another trip after that before I hit upon the above as my ideal pack.
I've just trimmed my beard and will not scoff at paying Rs. 100 for another.  Canned shaving cream just sounds like imminent terror.  I'm bringing my bouldering gear and a flask. A mimikaki :
Anyhow, I can list off more but it's getting cumbersome and keeping me from actually packing the bag.  I've decided to take ~$200 to convert and $1800 on a Capital One Debit Card.  It should allow me to convert money at the thousands of ATMs in India without paying conversion or ATM fees.  I searched quite intensely last month for such a card. I'm budgeting around $25 a day.  Coming home with cash is obviously optimal but I'm prepared to splurge on better class train tickets or getting shitfaced.  

My anxiousness is going to make sleeping really hard these next few days.  Cheers melatonin.