Monday, January 12, 2009

In the Land of the Maharaja

I'm in India! Don't have much time, so I'll just write some snippets of the journey.

Arrived late into Delhi--1:40 am or so. We had a short layover, so we'd gotten a hotel...but we were already late so it ate up most time for the hotel. But the hotel claimed to be "minutes" from the airport, so we went anyway. It was minutes away...45 minutes to be exact. But I got to see a bit of Delhi, at 2 am, which in my opinion is a bit preferrable to the busy day time. It was so foggy, you couldn't even see the tops of trees or construction cranes. The streets were narrow and, don't know how else to say it, shabby. Many cows and dogs and much trash on the ground, and the buildings in the area we drove through seemed to have no aesthetic sensibility. However, I don't think I can judge all of Delhi by one 45-minute drive through one part of town at 2 am.

We had 2 hours to sleep at the hotel. Luckily, they had a built in alarm system--a chorus of 300 street dogs all baying and jammering away at 4 am. We headed back to the airport after our two-hour rest. The Delhi airport was so interesting, in that it had such a different array of people than I'm used to seeing. Arabs going to Hyderabad, monks going to Tibet, I suppose, and so many Indians look so different from one another.

The toilets were a bit confusing to me, even though I've been thoroughly instructed on their use. There's a hole and two places to put your feet, then a spicket and two buckets. No towels or toilet paper. It seems to be some kind of do-it-yourself bidet. Forgive the indelicacy, but are you supposed to just splash water up at yourself? Won't your legs then be dripping in water? I haven't noticed any women with wet pants, so I must be missing something. Luckily, at my hotel, I have a western toilet, but with a hose and buckets, just in case.

On the flight from Delhi to Amsterdam, I saw the sunrise over the Himalayas. That was cool. The whole earth was a broad plain, but then one long huge line of piranha teeth jutted up north of Delhi. Felt like I was watching Planet Earth. Sat by a man from Kashmir. Thought that was cool.

In Chennai, I was struck by how it seems less depressed than the other cities I've been to--there seems to be fewer people trying to sell things on the streets or vagrant on the streets, and more people who seem to have someplace to go. That's good. The women are like bright flowers here. Such colors! And they whiz past you on motor bikes, so you just see a blur of fuschia and turquoise scarves fluttering by.

We went to the Compassion office and met people and made our plans. Going out today to Chennai to interview. Tomorrow, I'll meet Sarath, the boy we sponsor. And in the night, we'll take an overnight train to Nagercoil.

Hmm...what else to tell you...I'm already a bit sick of Indian food. How sad! But I just can't do spicy vegetables for breakfast. Luckily, the hotel had some plain oatmeal. And last night for dinner I ordered a club sandwich for room service, just ate the bread and fell fast asleep at 7 pm.

Love you all! Hope to take some pictures today.


skidgy said...

I loved reading of your latest adventures. I feel like I'm there with you. Glad it was you rather than me trying to use the floor toilet! How neat to be able to meet the child you sponsor! Stay safe and healthy! Love you!

Anonymous said...

What an adventure! It sounds like the Amazing Race and that you are as tired as the racers on Amazing Race. The Himalayas sound amazing. Hope you got some sleep. I'm excited for you to meet Sarath.
Stay well, be safe.
Love you tons!
Mom & Dad

Mike said...

Sounds really cool! Very interesting and exotic. You'll come back all traveled and mentally expanded so you'll be so far above us all that we'll be dreadful bores compared to you. Make sure to say hello to Sarath for me and tell him how handsome he's growing up and how we're very proud of the young man he is becoming and so thankful to be able to be a part of it through his letters.

barleygreen said...

Thank you so much for squeezing in an update for us. Sounds very interesting. I think I would become dehydrated from refraining to partake in liquid refreshments until just before heading back to my hotel.

Tara said...

Thanks for the overview of your travels so far. It sounds amazing. Did you get pictures in Chennai when the women are speeding past in their bright colors? That would be neat to see. Love ya!!