Sunday, December 4, 2011

Passsage to India

I decided to come to India the day my sister's baby was born.  The preparations were a whirlwind;  expedited tourist visas, vaccinations, gathering baby things for her.  I would be coming alone, leaving my dear hubby and children safely having their Chico Christmas season without me.  Then all my November mamas supported my travel efforts by ALL three giving birth ahead of schedule,  within a crazy four days.   At that point, I got to move my trip up by almost a week!  
  In the days leading up to my departure I would start crying at random moments, just thinking about how excited I was.  Truth is, I have ALWAYS wanted to come visit India, but it had never seemed like the 'right time'.  First, we had no money, then we had babies, then we had no money AND babies, then we were buying a house...then.. then...then. 

    I hadn't flown overseas in more than a decade, since before Bella was born.  I was a bit anxious, but mostly just excited.  When you are used to traveling with kids, going on a trip by yourself is just ridiculasly easy!  I am tuning in with my old backpacker-adventurer self, who globe trotted in her early twenties, now twenty years ago!

  My travels all went smoothly, except for the fact that I did not really 'sleep' on those two overnight flights like I thought I would.  More like drifted in and out of half-sleep and watched a lot of good movies courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

  I had an all-day stopover in London, which turned into a magical, wonderful day.  My friends,  Sonya Sophia, the EFT teacher and practitioner Goddess extraorinaire, and her British hubby Simon, picked me up and gave me a personal tour of the beautiful city.  Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, and all the rest.  God, I love cities filled with five and six-hundred year old buildings.  They really knew how to build them back then.  We ended up at a swanky place called the OXO tower on the Thames and had the best meal ever with fabulas London views.  A three-course lunch that included a delicious bottle of wine and the most amazing bitter chocolate mousse that has ever passed these lips.  Lack of sleep, who cares!!

 Late that evening I caught my flight to Delhi.  I already felt like I was in India just at the Heathrow gate.  There were only a handlful of non-Indians on the packed flight.  Food was Indian, and instructions were in English and Hindi.  I got all weepy for the last time really, am I REALLY going to India?  Oh my, I really AM going to India NOW.

   I envsioned a bustling megapolis crazed scene at the airport.  Actually there is not a whole lot going on at the Indira Ghandi International Terminal.  Just a few flights a day, I think.  The vibe was way more like when I landed in the Soviet Union in the late eighties. They have built it, but not many have yet come.  Very chill, enormous buildings,  mostly empty.  I gathered my bags and headed outside. There, I saw a huge crowd of people packed around the exit, waiting for people.  It looked a bit...intimidating..  And there was Amy's driver waving at me, holding a sign that said 'Dena,  welcome'.  YES!  

   A few minutes later we were on my first Delhi road.  Oh SH*T!!!!!!    There are no lanes, there are bike-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws which are motorcycles with  tin-can bodies that can hold riders in it, trucks, cars, buses, people walking, more cars, and even a family riding on an elephant.  Yes, I saw an elephant walking along the freeway.  Everyone is swerving around the slower movers, and EVERYONE is constantly blowing their horns.   Everyone is driving on the 'wrong' side of the street, which is disorienting.  The steering wheels are on the 'wrong ' sides of the vehicles!  On the sides of these crazy roads, cows are sittings, packs of women in colorful saris are carrying big trays of things balanced on their heads, children are playing, little stands are selling things, lots of people are just standing around, and the horns are blaring...and on and on.   Did I mention the horns?

  Delhi is more like a sprawling collection of jumbly ancient villages connected by insane roadways than a cosmopolitan city, at least from what I have seen so far. Delhi has been a city since 2000 BC and there are bits of the architectural remains of each time period here and there and everywhere.  We took a walk in a park with beautiful Moghul tombs from the 1500s.  There are lots of trees, and lots of birds with strange screaming bird songs.  Parrots.  The sky is the smoggy color of LA skies circa 1975.  My sister's neighborhood Defense Colony is a quiet little back street zone. It feels peaceful and very old.  The cook comes in and prepares homemade Indian food in her kitchen every day.  yum!

  now I am holding a sleeping baby so Amy can get a bit of sleep.

1 comment:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Lovely update on your voyage-esp the reference to the sleeping baby; may each day be a memory to treasure for the next decades as the baby grows and becomes a person in its own right. Savor.