October 15, 2009 – FIRST 5 HOURS IN INDIA
First 5 hours in India…total sensory overload….kamikaze drivers continue to rule the roads….brilliant color….amazing scenery, enormous variety of wildlife and smells,….from pollution to the scent of flowers….monkeys, dogs, bullocks, wild pigs….bicycles, rickshaws, motorbikes, pedestrians, cars, trucks, all trying to get “there” faster….]
I arrived at the airport ½ hour EARLY and was out in less than 20 minutes…this included a mandatory health check and sworn and signed affidavit attesting to the fact that I am not nor have been exposed to swine flu (a large number of airport workers were wearing masks –a little disconcerting to say the least)…getting through immigration, picking up my luggage and coming out to find not only my driver, but my friend seema’s husband, ashish, waiting to take me home to rishikesh. His sister was going back to Delhi and he heard I was arriving so he decided to get a ride with the taxi for his sister, escort her home and then accompany me from the airport…it was realty a lovely surprise to be greeted on THIS side by a familiar face. And of course we spoke and had breakfast together a cheetal, a lovely rest stop ½ way between delhi and rishikesh.. my first parantha this trip and of course chai. –and then both of us actually felt into a sort of sleep during the next part of the extremely bumpy, stop/start trip along a road which is still under construction.
And he told me so many things….although rishikesh had plenty of rain this monsoon, the rest of India is experiencing a terrible drought….sounds like home
That Saturday is diwali and it would really be good for me to do any shopping I need to today or tomorrow as there are big sales. (doubt it…the market will be flooded with people shopping..not my cup of chai)….and then the really surprising thing….rishikesh is patrolled by policemen and each area has had 3 regulars coming around each day to the guest houses checking to see how many Israelis are in each place….they are afraid of attacks by el-Qaeda…..and now that the Israeli festivals are over and most have left…the police have thinned out but there are still two armed commandos in each area just to be sure
Backroad being built while traveling on it…mud from the river, bullocks pulling carts filled with it and spreading on the “rode” while cars are traveling along the road…I haven’t the faintest idea how this road gets built at all
And of course the noise….i never quite get used to that…
That’s it for now…I am with my little laptop in the taxi actually…there is no way I could be writing this with pen and paper on the road but having this little laptop makes it a possibility and makes it easy to get this down “on paper”…