Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Udaipur to Dehradun/Rishikesh, India, January 31, 2023

Once again no hot water this morning. That’s very disappointing when you pay for a private room but TII!  


My cab arrived on time at 7:30 and by 8:15 I was at the airport. What a modern place!  By simply walking through a door I left the chaos of India and stepped into my normal. Unfortunately because of fog/smog in Delhi, my flight was delayed and I think that Indigo uses the same planes for all the short flights so that meant that all flights were delayed all day. I didn’t mind though because my iPad was charged and I had  downloaded The Lincoln Lawyer so I watched it all day.

I had an interesting visit with a security guard toting an AK 47 at the airport in Udaipur. He length of his day depends on the arriving and departing flights so usually he starts at five in the morning and is finished by nine or ten at night. He goes home to a wife and a three-year-old. She does not work because as he said who would cook my supper? When he asked me what I was up to, he looked at me really puzzled and said so you have the next while of your life planned out. I nodded and he said we don’t do that. We think about today and that is all and if tomorrow comes we think about that day and that is all. Hmm.  I know that being in the moment is the way we are “supposed” to live our lives and I agree but at the same time I need to have a plan; a plan that I work towards.  For the man I spoke with today, his life is about survival. He works for 11 months - 7 days a week and takes the 12th month off. Maybe if a person doesn’t have enough money to be able to do anything other than survive, then you better live in the moment but if you dream about the future, as long as you are not forgetting to enjoy the moment, I think that’s how you can get ahead. I’m not sure but at my yoga school we do spend a lot of time in meditation and maybe by the end of the course I will have some answers!  Another thing, he was shocked when I told him I was 61 as he thought I was about 45. Are all Indians blind? He said that a 61-year-old woman in India would be in a wheelchair, and I did see a few.

I also visited with two young boys who were dressed very smartly in their school uniforms. They were going back to their boarding school, the best boarding school in the world according to them, in Dehadrun. They were 13 and 14 years old and had been home for a semester break. They love the school because it’s like sleeping over with friends all the time and they do not miss being at home with their families. Rich kids!

The young woman I sat beside on a plane was going back to medical school. She looked about 12.

Because we were late departing, the first flight gave us a little gift bag that included a juice box, some spicy trail mix and a cookie. Normally on these flights you get a glass of water.  They must have run out because the second flight we got nothing.

An interesting observation is that by the time we have deplaned and are at the luggage carousel, our luggage is there. Always. That’s pretty amazing!  In fact, in Delhi where you have to walk about 20 minutes to get to the carousels, my bag had already been taken off and was in a neat row on the side waiting for me to grab it.

At the Dehradun airport, there is no negotiating for cabs. You pay at a booth and they assign you a driver. I like that except it involves a middleman so it’s more expensive. It’s like the cab I took this morning. At the hostel it would cost me Rs.850 but at a travel agency down the street it only cost me Rs.700. 200 for the travel agency, 500 for the driver. The problem is it’s hard to find your own taxi driver because cars are unmarked.  Costs are okay, everyone has to make a living and it’s not like most people are rolling in it.  

Tonight, the drive was on a very windy up and down road that follows the Ganges.  I’d love to see it in the daylight.  No one dims their lights and some don’t have any, but my cabbie did a great job. He didn’t speak much English so only answered the questions he understood. Fine.  After about 30 minutes, he was ready to kick me out at a pedestrian street. Google maps was showing my hostel was still a long way away so I made him follow the route. When I got out I had to walk up probably 60 big steps to get to Shalom Backpackers.  That was hard wearing a 15kg pack.  I always think that’s what everyday would be like if I were obese. Why do people do that to themselves?  It’s so debilitating.  Anyway… I have a lovely room and I can hear the Ganges so I think I must have a view from my balcony. I will know better in the morning.

I thought a beer would be a nice way to end the day but the server at the restaurant gave me a look as if I’d asked for his head to be delivered on a platter. He said the nearest beer was probably 4 to 5 km away! WTF?   I went for a walk and discovered that my cabbie was right. If I had gotten out where he suggested I would’ve had an easy, short, downhill walk. That’s another example of what has happened to me in India. I don’t trust anybody and this time it cost me a struggle!

As per usual, I’m hoping for a great sleep and I’m very excited about tomorrow. I’m looking forward to some structure and being able to stay in one spot for a while. I hope I am not disappointed.

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