Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 3--Dehli...Why the hell not?

The hotel did not send a driver to pick me up (as prearranged and paid for online). I would have been more discombobulated if things had gone smoothly. I remember from my last trip to India is that things never go as planned, and one should always expect the unexpected.

I had been patting myself on the back for being so wise to pack my down booties in my carry-on (they really came in handy on the ultra-chilled flight) but as I rifled through my bag pulling out mitts, booties, and fleece to find my hotel information in the stifling Delhi heat, it bordered on comedic. My shirt sticking to me and sweat running between my shoulder blades while I made a pile of down articles on the floor.

The sun was coming up, though barely visible through the smog. It was just after 6am when I got a pre-paid taxi chit and settled into the back of a mini-van for the 45min commute through the city. It was how I remember all of the Indian cities I spent time in. Hot. Dusty. Chaotic. Loud. Polluted. The traffic was a mix of lorries, cattle, dogs, rickshaws, pedal bikes, cars, motorbikes...even a guy on inline skates! No real observation of lanes and the horn being the 'signal' of choice to maneuver from side to side. I was happy to dive back into this throbbing city.

Somewhat apprehensive about what the next adventure will entail.

It's now 1050h and I am exhausted. Exhausted from doing nothing. Sitting on planes, and in taxis but I haven't slept since I left Canada. Only a few dreamy head-bobs that woke me right up again on the plane. I need a good stretch or a walk but the thought of stepping out into the madness is unappealing. I'll sleep for a few hours only so avoid exacerbating the jet lag. Then I'll go exploring.

1830h--So much for a few hours sleep and avoiding jet lag.

2300h--Came back from an email attempt to have a short brunette come running out of a restaurant at me, "You're Erin aren't you???"


"I can tell by your 'Smoking Lilly' t-shirt and your lululemon headband!! You've got to be a Canadian from the West coast!"

And so it was how I came to meet Liz, the assistant attending.

After a chai with her and John, the attending, I felt somewhat more reassured about the group I'd be spending the next month with. Both young, adventurous, and entertaining. So far, so good. Except she did shatter my notion of originality. I am evidently a walking stereotype: West coast girl. Suppose it could be worse...

Last time I was in Delhi I had a few friends with me and we had all dreaded coming out of the quiet beauty of the desert and hitting the big city. In an attempt to amuse ourselves we imagined the jobs of the Delhi tourism board trying to come up with slogans to lure tourists...a couple we drummed up were, "10 billion cockroaches can't be wrong!" and my personal favorite, "Delhi--Why the hell not??"

We're going to rent cabs tomorrow and head for the Taj. They twisted my arm. I didn't see it last time and I figured I really can't justify coming to India twice without seeing the Taj...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 2 (ish) Seoul Searching

It's dark . I just watched the last 1.5h of Sex and the City movie, again. My favorite scene is still the part on the bridge when Miranda and Steve meet up. I am such a sucker for romantic moves in a movie (cue strings and running toward one another--I'll eat it up).

Seoul airport is no longer the 1970 version of a Greyhound bus station that it was in 1999. All you could buy was 15 cent plastic cups of ginger tea and admire the brown and yellow stripes on the walls. Nope. Now it is huge, airy, bright, gorgeous, and non-smoking.

Jana and I had to overnight here when we came through last time. I remember the greyness and uniformity of the city, how grimy and stark it was. In our hotel we watched the American military station with commercials for quitting smoking and marriage counseling (and I saw my first cockroach).

I wonder why I always listen to depressing music on airplanes?

I remember having to take a flight once after falling in love, I still listened to the most depressing music (Gillian Welch's 'Time the Revelator') but with a giant grin on my face. I was so filled with joy and hope.

Hope is almost worse than love because hope isn't messy or complicated. Hope doesn't take away your appetite or make you distant, lost in your thoughts. Hope is pure and simple. It erases doubt and smooths over the corrosion's of the past. That is why it is so dangerous. It took me months to recover from that. Losing hope. Months.

Clearly I need to sleep.