Day 1 Monday
Cliff and I leave Chase around 5:45am Monday to catch the 6:00am bus for the airport. Chase has hit a new milestone and knows he needs to get up, make his own breakfast and get to the bus stop by himself. We told him if he misses the bus not to tell us but to find a way to get to school on his own and not get killed or kidnapped. During the bus trip, I began thinking about different things. There was a time when I was “exercise-cray-jee” and refused to go on vacations for more than 3 days because I was worried about missing my cardio, but now, I see traveling as exercise for my soul and I just go with it. Just something I was thinking on my way to India. The other thing I thought about was how Chase used to have some speech issues so he couldn’t say ridiculous and instead would say, “That’s dickless.” This phrase turned out to be a useful tagline throughout our trip.
Of course during the bus trip, I had to go to the bathroom because my morning coffee hit me. Of course we were sitting in the front row. Of course when I tried to walk myself all the way to the back where the toilet was it was like being a human pinball in AND out of the bathroom. Now I know why all those damn handles are on the walls. By the time I finally managed to relieve myself the bus stopped and when I came out, Cliff was already off the bus getting the luggage.
Cliff decided to book Cathay Pacific Airlines for this trip on the recommendation from another well-traveled executive who said when he had to travel with his family, the coach section in Cathay airplanes was really good. He was wrong. In fact, I would actually say the planes we flew coming and going were the worst I’ve ever flown. Not only that, poor Cliff had to stand and wait with the normal folk to get in because he had no special relationship with the airline or its affiliates. Like they say, stay with the devil you know.
Despite everything, we were in good spirits until we were connecting in Hong Kong. Cliff got mad because I didn’t wait for him when we were looking for the gates. I thought this was funny since Cliff NEVER waits for anyone and he has actually lost Chase and me a few times because he walks so far ahead of us. It used to bother me, but now I kind of like it that people think we aren’t together. It gives me a chance to walk through the airport like Mysterious Traveling Woman. Sometimes, when Cliff tries to talk to me now, I respond while looking in other directions so people can’t make the connection.
So after 9+ hours of traveling to India, we arrive and Cliff has messages from Navnit telling us the driver will pick us up and take us directly to his home where they are having an informal dinner/get-together. Now I am on India time so that means the only times I can keep up with are Daytime and Night-time. When we arrived it was definitely Night-time.
It was dark as we drove through Delhi trying to find Navnit’s home. As we entered the subdivision, it was all dark except this one house at the end that was lit up like a Christmas tree on fire. This would be Navnit’s home. It is really something to see the way the Indians decorate to celebrate a wedding. Several people already mingling and eating. They had a terrific buffet of North Indian food (the Singhs are Punjabi). Let me just tell you, this “Mysterious Traveling Lady” likes to immerse herself in whatever culture I find myself in. If people are eating with their hands, then I too shall eat with my hands. I can tell Cliff is a little grossed out watching me do this and to be honest, I’m grossing myself out a little because I did just get off a plane, but screw it, I’m all in. One thing I found quite awkward was eating with my right hand and then having to greet people and shake hands with that same hand. Even though my right hand was definitely getting the hang of it, I decided to try to train my left hand to eat so I could shake with my right. Later on I was told not to do this because you eat with your right hand and you wipe with your left, and I’m not talking about your mouth. So I re-corrected myself and went back to my right hand and did the head bob/nod greeting when I met new people.
My word count is getting high, so I’ll stop here. Will try to give you all closure before heading off to Nagano Wednesday.
Until next time…