Travel to Kovalam Beach

Woke up around 6:30, well before my alarm went off, turned on the geyser (geezer in local parlance) and lounged in bed for another hour. Finished the Use of Weapons, then took as long of a nice hot shower as the geezer allowed. Unfortunately, I knew it wouldn’t run long enough to shave, so the beard stayed. Ugh. Started malaria prophylactics. insert Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “ugh double ‘ugh’ ugh ugh”. Had a couple cups of tea upstairs at Nick’s, ran into Catherine one last time, and then hired a taxi back to the airport. The driver’s name was Lucky, and we had a nice conversation down the hill. He was hoping to buy a car next month, rather than having to rent/pay someone else for the use of the car he was driving. Among other things, we talked ut local traffic laws both in Himachal Pradesh and California, and I mentioned it was something like a $200 fine for not wearing your seat belt. He looked at my shocked and said that was like two months salary for him.

At the airport, waiting the flight, the whole place lost power for about ten seconds before things had way clicked back on. Interesting.

Walking out to the plane on the Tarmac, it struck me how very different it felt than the last time I was here. Anxious, nervous, unsure how I was going to find my destination, unsure about the week ahead. Coming back couldn’t have contrasted more. I wonder how much of that was having at least a rough plan, and how much was having data, having the knowledge that I could look up whatever info I could need. Maybe it’s just that my next step is to go lay on a beach and get a massage, rather than do something I hope I’m prepared for up in the mountains.

We arrived in Delhi with just under enough time to comfortably leave the airport, check out a coffee house, and return, so after making it through security (having my boarding pass reviewed or stamped on no less than five occasions, all for things that no one seemed to care about) I began rereading Use of Weapons and wandered. Saw a single ladder being carried by four people, with a fifth to supervise. Walked to the end of Terminal 3 by gate 26B, and saw an airport employee with an oversized butterfly net hanging out. Hmmm. Not far past him, at the end of the terminal where the class walls come to an overhung point, pigeon feathers littered the ground. Walking back, I even saw one flying down the terminal like it was no big deal.

Unrelatedly, I’ve decided I’m not a fan of Delhi.

Something that occurred to me: so much of India’s pop culture is about attraction between men and women (not to say the US is any different) but arranged marriages are still common, at least outside the metro areas. Hmmmmm.

##later After reaching TRV (whose name I’m still hopelessly unable to pronounce), I got out of the airport and met the driver outside. I realized that if I was somehow unable to meet him (or her), I was kind of a pickle. Bethany was likely passed out, I had no idea the name of the hotel I was staying at, where exactly it was, who I was supposed to meet…really any details. Whatever. It was 80 degrees and swampy. I could literally spend the night nearly anywhere and be fine. Luckily though, a man holding a sign that said Mr. Matt Sugihara was out front. We exchanged pleasantries, then took a 20 minute drive to the hotel. Checked in, and the bell hop was exceedingly eager to take my bag. Unfortunately so. I figured he was working for a tip, but when we got to my room, he dropped my bag and promptly disappeared.

Bethany and I were both stoked to see a familiar face. We spent the next hour trading highlights while I got ready for bed, then we passed out around one.

At three, the same bellhop burst into our room, saying “wake up wake up wake up” turned on the lights, and then, once he saw he had out attention kept repeated “luggage”. Really? I tried to figure out what he was after, but Bethany had the right idea. “First off turn off the light!” Which he did, then when I got up in only my underwear to try to figure out what he wanted, she just shouted “Leave! Get out,” which he understood.

We promptly deadbolted the door and passed back out.