Friday, August 01, 2008

i am traveling in india (did you know?)

While at the Panjab Univeristy Guest House, I managed to forget four days in a row to ask for sheets and pillows. So I slept without either, though I made do with a scarf and my travel towel. It can actually get pretty cold with that fan running while you sleep.

Speaking of which, I’m going on my third straight week with no AC, maybe longer. It doesn’t really matter much here in Shimla, nor did it in Mussorie, but I’m proud of my accomplishment just the same. Summer in India, to quote my doctor (incidentally of grad of Panjab University) is freaking hot. But the hill stations are downright chilly. Good thing for my awesome reversible Harry Potter cloak I got in Mussorie!

Tonight at dinner, I met a nice couple. The wife (Madhu) doesn’t speak English, but through her husband (Rakesh) she asked me if I’d like to go into Shimla with them tomorrow. I should explain that I’m actually outside of Shimla in a forest rest house. There is a small town here, though, so it’s not as remote as it might sound. Khalini Forest, if anyone cares. There is a temple across the road, so there is all this joyful singing and drumming reminding me pleasurably that heck yeah, I’m in India. Heck yeah I got a sweet place to stay and a free ride into town tomorrow. Hells yes, to quote Tabby about whom I will always think when I hear that phrase.

I got copies of a lot of really helpful reports while in Chandigarh, and while they sorted out my room this evening, I looked through some of the data, just to get an idea of some of the stuff I’ll have to work with. They apologized repeatedly for disturbing me, and I felt for once like an important researcher. I don’t even know how many of those charts and tables stuck in my head, but maybe it will ring a bell later when someone asks how much rainfall is absorbed by surface water as opposed to groundwater.

I desperately need to do laundry, but probably won’t. Travel days just wear me out, even when they go as smoothly as today’s did (thanks for Daizy and Harminder and others in the lab). I just feel so uprooted, I need to re-orient in whatever new place I am. I’m glad to have the weekend to start out, even though I don’t have either of my interviews confirmed for Monday. Although this is par for the course here, I’m still a bit nervous that my trip up here may have no official purpose.

Still, at lets it will increase my street cred on the “traveled through India” front. Let me take stock: I’ve been in Delhi, Dehradun, (Kathmandu), Jaipur, Varanasi, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Rajaji and Corbett parks, Leh, Mussorie, Chandigarh, and Shimla. Some of these places multiple times. No wonder I’m always so tired!

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