Hi, Janet, Hi, Samantha. Love to you.
Here we are with buffalo in the lobby of Delhi’s LaLit hotel at about 11:30 pm local time on Jan 2. Who knows what time our time. We’re told we’re 13 hours ahead of Pacific time if that interests you. Smooth and interesting 28 hours all in all. Weird to say, but true enough even for a pair of newly-minted 73-yr.-olds. We’re here on schedule and ready to roar like a pair of Bengal Tigers.
Next day, a rainy and foggy 5-hour drive from Delhi to Agra. Fertile and varied landscape on the way. The thatched hut in the picture is used for drying mustard seeds (see field off to the right? Take my word, I guess) There were many, many 6-7 story chimneys (no good pics)—kilns for drying cinder blocks, apparently. As we saw in Turkey, lots of half-finished buildings, rebar thrusting toward the sky, waiting for money to tack on a couple of more stories. Lots of soybeans (I think that’s what they are) and more than a few roosting vultures. (Hey, someone has to eat some meat some time.)
We got a glance at what the end of net-neutrality might look like. Our nice toll-road freeway, bounded by dirt tracks on either side for peasants and livestock. Behold the future of the 1% and the rest of us.
All the accents make it a little like living in the land of tech support where everyone’s speaking English, but not quite the same language after all.
Once in Agra, we saw a bit of that crushing poverty for which India is so famous and which, according to our conversations, sends many visitors in other directions. And this is certainly not the worst of it. Yes, we saw, tin shacks and garbage and cattle in the streets and pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, vans, and busses elbow-to-elbow. I even crossed one of the swarming streets, our driver at my elbow for safety, to get to an ATM. And yes, it’s unpleasant and hard to reconcile the squalor when we all have so much. But then, it’s hard to reconcile it all when you see the panhandler on the corner a few blocks from our nice house. Beats me how to put it all together. Even Hollywood’s cash couldn’t pull the Slumdog millionaire kids out of the morass. But it’s all part of us, like it or not—and we sure don’t—but maybe if we spend some money and try to talk to some people and learn their names it might make a difference. Or maybe not.
Next picture is our arrival at our grand hotel Jaypee Residency Manorwith its glorious Jaypee residency manor with its great rooms and luxurious grounds. See us with our driver, Sattee, who saved my life, and our buddies, George and Joanna. Tomorrow, the Taj, then back to Delhi for night there before our flight to Chennai to join the tour we actually signed up for.