well i'm currently on my 3 day journey back home.
i took a general non A/C train to alway which is the airport outside of kochi. it took 6 hours and was splendid. i gazed out the open window the entire trip, nothing but rice paddys, palms, backwaters and pilgrims clad in black for sabrimala. i kept ordering coffee and chai from the constant stream of vendors. totally wonderful. probably the best train journey in the history of my travels here. who knew? rps67-that's about US1.30. 2 hungarian back packers asked me to share a cab, which was just fine. they were going to the domestic airport same as me and on their way to delhi/hungary. the girl-rita-was fed up with india and had a panic disorder. "i want to do yoga some day. will it help with my panic?" um, yes. crammed in a 3 week journey trips to delhi, agra, jaipur, jodphur, udaipur, varkala, and kochi. no wonder she is sick of it. all with a huge back pack. i prefer to snack on india and with a suitcase. anyhow, i thought she would have a heart attack on deccan airlines-the size of a large helicopter and with propellers. oh well.
i hung at the airport 4 hours busying myself with the internet cafe and bookstores.
bangalore, as usual, is totally nice and comfortable. it's very east meets west fusion and hip. if i had to live in india, i might choose this city. i opted for a nicer hotel with a/c, tv, hot water, room service action. i take advantage in india cause it's so cheap. i chow down on the confused order (they always get it wrong even if they repeat it back perfectly) and watch jack nicholson in "wolf" and indulge in the most addictive mtv india. in the morning, i ventured on the streets to search for internet. "we do not have internet here, madam" "in the silicone valley of india???" well, i could not find anything and bribed the staff at the hotel to let me use theirs for free. i indulged in my free breakfast, which was the best in india ever. 4 idlys stuffed with nuts, tomato oothapam, peanut chutney, coconut chutney, and the best sambhar i have ever tasted.
my driver back to the airport was mohammad nassir khan-nassir for short. he dropped the khan part. he was very charming and spent the entire half hour begging me for work in america or any country for that matter. "i cook, clean, drive, fix cars, garden, and counsel (?)" he was very proud of his passport and worked in malaysia for 2 weeks. i asked him, "what about visa?" cause that's the hard one, i know from talking to many indians that it is almost impossible. lots of red tape, waiting years and a huge amount of money. the poor never make it to my country. "i get visa, you just tell me when to come! i do not cheat. i am not a cheater. i am born 1962! i do not take much money. i only need eat, sleep-i work hard! please you help me get a job!!" than he busts into a muslim prayer song and chant to allah, praying for lisa lisa lisa to help him. i just did not have the heart to tell him that his chances were slim to none, so i tipped him generously.
the airport guards would not let me through security. "you must take food, you must watch the people!" "but i only want to buy magazines, not eat" "oh...she is fasting! well you sit and watch the people." ok. i go to the airport coffee day and purchase a pile of bollywood rag. such a funny place.
an uneventful flight back to mumbai. when i arrived, i went to the hotel reservation booth and got snagged away and got talked into staying with a gaggle of sari clad lady seniors at the sai baba ashram. "you stay with us at ashram and we meditate till we go back to airport." which would be 8 hours. "ok". so i sit and i wait and i wait and i start thinking, do i really want to do this? i notice many of the ladies won't sit by me, looking at me with distrust. (?) i wonder what i'm getting into cause all that was on my mind after 2 days travel and another ahead of me, was a hot bath, internet, mtv, food and beer-none of which would be found with sai baba. "ummm...i am not a sai baba devotee" "why?" she says. i have no answer. she understands, i get my swank modern hotel in the middle of some horrifying slums with everything i need.
this will be the last entry to my blog this trip. thanks for staying with me on my journey!