One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things - Henry Miller

Sunday, June 13, 2010

India 2

13 June 2010 5:46am
India continued...
We are presently cruising into Muscat in Oman...cannot see a thing through the haze.
But before we get to Oman ...How did India finish? Can’t tell you just now ...Oman has just emerged out of the mist and you can almost touch the rugged hills...I’ll have to go and watch the sail in...
Back again...safely tied up in Mina Qaboos and it is HOT! Do you know you can go to Princess Cruises and the web cam on the bridge of Dawn Princess shows you the “View from the Bridge”. And if you were to look today you would be able to see almost all of Muscat in the Gulf of Oman- the city is just crammed in to the tiny valley between huge black treeless hills...again a brilliant contrast...every building is white and all the earth is amazing sight.
So back to India...We spent Thursday travelling from Agra to Mumbai and trying to make phone contact with home to no avail. Had to wait till 1:00pm when we got back on board and could use the ship’s phone. After a 5:30am start, it was obviously a very long day for us as well.
During the five hour bus trip from Agra to Delhi we got a good taste of Indian traffic (which really puts your nerves to the test) and a good overview of rural life in northern India...we saw camel caravans and goat herds travelling in from the north west, men on elephants, endless acres of farms banked up like paddy fields but all ploughed and ready for the rain – if it comes. It is a bit scarry thinking back on our weather pattern in 2009 as we were in Delhi for their coldest June day in over 40 years...not good when they are all sweating on the arrival of the wet season...I suppose that was the one disappointment at the Taj Mahal...the water feature which is so familiar was almost empty and the water was dirty and obviously in need of a good wash out.
In Delhi we took an exhilarating rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi. The experience heightened by having our rickshaw stopped and the driver beaten by a cane and told to go back!!! Given that we were the second of over fifty rickshaws travelling in convoy there was little hope of this happening and we cause a traffic jamb should have heard the noise!!!
A two hour flight had us into Mumbai by 9:30pm then we had a very interesting view of nightlife in India on our hour’s drive from the airport to the ship. The street dwellers just sweep a space clean spread out a mat, if they have one, and simply sleep where ever they can...on the bonnet of their car, the seat of their rickshaw, footpath, doorway, bench...where ever. As we drove through only the old people were asleep but men, women and children were all sitting around chatting in groups and preparing for the night.
The worst part of the whole journey was the last hour standing in line being checked back on board the ship. Ours was the last bus and we were the last five of the 132 passengers who took the trip to get on board. You know what a night owl I am and how I would be functioning at 11:00pm at night standing in a cue!!!
Muscat calls...

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