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Takeoff!

klm
Am taking off from Washington DC’s Dulles Airport in less than 11 hours. KLM is now charging extra for any seat that isn’t one of those nasty ones in the center of a five-seat row. I paid $41 more for a window seat on a two-seat row with no one else next to me. There were 30 more open seats, so keeping fingers crossed that the flight doesn’t fill up and I can spread out and get comfy.

Laying over at Schiphol for a few hours tomorrow, which is my favorite European airport of all the ones I’ve been through on the last three trips to India. Then a shorter layover at Delhi before catching JetKonnect to Udaipur at the crack of dawn Sunday morning.

Dudes, here I come!

Parting Just Sucks

Today was the last full day in Delhi with Prem. After we spent some time familiarizing him with the netbook, instead of going to the Select Citywalk mall, we went shopping in Karol Bagh, the neighborhood where my hotel is. Citywalk would have taken an hour to get there, and we also would have spent a couple of hours in rush hour traffic coming back. Then it would have taken him another couple of hours to get across town to his apartment. So we walked around Karol Bagh instead.

I had been looking for stainless steel lined copper serving bowls with brass handles for Meena, something fancy for her to serve meals in. I hadn’t seen any anywhere and thought it was going to be a problem finding them, but I found them in the first shop where I looked, two doors away from the hotel! I  just wish I could be there when Meena unwraps the package.

Prem and I are both sad that tomorrow after lunch, he’ll be taking me to the airport, and that will be the end of our visit until next time. He has another tour booked and won’t be in Delhi when I return from Udaipur. We made arrangements for me to wrap up the netbook and leave it at the reception desk here at the Apra International, where they know him. He’ll pick it up when he gets back.

Whoever said parting is such sweet sorrow was a nimrod. It just sucks.

My Brilliant Idea

Plans are still flexible, but Prem might be sticking around Delhi and might still be here when I return from Udaipur next week. I’m coming back to Delhi two days in advance of my return flight to the U.S. because I want to play it safe. Prem said he might have another tour, but he really wants to pick me up at the airport, spend my last two days in Delhi with me and drop me off at the airport. It depends on his boss, but I think he might forfeit a job for me. That kind of friendship and devotion is really special. He is really a gem.

I had decided some time ago to get a new laptop because the netbook is so limited. I thought I’d give the netbook to Prem because his family doesn’t have one. His son Anku, who is twelve years old, is already taking computer classes at school and frequently teaches Prem how to use his new smart phone! So I know it would be a really good thing for him, too. For all of them. Anyway, the next thing was coordinating the handoff.

Because Prem is most likely going to be in Delhi after I return from Udaipur, the light bulb went off in my head this morning. I’ll just give it to him right before I go back home! Then I could still use it while I’m in Udaipur, where I’ll really need it.

Today pretty much anything I’d want to do would be difficult to do by car because parking is always a problem in Delhi. There are very few public parking garages. So I thought if Prem comes to the hotel early, before the shops open at 11:00, he’d be able to find on street parking without too much trouble. Then I could spend most of the day teaching him how to use the  netbook.

When we need a break, we can go to the Select Citywalk Mall in Saket and go to a matinee. The Select mall is a fairly new, enormous enclosed shopping mall. It has everything: shops, fast food restaurants and movie theatres. Going to a movie would be a nice break from computer instruction, and we can do monuments on another day.

I called Prem at 9:45 am this morning and told him my plan for today.  He’s on his way!

India, Here I Come Again

City Palace, Udaipur

Everything has worked out. Prem’s tour ended today, and he’ll be waiting for me at the airport. No more goofy guy who can’t find the car.

My flight leaves tonight. The storm is now forecast to arrive in the DC area tomorrow night. By then, I’ll be in the air somewhere between Istanbul and Delhi.

India, here I come again.