December 19th, 2007


delhi to goa by train (41 hours)

the train trundles through the night, past the myriad trash-fires which warm the untouchables just enough to keep them alive for another day of hardening the hearts of the rich and middle class.

i am not, however, permitted to close the curtain on my windowless upper berth and remain oblivious. every so often, smoke, wind, and the direction we travel conspire to remind me by sending us directly into one of the acrid plumes rising from the fires. it is sucked in by the probably filterless air conditioner and pumped into my lungs, leaving me as laryngitic as if i had smoked a pack of cigarettes in my sleep.

i share my berth with a canadian couple. he was born in calcutta, but has lived in the west for 31 years. she was born in british guyana (of jim jones fame), but her grandparents were from india. she tells me that 70% of guyanans are indian, and not just because an ignorant italian misnamed them.

there is an "indian style" bathroom and a "western style" bathroom on the train. need i explain?

(no subject)

so, i'm now in margao, in south goa. christmas is coming up, and this is the most popular place to come in india for the holiday. still, it is much more relaxed than delhi, and i am enjoying a much needed slowdown. it's a bit more expensive than other areas, because of the season, and it's hard to get reservations for both train and hotel. i am going south to the beach at benaulim for a couple of days and then out to hampi to see some ruins of the same vintage as angkor wat. i have no hotel reservations at either place, and i am on a waiting list for my return from hampi. should be interesting. it will all calm down after new years, though. i may head farther south at that point, or i may go to rajasthan on my way back to delhi. i really don't want to spend any more time than necessary in delhi, but i have to see my doc one more time, and i want to go to agra to the taj majal and do the "golden triangle", so i kind of have to spend a week in the area.

i'm not taking as many pictures as i usually do, trying to be here now, without the lens, but i am taking some, and i will take more. i'm sure there will be more than some of you want to see when i get back.