Jan 17, 2007

India: Let's do this thing.

It's now or never, India. Just you and me, mano a mano. If I don't write about you now, I'm just going to drift off into never doing it at all.

It's a hard thing, describing an experience in which something weird and different happened every day, so I guess that just makes me procrastinate the whole thing. This is amazingly similar to the laundry problem and the crap-lying-around problem and all the other housekeeping problems I have. It's as if my brain says, "Well, if you're not going to do the whole thing justice right now, and complete the entire project, there's really no need to start, now, is there?" I've been fighting that natural inclination to be all-or-nothing my whole life.

Let's take some pressure off, and I'll just tell you some of the stories now and we'll just see how it goes, kay?

The beginning of our journey was kind of inauspicious. We called a taxi to the train station, and the taxi never came - by the time we tracked it down, we were just barely going to make our Septa/NJT trains to Newark. As it turned out, we were rushing for nothing because somehow I had pulled the train departure time from an outdated Septa schedule anyway (from the Septa website, no less) and the train was already gone. The next regional train was in an hour. Since it was already 9 pm, we made the decision to just suck it up and take Amtrak, a much pricier option than the regional rail but one that would get us there in not much more than an hour. (Our plan was to sleep in the Newark Airport Hilton and then get up very early for our flight.)

So we buy our tickets and since the train was running five minutes late, TJ decides to go into McDonalds. I spend the next ten minutes sweating bullets as the train comes and is announced and waits and TJ is still in the MacDo. I'm shouting across the station, "Just leave the damn food where it is, the train is going to leave!" but he doesn't hear me. He shows up running and we dash onto the train, smashing people with our big backpacks and cramming up the aisle for a seat. As soon as we manage to sit down, he puts his drink down and I promptly spill it into my seat, so I can't really sit down the whole ride. The train then proceeds to NOT stop at the Newark Airport stop, even though the marquis said it would.

From that point on, things improved - we got off at the main Newark stop and took a cab, and it turned out the Airport Hilton was shockingly nicely appointed! I even took some of the mini shampoos/conditioners with me in my carryon bag, despite my policy against accumulating little useless things, because they were Neutrogena and I like Neutrogena (pay attention, this will come in handy later).

We go early the next morning, make the plane, all is well. Except that because of the unusually intense fog in London, most planes in and out have been cancelled and that's exactly where we're headed in order to transfer to the Mumbai flight. Sailing through the air watching the in-flight entertainment, we don't know if they're going to let us land...

(This image is a teaser so you'll stay tuned to future installments. What IS that thing? What could it be?)


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