Thursday, July 14, 2005

Train to Lucknow, meeting the grad students, and a visit to Ultraviolet (Day 10)

This morning, I was awoken at 4:55 to be informed that our wake-up call did not come through. Luckily I was already packed, but I rushed to grab some toast on my way to the bus that would take us to our train. I manage to down the toast, but I am NOT a morning person (especially after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep), and especially not someone who can eat in the morning, so I spent most of the drive with the windows open, focusing on the cool breeze as I tried not to throw up. When we got to the train station, Cathy hired a coolie (baggage handler) to carry her bag on his head to the spot on the platform we'd need to be to catch our particular bogi (train cab). We would be riding a shatbdara (sp?) bus, which means a chair-filled day bus. On the way to the train, I left a peanut butter banana sandwich on a sleeping homeless guy's leg. I hope he enjoyed it more than did I.

Our train was sort of new, air conditioned, and had sealed windows, so it wasn't like the Indian train experience I thought I would have. I stayed awake the whole time, planning our post-workshop trip and accomplishing a few other tasks. I used the squat restroom on the moving train, which I feel I should be commended for. I ate some below-par food, as well.

When we arrived in Lucknow, Sandeep-ji met us and directed us to cars that would take us to our hotel. We arrived at Park Inn, unloaded our stuff, then pretty much headed right out to meet the grad students studying Urdu in Lucknow. We went to the AIIS house, and after introducing each other, I chatted with a few of them...Jaffar, Bart, Suzanna...then I headed over to lay across four chairs and pass out, because I was in much need of sleep. In fact, even when we went back to the hotel, I slept for another 2 1/2 hours. I slept through Brent yelling, Nikki calling, and almost Sandeep calling, but I finally headed down to stare at a plate of food.

After dinner, we had convinced Sandeep to drive us to Ultraviolet. UV is a hookah bar in Lucknow, which is cool and low-lit. We had mango sheesha, which I found fitting. Tony, Megan, Donna, Christy, Maria, Lee and I all tried it, Brent came but opted out. Sheesha is a tobacco smothered in molasses, and produces a light, fruity smoke. We all left very relaxed. In fact, after watching some TV briefly, we all headed to our rooms to pass out.

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