Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Last Day in Delhi (Day 24)

When we woke up, we had arrived in Delhi. We bargained for a rickshaw ride home. One guy said he couldn't do it for any less than 200 rupees, so I said "well, I guess we'll just ask anybody else, because we don't have that much money." And we didn't. But the bluff worked, and we got a ride to Defence colony (about the entire extent of Delhi away from where we were), for the equivalent of $3.

When we got back, we immediately passed out on couches. We didn't get far, however, because the Jaipur Inn next store claimed that we had made reservations with them again. Unlike last time, I strongly objected this time. I tried to explain how silly it was to imply that we would have booked BOTH an overnight sleeper cab AND a hotel room for one night. They didn't seem to like it, but I was too grumpy to care in the least. When we finally did wake up, we spoke with Purnima (who is amazing), and she hooked us up with a key to one of the bedrooms, where we went and took showers. After this, I packed up my stuff, and divied up the Ganga water I had into separate bottles. I then distributed them to Prunima and a student who was in her office, to Ashok, the cook who had raved about the water, and to Purdeep. I then gave the rest of a water-bottle full of the holy water to Purnima, and asked her to distribute it on our behalf. Everyone seemed elated by this. Maniji was going to leave shortly, so Lee and I said goodbye to the guy who is perhaps the coolest guy I've ever met.

Then we headed out. We went first to the Defence Colony market, hoping to get some street food. I had been saying that I would do so the entire trip, and the mutton fritter, as it turned out, just turned me on to eating more. It was really hot, so we bought a bottle of water for Rs 12. We searched for a streetside food stand, but Defence COlony is a little too posh for that. Across the street and down the road from the market, however, we found what we were looking for. In retrospect, we must not have been looking very hard at all. There were about 300 flies circling the food prep area, and a bunch of Indian men with grease on their shirts and hands. We paid Rs 12 for our entire plate of food, which we ate standing. It wasn't particularly good, but it wasn't awful. I would come to think otherwise.

From there, we caught a rickshaw to the Gandhi museum (we were very scrutinizing in picking a driver this time). We arrived, and spent another 5 hours at the Birla house, where Gandiji was asassinated. This time we went upstairs to all of the multimedia, and though they usually rush people through, we insisted on being shown every video and audio clip. It was all humbling, just as it had been before. Once we had finished viewing multimedia, we went out again to the back lawn, and to the exact site where Gandhi was shot. We paused and took it all in for a minute, then departed, knowing that everything from here out was in an attempt to exit. But right outside the museum, another streetside vendor was selling pakoras and aloo bread, so we got some of that really quick, first.

We caught a rickshaw back to the AIIS guest house, and gathered up our things. We went and ate masala dosas and stuffed ourselves, then packed up and said our goodbyes. Soon after, we were headed to the airport. Our plane left at 12:30 am, and we made it. We had left at 9:30, so we actually had quite a bit of time. Lee find a humongous bottle of whisky and considered purchasing it, only to find out that customs would make him pay duties on it because, at 4.5 Liters, it was 3.5 Liters over the limit. Eventually, we boarded our plane, and were on our way.

The plane ride got worse for me as we went. I believe the Rs 12 rupee plate of food was the cause of what would later be diagnosed as a Shigella infection. I spent the majority of the 22-hour trip back home in the bathroom. I had hot and cold streaks, and tried to sleep as much as I could. Eventually, when I was assuredly completely empty, and feeling completely miserable, I was able to drift off to sleep. When we got to Amsterdam, I was able to make it through the overlay and run through customs with no problems. On the next plane, I tried eating again, and thus spent most of that trip in the bathroom as well. When we got to Detroit, even though I had just gone to the bathroom before deboaring, I went to the bathroom again. Lee did as well, but that lucky punk did not end up getting sick. Finally, when arrival at my gate, we said our goodbyes. It was kind of sad to depart, but he goes to KSU, and I figure I will see him again. Maria goes to MU, so I knew I'd see her soon enough. And Tony has promised to make a trip across country all the way to Maine, where Nikky Singh lives. We'll see (especially with the cost of gas now...)

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