Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Calm Before the Storm Before the Calm

Tonight, I'm taking it easy. Tomorrow, more of the same. Why? Visitor season, which has been closed since March, opens again on Thursday night.

My sister Anne and brother-in-law John (yes, at my parents home I'm now known as "Brother John" and he is known as "Husband John") arrive at the tame hour 5:45pm IST (it's almost like American Airlines is trying to take away the fun of arriving in Delhi well after midnight, completely discombobulated, with no idea what exactly just happened. We then have two full and active days with them in Delhi.

Saturday night, our trekking friends Judith and Glenn fly in from Canada. Sunday, we're planning a day of rest. And brunch. What, you thought we'd have visitors and not not let them experience a Delhi brunch? It would be completely un-expat of us. Inexcusable.

Monday, John and Husband Anne venture off on their own for the requisite visit to the Taj Mahal. That same morning Judith and Glenn depart for a nine-day Indian adventure. Tuesday, Lindsay flies to Chennai for work for two nights and Anne and Husband John depart for a five-day Ladakh trip. Saturday, they return. We quickly turnaround and drive to Neemrana Fort Palace, our favorite one-night destination to introduce them to Rajasthani hospitality. Sunday, we head back to Delhi and either give them another brunch experience or do any last minute shopping or forgotten activities in Delhi. They fly home late that night.

That part was most of the storm. And if having your sister visit is considered "most of the storm", it's not really a storm (it's actually quite the opposite) but if I didn't call it that, the title of this post would make no sense.

The next day, if I haven't totally lost you, is Monday the 27th. By this time, work gets busy. Not only is my American boss in town for the week but I'm also responsible for hosting two other visitors the entire week. Not necessarily difficult work, but you want to make sure everything goes to plan. Wednesday night Judith and Glenn return from their nine-day northern India adventure, hopefully well hydrated as they brave the heat. Friday evening my work hosting responsibilities officially end.

That was the rest of the storm.

Saturday (July 2nd) we leave with Judith and Glenn for our own two-week trek in Ladakh. To give you some idea as to how early the flight is, we arrive in Leh at 7:45am.

From that point, I go completely unplugged. No laptop, no Blackberry, not even a Kindle. Just the four of us, our guide (and probably 14 porters), and a notebook to scribble random observations.

This part is the calm. This part lasts 14 days.

There's something to be said about describing 6+ hours or hiking per day for two weeks as "calm". I've only done one long trek in my life (click here for a 9,000 word account) so I'm in no way the expert on these types of trips (though they're a blast, I'd HIGHLY recommend it); however, I will say (in fewer than 9,000 words) that last year's trek was the greatest travel experience of my life.

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