Saturday, February 10, 2007

Journal 2006 #4 Feb. 4-5-Flight and Arrival

I am sitting comfortably at an Internet Cafe just outside my guesthouse and it is a chilly rainy day so what better time to do my best to catch up on this whole week. I have simply not had the urge to write at all, contrary to my previous journeys, but know that I will hate myself at a later date if I don't at least get the bare impressions down here. So let's quickly take a step back in time to last Sunday, Feb. 4th, 2007 when I left home for the airport to fly to India for the 4th time.

Just a quick aside: Leaving home this time was difficult. Everyone kept asking me if I'm excited and I never got to a point of excitement. (Actually, the excitement, which brought me to tears, was felt just as we landed in Delhi)... it's almost as if I am watching myself do all this. Very strange feeling.
Leaving my Mother was particularly difficult-but leaving my grandchildren was also hard as they are all grown up (most of them) and "real" people now...and of course my kids! I've spent more time with them the past while and of course Shlomit is living WITH me now and even Aviva the past 3 weeks. I will particularly miss Shlomit I think...and it is really difficult for me leaving my Mother all alone, but I guess in time I will come to terms with all of this.

The whole trip this time was surreal. I had a very weird feeling from the time I arrived at the if I was watching a movie of myself doing this and I myself am not really present. The only way I can think of to describe the journey is by using the Kabbalistic term "kfitzat Derech"...a leap in space so to speak...a technique used by Holy men, Kabbalists, certain Chasidic sages etc., to instantaneously get from place and time to another distant place and time. One minute I was sitting in the VIP lounge with my son-in-law Shmulik at Ben Gurion airport, and the next minute I was sitting in a taxi with Shatntam on my way to Rishikesh!
It's as if, except for a few impressions, the entire flight never took place...I remember this red headed fellow with bright blue eyes on line ith me in Amman asking if anyone was going to Rishikesh and would like to share a taxi with him. So of course I told him I already have a taxi waiting for me and he could share with me. Seems I also got a very fair price as he usually pays on his yearly trips to Rishikesh about $100 (about 4000 rupees) for the journey and the price I was given was 2500 rupees!
So we agreed to find each other at Delhi airport, and then boarded the plane. This was an unusual flight as it was filled first by about 250 pilgrims returned from Haj in Saudi Arabia. Muslim Indians of all ages, male and female, who boarded the plane first and just sat whereever they wanted to. so when the additional passengers, about 50 in number, began to board, there was a holy mess, as everyone's seat was already taken, no one spoke Hindi, and none of these guys spoke English or Arabic and it took alot of doing to get them to move to their proper seat. In the end, who wound up sitting next to me? The red=headed guy I had planned to look for in Delhi! The first of mnay synchronocities which have already presented themselves this past week.
Well, food was served fairly soon and I ate and then drifted in and out of sleep and all of a sudden, we had landed in Delhi!! We landed at 4:45 AM and believe it or not were already in the taxi and leaving the airport at 5:15 after having found our luggage, changed our money and found the driver waiting for us outside.
The ride to Rishikesh was much simpler than I expected it to be. We stopped for breakfast at the Cheetah restaurant...a very modern roadside place with gorgeous surroundings...breakfast and toilet and then the next 3 hours to Rishikesh were over in a blink of the eye. I had thought to take a few minutes of video with my camera but the kamakazi drive was just too bumpy to even try and hold the camera! And I actually managed to sleep a good part of the way.
It was a great idea not stopping in Delhi...and this proved even more so after a week here. This is the first time I am in India with no terrible cough and cold immediately upon arrival lasting for about 3 weeks. I always suspected it was the pollution of Delhi which did that to me, but now I am pretty sure it is so. I am fine with no sign of anything, even though I left home at the tail end of a cold and cough.
The drive was fine and after of 3 hours of pea soup fog the sun finally came out and it is warming up a little, but still was quite chilly.

OK...will end this post and begin a new one so as to keep them readable and not too long. I will post them one by one I guess over the next few days and hopefully all caught up soon.