It's my last day here, I'm checked out of my hotel, and apart from a few errands, I'm just biding my time until I leave for the airport (late this evening).
So, in the meantime a few Best Ofs:
Best attraction (architecture and culture):
- Taj Mahal (especially at sunrise)
(Honorable mention: the Golden Temple in Amritsar_
Best attraction (nature):
- the walk to Bhojbasa and Gomukh
( mention: the Pachmari hike)
Best interaction with the locals:
- Surya in Jaipur
Most appalling moment (nature):
- the army of leeches, Coorg
(Honorable mention: puppies harassing mother dog, also Coorg)
Most appalling moment (human):
- the men in the van, Mysore
(Honorable mention: the insolent rickshaw kid in Hampi)
Most unfortunate sickness:
- E: "My only symptom of _____ is ______."
(Honorable mention: me in the Thar desert, pursued by sheep)
Best liberty taken under the guise of being in India:
- Ali baba pants
(Honorable mention: chai chai chaiya chai)
- the treehouse in Chinnar
(Honorable mention: not wearing my money belt on the plane)
Coolest place we stayed:
- the lodge over the Nepali border with the big clay oven, the first night of our Darjeeling trek
Finest moment in communication across a language barrier:
- The rickshaw driver trying to teach me to skip stones in MAdikeri
(Honorable mention: the richskaw driver in Dehra Dun who, delighted with my broken hindi, took me to meet his wife)
- not making it to Varanasi
Most persistent catch phrase:
- "Only one way to find out..."
(Honorable mention: "Eh, what are you gonna do.")
Funniest sexual harassment moment:
- to E. in Jodhpur: "Hello, hey! You! You look like Madonna! Too beautiful!"
Most memorable moment of fear:
- having to provide the name of a husband or father on my police report, first day in Delhi
Most memorable moment of joy:
- watching the stars coming out over the That
(Honorable mention: walking in the mist, first morning in McLeod Ganj)
- Gautam's birthday party
(Honorable mention: Hotel Pearl Palace, Jaipur)
Soundtrack to our trip:
- the "RACE" soundtrack
Western cultural artifact I will now always associate with this trip:
- anything by Michael Ondaatje (Anil's Ghost, Running in the Family, or Divisadero)
Most memorable thing said by a travelling-Westerner friend:
- "In 50 years, there will be no more places like this, and it's our luck that we can travel it now. I meet the local people here and say, 'It's the luck of birth.' And they say, 'No, it isn't.'" (man from UK, Pachmari)
(Honorable mention: "No one really cares about McGill." (CDN drug lawyer, Udaipur))
And now you know all my good stories.
Well, not all of them.
See you all soon.