Well, I am at the airport in Delhi.
My flight was supposed to leave at 11:00 but it’s already 12:15 with an “estimated” departure time of 1:00. It’s a good thing I have (or had) a 10 hour layover in Dubai. I was thinking of taking a city bus tour but at this point I don’t know how much time I will have.
I did my best not to cry this morning when Lama Tenzin and the kids dropped me off - I had to say goodbye very quickly and get myself into the airport - I knew that if I cried they’d cry and then I wouldn’t be able to stop and well, that gets ugly - and snotty so you get the picture.
I am so grateful for the time I have spent in India and more importantly for the time I was able to spend with the kids.
It’s funny - a couple of my friends gave me grief about not visiting the Taj Mahal but after I explained the process of actually getting there and back they understood. It would have been a 12 hour trip leaving at an odd time, arriving at an odd time the next day, using the day for the tour, waiting to leave at another odd time and then finally get back to Dehradun after about 4 days away. It would not have been affordable to take them all with me and really it wouldn’t have too much value for them. While I am sure they would have enjoyed the trip there are other things that Lama Tenzin would use the money for that would have a longer lasting effect.
Lama Tenzin is always thinking of what the children can learn, how they can benefit from an experience. We brought ten children to Delhi with us and it was so much fun. By 10:30 last night we were all exhausted. We had quite a day. We left CED around 5:00 am and drove the 7+ hours to Delhi. We stopped to have breakfast around 11:30 but we found that the potatoes the girls had cooked the night before (which were traveling on the top of the car in a container) had really absorbed some of the funky smells we encountered on our drive down. So those had to be thrown out. Our breakfast then consisted of tigmo - the traditional Tibetan bread that they make almost every day. It’s a yeast bread that is steamed so it’s a little hard to explain - it’s dense and chewy. I can’t eat but 2 of those rolls - lama T has been known to polish off about 5 if he’s hungry :) We also bought cold drinks at the road side restaurant where we stopped - so we had bread and Pepsi/ Mountain Dew/ and their orange drink. By the time we arrived at our hotel we were all starving.
We stayed at Hotel Tara in the Tibetan Refugee Village in Delhi. I think that for some of the kids it was the first time in a hotel. Choenyi LOVED the TV in our room. She even watched the Indian Home Shopping Network. We took showers ( the first actual spray shower/ shower head I encountered in India - didn’t realize how much I missed that...) had a very delicious lunch and then headed out into Delhi.
We went to a shopping center in the Village and I was able to get a few gifts for friends and family that were handmade by the Tibetan refugees. I did much less shopping on this trip than I thought I would and I am okay with that. Clothes in India are cheap and beautiful but it is very difficult to put 1000 rupees in someone’s hand for clothes when that same money can do so much for the kids. I have really learned so much from Lama Tenzin. He is always thinking of the children and how he can help them.
The children had asked me to PLEASE buy him new socks and shoes. We all had to pressure him yesterday to just let me buy him socks - he wanted to wait until he goes to Katmandu because they are cheaper there. They were a whopping 150 rupees which is $3.20 for three pairs of socks. The kids had to tell him I wanted to buy them and I had to tell him that they had been begging me for a week to buy him socks - he finally relented but he would have really rather spent that little bit of money on something else.
We also headed to the Red Fort to have our picture made with the Moultrie News - a local paper that Fred was awesome enough to add to the package he mailed us. Hopefully our picture will be in the paper. the kids will be thrilled- they thought it was a great idea to be in a newspaper in America ( even if it’s the little Mt P paper:)
After stopping at the fort we went to one of the biggest mosques in Delhi but we couldn’t go in since it was so close to sunset and they were about to say prayers. We underestimated the amount of time shopping would take and we were very late getting to the bazaar. Lama T was great at negotiating a great deal for me on some clothes - he even got them to throw in an extra “gift” after the fact. I let the girls choose the shirt for me - all I need to say is watch out folks, and get your sunglasses ready. It’s pretty and pretty BRIGHT!
We then went to the India Gate, had ice cream ( of the non-dairy kind) and finally went back to the hotel around 10:30. We all ate dinner in my room that I shared with Choenyi and Yeshi. Lama Tenzin ordered our dinner when we ate lunch - always thinking ahead!
I was able to sleep about 4 or 5 hours after I got everything packed last night.
Lama’s brother-in-law arranged for the car to be washed and cleaned this morning - my dad would completely approve of the frequent car cleaning that happens here. We left around 7:50 and made it to the airport around 8:30/ 8:40 which was great considering Lama Tenzin has never driven to the airport before and there are virtually NO road signs ...I have no idea how I would get anywhere if I had to drive here.
SO, it’s ten till one and we still aren’t boarding, I can’t connect to the Wi-fi and I have a headache from lack of sleep. Life is good, I have a built in time in Dubai.