Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Like Cairo, Only Greener

Traveling all over the world like this has sure messed up my inner clock. All day I've been thinking it's Tuesday, but apparently it's really Wednesday. It's because my plane left Cairo at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. About an hour later (while they were serving breakfast), the sun was coming up. I arrived in Abu Dhabi at 9 a.m. their time and left just over an hour later and didn't arrive in Mumbai until about 3 p.m. their time. So I missed several hours of Tuesday just because of traveling.

Everything worked out perfectly with flying to India by myself--no lost luggage, no scary incidents, and Reid was waiting right outside the proper exit door for me. He had come from Pune to Mumbai for the day for work (with a rented car and driver), picked me up at the airport, and then we headed back to Pune. It's a three-hour trip, and I was pretty spaced out from having slept just a couple of hours on the planes. In many respects, the areas I have seen so far are remarkably like Cairo, except it's greener here. They just finished the monsoon season, and it's green everywhere. But it's very dirty and poor, too. Instead of cats running around all over the place like in Cairo, there are dogs here--and donkeys, bulls, and goats in the streets. On the highway to Pune, we even saw monkeys sitting on the highway walls! I wish we could have stopped for a picture of that!

As soon as we arrived in Pune (about 6 p.m.), Reid had to go to work. It's an 11 1/2 hour time difference from here to Utah, so he works at night so he's working at basically the same time as everyone in the U.S. While he was gone, I relaxed, showered, cleaned and rebandaged my injured toes, and got to bed about 9 p.m. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, the hotel laundry called to say Reid's clothes were done, so I had to get up, get dressed, and answer the door. So I finally got to sleep at 9:30 or so. Reid came back to the hotel at about 3:30 a.m. and we got to sleep in before heading out for a little sightseeing. The easiest way for us to go was to hire the hotel car and driver. What a nice experience to be driven anywhere we wanted to go!

First stop was the Aga Khan Palace, where Gandhi was kept confined for almost two years (1942-1944), and both his secretary and his wife died there. It's a pretty cool national shrine. Then we went to Shaniwarwada, an old fort that was a mansion in the late 1700s but was later burned out. The layout reminded me of things I had seen in London (like Henry VIII's home), with courtyards, gardens, fountains, corridors, stables, etc.

Then we went "shopping." The driver took us to one Indian handicraft store, and it was probably the most expensive (he probably got a kickback for taking us there). I passed on the silk shirts and saris because they cost way too much, but did get a few other souvenirs. I'm hoping we can find cheaper stuff elsewhere.

It's 5:30 p.m. now, and Reid has gone to work. I'm on my own, but there's nowhere I can walk safely. This hotel is in a sort-of technology park, so there are business buildings all around, but no shopping. There are some residential areas close by, but by the looks of it, that's not a place to go wandering all alone. I'm in the hotel business center and have access to the internet here, but I can't really get to my digital camera's pictures, so I'll have to post some of them later.


Nancy Heiss said...

I'm glad you made it there safely! Sounds like you're having a fun time!

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