Today, our plans were scuppered for a meeting with the local Operation Smile volunteers, because it was too hot. Now, you might laugh at me for being a pansy, but it was really hot. So hot that the government declared a school holiday for the rest of the week, fearing for the safety of the kids. So instead, today was a free day in our schedule, which is already something that we are improvising.
So we decided that we would get a first person view of the entire process, without being chaperoned.
Yesterday consisted of us running around Guwahati, in the sweltering heat of high noon, going through a maze of side streets, and side side streets, purchasing supplies for the current mission and the center.
As I write this, I am almost dead from exhaustion. Actually, scratch that. I am almost dead from the heat. Today was the first day of the project proper, and the honeymoon period has ended, somewhat has ended. But then, I am starting from the middle. I hate when I do that.
So I took two flights, and reached Guwahati today from Srinagar (it's a town in the Himalays), where I met my parents. It is a bucolic city, kind of like a conglomerate of villages that just managed to become a city somehow.
As I was driving from Borjahar Airport to my hotel, which my partner Mark told me was ghetto, I could not help but think about when I was growing up. Guwahati resembles Jammu, the town I spent 18 very happy years growing up in. Except it looks like Jammu from 15 years ago.
I’m back on a snowy C of I campus and am happy to be home from a whirlwind three weeks. London and Paris were great—there are a million things to do and see—but it’s good to be back. There’s nothing quite like coming back to a place that’s full of your friends.
Well, tonight is the last in Paris before we catch the Eurostar back to London tomorrow. My friend Jenette and I celebrated by going out to dinner at an actual restaurant. We've been subsisting largley on the nearby grocery shop, boulangerie, and "big panini place" for the last week, so tonight was a nice break. And since we'd had more than our fair share of baguettes, croissants, and crepes, we went in a different direction and tried out escargot.
It's day four of my Paris trip, and so far I've been alternating between eating pastries and looking at great art. There's an abundance of both in the city of lights. I'm going to have a hard time going back to eating croissants from Albertson's after this trip.
Today I visited the Tuileries, a park in the heart of Paris. While I assume it's at its most grand in the springtime, it was impressive in the snow. Thanks to the snow, the ground in the park was just as white as the surrounding buildings, all of which are ornate and noteworthy.
It’s day seven for the London group, and today is our last in London for a bit. We’re all headed separate ways for side trips—there are some people Paris-bound, others heading for Bath, and a few for Scotland. I’m in the Paris group, and tomorrow, my three Paris-bound companions and I will be getting up around 5 am to catch the Tube up to St. Pancras station, where we will get on a Eurostar train to France. Two hours later, and we’ll be in the heart of Paris. But even with an early start tomorrow, we’re making the most of our London time.
Only three days into the London trip, and I’m exhausted. London is jam-packed with things to do, places to go, sights to see. At the end of the day, London leaves me visually overwhelmed and with one tired pair of feet. It’s a very good type of tired though, a type that comes with having not wasted a minute of the day.