India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 15

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Sunday 27 May 2001, 1000

I've had problems with dehydration and illness, so I'm going to tell Bettye I'm not going to Nepal. If I felt good while I was there, I'd have a really good time. But I think I'd better go back to the U.S. on the original schedule.

We have the morning off today.

Marc Gilbert with Ashok Advani.

The bus ride to "The Club" was hell. It took us about half an hour to go 500 m at one point. Traffic in this city is crazy. We picked up the people who'd gone to the dance recital, and continued on to the Club. Another wine-and-dine, meet-and-greet schmooz-fest, which I found acutely uncomfortable. I stayed near Catherine and ate with her. Buffet dinner, excellent food as usual.

We didn't get to bed until 0100, and they expected us to be up for a poetry reading at 0900. Doug, Bettye, Catherine and myself all stayed back from that.

I had very little appetite that morning. I think I was already somewhat dehydrated, and possibly lacking electrolytes.

Crawford Market.

We drove to the "Discovery of India" exhibit, which was right next to the Planetarium where we saw our second dance performance. Like other museums here, the displays were quite old, but this one was extensive and pretty good. I was feeling weak and lousy, and got some electrolytes. Forced myself to eat some of the (lousy) boxed lunch on the bus. We wandered around Crawford Market a bit - a cross between a vegetable market and a flea market. Quite dim and dirty. "Flea market" doesn't give the right idea - they were selling new stuff, mostly candy and junk food, fruit and veg.

Back on the bus, off to Chor Bazaar. But the bus couldn't get down the streets near the bazaar, so we ended up walking about 15 blocks in. Marc berated Jennifer for that, and she bobbed her head in a way that a couple people in our group like to imitate. It's not just Jennifer who does it. It's really true though: you can buy anything in Chor Bazaar. Nails, saws, machine lathes, old photos, antique furniture ... I looked at several collector cameras, but didn't buy any - I think the humidity damages stuff, especially lenses. By the time we got to the store full of old brass Ganeshas, Shivas, and Buddhas, I simply went to the back of the shop and collapsed into a chair. I was in bad shape. It's too bad, I would have liked to shop there, and I should have taken a picture. I drank about two liters of water in the next hour, as we made our way out to the bus. Marc put some of us in cabs to the bus, once we hit a main street, including me. I didn't protest.

Then the bus wouldn't start, and people got lost returning to it. When it finally started, we had no air-con, and no windows to open, just two roof holes. I spent the ride to "Not Just Jazz by the Bay" (our restaurant for the evening) sweating buckets.

The restaurant was really good, and I was actually hungry now that I was rehydrated.

We walked the three blocks to Jai Hind, where we saw the "experimental" play "C for Clowns." Some of it was quite funny, but really they only had about twenty minutes of material which they spent an hour and a half on. We climbed on the bus and headed back to the hotel.

As instructed, we ordered room service breakfast this morning. I wrote some this morning, but got up late, had to do laundry, and had an early lunch (in the Belvedere room at the Club) so I could get on the bus at 1230 to come here (National College) for a class on Yoga. Not many of us came. She talked about and had us do some Astanga ("Ashtang") Yoga. The "Om" chanting was interesting. I like the Hatha (physical) yoga that I do now better. Most yogas other than Hatha are more philosophical/spiritual.

The current speaker, whose subject is "Dalit Issues" (ie. Untouchables) is offering about half good information and half political rhetoric. Since I know very little about the subject, I can't separate the two, so I have trouble trusting anything she says.

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