If things have been a little quiet on the blog this month, it’s because I’ve only spent a few days at home. March has been a month of travel, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind.
I started the month at the Fulbright Conference in Cochin, Kerala from March 3-7, and then spent the 7-12 travelling around the south with three other fulbrighters, including a visit to the very bottom tip of India, Kanyakumari.
On the 15th, I took a trip with two of my roommates and some of their family in exactly the opposite direction – up to Assam to visit Kazi Ranga, a park which has the largest population of one-horned rhinos in the world (and many of which we saw from about 15 feet away, while riding on elephants), then to West Sikkim, in the Himalayas, where the 3rd tallest mountain in the world is visible, and then to Darjeeling where we visited tea plantations and sampled amazing tea straight from the source.
After a small flight fiasco resulting from Kingfisher Airlines’s slow but steady death, I’m writing this from a hotel in Bagdogra, where I’m spending a few days before flying to Jaipur to take a block printing class with my roommate Devin, whose work in India is in textiles, and finally return to Delhi at the end of the month.
At the end of April, I’m travelling again: a short trip to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple, followed by an epic four-day nonstop train journey on the Himsagar Express, which, up until late last year, was the longest train ride in India: 69 straight hours from Kanyakumari in the south to Jammu-Tawa in the far north.
This s the most travelling I’ve ever done in my life, and it’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve seen so much of India, I’ve had so many incredible experiences, some planned but most spontaneous, and I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with some really wonderful people. Travelling in India requires a high degree of patience and persistence, and though there have certainly been challenges of all varieties, I’ve found the process of handling them to be a uniting force. Everyone has a very different skill set, and it’s amazing what can be accomplished when everyone contributes their strengths. I know how rare this is – there were so many ways things could have gone wrong and stayed wrong, and the fact that I was able to constantly laugh with my fellow travelers in the most absurd of circumstances says a lot about the kind of people they are.
Needless to say, there will be more posts to follow in the next few days. My internet has been spotty at best, so it will take me awhile to get anything with pictures up on the blog.