Saturday, July 03, 2010

Let the itching begin

I love India as might be obvious but one thing I do not love is the bloody deliciousness of my blood to the local 6-legged population. I swear they don’t eat between my visits. They save themselves, so they are starving by the time I come back again. Word goes round pretty quickly, I think they must have a very sophisticated communication network . I don’t even see them as they sneak up on me for their All-You-Can-Eat extravaganza. They are somewhat discerning in their tastes though, it has to be said. Location and ambience is clearly important, dicated by the effort required to get to their food. They are not interested in having to work for their food by digging through layers of adipose, which means that the small selection of bony areas (which are a premium on me as might be imagined) are the most desirable spots to lunch on. Net result is that I have agonisingly itchy ankles already and I’ve not even been here 24 hours.

Anyway, enough moaning about the mozzies, let me fill in the details of what has happened so far. Fiirrstly, I had a totally mammoth taxi ride from the airport. Of course, not having access to my own personal chauuffeur any more, which has it's own downsides, I had to figure out how I was going to get to RUHSA from Bangalore which is about 160km away and usually takes around 4 hours. I could have woven my way into the city, a mere 40km away in the wrong direction, waited for a train, on which I probably would not get a seat, and get another taxi or rickshaw to travel the last 30km from the station to RUHSA, or I could spend the princely sum of £50 getting a taxi directly there. I agonised for about a picosecond before asking Dr Rita to arrange a cab. The driver arrived late, meanwhile, I had been wandering disconsolately along the line of enthusiastic drivers furiously waving papers bearing an extraordinary array of names. Even if the name said Mr Krishnan Gupta, they still shook extra vigourously at me in case it might have been me. Sadly, there was no sign of a Dr Arabella. After walking along the line as many times as I could bear their pitying eyes, I decided to try and get some money out and then wafted around aimlessly, wondering how I was going to phone RIta when my English phone had no power and my Indian phone had no inclination to work. Eventually, a sweet man, who I think I have seen before came up and shoved a sheet with my name on it under my nose. I was v happy. I guess he had been told to look out for a large sweaty English woman.

We walked to the car, he pushing my suitcase containing all my knitting and I got in. I was absolutely shattered having slept very little on the two flights out. The car was probably a Tamil people carrier, but it was barely big enough for me in the back. If I sat up straight, my head touched the ceiling and I was desperate for some sleep so I tried to lie down. It reminded me of my first trip on the bus all those years ago when I felt like I was simply on a different scale to everyone else. Similarly, the entire back seat was filled by me. In order to get comfortable I had to put my legs across the back of the front seat and lean them against the window. Meanwhile the driver was so tiny, that in order to reach the pedals, he sat so close to the wheel that his seat back came halfway across the window. Whenever we stopped at traffic lights or a toll station people looked in in amazement at the cargo he was carrying. Still, I managed to drop off pretty quickly and slept solidly for 2 hours. When I woke up, we were still in Bangalore. He had got comprehensively lost and remained lost for quite some time whilst I dozed. In total, it took 6 1/2 hours to get to RUHSA, everyone was very concerned wondering what on earth had happened. Although it took longer than if I had done the schlepping through Bangalore thing, it was worth everything to be dropped off at my room, which was lovely to see again. The resident insect population has increased somewhat since my last visit and the water heater is still purely for decorative purposes, but truthfully, I didn't care as I crashed out completely until this morning.

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