Thursday, December 2, 2010

176 Sunday Nov 28

Sunday Nov 28 Day 176

This was my last travel day. It started at 5 am on Saturday and ended at 10 pm on Sunday when I went to bed. This was a total of 52 hours. I left Kilmarnock at 1:10 pm Saturday and endured a 9 hour taxi drive to Indira Ghandi International Airport in Delhi. It took 9 hours and 15 minutes to get there at 10:25 pm. The sugarcane is being harvested and transported to the sugar mills. This causes major trafic jams near the mills. We had to pass by 2 of these facilities. The first one was some distance from Delhi and we took the back roads and missed the mess. The second one is just outside Delhi and on the only route into the city. There were times when there were 4 distinct lanes of traffic and the road was a 2 lane road.

One of the most constants sounds you hear in India is the sound of the vehicle horn. When driving in the mountains you honk your horn when approaching a blind curve to let oncoming traffic know you are there. All Indian drivers cut the curves and are so surprised when there is oncoming traffic. Honking the horn must have been an orgasmic for my driver. When we were not in any traffic he would just honk his horn for the obvious pleasure it provided him. There are actually a few traffic lights in Delhi. We would be waiting for the light and as soon as it went green my driver began to honk his horn with great and repeated vigor. There were usually 7 to 10 cars in front of us but he had to let everyone know that he was ready to go immediately, so move it along.

When I got to the airport my first task was to exchange my Indian rupees for US dollars. When purchasing rupees the exchange rate was 43 rupees to the dollar. When I sold my rupees back I got 48 rupees to the dollar. I wanted to go an buy some more rupees and exchange them and make a little money but I didn’t have time.

I flew with Air France all the way to Seattle. The food was absolutely delicious. Perhaps eating the same thing everyday had some effect on my taste buds. It was only the 3rd time I had meat in last 3 months.

I awakened at 5 am on Saturday morning. I got to bed in Maple Valley 42 hours later. I had a whole 10 to 12 minute nap on the ground in Paris. I am not able to sleep on an airplane. The confining of my feet in a very small area (this area is taken up by my backpack leaving two small holes for my feet) causes me to move constantly and not fall asleep. The first leg of the journey was the taxi ride to the airport which lasted over 9 hours. Then there was the 3 1/2 hour wait in Delhi follow by a 9 hour flight which ended up being a 10 1/2 hour flight. We were on the ground for an hour and a half (all locked up in the nice big plane). Taxiing to the runway was a very lengthly process. It must have been close to 1/2 hour. The layover in Paris was shortened by the delay in Delhi to only 3 hours. The flight to Seattle was another 9 hours. When I get here I stay up until it is bedtime in Seattle. I am writing this on Thursday and my brain is finally working.

When I got here I needed to go through customs. I looked for my keys to my 2 large suitcases. I knew they were in my backpack and so I searched and searched. I had given up when I looked down and there were my keys laying on the ground at my feet. It turned out that they did not want to look inside my suitcases.

When I weighed myself on Monday morning my concern had been met. I weigh less than 135 pounds. This is the first time I have weighed this little in over 45 years. It was the really bad taste of my midday meal that caused me to eat less each day. Unfortunately the horrible food will stay with me as a really bad memory forever.

To those of you who have read to the end, Thank You for your time and patience. I hope I have been able to inform you, amuse you and see me at my worst. I got everything I needed to continue with my project and hopefully will have something to see in a couple of years.


Leon Dillingham

Friday, November 26, 2010

175 Friday Nov 26

Friday Nov 26 Day 175

I went down to Woodstock and gave them my tripod which they can make great use of. I also donated my Indian cell phone for use by the school when someone needs a temporary cell phone. The prize gift was a roll of duct tape. Pete Wildman’s eyes just lit up when he saw the roll of tape. You cannot get anything like it in all of India and it is highly prized. I think I really made Pete’s day.

Today I had my last lunch of rice and dahl with vegetables. I am soooooo excited to be out from under that plague at long last. Foodwise lunch was the greatest torture. The food tasted terrible and there was no way to improve it. I got so I ate less and less of the stuff and perhaps that is why I am feeling so weak. I have opted for oatmeal for lunch tomorrow. Gruel is better that ghastly indian food with no flavor. Last night I was standing taping the sunset and the house above the road was preparing some delicious smelling curry. I look forward to going to Naan-n-curry and having some good tasting Indian food without the extremely hot spices.

I spent part of the afternoon organizing my stuff for my suitcases. I am hoping to have both of the suitcases under 50 pounds and save the overweight charges. I shall see on Sunday morning if I have judged correctly.

174 Thursday Nov 25

Thursday Nov 25 Day 174

This morning I went for my second motorcycle ride in the mountains of India. I wanted some pictures of an old decrepit building in the Landour bazaar. The video camera would not get me the correct size of pictures. I also went further down the hill to get some shots of the front of the Picture Palace before it is torn down. We left about 8:15 and were back up to the top of the hill by 8:50 am. Walking it would have taken close to 2 hours to go in and come back up.

I am definitely getting weaker. I had trouble just walking the small climbs going to and from the internet cafe. It is a good thing I am calling this trip ended and heading back home.

I am giving to my Indian friend Pal my GPS unit and all the rechargeable batteries to keep it running. I will have absolutely no use for a GPS unit and he wants to get into the trekking business and has great need of it. My philosophy has always been; if I have no need of a piece of equipment and someone else can make use of it, give to them.

I played ping pong with Pal and his brother Beer this evening. I only lost one dame all night. I was really on for a change. We plan to play again tomorrow night. I hope I am still on but it usually doesn’t last 2 nights in a row. I shall see and let you know.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

173 Wednesday Nov 24

Wednesday Nov 24 Day 173

This morning I spent a few minutes with Vance George as we sat looking at the Snows and talking about what coming back to Woodstock meant to Vance. He also talked about his view of his life and the peace that the beauty of the Woodstock hills added to his life.

Today should be my last day taping the area (except for sunsets). I plan to go down and walk through the Landour Bazaar and capture its colors and sounds. I will not be able to capture the odors unfortunately. I have not noticed the smells during my multiple wanderings through the bazaar. The day is cloudy but not dark. Direct sunshine creates sharp, dark shadows so the bazaar should be very visible. The trip to the bazaar was excellent and I got good shots of stores and people.

Vance George shared with me that a couple of days ago he was bitten by and dog in the bazaar. The dog charged him and bit him in the leg and on the hands. How many internationally recognized conductors have be bitten by potentially rabid dogs. Vance is now taking the rabies shots (5 of them) and will have his last shot in Rome. Vance now carries a cane with a good sized nob on the end to protect himself from rabid dogs or dogs in general. The dog in question was put down but Vance has to have the shots immediately, so he will never know if the dog was actually rabid.

172 Tuesday Nov 23

Tuesday Nov 23 Day 172

Boy! did I have a bad night last night. I got very confused during the night and my blood sugars are pretty low this morning. I ended up with blankets on the floor and when retrieved were all mixed up. A few words about sleeping at 7,200 feet in the mountains of India in late November. It is cold at night but the temperature in my room stays the same day and night. It is currently a steady 50 degrees. During most of my stay I sleep in a long sleeved T-shirt and a pair of long johns (insulated long underwear). About 3 weeks ago I added an additional pair of pants to give my legs more padding. The last two nights I have added a long sleeved light fleece pullover to gave added warmth to my upper body. I now 3 layers of clothing while sleeping at night. I have been very comfortable warmth wise. I look a bit like a skinny Michelin Man or Pillsbury dough boy.

My disorientation has continued into today so I will not be walking through the bazaar with my Glidecam. I am having trouble walking straight without hanging 10 pounds of equipment off my chest. Hopefully, tonight I will not have joyously confused night.

I am reading Mark Twins “Innocents Abroad” and I can relate well to some of his observations. The book is on my Sony Reader so I shall be able to take it home with me and finish it there.

171 Monday Nov 22

Monday Nov 22 Day 171

Today was busy. I went down this morning and taped the Hanifil Center. It is a rather new facility and i had forgotten all about it. So today was the day. This afternoon I went back to Edgehill and taped the jungle gym area to complete that residence facility.

Today the clouds closed in and it was a rather gloomy day with both high and low clouds covering the hillside. I want the sun out tomorrow but will have to wait and see. I want to do a walking tour of the Landour bazaar. This is one of those evenings when there is NO photographical sunset but just gloom and the light disappears.

The cylinder which contains the gas for cooking in my little kitchen died at lunch today. I had to spring for another cylinder costing me 400 rupees or 9.00 dollars US. All this with only 6 days left and the present cylinder has lasted close to 60 days. So I shall be providing gas for the next victims in this apartment. That is the way it goes here in India.

170 Sunday Nov 21

Sunday Nov 21 Day 170

I went to the second of the concerts last night. The advanced choir did better than they have done in either of the 2 rehearsals I attended. The music selected was rather boring and not very interesting to the audience. The advanced band was a good group but the music selected was not interesting and in spots much too difficult for the group.

It looks like I shall have to wear my long johns all day when in my apartment. I have run out of books to read so I am recharging my Sony Reader and will read something by Mark Twain. I cannot in good conscience start any of the books here because I will not be able to finish it and would be tempted to take the book.

The snows are absolutely dazzling today. I loaded up and took some additional footage of them. I ambient air temperature is rather chilly. If you are standing in the sun you are fine but in the shade it is cold. This is just what I expected for this time of year and I shall be glad to go home where the buildings are heated.

The sunset was a bust but when looking at the snows there was the full moon rising over the mountains. I did not set up my equipment set up so I just feasted my eyes on the sight.

About Me

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I have twin sons with 2 children each. I will miss them when in India. I have been a job gypsy all my life looking for new challenges constantly. I got bored quickly except when teaching. 3 years as a Middle School Music Teacher and 9 years as an Assistant Professor of Music. I played in a Country Western Band when I went back to college at 39 to get a degree in Accounting. I was a CPA that worked in various companies, the longest for 5 years and the shortest for 2 days. I spent most of my accounting life working as a Project Accountant where I would come in to solve a particular problem. I was rarely required to do a lot of the boring stuff for very long. With the passing of my wife and NO job to go to, I can now pursue my dreams in India.