I arrived in India early in the morning of June 4th. Sponsors Ashley and Chris had arrived the night before and we immediately set off on the five hour drive to see the Taj Mahal. After a wonderful time there along with David and Lakshman, the next day we headed back to Delhi intending to catch our train to the Himalayas which had been booked over a month earlier.
However our berths were still not confirmed. Butts beginning to feel somewhat conformed to the shape of the car and airplane seats, we nevertheless were determined to make it to the Himalayas. A few phone calls and I had arranged a taxi to take us on the overnight trek. Though the train ticket did get confirmed at the last minute, it was too late for us to get to the station.
Extremely tired, we set out on into the night, Ashley and Chris laid back as far as possible in the bucket seats and me curled up in the back. Each of us securing about three hours of precious sleep, we arrived at the base of the Himalayas at 5am, grabbed a different taxi and began the final leg – the mountainous span from the base of the Himalayas to our ministry station deep in the foothills. The hairpin turns weren’t all that challenged the tiny Tercel-like car; Last year’s monsoon had washed out large sections of the road and not much work had been done to repair it. In some places we inched along with one wheel uncomfortably close to the sheer cliff where the asphalt had broken off and fallen into the river far below. Sometimes our heads almost hit the ceiling as the car bumped and bounced and scraped bottom over terrain suitable only for a 4X4 Jeep.
But as always, the trek was worth it, as the Himalayas were breathtakingly beautiful even though due to fog we couldn’t see the white mountains. We had a lovely visit with our team in Almora and I held a business meeting to upgrade reporting. Then the next day, after a night of still-insufficient sleep, it was time for more butt pain as we went back down the mountain – again – with no confirmed berth on the train to Lucknow! As we at last reached the plains squirming and barely able to sit any longer, I thought, “If the train doesn’t get confirmed, I’m NOT doin the taxi again!” But many people were praying and thankfully the train tickets were confirmed an hour before departure, and Ashley and Chris got their first train ride in India.
More updates from my summer activities in India in the next newsletter!