A lot has happened, so let’s dive in.
I am currently sitting in the overly air-conditioned cafe of Hotel Manhattan, hemmed in by Chennai’s Police HQ, the Indian Ocean, St. Mary’s School, and the sweltering afternoon streets of the city. This is the first stop in what will be a jaunt along the majority of South India’s coastline, from Pondicherry to Kanniyakumari to Kochi, Mangalore, and Goa. More accurately, this cafe is a brief pit stop until I secure a voyage to Pondicherry by some bus either this evening or tomorrow. The majority of my travelling will actually be via traincar, but I will keep you posted over the next month as I gather ticket stubs, photos, and impressions of “the South.”
The past few weeks, and in truth the past couple months, were exciting to say nothing else. Just before hopping on a brief flight to Chennai, I returned from a 5-day whirl in Nepal, featuring whitewater rafting, sunburned thighs, mountain biking, mountain views, and a millet-seed beer served hot in a wooden mug, called Tungba, (which I sipped through a bendy straw). You might not guess it from the pictures, but I travelled with Dan and Travis, a couple of my fellow Delhi ETAs, and I’m glad to say, friends. In a way our tour of Kathmandu and Pokhara was a “last shabaang,” even though Travis will join me for the majority of our Southern slough. The trip was a success on many levels, since Travis executed his triathlon in Pokhara, Dan and I scaled a 12km uphill bike/hike (the difference between the two was difficult to distinguish), and we all woke up to omelette breakfasts and snowcapped mountains.
Happily for me, the heights of Nepal haven’t dwarfed the rest of my recent experiences in India. Although I haven’t made a final decision, all three graduate schools to which I applied sent me acceptance letters. Additionally, I finished my teaching duties and shared warm farewells with students, teachers, and friends. In the midst of those farewells, my friend and colleague Somvir invited me to play Holi with his family, which I did. I can’t say much about the experience other than that the warmth, kindness, and energy of Indian people continues to bring fresh smiles to my face.
With that said, I will try to keep you more consistently updated in the near future as I wrap up nearly a year’s worth of adventures in India.