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The End

March 30, 2011

Well I’ve made it to Bangkok and have half an hour to kill before my hotel room’s ready, at which point I’ll take a MUCH needed shower (23 hours traveling have not been good to me) and probably even nap against all my mother’s best jet-lag counsel since it’s not the nicest of days and I’ve got a few hours before Wayne arrives. So that sixty-word sentence aside, I’m going to do my best to keep this brief.

Our time in Delhi went something like this: The day after Agra we relaxed and did some shopping. It was Laura’s last night in town and I had a contest I was planning on entering that required a travel video, so we decided to document our last meal. You can watch it here:

Something I’d neglected to mention before is that since I was gone for my second Thanksgiving in a row and my parents knew we’d been living a budget lifestyle, they threw some cash our way to go out for a nice Thanksgiving dinner. We did this the night before going to Agra, so pardon the anachronism. Rather than turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes we thought it would be appropriate to indulge in some upscale Indian fare at a place in the ritzy Connaught Place area, as recommended by our hotel staff. We dubbed the occasion “Indianksgiving” because we’re punny like that.

It was sad saying goodbye to Laura, my longtime friend and travel buddy for a whole 15 months! We did a gift exchange to accompany the farewells, and she so kindly lent me her old camera in order to have documentation of the final days of the trip. These days were spent with Kessi, our French friend from the Agra trip; and Justin, an American whose services as cameraman we’d employed for the final shot of the dinner video, and who we then got to know a little better. With Kessi we went to Old Delhi and the Gandhi memorial, and as a foursome we checked out the Lodi gardens.

haha… henna!

old delhi street life

preparing paan

indian school bus haha

favorite. maybe my favorite photo i’ve ever taken, in fact.

once again, have the, “what is this, china?” jokes gotten old yet?

oh yeah, delhi has a red fort too

tree at the ghandi memorial

i was invited to help prepare street food! a crowning achievement in my culinary development.

heading into the lodi gardens on justin’s excellent recommendation

chipmunks!

ceiling detail

bidding adieu to kessi

thought the ubiquitous red-stained teeth on paan-chewing indian men should have been a huge deterrent, we thought we might as well give it a try. i’ll try to get a gif in here of the guy putting together our tobacco-and-flavorings-in-betel-nut-leaf satchels

not loving it

Oh riiiight, and then there was that whole little thing where Wayne and I got to the airport (after getting a flat tire in our cab?) at 7 in the morning for my departure flight via London, only to be informed that the weather conditions were dire there and my flight was canceled! This turned into a hasty goodbye for us as I was shipped off to a hotel in the Gurgaon district to await the 3 am flight I’d been put on instead (that actually became a 6 am flight). After reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga I was under the impression that Gurgaon was one of the nicer districts, but after walking around a bit with Martin, a South Dakotan in similar straits, I found it was decidedly not. Our hotel was great, but the surrounding area was as impoverished, if not more so, than any I’d seen in Delhi.

well the litter problem ain’t gonna take care of itself now is it?

Last but not least, an awesome sign at the check-in gate for British Airways when I was finally on my way out of there. One of these things is not like the others?

In theory I suppose this is where I finish off with some insightful quip to sum up my Long Way Home, but even at the time I was a bit at a loss for words and now, four months later, I kind of feel the same. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience all of these things, and especially to experience them with such amazing people as all my travel companions (some more constant than others) turned out to be. Thanks so much to Laura and Wayne for making this such a special adventure, and also to my parents for helping me out along the way. I learned tons about the world and about myself, and I encourage everyone to find an opportunity to get out there to do the same (say, by making a trip out to Thailand sometime soon 😉 )!

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