Just getting into the airport building in Delhi is a challenge. I thought the new airport would be different, but was I wrong! There are guards at every entrance and the line is long. But don’t push. This is when patience is definitely a virtue and a lack of said virtue can put you behind the eight ball big time. You need to have your ticket handy, your passport, and whatever extraneous information came with your ticket print out. In my mind I ask them if a pint of blood and my firstborn would suffice, but I keep that joke to myself. A sense of humor should be parked at the door along with any sense of urgency.
Once inside you are faced with a swarm of humanity that takes your breath away. As you know, I’ve been traveling for centuries, or so it seems, and you’d think I’d be hardened to such mob scenes. But this was the longest, most circuitous “Congo line” of my life and it snaked like a giant intestine that forgot to stop growing. I kid you not, I was in line over an hour. At that point I was so tired that they could have stashed me in an MRI machine and I would have remained comatose throughout. Don’t ask me to relate the padding up and padding down. Beaten and bewildered, I didn’t even notice.
A couple more observations about India that I failed to mention along the way are that the vegetables are plentiful, cheap, and superb. Cauliflower, one of my all time favorites, was huge and in every conceivable dish. The carrots were the large reddish variety and sweet, and peas were a special part of the many paneers (cheese dishes) served in a succulent sauce. Being a vegetarian in India is no hardship…it’s a pleasure, for there is so much variety to choose from and unlimited imagination in the preparation. Once I persuaded a particular restaurant in Gokarna to make me “veggies al dente” (my phrase) without spice, I was in heaven and never wanted to leave. I even ate them for breakfast.
Another food that I had from the very beginning was papaya…huge, ripe, orange papaya. Cary and I ate one a day in Dharamsala and you could get the large ones down south for less than a dollar. I never tasted any like this at home.
Before I leave Gokarna, let me share a few more photos of this charming location.
Ladies washing clothes in communal wash tanks in the middle of town
I had to slow down on theater this month because of rehearsals for our last concert. The Plainfield Symphony went out in a blaze of glory led by Charles Prince, our new conductor. We knocked ‘em dead with an evening of French opera featuring two soloists and highlights from Saint-Saens’ Samson and Delilah and Bizet’s Carmen. It doesn’t get much better than that!
I did, however, see some pretty great shows starting with Million Dollar Quartet, and ending with The Book of Mormon, the new smash hit musical, which looks like a Tony winner. Irreverent, totally off-the-wall, it was the first Broadway show by the two masterminds behind South Park. You can imagine the language!
At the Metropolitan opera Rossini’s Le Comte Ory was perfection, starring Juan Diego Florez and Susanne Resmark.
I waited until the end to be sure this glorious spring was not going to go away. Maplewood/South Orange is ablaze with color and here is just one slice. I thrill at the richness of nature that I enjoy on my daily walk up and down the hills of this peaceful town.