Kai’s like an old pro at these many-hour stretches on an airplane. After 2+ days of flying and airports, you still wouldn’t guess that it was his first time. What a trooper! Our journey was pleasant enough… so Virgin Atlantic decided to throw a little twist in the story and lose ALL our luggage. Oops.
And, oops, we forgot to take any more pictures until we were halfway into the Himalayas! Let’s give you a rare telling about that handful of days instead. We arrived in Delhi early enough on Monday to waste a couple more hours at the airport trying to deal with our missing bags. By the time we stumbled outside to greet the eager throngs (not for us, haha, it’s just India) and look for our ride, we weren’t sure if he’d given up on us, or just forgotten about us. Oh, and once you walk out those airport doors, there is no going back in….to that nice bank of pay phones you can see right inside, to try and figure it out. Doh. Now we’ve arrived.
So, we grabbed a mini-van-taxi to Majnu-Ka-Tilla, found ourselves a room….. and yep, turns out we had been forgotten at the airport in favor of partyin’ it up for Losar–the Tibetan New Year. We spent the next couple days wandering, diving right in to the street-side snack selections, testing out the driving skills of skinny, young bike rickshaw pedalers, teaching Kai to pose for cell-phone photographers, and making phonecalls and sending emails about our bags. Fun stuff.
On Thursday, we hopped a 4am ride to the train station, for our 33-hour rail trip to Guwahati. Kai still talks about how tomorrow we’re going on the train. Such a good little traveler. So excited to look for baby water buffalos out the window! And snack. And nap. And we arrived only 4 hours late to our destination. That’s a new record for us on an Indian train. Woohoo.
Paid way too much (40 bucks, lol) for a nice hotel. We usually go for the 5 buck options, but Guwahati doesn’t like to let foreigners do that, so onward, and quickly… a few more emails in the morning to sort the adventuresome luggage shenanigans…and then we grabbed a couple seats in a mini-bus for the 4-hour trip to meet up with some more friendly volunteers in Tezpur, also headed to Gatsal.
Our helpful hotel manager in Tezpur agreed to receive and hold our bags there — if we could get V. Atlantic’s not so helpful Delhi people to send ’em there, that is — to be sent up to Jhamtse Gatsal with someone else coming through later, since Tezpur is the last reliable place to have anything sent on this windy mountain route to our remote new home.
Another early-bird start in a hired Tata Sumo (SUV), we were bid farewell by a band of monkeys going through town over the awnings of buildings in the dark. Besides the three of us, there was Amma, coming from Jamaica to be a volunteer science teacher for 6 months before she heads off to med school; Dingle, her mom, coming along for the adventurous ride; Marie, from France, coming to visit Gatsal and share her yoga-teaching and massage skills with the community; and Sonu, a member of the JG kitchen staff, returning from vacation. Along the way, we also picked up Minoti, Deki, and Gombu, three awesome JG teachers also headed back after vacation and visiting family for Losar.
We love these crazy, twisty, cliff-side, Himalayan mountain roads that get us to Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community. It really is too bad we don’t have any photos or video let you see the journey! After we arrived in Bomdilla we finally remembered to start using our camera…so on to the next post!