Thursday, 20 April 2023
It’s the last day of this 2½-month overseas trip: by this time tomorrow I will be back in Australia.
We’ve been in Bangkok since Monday, mostly shopping and visiting Calvin’s family monk to get some statues and amulets blessed and to receive a blessing ourselves, which entailed being drenched with a lot of very cold water. (I sometimes just suspect the monk is trolling us.)
I met up with Calvin in Delhi just over a month ago. And I’ve described all of the important things we did on the trip, but there’s still a lot I’ve left out. How much we loved our driver Pappu, who was with us for 23 days in India. Some of the terrible food and terrible hotels we enjoyed. Many many forts and palaces. Driving around lost in the countryside of Bihar because the government had shut down the internet. Getting caught unwittingly smuggling alcohol into our hotel in Patna, a crime which usually doesn’t result in a prison sentence for a first offence. Giving up nicotine replacement therapy. The horrible hotel porter who threatened Calvin because he was unhappy about his tip. Getting our hair cut and being made fun of by two cute young barbers in Jaisalmer. Being sent away from Lumbini by security guards because our car was too big, only to drive past them moments later, triumphantly waving from the back of a tuk-tuk. Trying not to snigger when our tour guide in Jodhpur kept going on about Prince Albert. The guy sleeping in a corridor in Kolkata Airport who I was convinced was dead. Drinking our first lime soda in the baking heat while looking across Jaisalmer from the very topmost point of the fort that overlooks it. Calvin’s realisation about the important role that money plays in organised religion.
Anyway. It’s been fun. Really fun. But I’m ready to come home.