Total Pageviews

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

He packed me a potato!

December 31

The old year ends hurriedly, distributing perishables from the frig, packing last minute items, tidying up, finishing laundry, snatching a few hours of shut-eye before the airport van is to pick us up at 4:30. Yes, that's a.m. My darling husband, knowing potato is my favorite vegetable, boils the last one whole. (Our anxiety over differing luggage allowances on domestic and international flights dissipates when our bags are checked in all the way from MSP curbside to Rajiv Gandhi Airport, Hyderabad.) Cold boiled potato tastes great while we await our flight, beyond slowly opening restaurants, at the end of the concourse. (Do you know potatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamins C, B6, iron and magnesium?  My argument in favor of a penchant for potato chips.)

It feels odd to miss worshipping in our own church for the fourth time in a month, this first Sunday in the New Year.  Illness, snow, and ice consumed three Sundays in December, and today, the flight. We simply thank God for blessings of travel, reunion, service, family, friends. I hate to think of being half a world away from our children, but even they are supportive of our going forth.  Wonders of modern communication: additional blessings, not so readily accessible even a couple of years ago. We can hardly wait for the next face time.

We travel to India via Orlando, where there is a seven hour delay; The airline serves sandwich lunches to us passengers as we wait at our gate under a glass rotunda, once again, at the remote end of an expansive concourse; and Dubai, where there is a ten hour delay: Immigration and security formalities in Dubai appear to be negligible.  Perhaps the Emiratis have found a way to conduct surveillance without appearing to do so. It certainly makes for a relaxed airport experience. Emirates staff in Orlando, on the flight, and here seem tirelessly cheerful, prompt, and specific about telling and listening to details and requests.

Two amiable young men waste no time taking us on a mile long wheel chair journey past endless seating and service areas, soaring silver striped columns, indoor palms and fountains... to a counter where our two seats, mistakenly listed on two different flights, are re-booked, and we are to await a bus. His flight, the earlier one, is already missed, and we are happy to be assigned seats, though not together, on a later flight. A few hours' rest in a pleasant hotel room and a leisurely supper at generous buffet refresh us for the shorter flight to Hyderabad, where the morning arrival 'formalities' are similarly seamless. What a contrast to the not-so-long-ago 'old days.')

Faithful Raghava, our driver, cook, and 'right hand,' meets us at the airport with the car, and we set out for Guntur right away. We stop for lunch at a large and bustling roadside restaurant mall with everything from served, sit down meals and a Subway counter (you heard right!) to ice cream and pastry shops. The four to five lane highway is only interrupted as we drive through the city just before Guntur, where urban clearing of ample lane space proceeds by fits and starts. But Raghava knows bypasses, and traffic is light, so our progress through town takes half the time it took last year..

Continuing on our way to Guntur, close by now, we chuckle ruefully as we pass a small parcel of land we'd bought years ago. We'd thought to build a small house in a housing development, planned for the area. Alas, highway widening precluded said development. Our government-appropriated space is now a turn lane near a twelve port toll gate!  Finally, we arrive home at mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the third. A half day 'lost' in the international time difference between India and the U.S.

Once a quiet lane of modest three to four room bungalows, our street is now blacktopped, and home to four and five story apartment buildings. Ours has ten apartments, half of them occupied by Fr. and his four brothers. Two brothers' families live there year round; they and two sisters' families meet to greet and debrief, feed and exchange curries with us off and on; the pace will quicken when another two brothers and some of their children also arrive from the states a week later.  One of the girls is getting married, and the topic of weddings is constantly on our agenda.

Sleep, blessed sleep, takes over for much of the rest of the week.  'Managed to stay awake for the quickening stream of family visits and/or meals, though. Occasionally a potato curry, even.  And chips! And of course, tea,'chai' style, two or three times a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment