Diary of Lisa Taylor, reluctantly 42 (and a half)

Or.. 'f.ck me I'm forty.. two.. and a half', though can look 38 on a - not so deluded - good day. Or 'How to reconcile a well experienced mind trapped in a still - but for how long? – youthful body.' Don't have the 30somethings angst/problems, neither have the resigned (?) ageing baby-boomers in safe family territory outlook yet. Here's how I cope, one day all sexy women will get old... but never invisible. © Lisa Taylor 2005/6/7/8/9. Jeez.. so much for the 42 and-a-half delusion

Sunday, November 20, 2011

4 November - Travel & Mishaps

Arriving in delhi at 2am and staying awake long enough to go check in for flight to Kullu (for Manali in Uttar Pradesh) and you get to the front of the messy queue only to be told all air india flights to Kullu cancelled today and so all other airlines to same place, please to go to desk over there.

Then choosing on spur of moment Chandigarh as don't fancy arriving in Jammu/Kashmir, bit risky that area on first day out of Europe. The ticket desk lady said Chandigarh near Manali, you can drive there. I said 'Umh, I don't think it's that near' but what choice did i have, had no desire to leave relative sanity of airport to go into Delhi to find a bus. So Chandigarh it is. In the meantime the first few cups of chai bring just happiness. Only here can I drink stuff full of sugar and love it. There is no internet terminals for public use so first a nice indian guy with a laptop allows me to check an email or two and later, after I make it past security and there's no internet either, 3 employees of the local Dixons go to lengths to allow me to log on to a display laptop and send the guesthouse in manali the 'hey , won't be arriving this morning after all' since I very stupidly forgot to write on paper their phone number and simply assumed no hitch would take place. Doh! Good old pen and paper, should remember that.

You land one hour later to discover that the way to Manali will take a further 10 hour on a government bus! but that's preferable to staying in Chandigarh which looks like the pits despite having been built on a le Courbuoisier type grid. the bus goes at midday, you'll be lucky to be in bed at midnight. Only good thought you can have at this point is 'thank god the boyf is not with, he'd have hated this, hated it, proof that india doesn't work. As it happens I came prepared with the trusty earplugs to block out some of the screeching engine noises and with the super versatile foamy pillow that allows you to nod off against a rattling window. At least it's cold on the night portion of the journey and am wearing all my winter clothes instead of carrying them. Fun to watch the poor local indian men sat next to me for stretches of the hours, trying not to knock their legs or other anatomy against my body. So much for the boyf thinking they all want to prey on western women. I keep telling him that apart from a small percentage who for sure thinks western women are whores or some such as they travel on their own, the vast majority has no intention of being disrespectful and since none of these men gets on board drunk ie abusive, after they register a lady, they go on to chat on their phones, eat peanuts, talk to their mate etc. I wish had not taken both a rucksack and a small wheelie as you really can't keep track of both. Wheelie btw is only full of books I intend to read and discard, the guide and a few hindi notebooks. Once i get to the heat of the south, i'll be able to discard all woollens, and the persistently unread novels, like A.'s grandad's of which am reading the last 3 books in the series and am disconcerted by the amount of characters he's following. Should have written for Eastenders or something. I also have a remaining Bolano to get through and a few more. The Kindle has to wait for next long trip.

all the way up there the batteries on the mobile are slowly dying but managed to arrange a driver pick up at a surely deserted bus station at 11pm in Manali. Vinod was there, to take me to tired but patient guest house staff (thank you Drifter's) who lugged my bags up along the impassable (to anything but a donkey ) road which was being re-built in time for the next tons of snow to dislodge it down the hill again.

All is forgotten upon waking to brilliant sunshine next morning at 10am and stepping out to march type strong sun on the slopes in france or italy. Pure joy. A good choice was made without resorting to any omens, just 'has to be done'.



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