Monday, November 14, 2005

Back to Jerusalem

I got home Saturday. Being that I was alone when I left India, it was less traumatic leaving than if I would have left good friends. I spent my last day in India scooting through Dilli Haat - the crafts exhibition - where I bought higher-quality items such as wall hangings and some clothing which was still much cheaper than back home. The rickshaw driver insisted I go with him shopping and I argued with him nicely for the duration of the ride.

"I have no time to go shopping with you - sorry. Please - what is wrong with just dropping me off where I want to go?" In the end I won and he did just that.

I could have shopped till I dropped. This is what most people do once they get here. It's either a shopping experience or a spiritual experience. I guess I had both, so I was lucky. Afterwards I explored the State Emporiums near Connaught Circle which had stores for each of the provinces. I was hard-pressed to find gifts for my son and Hubby. I had very little time left until synagogue started and I felt I HAD to be at the only Delhi synagogue. I hadn't gone to the main bazaar near the railway station yet and did a 15 minute run through, buying all the cheapest stuff that friends had asked for, scarves, wall hangings and a tablecloth for us. I raced back to my hotel - avoiding all the miscreants hanging around trying to get me to go into their restaurants or just wanting a conversation with me.

"YOU LIKE INDIA?" shouted an elderly man as I rushed through the streets. I didn't have time to answer him but I hoped my smile was enough of an answer.

The synagogue was difficult to find and I came mid-service. It's not like Jews are well-known in the city so no one really knew what a synagogue was. I did manage to find it and walked in mid-service. There were about 5 locals and 5 guests there and the Rabbi was friendly and chatted with us a bit afterwards.

I ended up having my final buffet meal on the rooftop of the Ajanta Hotel, where I would have liked to have stayed. All you can eat for $2. I will miss the cuisine. Meanwhile a woman was there giving away bracelets because she "wanted everyone to be happy" and gave them henna tattooes on their palms as well. I opted for just the bracelets.

Back at my hotel room, I got a call telling me to open up my door to get my towel. I thought it was 3:00 am for my wake-up call. No, it was midnight and I had only slept two hours. I didn't understand why they had to do that but had no strength to figure it out or to argue with them either. At the airport I told the check-in people that I would have loved to be seated in Business Class for the way back to compensate me for losing my luggage for 6 days. They said they can only do it if the people who had reserved in Business did not show up. In the end it was in economy, but I had a wonderful seat-mate who was a professional Israeli photographer for a National Geographic-type magazine who had just been in Pakistan and Kashmir and shared with me his videos throughout our 6 1/2 hour ride back.

In Jordan our flight was delayed 2 hours, which meant a 4 hour wait and I was amused at all the Iraqis in the airport. Should I start a conversation with them or shouldn't I? In the end I stuck with the Israelis and had cappuccino after cappuccino and salad after salad because I hadn't had either for two weeks.

I was horrified to see that we were going on a propeller jet. They're noisy and bumpier than regular jets and I wasn't in the mood. I sat next to a few Japanese businessmen and my fear subsided as I gave him an aerial tour of Israeli cities, Arab villages and Jewish settlements.

Back home my kids hovered around me as I opened up my suitcases. Only my son seemed to be satisfied with his gift which was just an expensive tube of Smarties I bought at the airport and he grabbed it from me like a rhesus monkey would have done in Delhi. I bought them bangles but some were too small for them and not their style.

"We want the two you're wearing". Of course they did. And about the clothes I got for them, they complained of the Indian smell. I bought incense for Hubby which he appreciated and some jewellery boxes for the girls who didn't have any.

"You smell like India" said the Complainer. Could be a good thing. Looks like India got into my soul too.


Alicia said...

Glad to hear you had a good time and a safe trip back, Gypsy. I always enjoy your blog and I try to read it every day. I have a blog called "The Red Shoe Diaries" ( Keep posting!

Anonymous said...

Woohoo HOUSTON we have landed safely!!!

niwhsa said...

Even as an Indian I find to explain the experience India is. Hope to see u back in India (south india) soon