The next morning, we actually slept late (until 7 am). Puja joined us for a morning tea and to drop off some late samples. She also brought her ten year old daughter, who was the cutest little thing I have ever seen. Two gorgeous, amazing women. Her daughter's English was very good and I longed to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, we had to get our day going and after three days since my cold shower, I was longing for a hot one next door. I excused myself explaining that I had to go clean myself and her daughter asked with surprise, "But are you dirty!?" I had to admit that I was. The shower felt amazing (although, now, after flying the effects have worn off).
After tea and breakfast, we went into Thamel for scarves and buttons and last-minute shopping. I ended up also getting about ten scarves for $1.50 each for gifts and some really cool clothes for myself (at about $5 a pop). I also got some buttons, Nepali tea, a sexy red necklace of five strands of glass beads, a dangly, felted elephant decoration for my best friend's baby and a little seated buddha-on-a-lotus carving (can't leave without one of those). We split up to get all this done in time and I learned that you get much better prices if you are with a local woman (not four Western ladies). M's youngest sister accompanied me and I think my efficient shopping may have scared her a little. I was much better at bargaining this time, although I'm not sure saving $0.50 is worth the sour looks, but apparently that's what you are supposed to do here. I spent all my rupees (to avoid exchanging them at the airport) and got everything on my list. I had asked friends ahead of time if there was anything I could get for them at the markets and ended up with a wonderful treasure-hunting list of items as everyone wanted something different! What fun!
As I was getting ready to leave, I was dumping out the leftover water from my stainless steel bottle off the third floor balcony. All of a sudden I hear someone calling my name, "Kelleeee! Kelleeee!" My first thought was "Who the hell knows me in Nepal?" and then I spotted Puja and her daughter walking home on the next street over. "Hello! Goodbye! Namaste!" What a wonderful lady. I also noticed the family who lives behind M. There were about six of them in their yard, gathered around in a circle, eating. They lived in a small, dark hut and must eat most of their meals outdoors, camping-style.
The grandmother in the family seemed to take a shine to me a little bit and I loved her equally. She growled something to M once and when I asked him to translate he grinned and said, "She say she like your face." As we enjoyed our last tea together, she kept holding up six fingers, over and over again and smiling. This was her signal to me that I had to return in 6 months. I would laugh and reply with a single finger: One year. I would come back in one year. I only hope it's that soon.
We've had no troubles so far on the trip (knock on wood), although they wouldn't let us check in right away at Delhi, which made me really nervous. "Go wait. You wait." I was preparing my battle face, just in case. I can't believe they make people wait in that receiving room with no access to water or any food other than what you have on you. People sleep on the floor because they have no choice but to wait and are not necessarily on a layover. Their signs claim that they are the #2 airport in the world and as a German gentleman joked with us, "they are #2 after all the other airports combined!" Well put, my friend. We also met some interesting kids from the Netherlands who had been trekking in Nepal and had been charged by elephants!
And what airport experience would be complete without my favourite German lady? The same lady who had kept me awake on the way here was evidently also on her way home. Luckily we were not seated with each other this time - thank Siva! We did have a nice chat in the same Indian shop we had frequented the first time through and she expressed some sympathy, having seen us fighting for our booking the first time. She explained that they often overbook their flights and them bump whoever is vulnerable (i.e. not part of a group tour). Naturally, that person was me.
We hung out at the airport...Jackie had a massage in the Indian shop and I picked up some more gifts for back home, incense, some CDs, bindhis, a little brass elephant that holds incense and a couple of birthday things for my nephew. Also, a couple of jars of Ayurvedic mouth fresheners, sweet mango and something that tastes like incense (but is strangely delicious). In order to cull my spending, I decided to try the meditation pool while I waited for Jackie. Just as I dipped my feet in and prepared to meditate, Jackie appeared and sat with me and then we were scolded for talking at the meditation pool (ignorant Westerners!). I didn't really feel so refreshed...just ended up with cold, damp feet, but maybe the key to it all is the meditation component.
|Fresh herbs for your salad.|
Not sure how to sign off, so I will just say that this has been the best, most perfect week of my life (Delhi aside). I can't wait to share my experiences back home. I'm going to start saving my rupees for another trip, next time longer and with more time to relax. Out of money. Out of energy. But full of LOVE!