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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Adventure: Getting Ready for India - again

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Anonymous Gift and Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 1997

First of all, having worked on Suzanne Blaney's Impressionism: Inspiration & Evolution, I now know our art museums are excellent resources for public domain images - but you need to give credit as specified. I haven't got my own photos yet, but this one's a beauty. Photos like this first piqued my interest in India as a child, plus the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Then I actually had a roommate in college who'd grown up with diplomatic parents in India - and she didn't pick up after herself! And then movies introduced me to Shah Rukh Khan and the music of A. R. Rahman and beautiful landscapes.

My local bookstore owner in Arizona had previously been a nurse and she had traveled to India as part of a medical Yatra with a group of doctors from Ohio. She wasn't going again, but she hooked me up and, in January 2014, I was all set to go to India for five weeks with a group of doctors I'd never met. I bought my own plane ticket, but they would take care of accommodations and food while we traveled to villages where they'd provide medical services and I would teach CPR. I was even learning Hindi, though there are so many languages in India I'm not sure that would have been of great use out in villages.

Then my son was in an accident. Goofy on a concussion and pain killers, he insisted I not be contacted because I was in India (I hadn't left yet), and he told his siblings he just had a broken arm. When they kept him overnight, his sister got suspicious and let me know he was hurt and what hospital to call. Bless the nurse who ignored HIPAA enough to let me know he was still in ICU awaiting surgery on a broken back. I never remember names, so she's safe. I made the fourteen hour drive in about twelve.

He was still in the hospital the day I was to leave for India and he would need help with the back brace because his dominant arm had been shattered as well. The five weeks I'd cleared for the trip was exactly the amount of time he needed assistance.

Looking back, I wasn't completely comfortable with the arrangements for my arrival in India. The docs were from there originally and I wasn't sure if anyone was actually meeting my flight or not. So, rather than try to do that again, I have paid a crazy amount for a week tour of the "Golden Triangle" - Delhi, Agra (the Taj), and Jaipur - plus Ranthambore National Park. I paid a "solo" surcharge - next trip I'm looking for a company that specializes in solo folk. However, the cost included my flight, hotels with good reputations, and a small group.

Meanwhile, I did the Visa application online - MUCH easier as a simple tourist, checked what inoculations I had and got one I needed, and have contacted my cell carrier (because I will NOT have service there and we decided I can turn off the phone as I leave the US and my texts etc. will be waiting when I get back and turn it on again). We've got my cheap little notebook working good enough for email and possibly Skype - and since I'm with a tour staying in nice hotels, internet will probably be available enough. It's only a week.

I've been reviewing my guide books, too.

Maybe I'll have time to review a little Hindi, just for fun.

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