Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sniffles and fog

Sunday morning in Bodhgaya, not much new to report.

It has become foggy and bone-chilling cold, am hoping the sun breaks through and warms things up a bit but it is already 10:30 and all is dark grey. I am wearing every long-sleeved garment I brought, and have a wool scarf snuggly wrapped around my neck.

Yesterday saw my first bout with sickness, stomach stuff and chills and very tired; took a three-hour nap, woke up for some dinner and then went back to sleep for the night nestled under three blankets, feel much better today although the stomach is a little unsettled. As always there is much sickness here, people sneezing and coughing and sniffling, and this cold weather is not helping.

So it's a lazy morning, just hanging around, drinking tea, in conversations, lunch will be at 11:30 and then I’ll go into town, to the Stupa, drink some hot chai, do some practice, etc. Kind of feels like a day off, and am treating it as such.

His Holiness’ teachings begin the day after tomorrow, with them begins the last “stage” of my Bodhgaya stay.

The teachings end on Jan. 9th, on the evening of the 10th I am booked on the Radhjani Express train to Delhi (Radhjani means “capital” and there is a series of express trains, the cream of the Indian Railways system – the largest in the world -- that go into and out of Delhi with this name). My train is scheduled to leave Gaya (a sinister town about 10km north of here) at 11pm, arriving in Delhi at 10:30 on Jan. 11th, the morning following.

But for the past three days there has been thick fog, and apparently January is the month for fog in the Ganges plains. And fog causes great delays in the trains here where there are no electronic systems in place, it’s all red lights and green lights and manual stop-and-go, even on the main lines -- two trains on the main Kolkata-Delhi line apparently collided last night.

So, in the fog, especially for the overnight trains, delays of 24 hours are not uncommon. My flight to the US departs Delhi at 11pm on the evening of the 12th, and there shouldn’t be any real problem with getting to Delhi in time to make my flight, but if there’s one thing I have come to learn about India, and especially travel here, it is that the Gods heap rolls of laughter upon those who expect to keep to their schedules.

And so it goes. I’ve seen that it is quite cold in central Florida – hoping all are keeping warm and happy.

Stopping my finger now, thanks for reading.