I'm home.  Got home day before yesterday.  Had a lovely last day in New Delhi, as I describe below, and a good flight home.  Three hours after arriving home I was hit by Delhi belly.  Been sick as a dog since.  Much worse than on any time on the trip.  Coming out of it now, slowly. 
     I look forward to seeing you all and sharing stories, but I'm realizing it will be frustrating trying to recount the trip.  I've 5 video tapes that I'm looking forward to editing to an hour that will do a much better job of giving you an understanding.  Video editing is time consuming and I need to learn some new skills so I'll not have accomplished this for at least a month and probably two.  So, we can look forward to watching that after Christmas.  I wrote the text below on the way home on the plane.


I'm On the plane going over (near) the north pole right now.  I know it's right now because there's an updated visual of the flight progress on a map and the time at our current location has changed from 7:37 am to 1:43 am in the last half hour. Time can go backwards. Flying over the north pole this time is pretty dark.  Not like the time we saw the Aurora Borealis. It was dark the whole flight - 15 hours, except for about a half an our of sunrise and sunset over Siberia.  The lights of Kabul and Tashkent more extensife and brighter than I'd expected.

My last day in Kathmandu was auspicious.  The mountains came out and I got a tour of Nepal's national teaching hospital. The clouds of the monsoon had been covering up the mountains til two days ago. Once they cleared the mountains  lined Kathmandu's northern harizon. Stunning.
     I got an email from Sirgit's older brother, Kartikesh, the doctor I met on my first day in Nepal.  He's finishing up his studies and invited me to visit him at the hospital.  The hospital reinforced my impression of how fast Nepal is modernizing.  There is prenatal care and midwives throughout Nepal at government run dispensaries.  Hospital births are preferred by those who are close enough. Dr. Thakur and his room mate study for the "United States Medical Licensing Examination". 

Then I got a couple days in New Delhi.  I was ready for it this time. Just a matter of competence.  There is a way of communicating with a look and a wave of the hand that the aggressive merchants and beggars recognize as: they will be wasting their time.   I really like being on the street in New Delhi.  More human drama per square meter by magnitudes than elsewhere.  At least in old New Delhi.  New, New Delhi, which I sought out this time, looks much like America: self contained nuclear families in apartments and condos in the suburbs with shopping malls and where neighbors are strangers and owning a car is a necessity.  I rode the metro all day my last day, stopping at different stops and engaging people.  Riding the metro out from the Center of Delhi is like looking through different layers in an archeological dig.   In the center it's old.  On the outskirts it's brand new, as you will see on the web site.  In between the villages that are now part of the city because of the metro but haven't changed much and  still have village scale speed and intensity. 
    At the end of the line I talked with a gentleman who'd bought one of the condos in a high rise before the metro was completed.  It was very inconvenient but he got a good price. He works in a travel agency.  Mostly business travel.  He says business is booming.  His agency is growing and he's become upper management.  He has a single 14 year old daughter.  He has to have a car since services aren't walking distance.  A big shopping mall is about to open nearby and a freeway is being built.  Automobile access to the complex is still difficult, especially during the monsoon.  He was very friendly and spoke good English.
   A few miles closer to the city center the older villages are being changed by the metro.  I chatted with a 27 year old man who is a program manager for Nokia, but still lives in the village he grew up in surrounded by extended family and old friends.  He manages 10 other people who handle customer service, locally.  He has to commute 10, 15 miles.  He was off work because it is a religious holiday and he was going to a temple with family.  He has plans to vacation in Kashmere and rent a boathouse with friends in a couple months.  
     For my last meal in New Delhi one of the workers at the hotel I was staying at treated me to a "really good" Indian meal.  He insisted on paying for it. Took me to the "best" restaurant in the neighborhood. He probably makes $5 a day.  His wife, 9 month old son, sister and other family are in a village by Kolkata (Calcutta) 500 miles away.  He sees them perhaps once a year.  He says he talks with them by phone every few days.  His sister is in high school.  He is saving for her dowry .  His father is deceased so it's his responsibility.  He will look for a husband for her in a couple years, he said.  He would like to get a motorcycle and might get a used one, but not for a couple years. The hotel job seems to me a dead end.  He works 12 hour shifts, 6 or 7 days a week.  It's a budget hotel for westerners. Mostly Israeli's.  I tried to think of a way of reciprocating, of some way to help him. He was so happy to have me appreciate his helping me and sharing the meal that any attempt to even the books would have ruined it.  On the one hand, I am sure that he hopes that one of his "friends" from America or Israel will do something to change his life - like winning the lottery;  and at the same time, he is acting out the village hospitality that he grew up with.  I had a very good last evening in Delhi.

Peace and curiosity,