It was an invitation. What the hell, over. But hey, I’m looking for opportunities anyhow.
They invited me in January, but I flaked at the last minute. I’ve been flakey recently. That time the invitation was to Chennai. This time is was (is) Delhi. They are The Council for Exports (of a particular type of product).
Wasn’t so sure I’d make it this time either. Being that my mouth wasn’t opening so far, I was chewing challenged and looked like a facial retard. But I stopped in to see the surgeon before I left and he loaded me up with antibiotics. Luckily, the day before I left my face swelling abated, perhaps from an infection that the medicine was taking care of. He said the jaw opening issue was more than likely a result of the infection and would take some time to resolve itself.
A compromise to this trip is that I had to leave on the 4th of July to get here in time for the event I was invited for. The second year in a row I missed the fireworks over the Hudson which are set off nearly at the end of my street.
I didn’t think I’d be able to eat much solid food so I packed enough protein powder for a fallback. Luckily, my mouth has become a millimeter or two more flexible and I’ve been able to get a spoon in if what’s on the spoon is relatively flat. Hence, I even did a slow gobble with the airplane food. Since it was a non-stop from New York, the choice was Indian veg, which was yogurt and saucy soft vegetables. It was actually quite good. Or I was quite hungry. Either way, it took me a while as I fed myself bird-size portions.
The event was two days, but could have easily been one. I was finished in 1/2 day, so the 2-day stretch was, at times, painfully boring. Since they paid for the flight (most of it) and the hotel for two nights, I had to feign attentiveness, especially since they reimburse for the flight only at the end of the second day.
The hotel was quite nice, in the middle of nowhere in the middle of New Delhi. There was no walking anywhere outside of the hotel, besides it was 110 degrees. Apparently President O stayed there on his Indian trip last year. As I was preparing for a sauna in the men’s spa locker room one morning, the attendant was proudly telling me how P. Obama (and his entourage) came to visit the spa, and he (the attendant) said he bowed his head with folded hands and said “namaste” (to P.Obama). After which he said that President Obama shook his hand. He was beaming as he recounted the story, twice. So I said to him, “in that case, let me shake your hand.” And while we shook, I said, “now you’ve shaken hands with at least two important people.” It didn’t seem like he understood but he smiled anyhow.
Then, as I was in the sauna, I was thinking that the probable reason I’m paying the price for this tongue and throat mess is because I’ve just been too much of a smart ass for too long. Realizing that a smart ass is certainly better than a dumb one, but not nearly as good as simply being smart and leaving the ass behind.
This entire experience has been humbling. And by all indications, it will continue to be, being that radiation is the gift that keeps on giving.
The fact that I’ve been able to open my mouth enough to sample a large variety of Indian food these last couple of days have been rewarding, at least in another type of gift way. The variety, colors and flavors like nowhere else. Almost everything is spicy. Even food which they say is not spicy is spicy.
Yesterday I checked out of five-stardom and shifted to a hotel that brought me closer to street level. As I’m staying a few extra days to see some factories, I didn’t want to feel like I was on a retreat.
Now it’s back to bits of silliness. I stayed up after midnight last night watching a movie on tv figuring that today, Sunday, was the only day I could sleep in. A luxury. Then the phone rings at 8 am this morning and the receptionist wakes me from a rich, deep sleep to ask me if my hotel stay has been good so far. So much for the sleep in. I figured she couldn’t have been that stupid and perhaps they wanted to clean the room.
So as I’m writing this I’ve walked a couple of miles to the Bengali Market area and am having a banana shake drink at Nathu’s Sweets. On the way I had to contend with a couple of different relentless tour guide want-to-be’s and a guy who insisted on pushing his service as an ear cleaner, and it’s only Sunday morning. If the Indians weren’t mired in their own complexities, they could rule the world.
And just to be clear, that would be Indians from India. Not to be confused with American Indians or Indian Americans, or any other type of indians. For now, the experience has opened my mouth (slightly) and has been Delhi-cious.