Thursday, December 16, 2010

India ate my homework

Home from two weeks in India. Back in BC (before computers) that would explain silence but with laptops and wi fi (a whole line in Abu Dhabi airport) it's no longer an excuse.
But pounding away on greasy metal keys? Now the closest the big old desk computer. And pounding along later, one is less likely to announce I'm at the airport! OMG need coffee!

So Toronto to Trivandrum, Southern India on Etihad, the Emirates airline. (Cheap joke: "Jihad" airlines?Ha Ha!) Maybe had is a verb or noun, just meaning a journey... and ji is the nasty bit. Ask the handsome young Arab attendant who bashfully explains Etihad is Arabic but a made up word. Like those Japanese car names.
ANYWAY, Etihad, economy class, is the way to fly: foot rest, individual movie screen, real earphones, printed menus with choices! (Not everyone needs to eat mutton) AND free drinks. Scotch, wine - and the smiling attendants return unbidden to refill your good-sized glass with no hint of disapproval. My advice to strict Moslem parents: book your children and wives on American Airlines where the head sets cost, the drinks cost, the glasses are small and the attendants hide behind the curtain in business class to avoid refills.

Watched a great Indian movie, "Three Idiots." Students at Imperial College of Engineering, pressure to succeed. The young flight attendant said it was made in response to the great number of student suicides. Note: Read later in The Hindu Times it's the biggest grossing movie ever.
Nearly asleep: changed categories to Arabia. The young gardener is falling in love with the rich young daughter who lives on what looks like a golf course and goes riding in jodphurs with a little scarf at the neck just so. They hold hands passionately in the shrubbery; no kissing. Years ago I hitchhiked down to Florence with two Egyptian girls I met at a youth hostel in Venice. Safinaz said for an Arab girl to kiss a man is like sleeping with someone. She was a journalist- sat up at night in the hostels writing her articles: First Egyptian girls ever to hitch hike! Forget how she got her material back to Cairo. Sent me a magazine. There we are, thumbs out, by the side of an Italian road. Said she told her readers how surprised she was to find she could be friends with an English girl. (We have ended the Suez crisis! she announced.)

OK. Trivandrum, Kerala, three in the morning. Hundreds of people waiting, dark faces, flashing smiles like it was midday. Down the darkened streets but could see hammers and sickles painted on walls and fences. Yeah, Toto we're not in the US anymore.

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