Saturday and Sunday were our chill out days in Laxman Jhula, last minute souvenir shopping and eating. It's nice to hang out with my new friends without any conversation about class or technique, although, obviously, our conversations always went back to Yoga anyway.
On Monday, AC, MB and I left after Fire Puja for a quick ride to Dehradun to fly back to Delhi. We destroyed a bag of tangy tomato banana chips and snacked on a light picnic of German Bakery bread and General Store yak cheese. Awesome day. We checked into Colaba House, this tiny four-room guest house tucked away from the hustle and bustle. VF recommended it and she knows everything about traveling in India :) We spent a lot of time just hanging out with each other, writing, and packing/repacking. Stupid weight limits. Stupid affordable yoga books.
This is where it all goes sour. After our fancy graduation dinner last Friday of puri, pumpkin, and peanut goodness, a pile of us all went out to Tattv for dessert and goodbyes. CW ordered the nutella banana fritters and I heartily partook. She was resultingly sick for the rest of the weekend. *I* don't think it was the fritters' fault, but i do think there was something. I was feeling kind of off all day Saturday, paid for it all night Saturday night, felt better Sunday (low appetite, which is peculiar for me), felt fine Monday (still low appetite), and then DIED on Monday night echoing some of the sentiments described in CW's poem "The morning after Banana Fritters" (but again, I don't think it was the fritters). The point is, I prevented everyone from sleeping on Monday night while I clutched at my stomach and groaned in pain. I even tried Child's Pose and Brahmaree breath, just in case something would soothe it.
Side note: Charcoal tabs create some pretty funny reactions in your stomach as it's absorbing all the toxins.
Somehow, yesterday, I was able to pull it together (I know exactly what it was - thanks for the drugs, AC), and MB and I left Delhi at 5 AM to go to Agra for the day. She hadn't been to the Taj Mahal before and I could go again and again. We had booked our tickets at Red Chili in Tapovan and had an awesome assigned reclining seat with free bottled water, tea, biscuits, and breafkast! It was pretty cushy. We savvily negotiated an auto-rickshaw ride to the Taj and spent the next few hours checking out the marble and taking yoga pictures. SO FUN. When we'd had enough, we had a picnic outside and walked through the markets. Then, my favourite part - we found a coffee shop and looked at pictures while enjoying coffee with ice cream and microwaved chocolate cake (I love you India). We wandered back out into the market and hired a bike rickshaw to take us back to the train station so we could make it for our 3:30 train back to Delhi (arriving at 7:40).
Except when we got to the station, we found out our train had been cancelled. And when we went to General Enquiries, they told us to go to the ticketing booth to get new tickets. And when we got to the ticketing booth there were nine lines for men and only one for women (and even then, men walked up to the front, pushed their way in and bought tickets and left). And when we got to the front at 3:56, the man behind the window said that our train was cancelled and we'd need to pay 124 rupees to change to the next train. And when he gave us our tickets, we realized that the train was at 4, so we had to run around and try to find out trains.
This sentence structure could go on and on but you get the point.
We couldn't actually read our train tickets (and neither could anyone else) so asked around until we found people who said they were going to Delhi as well. The train arrived and we ran on and off every car until some English-speaking people (an Indian and American who both teach English in China and speak Mandarin fluently) told us to have a seat and wait until the collector came around and we could ask him. We were in the sleeper class cabin with bunk beds and sheets and pillows. MB and I took up residence on the top bunk and laughed about the situation. I guess the Universe just wanted us to have a real Indian experience! That's about when the ticket collector came around and the Universe turned the page and said "HAHA!!! THERE'S MORE IN STORE FOR YOU!"
He was pissed we wouldn't bribe him (and we were pissed we didn't get a refund from our cancelled train) to stay there so he kicked us out and brought us six cars back to non-AC sleeper class cabin with bunkbeds with NO headspace. MB was not happy at this point. We were hunched for another two hours until the next fare collector came and tried to kick us even further back (to the standing-room no chairs section? I don't know; I'll never know) but luckily there was a short conversation in Hindi with the family below us and the fare collector just let us sit there.
Around 7:15 we climbed down to go back up front to find the nice teaching couple because they said they'd be getting off in Delhi. Around 7:40, the train stopped for an hour. At 9, we all finally got off the train.
As soon as we ran outside, we knew weren't in the right place. It turns out there are two train stations in Delhi: one in New Delhi, which is where we were in the morning and where we hoped to return. THe other was in Old Delhi, which is where were were that night. So the car we'd booked with Colaba House? It went to the New Delhi Station, but we were at the Old Delhi station.
*deep abdominal breathing*
A taxi driver said he'd bring us back to the hotel (we gave him the hotel card) but had to stop for directions 12 times and drove so fast and jerkily I would have thrown up, except there wasn't much in my body.
I'm happy to say that in only another hour, we had gotten our luggage and were checked in at Delhi airport. By the time we'd gotten through security, it was already after midnight. We needed dinner! V*ji was at the airport too (coincidentally sitting next to MB on the leg to Amsterdam) so joined us for a quick bite.
I'm alone now. We had a goodbye at my gate, I fell asleep even before our plane took off, and I'm currently in Vienna waiting for the next 10-hour leg back to North America. I miss my new friends and I miss how cheap stuff was in India. I just spent nine weeks in one country that wasn't my own. What is life going to be like when I return home?