Or One Full Intrepid Circle
15/10/09 - 14/10/10 37 °C
I am flying to Thailand. No longer in India, but in the air with two delicious glasses of wine inside me and having eaten my last curry. I have no reservation for tonight and no Lonely Planet. I am going solo, turning-up the intrepid, because lets face it – it has all become a little too easy. I came for adventure and I truly hope to find it in SEA (South East Asia folks, keep up).
My last night in India was a journey back to the beginning. I stayed at the Y. WCA that is and from there, took a taxi, metered of course, and I returned to the start. To Kemps Corner. The only way to know how far I have come was to go back. The area felt like it had had a million dollars worth of redevelopment. I noticed all these really posh shops that I just hadn’t seen before, because the first time, six months ago, what stood out were the ladies selling carrots and bananas by the edge of the road, the posh bathroom shops faded into insignificance. The dirty, scary, residential area I now realise was actually a really nice neighbourhood with an important hospital and up-market hotels and shops. No-one stared at me, noticed me. Or maybe I wasn’t looking at or noticing them. Kemps Corner is actually a fairly quiet (by Indian standards) quarter of the city.
I had three objectives:
1. Buy new flip flops.
I had bought these cheap flip-flops when I was there before for wearing in the shower, except they turned out to be more comfortable and easier to walk in than my TEVAs which cost £60. I knew that the shop would still stock my spongy, not-flat, good-for-walking-up-rocky-mountain shoes and I was right. Mission accomplished. Rs95.
2. Return to Shiv Sagar.
This was where I ate my first meal in India, I had Dhal Tadka and it was delicious and cheap. Except it wasn’t. Well it was still delicious but Dhal Tadka for Rs90? Are you kidding me?
3. Cross a certain road.
I was not going to leave India without knowing if I could do it (http://saratheintrepid.travellerspoint.com/2/). I returned to that crazy five way roundabout and intersection. It was still crazy and the traffic was noisy and still sudden-appearing but I want you to know that not only did I do it, but I crossed all five roads, all by my intrepid self.
So I have come full circle. In the last few days about six people have commented on how brave I am to have travelled India alone. When I first arrived, I didn’t feel brave – I didn’t think that what I was doing was particularly brave. But now as I fly away from India and the last six months is flashing before me like a corny movie with terrible sound bites echoing through the distance – I accept. Perhaps it was brave.