Monday, November 26, 2007

The War Room

Beers in hand, burrowed deep into the warmth of our sleeping bags to ward off the winter chill that's seeped into the air, Abby and I face each other across our hotel room. We each have a copy of the India Lonely Planet, and we're trying to figure out how to spend the final three weeks of our vacation. The floor is littered with our meagre belongings, scattered evenly throughout the room as though a cyclone blew through, or perhaps our bags exploded upon arrival - we just got here yesterday but it already looks like we've lived here for months.

We've been throwing ideas back and forth for over an hour now, and I've made two return trips to the corner store to replenish our planning fuel; a thirsty traveller is not a happy traveller. India is big, REALLY big, and we've barely seen any of it. Three weeks sounds like a lot, but put it down on paper, trace the train rides, the buses, the city stops on the map and it disappears in the blink of an eye.

How quickly things change: before we left for Everest, I could hardly wait for the trip to be done. I was anxious to finish our trek, to head back to Delhi, to board the airplane that would take us home to Canada, to Christmas. Now, with less than 20 days left, I feel like it's all passed by too quickly. There's too much left undone, too many places to see. I need more time! Sitting here like this, sipping cheap beer in a ratty room in a dirty city, planning my immediate future makes me want to dance. The air in the room is alive with possibility - so many choices, so many roads, so many lines on the map that lead to anywhere, to everywhere.

We leaf through our respective books, Abby flipping the pages of our battered, war-torn tome while I try not to crease the spine of the pristine copy I borrowed from the lounge. It was sitting there, lonely, and besides - two heads are better than one. We trade page numbers and intriguing destinations, pointing out restaurants and beaches and ashrams and mountains. We're quickly working ourselves into a rabid feeding frenzy, ready to devour the entire country in a dozen emormous bites. We play off each other as the sights coalesce into various potential routes zigzagging across the green triangle. They grow and grow until finally they collapse like a house of cards under the sheer weight of their ambition. We have only 20 days. We start all over again.

What will we do? Where will we go? The beers are empty, day has become night. We've reached a decision: we're heading to the beach!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi guys Wondering what beach you decided on....if its south of Mumbai and you can go to Hampi, you'd love it I think. And Steve, great you are all better. No lingering effects? Your planning part sound like fun, are you in India now? Looking forward to seeing you, lots of pics and hearing more of your adventues...soon!Happy travels. Liz