In the room of that Julia who today (Aug 4, 2007) is 17 years old and will be my classmate.
Continuing the story of the trip:
We spent a day in New Delhi. Because very few of us, among them me, had rupees, and the banks refused to change our dollars, most of us couldn’t shop. We all discovered that in India, if you’re white and obviously well-off, in 90 places out of 100 you’re persecuted by herds of begging children. Very cute, yes. If you give money to one, you’ll end up being tortured until you give to all. If you pay the least attention to what they’re doing, you’ll have them on your heels for as long as you’re in the area. I ignored them until the last minute, resisting the temptation to slap one when he pinched me!
Once on the bus – that is, in safety – I went crazy photographing them, discovering that they love to pose.
Day 2 in Delhi: The wake-up call comes at 4:30, at 5:00 I’m eating toast and drinking mango juice and at 6:30 I’m in Delhi Central Station. It took us seven hours, which became eight, to get to Dehra Dun. Fortunately, the boy sitting next to me and I kept each other entertained with conversation and paper games.
Having arrived where the air lacks oxygen, we all collapsed on mattresses, sofas, or whatever. Myself and two others were awakened by hunger. We decided to head for the dining hall, not knowing or caring what time it was or where our other companions in adventure might be. We arrive and are, in fact, the only ones. We snack on various versions of curry, rice and vegetables served to us, then – paradise: a bowl of mangoes.
I don’t let myself be fooled by the yellow-green-brown skin. I peel, cut, and taste. Fleshy, sweet, juicy, DIVINE. For years I’ve been dreaming, between juices and ice creams, of the real flavor, the real experience of a mango. It was an immense satisfaction. "I think I could get used to this," ironically comments the first Amanda I’ve ever known.
MomComm: Anybody who can wax so delirious over a mango is clearly ready to appreciate India. I had told Ross for years that the mangoes we had in the Caribbean and the poor, sad things imported to Europe just weren’t the real experience. I’m glad she found the real thing up to her expectations.