In the end, I ended up selling Hrithik to a local tour company in Darjeeling. I liked that. It meant that he’d go on to see the Nepalese mountain roads, even if I would not (at least not this time around. Mark my words, I will ride those fuckers eventually).
The end of the trip went by in a blur; driving to Tiger Hill to watch the sun rise over the peaks of the Himalayas (which was awesome), selling the bikes, arranging flights, heading back into Patna and parting ways with Pete. . .while I left for Canada he continued on to Thailand. Pete marked the first time I’d been traveling with someone and, though I’ve no other experience with which to compare it, I’m pretty sure I hit pay-dirt to have that boy for a riding buddy. We were on the same page through much of our journey, and traveling with him had been blissfully drama-free. We vowed to look each other up if we were ever again in the same geographical location.
After seeing Pete off at the airport I headed back into Patna to return to the government hospital at which I’d been treated; a brother and sister duo that worked there had been an immense help to Pete during the stressful and confusing process of my last stay and we had brought some tea back from Darjeeling as a ‘thank you’ gift for them. I also wanted to pass on my own personal gratitude to the pair, as I’d been too delirious when last I was there to even remember having met them.
The thought was appreciated by them even more than the fresh tea. After that visit, all there was left to do was wait for my own flight to depart. Well, that and watch one last Bollywood film in theatre.
My itinerary was Bagdogra -> New Delhi -> Newark -> Halifax -> Sydney. 35 hours and 22 minutes travel time. Aside from a spell of cockery involving the catch-22 that is Indian currency exchange in airport terminals, my flight ‘home’ went by largely without incidence. There was a small disaster on an escalator in the Newark airport involving an Indian mother whose young children, apprehensive about the electronic stairs, managed to pull her down them. I stared stupidly for a moment before leaping forwards to help pull her and her children upright. I tend to slip into a sort of walking coma when moving through airports, particularly on long haul flights. It makes dealing with the tedium easier, but is less helpful when it comes to disaster response times.
(Speaking of dealing with the tedium of long haul flights, if you have never watched comedian Louis CK’s bit entitled ‘Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy’, do yourself a favour and watch it now. You will never again be able to complain about things like flight delays and airport food. You just won’t. Trust me.)
Upon arrival in Halifax I was urged to have a ‘fabulous life’, as well as to hug my loved ones because life was short. Apparently there had been a largely destructive hurricane. . . somewhere (have I mentioned my long-haul-flight-comas?). . .and in light of it, the stewardess on board felt compelled to impart this piece of advice to all of us flying with her today. A nice thought, if a little surreal coming at the end of 30-plus hours of travel. And I still wasn’t done.
My final flight almost didn’t make it in. This isn’t a rare occurrence for Atlantic Canada. The same thing had happened on the last flight I’d taken into Nova Scotia; a rain storm had prevented us from landing and we’d had to re-route to New Brunswick until the weather cleared. Thankfully, on the second attempt the pilot managed to guide the plane in. Upon landing, the aircraft erupted in applause; no one wanted a detour to Moncton.
And then I was stepping out into the familiar Maritime weather (read: rain) and then walking through the non-existent security of the tiny airport’s door and there was my best mate (also a blogger. You can read her very entertaining and informative writing-focused work over on Bare Knuckle Writer) waiting for me with a hug and a smirk (she doesn’t really smile, per say. It’s kind of her thing. Or one of them anyway).
I keep saying I was heading ‘home’ but this requires some clarification – I don’t have a home. I haven’t for 5 years now. I am from Newfoundland. But when I left India it was for Nova Scotia, solely because that’s where my best mates in the world live and where I wanted to be while regaining my health.
See, when you don’t have a house (or apartment or just a fixed address in general), home really is where the heart is. And I’d be hard pressed to find two bigger hearts than the ones belonging to the Snows of Sydney (though they may kill me for the ‘of Sydney’ bit. Also being from Newfoundland, they might take offense to my saying they are ‘of’ an island we say only exists due to Newfies throwing rocks at Nova Scotia. Sorry, Atlantic Canadian humor. It probably doesn’t translate well).
*This post is about travels that took place in Darjeeling, India and Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada (and several stops in between the two locales) on April 26 of 2012.
*The full photo set from Darjeeling (the last of the photo sets from India) can be viewed over Flickr here, or on the Facebooks where you’ll find me as Krys C Wanders.