Adventures in India

Here we are! Or here I am, until sister Ellen gets here shortly (she had a longer layover). Going from Philadelphia to Chennai had its good and bad, or I could say advantages/disadvantages if I want to avoid attributing moral virtue or lack thereof. Advantages: checking in went very smoothly, and the few delays didn’t affect my ability to make transfers, so they weren’t really delays at all.

Also, I sat sort-of-next-to a woman, the Rev. Dr. Patricia Keel (we had an empty seat between us; yay!), on the long leg between Dulles and the Frankfurt airport. She was taking the same flight from Frankfurt to Chennai, India; I don’t know the chances of sitting by someone going the same place on a connecting flight, but I do enjoy and expect synchronicities when I’m traveling. She’s a Unity pastor who now leads trips, mostly to India, attends courses at O&O Academy, formerly Oneness University, and lectures/speaks about it. I don’t know much about O&O, but I certainly liked and connected with Patricia.

Sadly, the flight from Frankfurt to Chennai, 9.5 hours on Lufthansa, was physically quite miserable. The seats were smaller than American domestic seats (already tiny!) and I literally could not eat most of my dinner because I had no movement of my arms except with elbows kept to my body. The woman in front of me immediately put her seat all the way back and then sat at the front of it most of the time, not even leaning back against it. It was frustrating, because I had nice reading and writing materials, which were out of the question, so I watched movies. I had already watched Lion King between Dulles and Frankfurt (a favorite, beautiful and uplifting), so I watched Lala Land (romantic and beautiful; hard to hear), then Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (closed captions!; amazing performances by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell) and then fast-forwarded through much of the artsy A Ghost Story (I had 60 minutes for a 92-minute movie). The movies kept me entertained and distracted from my discomfort. But note to self: avoid Lufthansa in the future.

I’m now at the Raintree. My brand-new Belkin Surge Protector blows the fuses in the room; whether it’s the wiring here or the Belkin I’m not sure. It’s part of the fun of traveling in India; it tests resilience.

I love being a Food Traveler; at the breakfast, the dining room staff asked repeatedly if I wanted waffles, omelettes, pancakes, cereal, etc. I chose instead a lovely dish of creamed mushrooms, peas, and corn; idli bread (made of fermented black lentils and rice) with one of the condiments; stewed figs; steamed vegetables; a Japanese omelette (small); coffee; a lovely slice of toast with butter and marmalade. I’m trying to remind myself not to overeat; and if I’m tempted to overeat, make it mostly vegetables and some fruit.

I got all organized (Why am I so much more organized when I travel? Perhaps it’s because every item has been carefully chosen, and I only have to decide how to organize the relatively few belongings). I’m proud of how few items of clothing I brought.  Now I will do some journaling and read some of Cynthia Bourgeault’s Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (I’ve read it at least three times before), which I hope to donate to Shantivanam when we get there.

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