The last week before I leave on a trip I go into list-making mode with a fury.
On my List of Things to Do Before We Go there is a eclectic bunch of tasks ranging from the fairly significant (confirm flights and make copy of passport pages/visas) to the fairly trifling ( take back library books and paint toe-nails pink).
That last item is actually something I don't want to forget--here in Canada it is no longer sandal-wearing weather, but I've been following the weather forecasts for India and Nepal and this morning it was 34 degrees Celsius in Delhi.
Also I need to: clean out the fridge, bring in all the clay pots in from the garden, do a huge laundry, pack my bag (this may be the lightest pack so far!), confirm with various wonderful friends who are dropping us off and picking us up at the ferry next Tuesday, find something to read on the airplane, make a rupee to dollars conversion table, make something to bring to Sherry's potluck party, and er, you know, breathe deeply.
There's other stuff on the list, but you get the picture.
This last week before we leave finds me poring over traveller reviews of the hotels we have booked ---anything with the words "miserable hovel" or "cockroaches" needs to be reconsidered!
Also, I find myself desperately trying to avoid the stomach flu that is circulating at work while at the same time shopping for immodium tablets for the inevitable upset that people who pick India as a holiday destination will most likely encounter.
I've been reading, reading, reading about the places I'm going to be: Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Lumbini, Pokhara, Kathmandu......
I'm spending a week in the Kathmandu Valley! And last night Jeff's mom came over with a little gift---money ear-marked for a small chartered plane flight over Mount Everest. Between that, and my own mom's gift of money for two theatre nights in London on the way back home I can't help but feel that presents don't get much cooler. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
As well, Ritika, my friend in the village of Aru Bari outside of Kathmandu is sending little excited emails to me. I've never met her, but I'm really glad I am.
I'm getting those little travel butterflies.
List of Wondrous things I Want to Do
See the giant fruit bats that hang out in trees in Kathmandu---bonus points if I can see them flying out of those trees at just the right time at dusk.
Breathe in some Himalayan air.
Meet a sadhu, an Indian holy man.
Eat three things I've never tried: momos (Tibetan-style dumplings) for sure, but I'm game for anything that is not viscera of some sort.
Ride down the Ganges River at dawn (or dusk) in the ancient city of Varanasi--this is a city so old that it was a contemporary of Thebes, considered the oldest continually inhabited city in the world even.
Visit a cremation ghat (from a respectful distance). I am so interested in funerals, and India is one of the few countries where death is not always hidden behind closed doors.
See rhinos safely from an elephant's back in the forests of Chitwan.
Go to an Indian theatre and watch one of those so-dreadful-I-like-em Bollywood films.
Write in my journal every day. Could I not do this?