22.1.08

bandh, bus, and baby

A 7 week old spices up life quite a bit! I know that's the truth for everyone, and I believe it's just as true for us tourists. Especially in Asia!

We took baby on her first flight and trip abroad yesterday, and arrived in the Himalayan country north of our current home. The purpose of this trip is to receive her visa so we can return, and our tickets are for this weekend. Baby was wonderful on the flight, which somehow gave us false hopes of a delightful and problem-free stay and a smooth governmental process all the while gazing at the Himalayas surrounding the valley city we're staying in. I don't know where that gazing thought came from, since we had to circle the airport for close to an hour waiting for visibility. I was a wee bit over-optimistic.

When we arrived yesterday, we were supposed to have a bus waiting to take us to the hotel. This was when we found out that the city transport workers are all striking against gas prices. Absolutely no transportation was available, and people were burning tires in the roads, which kept even private transportation to a minimum. Since there were no taxis or buses available for anyone at the airport to reach their hotels, a police bus had to take all the tourists to their respective hotels. It was complete chaos. Men carried suitcases on the bus, under the bus, out of the bus, as people tried to push their way on as well. Luckily, the passengers were very sympathetic as soon as they saw us with baby in the Snugli. A Frenchman immediately jumped up from his seat and offered for me to sit. I took it gratefully, and James was offered the seat next to me as well. Baby began to get fussy because she was hungry. A local man laughed and said, "He is hungry. Feed him." (I've begun to notice South Asians just refer to strangers' babies as 'he') Nearby passengers also laughed, and I relaxed. Husband and I were both so grateful these people understood that yes, babies do fuss sometimes. She did quiet down when I "fed him."

On the crowded bus, I was reminded of our year in the Himalayas, and pretty glad we didn't have to travel that way anymore. Well, present week excluded.

Apparently, the strike (bandh) is still going on, and worse today since not even residents can drive anywhere, so we are stranded in our hotel for the time being. This means we also won't be returning this weekend. Oh the joys of being a tourist in South Asia! At least our room has a view and we can imagine the Himalayas beyond the fog.

4 comments:

Aarmel said...

Wow! I wish I could say I was surprised but...you are in Asia. So sorry about all this. Well, at least your getting a nice little forced vacation. I hope everything clears up quickly and you'll have baby's visa in no time.

SouthAsiaRocks said...

haha nice! That's funny you rode in a police bus! Where are the pics!!!! I need some pics! :)

alittlewater said...

wow! what a story. sounds like a whole-lotta-fun. well not exactly. i hope you guys make the most of your time in getting the visa. and enjoy the mountains behind the clouds!

Deanna said...

Wow! Now that's a story! Can't wait for the photos.