It was still dark when we landed. The hallway from plane to building smelled of mold and mildew, and nothing sparkled as it did in Qatar. The airport was quiet except for us newly arrived, clamoring to get through the public health desk (swine flu precautions) and customs. As we walked out into the night, we were greeted by hundreds of people waiting for their family members. A speedy taxi trip landed us safely at Footprint B & B, everything, including luggage intact.
We had a refreshing breakfast of papaya with lime, corn flakes (??) and idlies—soft, round lentil flour “biscuits” with two spicy and wonderful sauces. Our walk around the neighborhood afterwards showed us that blocks aren’t square, you take your life in your hands when crossing the street, and car horns are a language of the road where there are few signs, no demarcation lines, or stop signs, and no crosswalks. One road sign did stand out: “Accident prone area. Drive slow.”
We also found delicately beautiful bougainvillea vines, mango trees and funny little striped squirrels that make high pitched bird chirps when agitated by cats; school children heading to school barefooted, some accompanied by their mothers in vividly colored saris; and Ganesha shrines.