First of all, happy birthday to Kathina!! :D We wish we were celebrating with you!
Now, a quick summary of the last few days:
After a sleepless night spent, as usual, frantically packing and tying up loose ends, we began our trip with Daniel and Kathina to Santiago de Compostela for the weekend. Good bye's in Braga were not too bad, mostly because they were a cheerful, see you in May to the family:) Portugal even gave us a good bye present--beautiful clear blue skies, warm temperatures, and the sun! The four of us stopped in Valenca, a cute like town within the walls of an old fort on the Spanish/Portuguese border and it was a perfect afternoon! We explored a bit, eventually ending up at a little cafe on the street in the sun drinking superbock, eating bolinhos de bacalhau and, as always, having great conversation. We spent the rest of the day in Santiago de Compostela, catching the last rays of the sun as they hit the facade of the cathedral. We finished off the night with tapas and wine, a great day spent in Spain.
I boarded the plane to London the next day with mixed and conflicting emotions. Excitement for the adventure we were beginning, apprehension at the unknown, and sadness for leaving Portugal, and saying good bye to Kathina and Daniel. Not that we will not see each other in the future, or that Sergio and I won't return to Portugal, but it was not just saying good bye to friends and family temporarily, it was saying goodbye to a whole chapter in our lives, a happy one, so to quote Friends "It's the end of an era!!"
It was especially hard to say bye, to Kathina and Daniel...some people come into our lives and fall into step beside us so quietly, so easily, so happily that when we stop and take a minute to look back, we're startled to realize just how great of a presence they have created and how much you will miss their presence when they're not around. That's what our friendship meant to me during a time of huge readjustment in my life--like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers after spending the day walking around in high heels:)
So, we spent the next two days in London, being complete tourists riding around on the tour bus, but it was a great way to see everything, and my previous conceptions of London being a cold and dreary city that I don't want to get to know were completely erased, as I found London to be full of character and a beautiful city. I could spend weeks more there, wandering the streets, enjoying the huge tourist attractions as much as the tiny pub down the street serving Sunday night roasts :)
Which brings me to now....India...intial reaction: WOW. The extreme diversity and intensity of emotions that India has caused only in the first 10 hours of being here are so new and different that I am still processing everything, but I can say that never has a simple place caused such reactions and presented such contradictions to me in such a short period of time. I do believe that the great Aerosmith's "Sweet taste of India" should be more appropriately named "Sweet, sour, bitter, delicious, amazing taste of India because that is what India IS. An epitomy of the concept of contradiction. It's as if here, God/Allah/whoever, decided to present both sides of every story and said, you figure it out. I've never felt so conspicuous yet so insignificant, so much compassion for those in poverty yet so much disgust, such openness to meeting others, yet such suspicion, and so exhilherated yet so nervous.
We arrived safely to Delhi this morning, after a decent flight. On the plane we began to talk to an Indian guy in the seat next to us, Sid, from Delhi/London/New York, and after a bit of chatting, he graciously offered to give us a ride from the airport to Delhi. We of course accepted, and it was the best way to take in all the new sights, sounds, and smells, because everything together was rather overwhelming. We spent the rest of day wandering around the city, laying in the grass in a beautiful park, trying to avoid getting run over by autorickshaws/buses/cars as the only rule of the road in India seems to be one: avoid hitting anyone; everything else, stoplights, crosswalks....optional.
Now,we're simply trying to process all the information, and getting ready for a new day of contradictions for tomorrow!
Ok, back to the chaos of the streets....love to everyone and mais uma vez parabens a Kathina!!:)
Check out pics from the weekend in Santiago!!