Once again to slumber …
It is time once again for RudyMenTerry to return to slumber until the next adventure. Before leaving this particular holiday, however, it is worth making some observations about India. The first must be to say that as a ‘developing country’ India is developing at a huge pace. Since our last visit we have noticed huge progress. Every single place that we visited is building or extending a metro. The Indian economy seems to be in pretty good shape. Some roads were in excellent condition (particularly between Jaipur and Agra and Agra and Delhi) and there is evidence of a growing economy with the number of car showrooms that have sprung up – particularly in Kochi where it wasn’t just any car showrooms but some seriously luxury car showrooms. There are some serious motorbike dealers too – Ducati, Harley Davidson et al. This is an economy that is starting to have money! The people too seemed genuinely optimistic about the future. They talked of a bright future and how they believe that India is coming of age. Nobody, but nobody, that we talked to seemed to believe that India is anything older than 70 years. Whilst everyone talks of the rich history of the country and the historic forts, palaces, temples and mosques, they talk of India as it is today as being a country born just 70 years ago. Prior to that it was a country that we ruled by others – not just the British, the Dutch, the Danish, the French, the Portuguese have all had a go at ruling India but none in quite such a way as the British did.
Captain Clarke and I have concluded that there is not much to be proud of from the British Raj and quite a lot to be ashamed of. That said, it was interesting that the attitude of every Indian person that we met was very much that we can’t be held responsible for the actions of our ancestors. We were quite glad about that! On a completely different note, one cannot think of India without thinking of dogs. There are dogs everywhere in India. At every turn and on every corner there are dogs. The dogs are wild in the sense that they roam the streets scavenging for food. Though it would be more accurate to describe them as stray as they are not aggressive and don’t seek out people for any malicious reasons, just for food. Unfortunately, Rabies is still a significant disease in India, so one does have to be a little careful that one doesn’t provoke a dog into biting. Despite there being thousands and thousands of dogs though, there was one other observation that we made … never, in all our travels, did we ever see any dog poo! Despite all the stray dogs wandering the streets and sleeping wherever they can find a spot, we never saw any poo – someone must be cleaning it up … we see more on the streets at home which tells us something!
One other observation that we made of India was that of care for the environment. We don’t remember any particularly strong environmental ethics on our previous visit, but this time it was very evident wherever we went. On our previous visit we had specifically been to an ‘Eco Hotel’. On this visit there was evidence everywhere of a real move towards environmental change. By way of example, the metro in Kochi is entirely powered by solar energy. There are a couple of huge solar farms near to the airport and, as our guide said to us, one thing they are not short of is sunshine! In Delhi, and also in Mumbai, cars, buses, tuk tuks and trucks run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and, if they don’t, they are not allowed into the city. This is a huge change and one that we have not seen in the western world. CNG is a much safer fuel than many others – it is principally methane gas and can be harvested from landfill sites, from waste water plants and even from cows. Burning CNG is not particularly harmful and doesn’t produce the same noxious gases that petrol, diesel or LPG (which is basically propane) do. One can’t help wondering if they are actually leading the way in environmental vehicles. They do have electric tut tuks too (they like to call them Autorickshaws) but, as our guide pointed out, generating electricity can hardly be described as ‘environmental’!
We left Delhi a couple of hours late due to the late arrival of the incoming flight (I hate it when they say that, it doesn’t actually tell one anything!). It transpired that there had been a spot of snow or something in Blighty and they had had to de-ice the aeroplane. It was 34 degrees as we got onto the plane and forecast to be 4 degrees when we got off it! Being a daytime flight, they give you a spot of lunch fairly soon after take off on the hope that you might fancy a bit of a nap afterwards. Captain Clarke did manage a short snooze (of a couple of hours) but he swears this had nothing to do with the four glasses of white wine, two glasses of red wine and a brandy you could swim in … he was just a little tired! Having arrived back into Heathrow it was indeed 4 degrees – even Captain Clarke said that he might have liked a jacket to go over his short sleeved shirt! Our taxi was awaiting us and our journey home was uneventful. It seemed quite strange not to have cars coming towards us on the wrong side of the road, or a camel and cart wandering alongside us. It was just the M25 on a Monday evening being the M25 on a Monday evening. A couple of accidents, some pretty heavy queues and a cold and damp outlook. Oh well, I guess it is back to life as normal now. It was a truly magical holiday and a wonderful trip but now I need to go and earn some money to pay for it! That is, after all, RudyMenTerry! 💤💤💤💤💤💤