Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to School

Back to School - 21 October 2009

Breakfast on the patio with views of the snows. Going to the tailors and shoeman. Walking to school.  The Gate, the office, the Internet. School Lunch. Mumby Gym. Library. Tea. Organic Garden. Supper at the Golden.

Breakfast on the patio with views of the snows. Waking about 8:10 after a good nights sleep, we joined Li, Lindsay, and Dana on the patio, with the snow covered peaks far away in the background, clear and sunny.  I had gotten up between 2-4 am after sleeping at 9:40 pm, and copied off photos from previous days. Then back to sleep.  Deej had slept well also, getting up to see the starlight from the back window; and much later seeing the sun rise. For breakfast we had chaptis, shared an omelet, and had two 2-cup (barely) plastic pots of chai.  Lindsay with Deej searched through the bird book – remembering yellow and red martinets they had seen on their Sesquintenial trip back in 2004 from the Shiva Hotel, The warm sun in the crisp morning and friendly conversation – a perfect way to start the day.  After toiletries, we headed out. 

Going to the tailors and shoeman.
Around 9:15 Li lead us walking to the Iman tailors at the bottom of the Mullingar hill.  But Iman was away in Dehradun, so no measuring and ordering today – but they looked at the bolts of cloth in the shop, but were not happy by what was available.  Next to the shoeman or mochi, halfway up the hill on the left – Deej right away found some sandals that fit her for Rs. 300.  Lindsay could not convince to customize a pair of sandals with a small heel and without the toe strap, so did not order any.  I found a nice pair, but too small, had my foot traced, and left an advance of Rs. 100 (of 300) for him to make a larger pair to be picked up on Friday. 

Walking to school.  Then up to the top of Mullingar hill, on to Tehri road a walk to the School. Took some pictures of a barber and trash managers (scavengers?) before going past under Landour Community Hospital.  We saw some of Gil’s dahlias on the way, Spring View (the Hortons) now residence of a popular doctor, Edgehill Villa (Knox’s place), around the corners with the big mirrors to see oncoming traffic, and views of the Ridge and College (Midland) dorms and of the Organic Garden down below.

The Gate, the office, the Internet.

Arrived at the gate, and the guard called to see if we were legit, and Li answered, yes, we were. Photos at the Gate, working in past offices (used to be the Cells), and through the Quad, and up to the Alumni and other offices.  Greeted others there – Anne, Dan, Monica, Principal David, Chris S., Stephen A, etc.  And then started our slow WiFi to check on email over the past days – told Lila we were planning to be at LC offices on Wed the 28th, replied to Claire that really she could take her books to LC for shipping, and 234 other messages. Until

School Lunch. Down to the dinning room, first to the Gents toilet, and then a wonderful lunch of noodles, mamo, lentils, filtered water (filled up plastic bottles), and chai.  Meeting a few other faculty.  Back up for some more reading of emails. And to talk with Casey, an experienced trekker, who worked in the offices – to learn how best to get to and climb Witches Hill – also talked some of his treks to Nag Tibba from the south side after over night at the ponds – his students also were not interested in going with him to the top. Monica also arranged for our trip to Happy Valley (Tibetan community tomorrow)

Mumby Gym and Library. Anne took our little group on a tour of the new Mumby Gym and the Library.  Up the covered passageways with loitering kids, also headed to the gym.  What an amazing new million dollar Win Mumby Gym, which had been completed and dedicated about a month before in ceremonies and evening dance.  A full sized basket ball court with bleachers, overhead large computerized screens, locker rooms for home and visitor teams, offices, badminton court, two-story climbing wall, two ping pong tables, large exercise room with modern equipment (duty free for a minority, Christian, institute), and squash court. Really wonderful – but it was sitting on top of and replaced my wonderful upper playground were we spent hours roller skating on around the concrete square, no more May pole in the middle, no more place where my Cub Scouts met.  Lots of new things replacing some of the old.

To the Library – modern, sunny, named after Miss Marley, and a good section of Ruskin Bond, newspaper racks, and a computer room with about 20 computers. Up to Parker Hall, looking around.  Then Anne, Lindsay, and Dana left us to meet with the librarian – after we waited looking at the Peace sculpture and the bank of purple flowers.  We had a very pleasant and informative exchange with Sue the librarian – she had put in a new library system, doubled the lighting and much else.

Tea. Down for more Internet, finishing up reading and responding to emails. Downstairs to the tea and cake at the back terrace near the Lyre tree.  All sorts of staff and friends were in conversation on the sunny terrace.

Organic Garden.  Next, Li lead us down the steep stairs to the lower Tehri road and around it to the Organic Garden.  Whoops, a very steep, small loose-rocky path down to the Garden.  Deej slipped once, and was scared (along with the rest of us) of the steep khud or hills on each side of the ridge.  The gardener with his wife and daughter live in a small pakka house there – to guard (against langur monkeys and others), tend, pick, and water the plants on the terraces – peas, lettuce, broccoli, etc.  Li had lots of ideas and instructions for the gardener, to improve everything.  The views of the Hostel under construction, the Ridges, and the College, from below and across the near ridge were a new perspective.  Then the steep, steep climb back up to Tehri road and learning from the gardener the not-steep path back up to Landour.  We went around lower Tehri road and then up the concrete path, which was mostly quite steep.  Panting we eventually arrived at Landour – coming on to the road very near where we had been in the morning, the bottom of Mullingar hill near Iman the tailor’s shop, as Sikhs were in a community chant at their center that juncture.  A leisurely walk past the clock tower and to Himalaya Castle, getting there about 6, and we all rested in our rooms for about an hour.

Supper at the Golden. Li led us off, about 7 pm, to the Golden restaurant next to the Clock Tower and we had a pleasant and nice meal – tomato and chicken soups, chicken palao, mutton, dal, alo paneer, chicken mughlai, plain and buttered chapattis and naan.  Dana and Deej went in search of beer and finally figured out to go 2 blocks to the English Wine shop.  Wonderful tastes.  Back to the hotel and falling into bed around 9, as Deej read on into her book of the Q&A (Slumdog Millionaire)

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