Saturday, November 6, 2010

Woodstock School Day

3 November 2010 Wednesday

Woodstock School day.  Assembly at 8:30, tour of gym, walk to the top at Sisters bazaar, down the back side and Fairy Glen, lunch, then out to Flag Hill and climb it for dim views of the snows, back to Hanifl center for tea and talk about the environment, supper at Woodstock, and walk back to H Castle, buying a few things on the way. 

Drank our chai and some breakfast of omelets and chapatis at 7:30 am, and I suggested all of us Woodstockites (Gail, Alice, Robert, and me) take a car rather than walk, since it would take some time to walk and then to register at the school. If we walked at 8 we might not make it.  Left by car at 8:08, got there at 8:25, and ran up to Assembly in Parker Hall, as it was starting -  A 7-minute homily on not complaining with a  short scripture verse, then announcements and Merit awards, and admonition to stop spamming email (Happy Halloween, smell my feet)  or else would be blocked for a week. Photos and tour of the Arts, English, and Performance center. Then down to the Office, with Abe and Anne having made their way on their own to the school, and a little bit of Internet in the Alum lounge, also later for a few minutes after lunch.  There was some talk with staff and others about what were the results of the US election – no surprises as such.  We also learned Obama is visiting India on the 8th Nov, while we are here!

Emu (Alumni Office assistant) gave us a tour up to the Studio 59, where Robert had finished his first class and had an hour free. And he joined us to go up and see the new gym, which Alice especially found interesting. From there we went down to the gate for Gail, Alice, and Robert to jump in a car to Sisters bazaar, while Abe, Anne, and I started our slow steady trek up, straight up the hill.  Past Redwood cottage, Victor Banerjee’s house, up the dirt path, sometimes steps.  Greeted Robert as he was coming down, as we were almost at the top.  Then to Prakash’s and chocolates, and hair conditioner. Gail and Alice showed up too.
We all walked east along the chakar to find the back side decent. Lo, and behold, there was Leon reading the paper, and he helped us find the right path after I had led them down a house path.  Near the bottom we veered off to Fairy Glen, though Alice waited behind.  Gail, Abe, and Anne liked Glen and the short hike to and from it.  Down through Jabbarkhet’s back houses to Terhi road.  Now the walk back to Woodstock for lunch at 12:30 pm.  We all 10 sat at a table together.  The students were all having their lunch on the other side of the Kashmir screens in the dining room.
Since there was no one it the office, Gail and Alice decided to walk down to College by themselves and see what they could see.  Anne L helped a couple people get on spare or un-used computer, and I used my laptop.   Until 1:30 pm when we went off to climb Flag Hill – Kathy, Claudia, Jeanie, Abe, Anne, and me.   We took our time and got to the bottom of Flag Hill around 2:15, I took them down two false paths, but Anne finally found the real path up, and we followed that, resting ever now and then.  They thought they were at the top with the first set of flags, but I pushed them on passed the flat camping area and up the ridge to the back side and the real top of Flag Hill – disappointment as the clouds over the snow peaks partly obscured their views.  But we took photos of each other and flags.  Now the way down on the real path, to Tehri road, and to the Hanifl Center where there was juice, peanut butter cookies, and curry puffs waiting for us around 3:45 pm.  Alice and Gail turned up at the same time we got there, and then Robert came around 4:05 pm. Our substitute environmentalist speaker (Kutty was in the States), Darab Nagarwala showed up by 4:15 and we all sat in a circle asking him questions and enjoying the discussion.  At one point Robert asked me to make sure the kitchen knew 10 more people were coming to Woodstock super, but I could not get the land or cell phone to call properly, so we asked Darab, and he did it quickly and then came back for 15 minutes more conversation. 
Left to walk for supper around 5:40, since Robert needed to get back for the 6 pm supper and the workshop he was giving that night.  Supper was rice with three types of curry and apple.  I met Dan L and he gave me my backpack with my computer in it which Anne had  nicely arranged so I would not have to carry it up and down Flag Hill. 
We tried to arrange a taxi for Alice and Gail who were quite tired from the climb down and up from College, but the taxi said first it’d be 10 minutes and then 25 minutes, so they decided to walk also. Our walk back was in separate groups with Kathy leading my group with a flashlight which included Jeanie and Claudia.  They didn’t like the climb up Tehri road to the Landour Hospital.  Then they got excited by an “antiques” shop in upper Mullingar, and Jeanie and Claudia bought some stuff after about 20 minutes of looking, and Abe and Anne popped in, looking, liking, and buying some old lovely cigar box label. The bazaar was very, very busy and crowded with the pre-Diwali wares and firecrackers, pushing some of their displays out into the street. Random firecrackers boomed at us from nowhere, some close, some distant crackles. Jeanie especially wanted some chocolates so we stopped at Harisingh’s shop.  Then further along I got a large bottle of beer (Fosters at Rs 80 = $w) as Jeanie checked out the red and white wine from Australia at about Rs 1200 (= $30) a pop.  Jeanie decided no.  Past the blank foundation of the clock tower for a last time, and up the wrong path for a moment to the Himalayan Castle.   And to our rooms which our purchases and our tired bodies. 

Robert returned round 8:20 pm having walked by with Llyn who had watched Robert at his workshop.  I was very tired and went right to sleep after drinking my beer – and slept all the way to 5 am! = 9 hours. Today was also the first day that I took Malarone, and will be taking it for the next 14 days, since I will enter malaria country in two days.

What a day, Woodstock, climb to the top, Fairy Glen, Woodstock lunch, Flag Hill, environmental talk at the Hanifl Center, Woodstock supper, and through the bazaar. 

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