November 15, 1961 – India

Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi, India – Clear

     Today we had to get up extra early and not just early but extremely early since we had to leave the hotel at 5am.  It meant Edith and I had to get up at 4am.  We weren’t at least able to have breakfast or even coffee before it was time to go to the airport.

     Our flight from New Delhi took off at 6:15am and we arrived in Madras, India at 11:40am.  The flight wasn’t very long so we only had a snack and beverages aboard the plane so I was exceptionally hungry by the time we made it to our destination.  When we landed the plane sounded a horn that made me think of a cow bawling and it made me laugh.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t to scare cows off the runway.  We had a long wait at the airport till we were able to pick up our luggage but we finally arrived at the Connemara Hotel at 1:30pm. 

      Our hotel was nice and so were our rooms although they weren’t really fancy.  After we checked in and finally made it to our rooms, we all congregated back in the dining room so we could have lunch before we left on our afternoon tour.  Once again we found the food to be marginal looking so I returned to eating just fruit, especially bananas.

      During our afternoon of sightseeing I could tell that the city was a prosperous metropolis comparatively as far as India was concerned with its wide boulevards and lovely residential areas.  We visited Fort St. George which was situated on the sea in north of the island in the center of the river.  The fort contained an arsenal and St. Mary’s Church.  In the middle of the area was the Old Sea Gate, a government museum and university.  Our marine drive overlooked a lovely beach on the Bay of Bengal. 

      As we passed over the Adyar River I looked down and saw a rather unique sight – professional laundries drying their clothes on rocks in the riverbed.  I looked closer and saw them on the banks for a half mile or so each way.  I could see the workers were soaking soiled pieces of clothing and slapping them on the rocks in an effort to pound out the dirt.

Laundry Being Done on Idawa River

Another View of Laundry Being Done on Idawa River

     Our final stop was a holy lake to see the Kapaleeshwarar Temple.  The temple was a four-sided pyramid of clay and sandstone with large colored figures of men and animals, each group depicting an epic.  There were large figures around the base and the rows gradually grew smaller as they reached the top.  Jewels and color made the building a most impressive sight.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple on the Holy Lake in Madras

      By the time we returned to the hotel I was anxious to eat and return to our room for the night.  Dinner turned out to be just like lunch, not very good at that so dinner was quick.  Once we were back in our room Edith and I took turns taking baths and then we spent the rest of our evening trying to catch up on our correspondence.  I wanted to write both Ramona and Bob tonight so I could mail it out as soon as possible:

Nov 15 – Connemara Hotel, Madras, India

Dear Ramona and Everyone;

     Tonight we are very tired so don’t know how much I will write.  We had to get up at 4am this morning to go to the airport at 5am.  When we travel we spend nearly all day in the airport’s waiting rooms, arriving or departing. 

     Yesterday was a very hard day.  We drove from Jaipur to New Delhi about 200 miles.  We left at 7am and stopped for an elephant ride to the Amber Palace which proved to be rather exciting.  Sitting on that howdah is a precarious experience, your high up and roll from side to side, have to hang on tight.  Then the drive took 5 hours with 3 hours for stops which was 8 hours altogether and over these roads and this traffic, well it was a pretty rough trip. 

     When we got to the hotel we found the hotel full and no rooms for us so we had to wait another 2 hours in the lobby.  You know it is hard work to travel.  When I get home I’m going to stay in bed for a month. 

     We’ve decided not to buy anything more now till we reach Italy.  It is too hard to get it mailed.  I spent $2 American tonight to mail 2 rolls of film so I’ll carry the rest with me.  Our postage has been our biggest expense.  I sent a package today; it had odds and ends and an old dress of Edith’s.  You know I have to send these things as gifts under $10.  Could you very tactfully get Shanks to keep an eye out for this stuff.  Don’t give him or his family any idea some of these packages might be worth more.  I hope they are not opened at the post office.  However if this particular package is questioned the amount is really under $10.  It contains fans we got for nothing, the old dress of Edith’s an old mirror and other odd things.  I hope I get some mail in Colombo. 

     Tell everyone hello for me.  Love Mother

     Once my letter to Ramona was finished I wrote one to Bob:

 Nov 15 – Connemara Hotel, Madras, India

Dear Pat and Bob;

     Well we arrived in Madras this morning from New Delhi and this town or city is much like the others in duty and dressed looking people.  I’m a little weary of India.  The people we come in contact with are very nice though.

     We were very tired today, as we had to get up at 4am and left the Hotel Ashoka at 5am.  When we travel from one place to another, we spend most of our time in airport waiting rooms, both departing and arriving. 

     I wrote Medhu a letter telling him when I would be in different places in India but I haven’t heard from him so I don’t know if I shall see him.  We will be in Bombay such a short time anyway. 

     Edith and I have decided we are not going to buy anything else until we reach Italy.  It is so hard to get things mailed.  I paid $2.00 American to mail 2 rolls of film tonight so I’m going to carry the rest of it.  Our postage has been the biggest expense we’ve had.  Have you received any packages so far?  From the way things look over here, I’ll be surprised if any of it gets home. 

     I’ll be glad to get to Italy where it is more civilized.  I can’t get used to this.  I hope we will like it in Colombo.  Love, Mother

     I was glad I had finally finished writing my letters because I was having trouble keeping my eyes open.  I noticed Edith was still writing so I said goodnight and went to bed.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rajesh Thakur
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 01:41:54

    just read your blog with photographs , its was a nice experience spcially the photograph you posted, i rally like your Article


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