21 January 2007
RAIPUR Jag orkar inte skriva något spirituellt, så jag återanvänder här ett mail jag just knåpade ihop till min i Dantewada kvarlämnade fotograf (han fortsätter spaningsarbetet i några dagar).
I am writing (but not sending) this sitting on Raipur Airport - a small and quite airport indeed. No problems, of course, getting a ticket to Bombay. With Air Deccan it cost RS 5 140. You can probably book it at www.airdeccan.net. Lots of time between the bus arrival (06.45!) and the flight at 10.30.
For some reason - maybe all the bizarre statues? - Raipur felt slightly like a regional Chinese city. You won't actually see much of the city, though, as the bus drops you off outside of the city-centre (unless you stay on until it gets to the railway station). But it's a beautiful road to the airport through the countryside, on a tree-lined road. I paid my rickshaw driver RS 150 (they started hawking at RS 300).
The bus trip took about 9.25 hours, not so bad. I didn't sleep all night through, but it was OK. Bizarre clientele onboard, including some kind of orchestra! I hit my head in the ceiling several times on the bumpy road before I was ready to lie down. Pretty crowded since I had to share space with all of my bags. It was fantastic to have the silk sheet, I really should have left one for you.
The Raipur bus "station" where the bus from Dantewara arrives is, as you can imagine, full of rickshaws and even more rickshaw drivers - and because the bus driver had mentioned in public that I was going to the airport they were all fighting on whom could take me there... Newly awake at 06.45 and with my pyjamas on and the hair in a mess I didn't feel like I really wanted the attention of 20 overly eager Indian men...so I almost had to shout to some guys that I was NOT going to any airport, thank you very much. I had to eat first!
I had been longing for some papa dosa, but the only breakfast available around there seems to be a type of shredded potatoes spiced up with onions, eggplant, chili, and a garbanzo bean soup on top of that. Worth trying!
Other than that? No wifi at the airport, as far as I can tell.
Oh, one more thing. In the airport hall, you can look out for some light-boxes advertising Vedanta, Jindal, and some other steel companies with the following slogans: "Partners in Progress; Building a New India" and "Chhattisgarh's global stride; India's pride"!
Can you tell I'm pretty bored here at the airport..?! ;-)
Well, at least I have made an appointment to meet with Ulrika in Bombay this afternoon.