Sunday, 2 March 2008

Planes, High Winds and Dust

I'm in Delhi, although there were certainly a few moments yesterday when I wasn't sure it was all going to go as smoothly as planned. To-date everything has fallen into place, from deciding I'd like to go back, to discussions with my company about being away, to help with my visa and booking flights and accommodation. I'm sure true for all of you, is a fretful night sleep before a trip and mine was, but mostly because I thought the roof was going to blow off, or at the very least I'd have my chimney crashing in over my head. While I did wake to rain at 3.30 am, the wind seemed to have abated. Not so in Amsterdam. So my 6.30 flight only left at 9.00. This meant a mad dash across the maze that is Schipol, in the hope they'd let me on the plane. (The note said "Gate Closed" and takeoff was in 5 mins. ) Fortunately the high winds that had delayed us, delayed many planes and so once again the flight was delayed while stragglers come from all over. A relief to me, and the many others they waited for, not to have to worry about new flights and hanging round a large airport.

Arrival is Delhi is a controlled chaos as we sort of queue for passport control and baggage. If you are the shy retiring type, you can be subtly elbowed to the back of the line. It being after 1am, most of us just shuffled along in the milieu.

I am sharing an apartment with 4 gap year students, 2 of whom come out to meet me at the airport and ended up waiting a good 2 and a half hours. It was really nice to be met and not have to negotiate with taxis at the stage.

Now we could do with some of that wind we had, here in Delhi. The trees are almost green but not quite, because they are all covered with a fine layer of dust and the streets and pavements are all massively dusty. Some folk have pottered off to one of the craft markets. I've visited it before and it's lovely, but think I'll save that visit for later. Instead I walked up to the local market near here with one of the guys. I was happy to find that there are good supplies of some of the bits I thought I'd like to use while teaching - flash cards and general games and books. My case was already quite a weight as it was, so I left most of my grammar books behind.
It seems the 2 girls here are teaching quite advanced students, who are also about their age - between 17 and 20 years, while the boys are in a slum where there has been no teaching before, so their kids are much less experienced. They also have a wide age range, from 8 - 16, which in itself is a challenge. (Takes me back to teaching in the homelands in South Africa and that's going back some years).

That's me done - I have no idea what tomorrow holds in store. No doubt I'll tell you about it soon enough.

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