2006-11-16 : Remember how she said that we would meet again some sunny day

Righto, well that's all that dealt with then ! Exams are over, and tonight I'm on the bus back to Delhi, then on to Singapore, and by Monday morning, Adelaide. That kinda flew past…

It's pretty exciting to be heading back to Australia to see everyone, but at the same time I'm gonna miss this mountainside retreat. It's nigh on impossible to accurately describe the complex sensory tapestry that this place presents – sounds of car horns in the distance, monkeys whooping, people clearing their throats, and then the amazing cornucopia of smells, from one end of the olfactory spectrum to the other. I'm yet to have it confirmed that Hindi is the only language with 34 words for diarrhoea.

As I believe I mentioned, one morning a few weeks back I photographically documented the entire trip from the hotel to the bus stop, and that's now on its own page – there's about 60ish shots there, so it's not for the shy-of-bandwidth… Click here for the Shimla walkthrough.

A couple of quick happy snaps before I disappear though: on the way out today I grabbed a quick snap of Deepa (the centre administrator) and Pravin (I think he's like her henchman, or something ?), in front of the sign I made them erect on the noticeboard to celebrate today's exam result.

It seems that my angst about passing is somehow inversely proportional to the score I get – I was incredibly worried about how today's exam would go, primarily because instead of studying for it I went out for dinner at the incredibly lavish Oberoi Cecil with Andrew. I was convinced that I was going to bomb out in this, my last exam… and managed to swing 100%. Woo. Dinner was funny though – I don't think they really wanted us hairy, low-rent lookin guys in there so they sat us out in a section away from the other diners, much to the chagrin of the autumn-yeared British couple on the next table. It was all I could do to stifle a John Belushi-esque “Sell me your wife !”. Luckily, decorum was maintained and a sumptuous feast took place. Chicken with pomegranate seeds. Mmmmmmmm.

On the way out this morning I managed a rare photo of Dr Evil, our resident hotel evil genius, along with someone I've grown to call Smiley TV guy, because all he ever seems to do is smile, watch TV, and phone someone else who can speak English to come and find out what I want.

I dropped in to say a quick goodbye chemist/master dentist Sachin from downstairs, and ended up sticking around for a coffee. So there's another first – being invited to sit in a pharmacy and have a coffee!

Whilst in there, a few beggars – beggars is probably the wrong connotation, but they were asking for money I guess – were about the place asking for donations in the name of Kali. I gave them a coin on the proviso I could take a photo, but the coin I ended up giving them was 5 rupees rather than the 2 I was thinking of handing over. Still, nice photo.

So now, off to finish packing and go have dinner with the Koenig crew, then on the bus to Delhi ! I suspect the next time I get a chance to write in this will be Singapore. So you get a couple of days' respite, anyway. Happy trails !