Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.  
The first question was, "Did you bring joy?"  
The second was, "Did you find joy?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The universe has a funny sense of humor.  I finally understand, in my bones, that the only way to be happy is to trust in yourself and to make peace with the moment, the place that you are in, your view on the world and then I come down with dysentery.

I challenge the Dalai Lama to make peace with dysentery.

I've heard some gruesome stories from fellow travelers about their bouts with dysentery and, all in all, I'm pretty sure I got off lucky.  I think that's also because I gave in quickly to the antibiotics my doctor made me carry JUST IN CASE.

Who knows, maybe I did benefit from my epiphany of last week.  I managed not to get submerged in self-pity which, let me tell you, when even the tiny joints in your toes ache and you can't stand fully upright and you are India which is on the other side of the planet from almost every human being you know, self-pity seems, well, justifiable.

But, I like Jaipur.  I'm staying in a heritage hotel just outside of the old city which is delineated by a wall made out of pink stone.  I could be wrong, but I think much of the old city is built out of pink stone.  I shall find out as soon as I feel up to exploring.  There are 7 gates into the city, one of them is called chandpole, or moongate.   On the way from the airport to my hotel I saw the full moon rising over the chandpole.  I wanted to stop and take a photo but we were in the middle of major traffic plus, I realized later, I was pretty sick and totally not up for it.  Just after I saw the moon, my guide, RV, pointed out the elephant walking by.  Some guy was riding his elephant home from work.  They were going along in traffic just like any other vehicle.  I was amazed to see how fast an elephant can go and how confidently he maneuvered with all the cars zooming by.

My hotel is a heritage home owned and operated by members of some kind of minor royal family, the Bissaus.  The main house where the dinning rooms and such like are is painted on every square inch with gold and pink and red.  There are lotus friezes and dancing girl paintings.  It's a bit like being on a movie set.  I had a choice of rooms the first night and one of them, the one I didn't take for some reason (dysentery brain) was absolutely gorgeous.  A maharajah's room.  But it is supposed to be hotter and that's an important consideration in these parts.  I have a good room.  Plain.  I am making peace with that.

Today I think I will stay close to home to make sure that my body is really mended enough to be out and about.  There is a pool here and my room needs to be cleaned.  Whenever I've needed anything I've just thrown anything that was in the way out of the way and therefore my room looks like a cyclone hit it.

I also have some making up to do with the staff here at Bissau.  I've been so out of it that I haven't tipped anyone and just now I tried to and realized that one of the things I threw somewhere was my coin purse. This is the kind of place where tips are expected and I am quickly rising on the Rude American Customers list.  I can see it in the face of my waiter.

Somewhere, outside the gates of my hotel are elephants and fortresses and tiny streets with treasure shops.  For now, they will have to wait and I must get strong, but it's hard.  It's hard to make peace with my view when I haven't seen the view outside, when I don't know what adventure I'm missing out on.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Oh, Morgan!! Be well, my friend!! I hope so much that this storm blows over quickly. Sending you love and healing energy.