Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend in India

When living only 4 km. from the border I guess you have to go for a visit to the world’s biggest democracy. Luckily, I have a good friend, Laura, who lives in Delhi and we had arranged a weekend trip to Lucknow, a city situated about 200 km. from Nepalgunj.

The trip to Lucknow takes 5 hours in a taxi but before that you have to get past the Indian immigration officer. Those of you who have been to India can probably share a story or two about the Indian bureaucracy and the main character would most likely be a guy like the immigration officer at the Nepalgunj border. Once all my personal data has been recorded in different books and on forms, everything from age, family relations, politics and festival needs to be discussed over a cup of the. Until this often hour long ritual has been seen through you can forget about a stamp in your passport.

My theory is that since only about 500 foreigners cross this border each year, this poor immigration officer gets very lonely and therefore desperately tries to hold on to his “customers” as long as possible!

Still, I made it to Lucknow and met with my good friend. Laura and I lived and worked together in Guatemala in 2001 and have only met once since then, so there was a lot of catching up to do. However, we did also find time to do some sight seeing in Lucknow, which is a beautiful city with plenty of old buildings to visit. And except from the fact that the neighbour room in our hotel went up in flames threatening to take us with it (read more about this on Laura´s blog:, it was a wonderful weekend and great to see my good friend again.

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