Monday, May 12, 2014

Enjoying the Polar Vortex

(Author's note: I wrote this several months ago. But as with many things I do, I didn't finish writing in a timely manner and now all the time references are horribly inaccurate. I don't feel like editing however so just pretend it's still January.)

This is me three weeks ago.

At Haus Khaz village in Delhi. Notice the Uggs and winter coat. It was pretty chilly. I think it was, like, 50 degrees.

This is where I am currently.
Port Washington, WI. Taken on January 27, 2014. Not by me. Goodness no. I took my camera down to the lake and saw it steaming and stuff, but decided to stay in my toasty car. It was -15 degrees.

So, as you can see, I am no longer in India. On January 14, Aloo and I left on a jet plane. We don't know if we'll be back again. Oh, babe, we hated to go. (Well, I wouldn't say hated...)  When we left India, there was a bit of a kerfuffle going on and Mr. ATK and I were a little concerned that I would have issues with the dog at the airport. A friend of ours, whose wife, son, and dog left December 27, assured us that there wouldn't be any problems. He said no one even asked to see the dog's papers, nobody looked at the crate, nobody cared about anything.

Well, when it was my turn to go to the airport, things did not work out quite as easily. First of all, I had two large bags along with a dog in a crate and a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. If you recall, non-ticketed passengers are not allowed in the airport at all. So since Mr. ATK was not coming along, I had to haul all this crap to the airline counter myself. Hilariously, I could not find a porter. Any time I do not need assistance with my bags, I've got swarms of people offering to carrying my purse or tiny backpack or whatever. But the one time I really could have used a hand? Not a soul to be found.

So, I was corralling two luggage carts, one of which had a dog on it, two separate men with automatic rifles stopped me and asked to see the dog's papers. That would be two more than my friend had ask. Still, despite their intimidating weapons, the guards were rather friendly and chuckled when I told them the dog's name was Aloo (which, as you know, means "potato"in Hindi.) I was permitted to pass and I struggled to move forward with my two luggage carts.

Eventually, I got to the Lufthansa counter. It's very odd to wait in a line with a giant dog crate. It's like, "Where do I go with this? Is this the right line?" Finally, I found a line and when I got to the counter, I was promptly redirected to another section of the airport where I could pay the $400 fee for transporting the dog. I then had to wait another 90 minutes until the plane arrived and they could take the dog.  All in all it was very exhausting.

Luckily, everything went smoothly and we both arrived in the good old USA without notable problems. Well, Aloo peed all over her crate so that was kind of gross, but it was a long flight, so what can you do.

Now that we are here in the polar vortex, let me just say those 41 degree chilly New Delhi nights seem positively like a summer day. Of course, despite the cold, there is notably less burning garbage so the air is cleaner. It's that kind of air that's so crisp that when you take a deep breath in, it hurts your lungs. (Probably because they freeze for a split second or something.)  Aloo does not care for this weather and seems to be especially hostile to snow. She limps a lot; I think her feet must get cold. It's like an ice cream headache, but on her feet.

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