It’s midnight in Madurai, and I’m awake. I’m not sure how many hours I’ve slept over the past 38 hours, but it can’t be more than a handful. I went to bed at 6:30PM local time, and I know I need more than 3 hours of sleep. My mouth is dry, so I turn on the bedside lamp to find the glass of water. As I do, I see a small lizard scurry under the door to my room, up the wall and behind the wardrobe. Great. Not only do I have to worry about typhoid and malaria carrying mosquitoes in my room, but now lizards!
I finish the glass of water, turn the light off and go back to sleep.
When all was said and done, it took us just about 38 hours “door to door” to get from San Francisco to Madurai. The first part of the trip from San Francisco to Frankfurt was not only uneventful, but we had the luxury of an almost empty 747. Both Rebecca and I took a row of seats, put the armrests up and had a bed for 11 hours.
We got into Frankfurt for Breakfast, and then boarded another 747 to Bangalore. This time, the plane was packed. We flew Lufthansa, and I will say that the Germans are highly efficient. 8 ½ hours later, we landed in Bangalore at 2:00AM local time. As we waited for the Jet Airways counter to open (which it did begrudgingly at 4:45AM) Rebecca and I watched SkyFall.
From Bangalore, we flew to Chennai. Chennai airport looked more like a bus station than it did an airport. In fact, there was still an old flip-letter announcement boards that you would actually find in a train station! You could start to see the poverty more clearly here, whereas Bangalore was brimming with Indian businessmen on their way to meetings in Delhi.
By the time we’d reached Madurai, we were fatigued, hungry and starting to smell slightly. I had 4 airlines and three continents in my sinuses, and was desperate to do a neti pot. Whereas Rebecca was hoping to find a regular toilet – the one with a bowl, not one where you squat!
We were picked up at Madurai airport by a driver of the resort we are staying at, along with a student of mine from Croatia and his wife. The 20-minute trip from the airport to the resort was quite interesting. Interesting as in I’d never experienced a car ride like that before. Well, it was more a rollercoaster ride. I’m not a squeamish driver by any means. In fact, I’ve had some of my friends have a white-knuckle experience if we are in a hurry to get somewhere, but the rules are different in India.
The lines in the center of the road are merely a suggestion; if, whilst driving, you want to pass as an oncoming vehicle is passing, and there is enough room, go ahead. Unless, of course, if an oncoming vehicle is a bus or lorry. You may want to wait for it to pass. The bigger vehicle wins in India, cars are the runner up, and if you’re in a TucTuc or on a motorcycle, you may want to make sure that your life insurance policy is up to date!
Suffice to say, we got here in one piece. Avn Arogya is an Ayurvedic resort, spa and hospital located in Madurai. It’s been in practice since 1930, but under new ownership for about 5 years, under the guidance of Dr. Ramesh Varier.
We had out bags taken to our rooms, then met up with our Vaidya in the dining room where caught up about our travels over the past few days over some excellent Indian food
There are about 12 of us in residence with Vaidya Hemant Gupta. Dr. Gupta has an Ayurvedic practice in Ottawa, Canada, and I we teach an Ayurvedic Wellness counselor course at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, IA.
Each of us will be working with Dr. Gupta and Dr. Ramesh over the next 2-weeks, as a detoxification and rejuvenation program will be developed and dispensed. I met with both doctors last night, and we’ve agreed to a purgation therapy called Vamana and Virechana. Vamana is where vomiting induced to purge the body of excess toxins and helps bring the digestive tract back into balance. Virechana is an internal oleation therapy, where one consumes liquefied ghee in order to “ripen” the doshas, and purge toxins from the system. This gets rid of toxins, which are deep in the organs, tissues and joints.
Suffice to say, that at the end of the two-week journey, I’ll be glowing, both inside and out!
It’s now 5:30AM, and I’m wide-awake. We have yoga class every morning at 7:15, then orientation with the rest of the group. Our therapies start this evening, so I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Tomorrow, we will be going into Madurai to visit some of the ancient temples. Until then, I’ll be keeping an eye on my new roommate, and slathering as much insect repellant as I can!