Skipping ahead through travel time, I will attempt to catch up on a more significant event that occurred within the past month. We are currently in Varkala, Kerala, after an amazing month in the North, primarily in the state of Rajasthan.
I started writing the below entry back on the 17th of November, and got around to finishing it on Thanksgiving, November 26th, but not being able to post until now:
Here we are in Udaipur, our final stop in a string of beautiful Rajasthan cities. Unfortunately, this place that we have dedicated the most time to – 5 days and 6 nights, reputed as one of the “gems” of India with it’s romantic lakes and greenery, was not off to a good start…
Gabriel got his first low fever, Dan was suffering from a sinus headache and sore throat, and we were not initially enamored with our backpacker guesthouse, which seemed to be on the dirty side. We had one more day with Viru, after 20 days of being our dedicated driver, and our intention was to visit some of the further away temples. After being in the car for less than a half hour, Gabriel put his foot down on our excursion, saying he was sick and needed to return to bed. I felt very sorry for our little guy, but once we said our goodbyes and got back on land, his health quickly returned and we realized it was more car sickness than anything else. We returned to our room, where Dan and Gabriel holed up for a rest and Stella and I decided to finally do some shopping. I am a lousy bargainer, so I am sure I was taken as we settled on two tunics for myself and a skirt and shirt ensemble for Stella. It was a lazy day of meandering out for lunch, but sticking close to our beds. By the afternoon, Gabriel had finally convinced Dan to take him fishing (just for catch and release). Our guesthouse was in an old building that was built right at the lake’s edge. You can literally jump off the balconies into Pichola Lake, and there are little steps along the back wall that take you directly down and into the water (if you dare!). However, this being India, we had fears of contracting Hepatitis C in it’s murky waters, and did not fancy paddling amongst floating plastic bags. Earlier that day, we had actually watched a man dump his colostomy bag into the lake, then flush it “clean” before reattaching it to his abdomen! As luck would have it, the chosen ledge for fishing, ended up being the specific location of one of our worst nightmares.
As Dan bent down to assist Gabriel with his hook, our beloved iPhone fell out of his loose pocket and disappeared into the brown abyss. He quickly stripped out of his new $3 indian trousers to his underwear, when an onlooker shook his head and proceeded to show him the over 10 feet depth with a bamboo pole. Gabriel was in tears, saying “Daddy you’ll die!”. Meanwhile, I was blissfully unaware, until a shaky husband came to report the devastating news. You see, I am the caretaker of the phone. Dan rarely has it in his possession. The iPhone was encased in a special wallet, which also held my driver’s license, credit cards, other ID, and money. This was my mini-life on the road – the place where I kept record of our traveling plans, stored budgeting records, and managed planning our accommodations. The iPhone6 quickly became our main camera and I, the primary photographer, who had spent the last 3 weeks in Rajasthan doing my best to capture the color and beauty of this region. It now seemed that all was lost. The guesthouse owner quickly called his brother, the owner of an extra large magnet, to see if we might be able to pull the phone up from these liquid depths. Dan and this man spent over an hour dredging a large magnet attached to a rope, along the lake’s bed. The sun was setting, and the Indian man gave up the hunt, but left Dan to the task, as he wished. Gabriel egged Dan on, telling him not to give up, while I paced our room, far from the scene. Miraculously, the large magnet finally made contact with the very little magnet clip on the side of my wallet, and Dan managed to retrieve our muddy treasure. Besides being obviously relieved to have the cards and money, we now had the flickering hope that we might be able to resuscitate the phone. However, this was a test that would have to wait at least three days, until we were positive that the iPhone had completely dried up. The next days were difficult, as we tried to enjoy ourselves and not dwell on the potential loss. At this stage, we had realized that not a single photo within the past 17 days had been downloaded onto our laptop and backed up on iCloud (thanks to very poor wifi in India). I was mourning all these memories, and feeling the will to keep up a blog slip away. Dan dug into the internet and found that there was actually software that managed to retrieve data from back-up files, which we actually DID have up to to 3 days prior on our laptop. He purchased the software and found all of the photos, except for our short visits to Bundi and Chittaurgarh. Luckily, we had brought an old iphone4 on our trip, which we are in the process of getting unlocked and purchasing a new sim card for. In addition, we are also carrying a very good Nikon camera with better zoom capabilities, which my Father had generously loaned us – it just lacks the ease of carrying in a pocket and quickly uploading to Facebook or Instagram. When our morning of reckoning finally came, Dan plugged it into our laptop, ready to transfer any data. He heard a ding!, then nothing. Two hours in the water had cut short the young life of our phone, and it’s demise was met in Udaipur’s lake.
So, here we are, on November 26th, Thanksgiving. I am trying to learn how to not be dependent on an electronic device, but I feel crippled in my abilities. With about 10 days of grieving under my belt, I keep hoping it will become easier, but I really miss that damn phone! Thankfully, we do have Apple insurance, and should get a replacement, but NOT in India. The trade has to be made in the U.S., and we cannot even send the phone out of this country without a receipt. Wah! I know there has to be a lesson within this all. Perhaps, I am meant to step away from social media and the umbilical cord to our distant US home, that this phone had represented. I am trying to remind myself on this special day, of how thankful I am for my family and this trip, and to not sweat the small stuff. Please know that I will continue to write and share about the beauty of Rajasthan and onward adventures, it just may be a little slow in the coming. Those teases of photos I have shared on Facebook and Instagram may not happen as frequently, but do not be worried by my absence. Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all our dear friends and family!