It’s a rather dull and rainy day. From my little outpost I have not much to look at today, even my neighbour across the way who always appears to be able to find a job to do hasn’t been in action today.
The same lack of action seems to be true of my customer base today as well. It appears now the dust has settled on our extended lockdown and the realisation that even at level 3 not much will change for most. The initial euphoria and optimism has died down. I still have a good deal of interest from customers in purchasing motorhomes and as a team we are still securing vehicles for individuals. It just appears today the wind has been taken out of peoples sails. Strangely enough though, for all the people I have spoken to today. Not one has disagreed with the decision to stay in lockdown. Sure they would all dearly like to get back to leading normal lives, whatever that might look like after this. But each and every one has recognised their sacrifice is for the greater good of the country. Aren’t New Zealanders great?
So what to tell you about today? Well first off a little house keeping. I have neglected to tell you my LEGO® VW is finished, if I am honest it’s been done for a while but I have found more exciting things to tell you about.
However now it’s done I have done a little research into my next little project. I have said it before but LEGO® has really moved on since my youth. Do you know there is even a LEGO® Taj Mahal! Five thousand and twenty three pieces of it. I don’t think that is for me but it did get me thinking about our trip to India.
Back in 2012 little Miss Facebook is doing her bit and keeping in touch with all her friends when she chances across an old school friend. I won’t tell you how many years it been since they had seen each other but they parted ways when they were about twelve. Fast forward a good few decades later and guess where he is? India. Now this guy is super smart, I know some clever people but this guy is another level and cracking fun with it. Loves to travel, loves a drink and especially happy talking about breaking wind. If it wasn’t for the brains side of it; it could be hard to tell us apart.
But at the time I didn’t know any of this, in fact neither did my wife really. All she knew was that he was in India, the contract he was working on was ending soon and if we could get a visa we had the opportunity of flying out, catching up with him and his lovely lady and seeing some of this most amazing country. So not being people to stop too long and think about things, this is exactly what we did. I don’t think it was no more than a couple, three weeks and we are on our way to Delhi.
They meet us of the plane and we are thrown straight into the throngs of Indian life. It is an amazing attack on your senses. The speed everything moves at, the colours, the sounds, the smells, everything. If ever you get the opportunity, go. I am sure I will not do this remarkable country justice in these few paragraphs and to be fair we only scratched the surface. One day I will get back and explore some more.
How did I know I was going to get on with this guy so well, simple? From the airport we did a little tour around and back to their apartment to drop of our cases and freshen up. He shows us in, to our room, all of that. Then takes me off to show me the kitchen. Just behind the kitchen door he has stacked two big cases of Indian beer. Stating; “I know you like a drink pal so I got some bits in for us, I have some Indian wine for you to try too”. This was the start of a blossoming friendship. We have travelled all around the world to catch up with these guys and every single time has been an experience to remember.
We have a week to pack in as much of India as we can and we have some very experienced travellers at our disposal to show us round. So before we have time to say “Jet Lag” we are off again. We do a whistle stop tour of Old Delhi, The Red Fort and Jama Masjid. There is no hanging around with these guys, they know we are only here for a short period of time and are going to cram as much into it for us as they can.
Next day we are off to see Gandhi Smriti. Gandhi Smriti formerly known as Birla House or Birla Bhavan, is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. It is the location where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and was assassinated here on 30 January 1948. It is fascinating, the whole place has a quiet aura about it. Nothing grand, a place of peace and contemplation. From here we got to Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma. It is the black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. This place differs from Gandhi Smriti, in that it is teaming with people. All making their own pilgrimage to this sacred place. It’s here that I get introduced to one of India’s favourite games. As a rule, it appears Indians love to have their photo taken and if they can find a Brit so much the better. But is word is put out there that we are the next Posh and Becks, it goes mental.
I worry that there are pictures of us adorning mantelpieces right across India. My friend and instigator thinks this is hilarious. He’s right, but what a pain it was at the time. We meet school children, families, baby’s it all going off. Meanwhile all I can see in the background is my new mate laughing himself silly, he did manage to compose himself long enough to take a few good photos. My favourite is the guy who clearly didn’t want to speak but fancied a photo anyway.
We eventually escape from here and go have a look at Humayun’s tomb, a sort of red sandstone Taj Mahal. It did in fact create a precedent for future Mughal architecture so the Taj does bare a lot of resemblances to it. From here we head back to the apartment. I have convinced my new friend that he should watch the finial Manchester United game of the season. Back in 2012 the season is finely poised. It will be a Manchester club that wins it, but which one? I am a Liverpool fan and we have had a terrible season, so I have no interest in who wins and am openly supporting injuries. So for the title we have Sunderland v Manchester United and Manchester City at home to Queens Park Rangers. On the final day of the Premiership all games are played simultaneously, City were top of the league, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference. However, a Wayne Rooney goal away to Sunderland gave United the advantage. A 39th-minute goal from Pablo Zabaleta, his first of the season, put City back on top at half time. In a dramatic second half Djibril Cissé equalised for Queens Park Rangers in the 48th minute. Shortly after, Joey Barton of QPR was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez; on his way off the pitch, he kicked Sergio Agüero, attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany and squared up to Mario Balotelli. Classic Joey Barton and a real help with my injury supporting. Despite the numerical advantage, City went behind after Jamie Mackie gave QPR the lead in the 66th minute. As you can imagine, we are pulling my mate of the ceiling at this stage. As time wound down in both matches, it appeared that Manchester United would win the title with their victory over Sunderland. But Edin Džeko equalised for City in the 92nd minute. While United players waited on the field at Sunderland for a possible trophy presentation, Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero scored the game’s winner in the 95th minute to clinch the title on goal difference.
All I can hear from behind his hands is “Dirty Cheating Bitters”.