I didn't see the Blue Ridge mountains or the Shenandoah river, but Richmond was pleasingly green and different from anywhere else I've been. The roads wind through what seems like forests of conifers. I asked eager questions about wildlife and my cousin gratified me by saying that bears had been spotted somewhere near by recently.
Approaching Richmond by air, it looks like the Brazilian rainforest. I wasn't expecting so many trees. (Of course, it was nothing that couldn't have been found out in the most cursory Google search, but who checks the vegetation quotient of a place before visiting?) I breathed deeply of the saturated greenness of trees that were older than my grandparents, my lungs thirsty from the summer sandstorms of Dubai. My eyes relaxed on a skyline that had no buildings to block the sunset. My ears were soothed by the absence of cement mixers.
Apart from giant pines and even bigger unknown conifers, I was also surrounded by flowering trees with romantic names like myrtle. My cousin lives in a Wonder Years neighbourhood in a Steel Magnolia home. There were real, live mailboxes! And mailmen (mailpeople?). And children on bicycles. And iced Margaritas on a wooden deck. My first night here - with my first experience of jet lag - was cushioned by family and generous Southern comfort.
And what does the jet lag yeti look like? Well, by the time I landed in Richmond, my body had demanded and got a trial separation from my mind. And both body and mind were in the gray limbo that follows a break-up, where neither is in full possession of any faculties. They had no clue what was going on with the daylight - there was way too much of it. It had been a very long Thursday and the only clear feeling was that of being in a Douglas Adams book. It was actually 12 hours since leaving Schipol, but the clock said five. It was 11 in the night in Schipol, one the next morning in Dubai and 2:30 am in Bangalore, but still only four in the afternoon for me. It felt like it would continue being Thursday until the end of time.
Just as we sat down to a special dinner organised for me, my mind gave up trying to work out how many hours of daylight it had been subjected to, and mercifully fell asleep. And all this high drama was just to greet the fact that I gained seven extra hours - how much will my system kick and scream on the way back, when time gets arbitrarily taken away from me?
- ► 2011 (32)
- ► 2010 (32)
- ► 2009 (50)
- ► 2008 (83)
- Ode to the Southwest Chief
- The great Southwest unbound
- Railroad lady, a little bit shady – the sequel
- Razzle dazzle
- A little left of centre
- Hope Street, Providence
- Land of the free, home of the brave
- Almost heaven, West Virginia
- West of Istanbul, East of Bangkok...
- Baggage allowance
- Down at the Red Rose Cafe
- ▼ July (12)