We did not go out into New Delhi, and that was just as well. When one looks out the large airport windows, you see no blue sky, just white haze. It doesn't look especially formidable, but we know that it is all pollution. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to always wear masks if visiting or living in this area because the air is that toxic. It was disheartening to see. However, India is now trying to set their part of the world right, and all around the airport at least are green initiatives. Solar energy, recycling, low emission planes, etc. India is aiming to jump on the "going green" bandwagon- and it can't be doing it soon enough.
After a puddle-jumper flight to Vadodara airport where we arrive at 8pm India-time, we are greeted by our driver from Madhubhan Resort. He provides us with a clean, air-conditioned mini-van which is quite the luxurious travel indeed, as we pass many "shared taxis" crammed with people and luggage and no AC! It costs us roughly 3,000Rs which is about $55 for a 45 minute drive. We give him a 10% tip which we are happy to find is very generous indeed at 300Rs!
Along the drive, we notice street signs, but no traffic lights whatsoever. Intersections are just carefully navigated with a blend of blaring horns and aggressive vying for advancement forward. The roads are well paved, and among sites not seen in America are whole families on motorbikes, including mothers holding their newborns (but not then holding on to their husbands who are driving!). The babies sleep amidst the action and noise of the city streets. We see beautiful Indian cows casually wandering the cities, and even saw one camel "parked" on the side of a road.
It is wedding season here, much like June in America. December offers slight reprieve from the intense heat of other months in India, although the humidity is staggeringly dry. (At only about 30% humidity, I was splashing water all over my face and neck and arms on our flights, and Dan even got a nose-bleed. I now see why lotions are such a desired gift when visiting in India!) Weddings here are something else. We think that weddings are a big deal in America, and they are, but nothing like in India! Guests number in the hundreds on any given wedding, loud music is played by rowdy musicians, wedding couples are carried in shimmering, "blinged-out" carriages pulled by horses decorated with equal pizzazz. Colors are everywhere, as are baubles, glittering mirrors, sequins and more! No outfit is ever overly done here in India- and I love it!!
The travel provisions have not been bad, but we are exhausted. I look in the mirror and with a sinking feeling realize that I have not looked this haggard since giving birth to Devon. But the resort is jaw-dropping-ly beautiful and Dan and I allow the heat of a warm shower to soak into our travel-weary bones, enjoy a delicious chocolate truffle left for us in our luxurious suite, and collapse into the clean sheets of a soft bed. I've been having periods of crying anytime I am reminded of Devon, which is often. Other families have children here, and I miss him fiercely. Thank goodness for the miracles of modern technology. At no additional cost, we are able to video-chat with our families and see our beloved boy! It eases my heart and makes it hurt in equal measure.
So that was roughly two days of travel, when one takes into account the time-zone shifts.
And here I am on Monday morning. We woke up at 4am, and Dan and I chatted in bed before fully rising and heading out around 6:30am. We even manage a morning chat with Devon who is cranky before bedtime at Grammy's- it is 8pm in the US. I feel much better after getting clean, getting rest, and having a sumptuous breakfast of "butter bread pudding", some savory deep-fried bread puffs, strawberry milkshake (with local milk from Amul Dairy, the largest producer in India which is down the road), and authentic masala chai. The tastes are exquisite, and I wonder if I will regret having any dairy in a few hours.
I abandon all regret minutes after breakfast when I get a bit of the lovely "travel sickness". Given that nothing can really account for this since I have been so incredibly careful up until now- only bottled water and hot foods- and yet I STILL have this, I decide not to sweat the small stuff. I will enjoy the food of India without extreme paranoia, and if conditions persist, well, there's Immodium, and the idea that I will be able to not gain any wait this vacation to ease my concerns.
The extravagance here is to die for! Breakfast was amazing, and indeed every inch of Madhubhan Resort is unparalleled in beauty and comfort. Art is "painted" on parts of the polished tile walkways each morning with bright colorful piles of flower petals arranged around fountains and sculptures. Room service offers both great variety and affordable prices, though we have yet to utilize it. Our room has its own patio, spitting distance across a manicured lawn to a bright and inviting pool. There are a variety of restaurants, shops, leisure activities (everything from board games to Segway rentals), live bird calls, and piped music throughout the "village". A thorough security check to even get into the resort allows the tourist to feel completely at ease and to suspend the understanding of the reality that beyond the clay walls topped with barbed wire is a country in extreme poverty.
But let's be fair. Dan and I have worked very hard to come here, and in the end, our dreams of surrogacy may all be for naught. So I shall try to alleviate the guilt, and be happy in knowing that this beautiful extravagant resort provides comfortable jobs for so many here in this town.
And on that note, it's time to do a little more relaxing for a few minutes before we call Dr. Patel, whose office asked us to call at 10am.