It is always fun taking a flight that lands you in the middle of the night. You are whisked away from the airport in some random transit towards your hotel. Your brain is a little foggy with the pressurized atmosphere of the plane, the change of time zones, and the long day of travel. All you want to do is lie down on a bed and get some sleep, but still you are excited about the new environment you find yourself in. You try as hard as you might to look beyond the street lights and closed shop to get some idea about the lay of the land, but you can’t find any insight about it. You only get glimpses and hints of what your trip will be about, and entices you enough to keep your eyes open though you can feel the weight of your lids press down. Even the abandoned hotel lobby won’t give you any information about where you have landed. It looks the same as any other place that you might have encountered on the many different voyages you have taken in your lifetime. You just have to stumble off to your room, and try to make sense of the time you have left in the evening, and as you drift off to sleep, you wonder what this new adventure will bring.
This is what I experienced last night as I landed in Chennai for a track and field meet that I am taking my students to. When the alarm woke me up this morning, I opened up the blinds to my room to find a city outside that was familiar in some aspects. The tuk tuks, reminiscent of Bangkok crowded the bust streets, a heavy humidity hung over the air, and the haze of a busy Asian city loomed in the air just beyond the horizon. Yet, I could feel that things were going to be just a little different. The morning news talked about the most recent Cricket match, the statues around the city were of various Hindu gods, and I have not seen Buddha anywhere, and the air carried the aroma of Indian spices. It was different enough to excite me about this next adventure though it will be spent mainly at a high school track. It is still fun to wake up in a different country with new experiences and the possibility to be exposed to a new culture.
I can’t wait to see what I will find.