Bitter comeback: when you cancel everything for nothing

It is very cold this morning in Udaïpur. The Indians are surprised, it is not very usual for the season. Even for a January 8th

This morning, I left my tiny room to take a shower in the communal bathroom of my favourite guesthouse, by Raju’s, Udaïpur, India. To do this I have to go up two stairs. The bathroom is so small that you can barely move in the cabin but there is hot water and a real toilet, all very clean.
Putting down clothes, shampoo, soap and towel already takes a lot of organisation but on top of that, I forgot my flip-flops. Flip-flops are really important for showering here. Too bad.
I go back down to the room with my head wet and I realise that the Indian barber I asked for a hair cut has completely missed me. It’s only now that I realise this, I haven’t yet come across a mirror.

Never mind. I flatten all this with furious brush strokes, nobody will come to complain.

It is time to enjoy a good breakfast on the terrace. While sipping my coffee, I look at the plane tickets for an anticipated return

The news are bad. My 20-year-old daughter is not well. Every time we see each other on Skype she cries. Her blues have been going on for a few months and I don’t know what to say to console her. I think she needs my help. It’s all been brewing since her return to France. It goes up and down like a temperature curve.
Each time it hits the sensitive point, I feel guilty for being so far away from them. But they are no longer babies. They’re solid, so each time I wait for it to settle down. And it does settle down. But now I’m thinking that this is a really important moment and I wouldn’t forgive myself for not having been there when she needed me. Never mind the trip.

The connection is not good so I alternate between the smartphone and the computer

Difficult decision. In the meantime I receive a message from a friend who is also going to France, will we be able to meet there? I change the parameters of the departures, search, again and again. I figure out. How much time will I have left to visit Ellora, how much time to go to Bombay. Obliged to go to Bombay now that my train ticket is booked. Cancel the train ticket? Go to Delhi? Leave later, earlier?
The decision is very difficult, especially as I have no desire to go back.
I finally take a decision, send the request to book the flight: power cut.
It is very frequent here. I quickly finish my coffee to go to a restaurant where I can connect, but there again, no power, no internet.
The power cut seems to me to be providential, maybe it’s a sign? Let’s wait. 
I take the opportunity to go and see my favourite tailor who has prepared some made-to-measure clothes for me: simple black trousers and a cotton tunic to sleep in. I forgot my pyjamas in the last guesthouse in Bundi.
When I come back, the power is back but the internet is unusable, too slow.
I’m stubborn but it’s a waste of time. I can’t call anyone to ask for advice, to vent a little, I’ve used up my phone credit.
I set off again for a walk and stop at a small travel agency run by a smiling little man and his silent wife.
Yes, he can book a plane ticket, yes he can top up my phone card.
For the telephone, it’s the obstacle course. I never remember my number. I change it with every country I go through. I write it down in a leather notebook. I empty the whole bag to find the damn notebook. Eureka, “Here you are Sir, thank you“, give phone number and pack the notebook away.
It still doesn’t work.
I empty the bag again to get the notebook back, maybe I got the wrong number. Still nothing.
He does this over the internet (which doesn’t work) so it’s complicated, he can’t load the pages. Too bad.

An hour later, I finally have a hundred rupees credited on my sim card. I’m going to spend a good part of the afternoon sitting on a plastic chair at the agency, next to the boss


I try to get advice from a friend but the network is so unstable that I spend my time calling her back. The street is noisy, tourists come and go. I can’t find this morning, flights or prices. It’s more expensive now. But why not leave Delhi, cancel the train ticket, change plans. Why leave in the end? I have to leave. My friend told me to listen inside. I can hear my great sorrow making a lot of noise. I have to leave, I’ll be back. I have to make a decision. Never mind.

Single ticket to Paris, yes, from Bombay, in two weeks


Booking is time-consuming, but payment is even more difficult. You have to send someone to the bank with cash to put it on an account and pay online with that account number. So here is my salesman’s wife leaving with a wad of cash. We wait. She comes back with a receipt on which is written a number that has to be typed on the internet form (which doesn’t work).There are moments in life like that where whatever we do, nothing works.
We are still waiting for the connection. We are waiting so long that I have an urgent need to visit a toilet. The agency does not have one.

I can’t think with such an urge, I go back to my hotel nearby, run up the four floors and then, still under pressure, I go back to the agency. I realise that I’ve left without paying for the phone card recharge, I look for my wallet still tucked away in the back pocket of my trousers, it’s no longer there. It must have fallen on the way to the toilet.

I go back to the hotel, four floors up, I find it on the floor, soaking wet


I leave again. The transaction still hasn’t gone through and now I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten since this morning. Emotions, noise and stress make me dizzy. Besides, I’m going to miss my last sunset on the lake if this continues. The mobile phone keeps beeping, informing me that my batteries are running out.

We are still waiting. The nice man from the agency doesn’t want to let me go, he’s afraid I won’t come back, and he will have paid a plane ticket for nothing. I leave him my credit card. He finally accepts. Big risk for me. I go for a snack, a not good masala tea, an apple pie with a lot of pie and few apples. It’s bad and very expensive. I go back to the agency. It finally works, the connection is restored. I fill in the form myself trembling. The agency is full of Koreans waiting their turn.  Now, last step, I have to pay with my credit card. It doesn’t work. We wait. 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes. Finely, the transaction is validated. 

Return flight is booked. Now I have to print the ticket


There is no more ink in the printer, the electronic ticket is illegible. The nice man cleans the cartridge, it’s hardly better, but better anyway.
Now it’s the paper that’s missing and getting crooked. Paper jam.
It’s dark now. Udaïpur is very cold tonight. I go out with my ticket and a crazy desire to cry.
Tans pis, tans pis, tans pis. It’s over now. This is the end of my big travel. It’s really cold. Or maybe it’s me. At the hotel, I spend time on the computer doing useless things, I have to keep my hands and head busy, waiting for the malaise to fade away. And then, deep down, I’m a little proud to tell my little chérie that I’m coming home soon, that I won’t miss any appointments, that I love her, that I’m here for her.
The connection is still bad but good enough for me to send a few messages. “I’m coming back, ma chérie, I’m coming back“.
Tell me when? You mustn’t arrive when I’m not here! » Silence. 
Why wouldn’t you be “there”? ».
I’m going to Dad’s, then I’m off to the US with my boyfriend! ».
I prefer not to answer anything. I’m really cold now. Between yesterday and today the situation has changed a lot. She senses, even through a simple message, my dismay. She becomes aggressive.
Mum, you can’t ask me to stop everything!
Uh, I’m the one who’s stopping everything ma chérie!
Mum, I didn’t ask you to stop everything, you’re making me feel guilty! I’m always getting out of it! »
I set the mailbox status on plane modus. At the restaurant no more food or drinks are served. It’s very cold tonight in Udaïpur. Never mind.

Travelling is a powerful way to shake up our relationships with others and with the world!

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