11202556_10106829381307035_6182504890439333277_nIn 48-ish hours, I should be taking off for leg one of three in a 26-hour solo flight to Kolkata; CCU for all you airport code enthusiasts. It’s okay if there is a delay on this leg. I’ve got a lengthy layover in Vancouver, BC. To say I have travel anxiety would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with flying, once in the air, and have no reservations about visiting India for the first time. However, the logistics of air travel and the alternate realities that house airplanes (a.k.a. airports) are a cesspool of darkness. So many variables that directly impact my immediate comfort are in the hands of harried, underpaid people.

Despite this, as well as the anxiety dreams of losing my passport and inexplicably getting evicted while away, I know that I’m in good hands upon arrival. My parents in-law and Professor X are waiting for me past the customs barrier. I also remind myself that, unlike the last time I went to Asia, this will not be a frantic slog led by a shrieking, delusional madwoman. I will not have to empty my bladder over a hole in a monastery rooftop big enough to send me crashing three floors to an unseemly death in a pit of excrement lest my thigh muscles give out mid-squat. I won’t be followed through tourist attractions by undercover police. (Thanks for the smoke though, Not-So-Covert Chinese Cop.) The food will be better too since we’re mostly eating in, which creates the unique opportunity to learn tips and tricks of Indian home cooking. The mysteries of dosa will be unveiled!

For those readers who may be wondering if I’ll partake of India’s extensive street food options, the short answer is “No.” All the typhoid and hepatitis A shots in the world can’t prevent the damage incurred by a few innocent pani puri from an unknown vendor. I’m adventurous, but not completely stupid. (Pro-tip: Even locals get sick from street food. Perhaps not as bad as visitors would, but sick nonetheless.) We will be visiting K.C. Das, the famous Bengali sweet shop recently featured on The Food Network. We’ll also visit restaurants of a more personal legend; all the places on which Professor X has waxed nostalgic since we met three years ago. Most notable are chicken roll, kebab, and fruit cake. You read that correctly; fruit cake like the stuff American bakeries push at Christmas. Apparently, it’s a holdover from British times.

With this then, I’ll be off-line for a while. Until next time…