After my whirlwind, few-hour tour of Hyderabad (7th largest city in India), I can attest that street signs, stop lights and traffic markings here are just suggestions, not the rule. In fact, when it comes to rules of the road – it would seem that there are none. The streets are jammed with motorbikes and scooters plus three-wheeled taxi’s called “autos” that zip around everywhere.
I experienced my first Indian buffet for lunch. Prem gave me samples of this and that to try out. There were some things that I liked, and some things that I did not care for. Then there were some things that were just way too spicy for me. I did discover a nice Indian flatbread that I enjoyed quite a bit. I know “man shall not live by bread alone,” but I think I could make it the next 7 days on it.
After lunch, I checked out of the hotel, and we headed to drop off Prem at the hospital for his eye surgery which was re-scheduled at 4pm. We prayed together and then He sent me off to his home with two of his associates. That means the dreaded 7-8 hour road trip from Hyderabad on the infamous highway 9. The young man escorting me, happily offered that it was probably the most dangerous highway in India. After nearly 2 hours of stress and intense prayer, I understood with crystal clarity what he was talking about. Our driver had one hand on the wheel, one hand on the gearshift, one hand on the horn (or was it both hands?), and one hand on his cell phone. The highway was 2 lanes for 3 lanes of traffic. I honestly, in all of my travels, have never experienced anything quite like it before. Drive on the wrong side of the road? No problem! Drive off-road? No problem! Pass motorbikes, buses, trucks and whatever else is on the road -- on either side of the road? No problem. It was an experience that I will not soon forget. After sufficiently praying-through, I decided to leave the SUV and our driver -- and anyone else on the road -- in the hands of the Lord, and I laid down in the back seat and went to sleep. I can assure you that my angel got hazardous duty pay for that trip!
We finally arrived around 11pm to the Mallipudi home and a very warm reception with customary garland lei’s put around my neck as I was showered in flower petals (pictures will be upcoming on my next post). The folks here are warm and gracious people. I was shown to my room at their house after midnight (after having to eat in front of everybody, of course). After journaling some, I turned off the lights and went to bed attempting to sleep in spite of the heat. At about 1:30 in the morning, there was a big “plop” on the bed next to me. It was a fat lizard about 7 inches long. Of course, I jumped up and came flying out of the bed -- not knowing what it was. I turned on the light and there he was, staring at me. Well, I’m wide-awake now. So I got up and took some pictures of my friend the lizard that sufficiently freaked me out during my first night here in Tanuku (Having trouble getting pictures online--hopefully, I will figure it out). For some strange reason I didn't sleep well the rest of the night.
Anyway, today is a new day with new adventures of it's own.
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