I had some time between checking out of the hotel and getting a car to the airport, and set off to wander towards the coast (Back Bay, as I believe it is called). The streets do not go directly in that direction, so there was a lot of winding back and forth. You learn that walking in the street is often the best thing to do, as vendors, dwellers and uncovered drain basins make the sidewalk a maze, and slightly dangerous.
I’ve the definite feeling of being a stranger in a strange land (thank you, Leon Russell). People stare at me – taller than everyone, white, wearing strange clothes. I smile when I feel it’s safe and kids, young boys to be clear, try out their English on me: “Hallo!!!”
Down one street there was a quieter lane to the right, with trees and fewer people walking. I took it, and as I went down that road I came upon a local garden (the Sagar Upvan Garden). It was closed until 4:30. What to do?
Just as I was considering my options some boys waved and said hello. There was a pack of them – the street was a dead end, and they were using it as a cricket field. Or pitch. Or whatever you call it. Let’s see; kids playing ball, me with time on my hands.
That was the first time I’ve ever ‘bowled’ – I got it past the kid with the bat, and all the kids cheered. They crowded around me asking me where I was from. Not a one of them guessed the US. It was England, Australia, Brazil (???), Portugal (???), and on and on. Nothing more energetic than a group of kids out of school! We talked for a while, and then Allison called – so I put them all in a bunch and gave them the signal to yell ‘Hello!” to Allison. It was a hoot. They said they were dancers, so I took some pics of their ‘moves’ – and they all crowded around to get a glimpse of the photos, and of course make fun of each other.
I said goodbye to them, and they all yelled goodbye, smiling and waving. I made my way to the now open gates of the garden, and then heard a chorus from behind me: “I love you!!”
“I love you too!!”