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Published: October 19th 2005
Murray’s Grandparents (McKenzies) were missionaries in India, and this is where his mother was born. This trip is with Murray’s Uncle Peter and family to see places that are important in the McKenzie Family history.
We arrive in Delhi late Saturday night, and manage to get through the airport without too much trouble. At the exit we are assigned an official taxi number by the authorities. Once outside, Dehli madness begins. Murray is mobbed by taxi drivers, while a gang of porters wrench the baggage trolley out of my hands. Murray starts yelling at me to not let go of my trolley, so I wrestle with the porter to regain control and avoid being steered off towards an illicit taxi. Finally we get into the assigned taxi, after watching at least 12 hands assist with loading our bags into the back. Immediately 12 hands plus the trolley hijacker are asking Murray for a tip! (aka. buckshesh in India). As the taxi pulls out of the airport the driver has used his horn more in 30 seconds than I have in my entire life! Suddenly the driver pulls over, gets out, comes around to my side of the car, and
The church Grandpa McKenzie helped set up, head coverings and all.
locks the door!! Don’t get me wrong, very grateful for the gesture, but made me feel a little bit uneasy. The ride to the hotel was punctuated with more horn blasting, near crashes, and swerving to avoid the occasional cow. Welcome to India!
We spent a few days in this beautiful hill station in the Himalayan foothills. This is where the Raj would spend the summer to escape the Delhi heat. It took 13 hours and 2 trains to get there. The second train, is nick-named the “toy train” because of its size (0.7m gauge tracks), broke down on the way, not good! (Photo) The town is made up of narrow steep streets, and a maze of stairs. With parts of the town inaccessible to cars, porters carry everything manually. It is amazing what the human body can carry when enticed by a few rupees. (Photo) Anything from tourists packs, gas canisters, huge planks of wood, sacks of rice, crates of glass coca cola bottles, to my personal favorite, a bed. This was also Miriam’s first encounter with wild monkeys. These “cute” animals, soon lost their charm after a late night chase, slamming and rattling of the hostel
This is for my Dad, an auto-rickshaw, a common mode of transport in Delhi. Can be scary with the driving over here and the fact that most don’t even have lights at night.
gates while laughing. Needless to say Monkeys now feature on Miriams “I don’t like animals list!”. (Photo)
We headed back to Kalka via a number of towns where Grandpa McKenzie lived during his early days in India. It was a blessing to visit the old mission house in Sabathu, where the McKenzies were married, and find it is now being used as a school for orphans run by the Christian Evangelical Mission from Mizoram. A ‘shortcut’ to Kasauli (Uncle Peter’s brith place) turned out to be a ‘long-cut’ as the driver got lost driving down no exit streets. After some off-roading and a police check point we hit gridlock traffic jams. The minutes ticked by and the likelihood of catching our train seemed to be slipping away (somehow this taxi driver missed the lesson on how to use the horn). We caught the train with seconds to spare and arrived safely back in Dehli.
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