simple pleasures.

Good roads. That’s the most recent entry on my list of simple pleasures. Some may argue that good roads don’t exactly qualify as simple, considering the planning, money, and effort involved in constructing them. In the US, good roads are pretty much everywhere. In India good roads are hard to find. Except in the state of Gujarat.
Today we traveled 350 kilometers of the smoothest roads in all of India. Sam and I finally made the trip to Lothal, one of the most important cities of the Harappan civilization. Lothal was a valuable port city that was settled in 2400 BCE as Harappans migrated south in search of more fertile lands. They developed a city with a vibrant bead-making factory and began trading with other cultures outside of modern national boundaries. The inhabitants of Lothal enjoyed many modern amenities, including a drainage system and indoor bath houses. The settlement survived three major floods, though the last one marked the beginning of 300 years of decline. The city was eventually abandoned during the 1500’s BCE.
Exhilarated by the possibility of an actual road trip, we then headed to Velavadar National Park, which is home to an endangered species of antelope called black bucks. The park is closed during monsoon, so we only saw a few black bucks from the road.
What I enjoy most about traveling is the journey. Even when the destination turns out to be disappointing, the experience of getting there often surprises and thrills and entertains me. Exploring a landscape lush from monsoon rains…colorful three-wheeled scooters carrying a crowd of people to the next village…herds of buffalo lazily wandering out into the road…rainclouds slowly marching to meet us…and sharing it all with my best friend.


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August 2008
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