Ironically my first presentation based on Voice of a Voyage: Rediscovering the World During a Ten-year Circumnavigation is going to take place in New Delhi, India—half a world away from where I currently live. I am honored to be addressing the Himalayan Club of India on July 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. If you should happen to be in New Delhi then, it will be at Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. Contact Maninder Kohli, Honorary Local Secretary, The Himalayan Club, Delhi + 919810009564 if you would be interested in attending. Maninder is the son of Captain Manmohan Singh Kohli, a world-famous mountaineer who led the first Indian expedition to summit Everest in 1965. Capt. Kohli was our gracious host at the annual dinner of the India Mountaineering Foundation when we visited Delhi in 2004. He owns a charming small hotel, The Legend Inn, which I recommend if you’re traveling to New Delhi, and where we always stay.
The photo is from my last visit to India in 2004 with my husband Wayne and Javed, my daughter-in-law’s nephew at the Red Fort in Delhi. It was from this picture that I first learned that phones could take photos! Remember we’d been living on a boat in the South Pacific before this and had traveled to India from Fiji. Javed whipped out his mobile and took pictures of us and this one with him in it. I said, “But that’s your phone.” He looked at me politely, but quizzically, “Yes,” he said slowly as if that was the most natural thing in the world. Well, he was right—it is, I quickly learned. He was living in Delhi at the time and showed us the sights and the best local restaurants including one on a lovely rooftop balcony with hibiscus blooming and incense burning.
As with all my presentations I will be using video clips and photos (some might even be from my phone) and have developed new talks so that previous audiences wouldn’t get a repeat. One of the videos I have put together is our transit of the Panama Canal. It was a fascinating experience and so much more exciting to do it in our own yacht then what I would imagine it would be like from the deck of a cruise ship.
Back in Chapter 2, Central America: The Multifarious Nature of Seeing, I have a section entitled “The Panama Canal: Seeing Plus Everything Else.” Here are a few excerpts from that. For more details, you’ll have to read the book, or better yet, come to one of my presentations. A terrific book about The Canal is The Path Between the Seas by Pulitzer Prize winning author, David McCullough. If you have any interest in the Panama Canal, I highly recommend this book.
There are three locks to go up then across the lake, then down two locks to the Pacific. But this place, this canal, this path between the seas was as full of tragedy, bravery, brilliance, stupidity, hopelessness, courage, drudgery, persistence, drama, and vision as any human endeavor could be. To fully appreciate our canal transit, Wayne and I learned its history. I could not have seen it for what it was without that background. . . . Going through The Canal on our own yacht, and this was The Canal, was an experience filled with sights, sounds, procedures, and emotions. First, there was the flurry of logistics: a meeting with the Canal Authority, now under the Panamanian government, to pay—it is expensive—to arrange the date, time, and yachts we would be side-tied to, and to determine our staging area. We were assigned to be in the staging area at 6:45 a.m. on December 8, 2001. . . . The day dawned, or almost—it was still dark as we slowly motored our way into the staging area and positioned ourselves on the starboard side of the motor yacht. A large container ship was in front of us. Wayne, the other yacht owners, and the line handlers tied the three yachts together side-by-side. . . . Finally it was our turn; we slowly followed the container ship into the first lock. I watched fascinated as the original gates slowly swung closed behind us; the ends of our lines were monkey fists and were thrown by our line handlers up to the canal tenders on the ramparts. Then the water started gushing in at a furious rate, and we rose. Once level with the next lock, those gates opened and when the container ship started to move, we three yachts were hard-pressed to maintain our positions with the huge backwash.