A Day We’ll Never Forget!

The next time we have a day that’s not going to well at 11:00 a.m. and we’re tempted to conclude we’ve got a lousy day on our hands, we’ll remember November 13, 2007.

After a couple of days in Delhi, we were leaving for the Ajabarh Valley in  Rajasthan, India.  Given the choice between a 6 hour van ride, or a puddle hopper plane, we opted for the latter.  But Delhi has a “no fly” period for small planes from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., so we wanted to take off by no later than than 8:30 a.m., meaning getting up early and battling traffic to get to the airport.  We were on time, but so was the fog, and we ended up sitting in our tiny plane for a couple of hours, doing homework and reading.  So at 11:00 a.m., we’re late, sleepy, and hoping to be able to fly out of Delhi soon.

Delhi 282 At around 11 a.m., our point person for our time in India, Vishu Singh and members of the firm Peirce and Leslie (who have done a fabulous job for us in India!!) approached us and asked, “Would you be interested in meeting the Dalai Lama?”  Well, in about .0003 nanoseconds, we said, “Absolutely!!!!”  His plane was about to land, and they were able to arrange for us to meet him just after he disembarked (and if you’re curious about how a Dalai Lama gets off a plane, take a look at this video).

Delhi 284 The Dalia Lama, and his representative Mr. Tempa Tsering, couldn’t have been nicer.  Our family had spent almost a week in Tibet while we were touring China.  So we could relay to him how heart-breaking we found it to observe first-hand what the Chinese have done to these kind and peaceful people.  We also congratulated him on his recent visit to the United States where Congress, over the Delhi 293 protestations of the Chinese government, met with the Dalai Lama and presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal Award.  While we only spent a few minutes with the Dalai Lama, it was an experience we’ll never forget.  His kind, calm demeanor was so apparent, and he was gracious enough to allow us to take a group photograph with him.   While this meeting was completely unplanned, our guide explained that, according to Buddhist philosophy, this was an encounter that was meant to be — and all of us believed that.


Delhi 302 Our flight to Ajabgarh Valley was quick and fairly scenic, but our landing brought us a huge surprise.  We were in an area of India that is so undeveloped that the landing of an airplane is a big event for the community.  So, imagine our surprise when over 200 people were there to meet us (well, actually, to see the plane land, but it’s fun to pretend!).  All of them were cheering and saying hello (or “Tata”), and we knew we were in for a special time in this gorgeous place.  We noted to ourselves the irony of a day in which we were almost the outsiders meeting the Dalai Lama upon his landing, and then when we landed an hour later, we were mobbed.

Ajarbagh Valley 418 We then proceeded to our hotel, the Amanbagh, which was fabulous.  I’ll cover the hotel and the area in my next blog posting, but this place is heavenly.  We checked in and they had upgraded us to a villa with its own swimming pool.  And then we went for an exploratory hike and jeep ride, seeing all sorts of amazing birds and a few interesting mammals, including jackals and antelope. 

In all, it was a day that we’ll never forget.  We had a great first experience with India in Delhi, but this day was the best of the trip for me.  And, as you’ll see in our next posting, we had a fabulous time in Ajabgarh.   

7 Responses to “A Day We’ll Never Forget!”

  1. Kim Ferguson Says:

    WOW!!!! What an amazing opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama!!! He is an amazing human being and what a fortunate happening for you all!

    Your travels sound so exciting! Where will you be for X-mas?
    xoxo the Fergusons!

  2. Marion Mussafer Says:

    I agree…I am sure it was meant to happen…
    I had the chance to say hello and shake his hand a few years back when he was in Boston. Even in those brief seconds, I could feel his power and his peaceful strength. It was such a gift. How thrilling it must have been to have shared this as a family!

    Sounds like it is all just too wonderful….Thanks for the updates.

  3. Devon Hanahan Says:

    Hi guys! What an incredible story! What a lucky encounter for you all AND for the Dalai Lama! I can’t wait to read the book that will have to result from this wonderful trip. :-)

  4. Kathryn Conway Says:

    Now that’s good Karma! Thanks for the great armchair travelling! Can’t wait for the next installment!


    Chit Chat

  5. Lolli and Bob Says:

    Hi guys, we love all the pictures and stories. Keep em coming after the New Year. Life is good and busy here but certainly not as exciting as chatting it up with the Dalai Lama. As my mom likes to say “no hits, no runs, no errors”. Lolli

  6. Rob & Peggy Says:

    Meeting the Dalai Lama must have been educational as well as exciting.

    The photos of ‘Old” Delhi are just what remembered of the wonderful crowded streets/shops/zillions of people, etc. A wonderful/fun place to just walk/wander. And ‘the oldest temple’ where 20,000 people come for prayers on a busy day in the summer reminded us also of the terrorist bombing which took place there only a few days after we had visited…

    Were you able to also visit the mystical city of Varanasi?

    Yes, you must be having a great time and everyone will never forget. Your children are learning so much more than they would learn in school…and their home school teachers are probably re learning things long forgotten.

    Thanks for doing the web site/blog and sharing it with us….

    See you sometimke later and Merry Christmas !! (Hope Santa is able to find you)

    Rob & Peggy

  7. Jeff Bussgang Says:

    What a great chance encounter! You will remember it for a lifetime. And how amazing to see the video of this near-deity struggling down the ladder just like the rest of us! Thanks for sharing it.

    Where in the US are you spending XMas? Safe travels and best wishes from the Bussgang family!

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