After a climb up the mountainside trails (about 25 minutes), we arrived at St. Paul’s Church. The regular pastor was gone and Pete, the tri-plex neighbor was preaching. Bethany and Abe help with worship by playing piano and guitar, respectively. Since we all arrived early to prepare (I was just a tag along, I thought), I was drafted to read and comment on one of the passages. I enjoyed the service very much. Pete just worked through the liturgy slowly, commenting on each part and trying to make it less ritualistic, less automatic and more personal and more real. When it was my turn to read, I knew I had to enunciate as well as possible. Not only am I an English speaking American, but a Southerner at that! One noticeable difference with the shelf across each pew that held the hymn and liturgy books was this little cutout. Can you guess what it is for? (see end of post) After service, we enjoyed tea (chai) and brownies “on the grounds.”
Lunch was only a few yards away down the front walk, into the street, and on the right. We ordered from a little cafe that has been featured in the Indian National food program. I gather it is somewhat like the US “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives”. The order is placed at the counter/kitchen/stove and the food is brought out to you where ever you sit. We chose to sit under the tree around the big table. The nine of us fit nicely. I think we got an order of everything on the menu. While waiting, I got pictures of cows and monkeys. Didn’t take any of all the stray dogs wandering around. Then of our waiter (a boy of no more than 7) and his helper/little brother (maybe 5).
These are all the dishes served. No I did not personally consume them all. The first is a grilled tomato, onion, cheese, bacon sandwich. Then “ketchup” and obviously Sprite. A glass of hot lemon honey ginger tea and fries. Second row: a potato pancake with a layer of cheese in the middle, the salsa that I can not distinguish seasonings in it, the ever popular bun omelet, then fried snacks of veggies-spinach and potatoes. And lastly, ramen with peas and peppers and grated cheese on top!
After eating way too much, we took the long way home, about a 45 minute trek around and down the mountain. I took pictures all along the way and have since looked at them and not one captured the views of the hike or distant mountains or steep drop off or height of the mountainside looking up. You will just have to come here to see for yourself!
Only a short sit down at home, then it was off to the other side of the campus for fellowship study. That walk took about 25 minutes down and across to the staff house where the meeting was. We met. Visited with the staff couple after they returned home from a different meeting. Hiked back UP to the house, another 25 minutes, just in time to get sweaters and head lamps to trek UP the mountain for dinner at a restaurant! (another 25 minutes) Only once was I a bit shaken when the trail was full of random dogs. Abe scared them away. The city lights below were coming on and, as someone here calls it, God’s jewelry box was twinkling! Again, I don’t think the pictures I took will do it justice.
Abe and Bethany took me first to the tea garden. Beautiful!!! It would not be hard to sit there for hours, sipping tea, thinking or NOT thinking! The restaurant, The Rokeby House, at one time was a boys’ dorm for Woodstock. It was purchased by alumni and within three months turned into an impressive hotel/restaurant of top quality. We again ordered many different dishes and shared them. We sat at outdoor tables on a veranda overlooking the valley and distant cities. Beautiful! The atmosphere makes you feel like you have been transported somewhere else. We could hear a group of Woodstock seniors having a party up on the cricket field near the jacuzzi. Graduation is this coming Saturday but they are finished with classes.
Then, of course, we had to hike home. I asked Bethany to help me figure out how far we had walked today and we are guesstimating about 7 miles. Give or take. HOWEVER, it is not the same as 7 FLAT miles! I was so glad to have the head lamp on. No way to navigate in the dark. Sometimes you walk on smooth parts, sometimes you walk on loose rocks, sometimes you walk on wet, slippery leaves, if there are steps they are not often equi-distance apart or equal in height, sometimes there are roots sticking up and always there’s the ledge to fall off of. (And, some of you know my history with ledges!)
And, yes, obviously, we made it home without incident!