Thursday, January 27, 2011

A lesson in exchange for memorable photos

Now that the anger has faded and I've stopped kicking myself, maybe I can focus on the lesson. Indeed, I've started downloading photos mid-trip from our camera fairly diligently and regularly. Sometimes we have to pay a high price to relearn well-known lessons.

Several months ago, we traveled the Himalayan region of Uttaranchal by road, moving at a relatively leisurely pace, taking buses from one town to another. We visited small towns and ashrams and temples. And all along we kept taking photographs.

Photos of the smiling locals, of small children, monkeys, saffron-clad swamis with flowing beards, of temples and creeks and waterfalls and mountains. I had my laptop with me, but each night I put off downloading the photos because we were too tired and there was plenty of space in the camera's memory card anyway. I was lazy.

Many journeys into the Himalayas begin in Haridwar (literally the 'gateway to the gods') as did ours. After three very enjoyable weeks, and with over 800 photographs, we boarded the return train at Haridwar. And in that brief melee while rushing to get on to the train, someone walked away with our bag of valuables. The train's conductor believed us and let us travel without the tickets which were in the bag. We called US and froze the credit line. We got over the monetary loss fairly quickly. We got a new ATM card. We upgraded to a new cell-phone to replace the one that was stolen. We bought a sleeker camera. The biggest loss turned out to be the photos. We don't have a single photo of the trip. Like I said, lesson learned.