Hot Times and Cool Memories

It’s definitely summer here in Texas. My AC is pumping away and I’m already dreading the next electric bill. I spend a lot of time at the computer but I have to get out sometime. Lately it’s been to the movies. The last one I saw was “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” My friend and I went to lunch then hit an early afternoon showing. The theater was half full which was a surprise for a week day. But the age range was well above forty and averaged Medicare card holding status. I won’t tell you where I fit in. Use your imagination. Anyway, it’s a great story, British, and I loved the way the characters were set up. In my own books, I’m all about the characters. If I can’t feel what they are feeling, figure out how they will act, the story can’t move forward for me.

The people in this movie were all forced by one circumstance or another to move to India for their retirement. Now I got the chance to live in India one summer when I was eighteen, right after my freshman year in college. This was a long time ago. My dad taught teachers there about electronics and computers. I still say he is responsible for all the outsourcing there today. Anyway, my brother and I got to go with my parents and it was the trip of a lifetime. India is a fascinating place. Back then we experienced culture shock, just like the people in this movie. I’d never seen such poverty. People literally slept in the streets. We’d go to a movie there and ride a taxi home at night. It would have to steer around the bodies.Desperate children hounded us whenever we went shopping in the markets, asking for pennies. I was uncomfortable with it, a lot like one of the women in the movie I just saw. It made me realize I didn’t get as much out of my Indian experience as I could have back then.

My brother was like another character in the Marigold Hotel. He was fourteen and fearless. He rented a bike and rode all over the city of Bangalore. He even got arrested once for running a stop sign. He never told my parents he’d been taken to the police station and paid a fine. Not until years later. My brother grew up to be a hippie and one of my best friends. He’s the one who should be writing novels.

Anyway, I am the writer here so I saw the movie and came home thinking. It’s what I do with almost every experience in my life. How did the movie makers suck me into the story? Why did the events move me to tears at one point? I loved the colors and excitement of India and it made me want to go back and try it again. But the sad fact is that it would cost a fortune now just for air fare. I could do a lot of trips to closer places for what one trip to India would cost. And once I got there? Would I freeze with fear again? Like I did when I was a teenager? I don’t know. One thing I did get out of my Indian adventure while I was holed up in our British run hotel was that I discovered Harlequin Romances and Georgette Heyer novels. It changed my life. So all was not lost. But then we are shaped by every experience. We just don’t always realize it at the time.

Have you ever taken a trip that made you change your way of thinking? I’d love to hear about it. Or do you have a dream trip on your mind? I’ve never been to Australia or New Zealand. Those are on my wish list. Share here. I’m waiting to hear from you.

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9 Responses to “Hot Times and Cool Memories”

  1. I went to London for my senior trip and part of the tour was William Shakespeare’s home. Another was Bath and some of the most beautiful cathedrals. 🙂

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    • Totally agree. I loved Bath. My dream would be to rent an apartment some summer and just sit there with a view of Bath and write. Loved that area of England. And Shakespeare’s place was cool.

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  2. After my trip to NYC last year for the RWA Conference, I’d love to go back without a schedule (except maybe for meetings with some fabulous editor or agent, of course) so I could see the museums, take a ride through Central Park, go to the top of the Empire State Building, and all that other touristy stuff.

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  3. Andrea Blackett Says:

    I would really love to visit China . I’d love to see the Great wall and experience the culture . I would also love to go to Mexico – I have always wanted to see Chichen Itza. I would be able to practice my Spanish and try some real Mexican food. I would be humbled by the poverty there (according to others I have spoken to) BUT I’d try in my small ways to help people if I could. I have always been in awe of Mexico as a country and it would be a real dream come true to finally be able to go there!!!

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    • China fascinates me. I’ve been to Mexico but now am leery of the problems there with the drug violence. It’s too bad that thugs have taken over so much of the country. You’re right, there are a lot of people who are hard working and just need help. And there are wonderful Aztec ruins and things to see.

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  4. Andrea Blackett Says:

    That is a real shame about Mexico!! I have always been fascinated by China too – the whole Country seems to exude magic and mysticism. Unfortunately I hardly know any Cantonese or Mandarin. Everyone that I have spoken to from China speaks brilliant English – One Guy and his wife that I spoke to had just moved to Britain from China – their English was not only immaculate but also so were their manners ,they had perfect accents- they actually sounded American!!! x

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  5. Andrea Blackett Says:

    I think that Brits and Americans just expect people all over the world to speak English but I think modern languages should be taught from an earlier age!!!

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