I’m back in an internet cafe, one with a painfully slow 33.6 Kbps that makes me yearn for the national parks of Nepal. We’re holed up in Orchha, India, a village of a scant 9,000 people with an incredible number of beautiful Hindu temples and a gargantuan palace of the Mughal era.

The palace itself was one of the nicest surprises of this trip, since Orchha initially looked like the lowlight of the whole journey. It’s a beautiful place, though, although admittedly vaguely tourist-trappy. There have been few places we’ve seen that aren’t at least a little touristy, though, or seemingly designed for a good bit of the population to cater specifically to Western visitors.

As predicted, I have made myself internet-accessible mostly to check in on the American political situation. CNN is a painfully slow website in general, opting for millions of bytes worth of loading instead of making information simply available. Nevertheless, I’ve gotten so accustomed to their format and their vote-counts that I can’t try to navigate another site on this connection. So I’m still waiting for it to load. I got a look at earlier results, however, and it looks like I may have been wrong about which party will have a hung convention. Although when there are only two candidates, one can’t really have a hung convention in the end, even if someone ends up winning by a single delegate. Maybe Edwards will refuse to drop out and cling tightly to his 26 delegates in the hopes that those few can swing the entire election.

Of course I still find it completely inevitable that Clinton will eventually be President, so this is all pretty academic. It’s looking more and more like a repeat of the 1996 election – a Clinton against a hopelessly old has-been who is about a decade past his political hopes and dreams.

But enough about America; I’ll be back there soon enough with very little else to ponder. I’m hoping to design a webpage to commemorate this trip upon return, but I’m already over 1100 digital photos taken (I’ve gotten used to my first digital camera in a hurry), so it’s going to take a good deal of time to get things posted. I am completely mentally unprepared to be back, save for a few bizarre work-anxiety dreams about the new post that I’ll be in within 16 hours of landing back in California.

The trip remains overwhelming and amazing and overall an incredibly positive experience. Trying to describe it in small bits seems to undermine the effort to describe the whole undertaking in full grandeur and detail, which I’ve kept up with nicely in my comp notebook. (Of course transcribing that will also take a while…) Suffice it to say that this is a beautiful country and different from North America in many of the very best of ways. Certainly not perfect, of course, and it’s been hard to transcend the experiences of a tourist to really get to the core of the country. It may be impossible, especially on a trip this short and this guided, though.

Emily’s Mom keeps saying on this trip “How could you possibly describe this?” and “You couldn’t possibly explain this to someone else.” I’m hoping to prove her wrong with my pages and pages of writing and hundreds of pictures.

But for now I’ll have to leave you with that and keep you in suspense.

Tomorrow, on to the Taj Mahal and then back to Delhi. I may run out of things to do in Delhi and post again, but I doubt it with the Gandhi Museum still to see…