And I rarely make it through a trip without at least some soreness and weariness, if not outright illness.
But though I can readily identify with a tourmate earlier on this trip referring to India as a country that will "chew you up and spit you out," I have largely felt pretty good throughout the past fortnight.
Sure, there were times my stomach begged me not to overtax my tolerance for Indian curry, days when I was glad I packed Immodium and some moments of travel fatigue or even exhaustion, but--knock on wood--I haven't been truly sick or injured or inconvenienced.
In flying to Bangalore from Mumbai I developed what I perceived as an infection in my right ear. Fortunately my primary care physician had prescribed a travel dosage of "just in case of whatever" antibiotics and though his team fumbled the online communication process while he too is away, a friend with a doctor in the family was able to corroborate my sense that 5 days of Levoflaxocin should remedy the ear pain. (It seems to be, though not completely.)
I felt good enough to carry through with my Friday plan to have a private driver recommended by Yashu take me from Bangalore to Mysore (traditionally: Mysuru) and take me around to various sights.
Though it was a 3-hour drive departing at 7:00am, and I was glad not to have eaten a heavy breakfast, the ride with Rakash went smoothly (though he, like everyone in India, honks way too much for my tolerance).
But almost as soon as I got out of the car at the Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace--about 15km from Mysore--I started to feel sharp pain in both my calves.
I'm writing this nearly 9 hours later on the ride back to Bangalore so I think it's just muscle stiffness/soreness and not blood clots.
And--in part because Rakash doesn't speak English well enough to discuss possible alternatives--I pushed through the full day of sightseeing, albeit with a bit of a grimace.
Rakash seems like a fine man and good driver, but not gregarious or fluent enough in my only language to make for much of an enjoyably conversant or enlightening drive.
But I'll happily settle for not being stranded anywhere.
And the sights--most notably the Mysore Palace, where an on-site guide proved rather amiable and informative--were phenomenal.
The Palace is the most popular tourist attraction in India, more so than the Taj Mahal.
It was about the 12th site on this trip where custom required me to walk around barefoot or in socks--perhaps not ideal for health concerns--but hell, you only live once.
I also entered the Chamundi Temple, way up in the hills, saw some Indian art in the Jaganmohan Palace, went to a large Catholic church (St. Philomena's) and enjoyed visiting a sand sculpture museum.
I had a good lunch of crispy fried lamb, got some sweets at a notable shop in Mysore and photographed & strolled--gingerly--the Lalitha Mahal Palace, which is now a posh hotel.
So it's been a bit of a struggle but worthwhile nonetheless. Truth is, I'll do almost anything for good photographs.
As I write this as Rakash approaches Bangalore, I'm glad to have some Springsteen to blot out all the honking (earbuds perhaps aren't ideal, but I can only try to solve one problem at a time).
And I can't wait to get back to Yashu's place to apply some Aspercreme to my aching calves.
Perhaps I'll take it a bit easier tomorrow.