It’s now  2009 and another year has past and the doors we had built last year are still not finish so back we go to India. Twenty two doors are a lot of work but not a whole year… okay more money needed and work progresses. This time it’s Lydia that gets sick and for almost a week she’s laid up in bed at our friend Becky’s who is also sick.  Now I’m not very good a hanging around and playing nurse so i’m off every day on my bicycle heading out the ECR (East Coast Road – the main road in this part of India) to  wander the junk shops that line either side of the highway. If you’ve ever been in the traffic of India you’ll understand, now put yourself on bicyle in this heat and chaos. Bus horns blasting, cows crossing, it’s all happening, I love it.
First day out I arrive back at our place excited. “I’ve found the most amazing granite basin with Hindu deities carved on it, we gotta get a container to get it all home Lydia wait till you see it”. That same day I had found a stone carver to make our fireplace surround. Neither of us spoke a common language but with the help of a a piece of chalk I could draw out roughly on the stone what I had in mind. Each day I would ride out and see the progress and with just the most rudimentary tools they would continue carving away the stone. A  20 ft. shipping container is large, 28 cu, ft. to be exact. How are we going to fill that much? Well how about stone tiles for our floors? So it’s off to find a dealer and I end up procuring a whole ‘lorry’ full from Andra Pradesh. Amazing deal till I find that they’re neither square or the same sizes but this won’t be known till they’re ready to be installed a year later by me. Lydia finally feeling better, the two ride out to check on the fireplace and together we finalize the massive mantel to be. Returning, we spy a pile of granite pillars stacked up in a field. Fingers keep pointing down the road on asking till we arrive at the dealers shop (Pradeep and his son Sandeep). Nine more pillars, now I need to calculate how many cu. meters we now have; the containers filling up. We’ll also need a truck/lorry and crew now to go around and pick up all this stuff and take it to our storage yard we’ve arranged.
The day arrives thanks to our good friend Viknes, having arranged everything for us. The basin’s first, who knew it could be so heavy. Next, the stone pillars out in the field. With little place to pull over we have to block one lane of this major two lane highway while ‘we’ carried the pillars out from the field. In India chaos like this is accepted while in America this would never work. Once again they’re too heavy so quickly I scrounge two teak poles and with aid of of discarded bicycle inner tubes and Indian ingenuity we manage to finally get them all aboard and off we go.
A friend has arranged for us to store all this at a place he knows of until we can ‘stuff’ the container for shipping.  Turns out this ‘friend’ is a Swiss Baron with his own Swiss bank and a 68 acre estate on the Bay of Bengal. This is India, nobody has this much property for themselves, it’s an amazing oasis of tranquility. Traveling is about stories shared and barons have really interesting and funny stories to tell.
With it being our anniversary we were fortunate to able to be able to spend a night in his beach house, a traditional wooden Kerala house that they moved across India to here. What could be more romantic, our own private beach and such splendor but that was not to be as we ended up having four servants sleeping outside each door. We were well protected.
Months pass and the export papers,security filings, archeological review and fumigation are complete, the day finally came to stuff the container.The lorry was so over weight with all that stone in the container that it got horribly stuck and almost tipped over making such a mess of his estate that I believe we  were ‘persona non gratis’ after that. Or, maybe it was the large crane that had to be brought in to get the lorry unstuck. We’ll never know as we were long gone by then. Sorry …