Veracruz, Mexico — Wednesday, December 1st

Back to California

Today Srila Gurudeva's extended 21st World Tour to Venezuela and Mexico returns to California. At seven-thirty in the morning Srila Gurudeva and his entourage drive to the Veracruz airport where hundreds of devotees are gathered to see us off.

The devotees excitedly show Srila Gurudeva a copy of the city's Spanish-language morning newspaper, El Dictamen, which has a color picture on the front cover of His Divine Grace and Senor Jose Gutierrez, the mayor of Veracruz, officiating at the opening of the new temple yesterday, and another picture and a two-column article on page four.

While in the departure lounge, Srila Gurudeva gives an impromptu TV interview to another local TV station, and shortly afterwards, he is wheeled through the security checkpoint to the accompaniment of a rousing farewell kirtan by the Mexican devotees.

We fly north into the wind for two hours, hugging the Gold Coast along the rather choppy Gulf of Mexico in one of Continental Airlines smaller jets, a fifty-seater EMB 145-XR, and arrive in Houston, the largest city in Texas, just before noon. At 2:45 we get our connecting flight to the west coast, and after flying northwest for a little over four hours in the bigger Continental Boeing 737, we land in San Francisco at five o' clock in the afternoon, local time.

Many devotees are on hand to greet Srila Gurudeva, who is a little tired after the twelve-hour journey. By the time we get out of the airport, it is already quite dark. It gets dark here about an hour earlier than Veracruz and it's at least forty degrees (22°C) cooler.

Srutasrava Prabhu drives Srila Gurudeva, Ranajit Prabhu, and me through the early evening traffic down to the Seva Ashram in Soquel. When we eventually get off the busy highway and turn onto Rodeo Gulch, the quiet, dark country road that runs past our ashram, I have a presentiment that we will see — ah! I don't believe in that sort of thing! But as we continue down the road the premonition becomes so strong that I almost tell Srutasrava Prabhu to slow down...

And as we round a corner near the Seva Ashram, we see — a deer! Welcome home, Srila Gurudeva.

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Layout by iMonk — December 1st, 2004.