As the reasons pile up for why Australian athletes shouldn't go to India for the Commonwealth Games – dengue fever, the risk of terrorist attack, dodgy infrastructure and unclean sanitation – it gets harder and harder to remember why they should go.
Why? Because they can.
Because India is India and unlike anywhere else on earth and, having been, their lives will be forever richer for the experience. If ever there was an antidote to the boredom of life on the road – the whistle-stop tours from pool to airport to hotel – where the overwhelming memory is of global convergence, it is India.
As travel publisher Tony Wheeler commented recently, it's a country that hasn't been able to step cleanly into the present: instead it has one foot in an unchanged past and the other already in the future.
And therein lies the problem for the Commonwealth Games.
Professional sporting competitions have been pushed – by nationalism, science, government funding and private sponsorship – to a level beyond the ken of normal people in even advanced nations in the West, with athletes devoting years of their lives to improving their performance. Treated like bronzed gods, with money no object, their body is a temple sustained by their family and the wider community in pursuit of gold medals, world records and national honour.
The social distance from these competitors to the middle class Australia from whence they sprung is one thing. Keep measuring that distance to the streets of India and you run out of tape.
But that world beyond ours is still a world of people whose hearts beat with the same dreams as ours and who take great pleasure from the nations of the Commonwealth taking part in their games.
With the sun now fully set on the British Empire, with the Queen a polite anachronism to most, the question is inevitably asked whether the Commonwealth Games themselves should continue – wherever they are held.
Undoubtedly, their stature has been diminished by ever-expanding international competition and world championships. But it is a different question than whether we should refuse, at the very last moment, the invitation to compete to Delhi.
India, within the limitations of its financial resources, workforce skills, pressing competing demands and probable corruption, has done the best it can to organise the the games.
Will everything be as good as it would have been in Edinburgh, Adelaide or Auckland? Clearly not.
Will it be good enough? There's no straight answer for that. Rather, like any traveller entering truly foreign lands, some times you just have to cross your fingers, step over the precipice and make the best of whatever happens.
People in India have been doing that for generations.
Andrew Stevenson, a senior writer, will be in India to cover the Commonwealth Games for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.