Saturday, October 8, 2011

My First 12 Hours

Neemach Mata Temple
The temple sits atop an 800m hill, overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake and all of Udaipur.

Sorry for the delayed blogging, but I now have internet access during personal time!  Well actually, I have been kicked offline twice before getting to this line of text, but I am determined to finish this blog entry!  Thank you Aarish for making me the great blog; so glad I can finally put it to good use!

I had hand-written a blog entry on my first day and thought I'd start off with sharing that.  Having been here almost three weeks now, the novelty of my observations from that first day has already worn off.  It's amazing how quickly you can adapt and adjust to things!


September 21, 2011

I'm in India now!  All 28 hours of traveling went very smoothly.  My mi   dnight-5am layoverat Delhi was the toughest, but I happened to meet a solar hot water installer from Delhi and enjoyed a good conversation on attitudes towards environmentalism in India and the US (the conclusion being that not enough people care).  I'm now equipped with his business card!...perhaps a potential contact for my work here?

My arrival at the Udaipur airport (my final destination) was a little intimidating.  At the exit, there was a large mass of Indians, mostly men, holding signs, looking for their visitors--a very similar scene to that which I remember from Ghana (except they weren't Indian!).  And of course, I was alone and the only white person, so I was intimidated to step out in front of them all, especially considering I did not know who was picking me up!  I ended up exiting with a family and standing to the side.  Of course, I should not have worried about trying to find my ride because it was pretty obvious to them who I was.  After 10 minutes of waiting, my Program Director's husband pulled up in his car and introduced himself.  He let me call the Director, Roma, and then off we went in his car towards their home for introductions!  We sped along the small highway, with the horn blaring 40% of the time and frequently stopping for cattle in the road.  Welcome to India!

Most Stereotypical Indian Things That Occurred in My First 12 Hours
  • Profession of Indian businessman sitting next to me on my flight to Delhi: IT software developer
  • Cows in the road!
  • Car horn blaring 40% of the time
  • I've been in India 2 hours, I'm taking a bucket bath, and mid-rinse, the power goes out: double points!
  • My first lunch: chipati (flat bread), dal (lentils), okra for sabji (vegetables), and palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) = yumm!
  • Was served chai 3 times
  • Shared the road with cows, motor bikes, pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks, buses, autos (like a rickshaw), tempos (like a rickshaw, but with scheduled stops), people pulling carts, entire families (including infants) stacked onto motor bikes, stray dogs, donkeys, goats, pigs, camels, and an elephant
  • During my first conversation with the two American girls also in the program, they told me "You will definitely get diarrhea."  Cool.

Least Expected Things That Occurred in My First 12 Hours
  • Toilet paper!
  • People's annoyance with rain (I thought it would be welcomed in a relatively dry area, but they actually get too much during monsoon season and it causes problems because the infrastructure cannot handle all of it).
  • My host brother raving about Pakistani singers

My First Meal
dal, palak paneer, chipati, okra sabji
(lentils, spinach & cottage cheese, flatbread, okra vegetables)

(how I get around the city)

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