Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where is the Toilet?

I know its been a llooooonnnggg time since I've written and I'm so sorry! I have no excuse except that writing these blogs always takes me forever and I got lazy. Not even taking classes and this is happening. Geesh.

Okay so a quick update. YAAAY!

Days Left in India - 20
Season - "Cold" Season
Temperature - 72 Degrees
Mosquito Bites - 37
# of Times I've been Spit Up on Today - 1

I haven't been writing, but a lot has been going on! I will try to give a reader's digest version of some of the highlights!

Well first, lets start with some bad news. Its my only bad news and I'd rather just get it out of the way. Abdul and I aren't speaking anymore :( Basically, it boils down to that he wanted to be more than friends and I didn't. Unfortunately, it caused a rift in our friendship. I really like Abdul. He's a handsome, friendly, and charming guy but I'm not just looking for a relationship right now. That's not why I came to India. Perhaps I didn't explain it well because we got into a fight and haven't talked since. Even the Hindi lessons just stopped and I haven't pushed it cause I don't want things to be awkward. I lost a great friend but I can't change the way I feel and unfortunately, neither can Abdul.

Moving on.

I saw my first cricket match! The pitcher (bowler) tries to hit the stick things (wickets) and then the batter tries to hit the ball. If the ball rolls to the boundary then its worth 4 points if it clears it then ... screw it. Just know its awesome. Though, it should be noted, I was lucky enough to see all three games with 20 overs limits which means the game only lasts four hours as opposed to traditional cricket games which can last five days.

But I'd have to say the BEST thing about cricket was once I got to see the American cheerleaders experience an Indian bathroom for the first time. Here I am washing my hands and they come bouncing in (cheerleaders, you know how they bounce) and one opens the stall and says, "OH MY GOD.... where is the toilet?" They stand there contemplating the logistics of how to aim into the hole in the ground before they both slowly make their way into the stalls. The next thing I hear is "ah hell no! There's no toilet paper in here! Just a bucket of water!" I wanted to say, "Welcome to India. When deciding which hand to wipe with, the left is the correct choice. Oh, and I might watch the Indian man who has been opening your water bottles and handing them to you - he's a lefty."

But I just let them figure it out on their own. Come on people, read a guidebook.

I've also been spending a lot of time with Kara. She's getting sooo big and more beautiful everyday. Sometimes, I wish that she was older. I wish that I could talk to her, and color with her, and play in parks and that sort of thing. But the most incredible thing about being a nanny for a baby is that you watch her grow before your eyes. You watch her discover her hands and then her feet and then her reflection in the mirror. She's rolling everywhere now, she's gaaing and gooing all the time, she's laughing, she's learning to sit up, and we've started feeding her her first solid foods. Its amazing! She just turned seven months and I'm completely attached to her. I think I'll be stealing babies out of cribs in the US just so I can remember what it feels like to hold one.

Here's a video I took today of us playing around! My hair is kind of crazy but that's what happens when little hands are grabbing at all the time!

I also had a very Indian experience I hoped I never would - I went to an Indian hospital. A few weeks ago I just got really sick. It started off with a cold and as soon as that went away it turned into an awful fever. When I went to the hospital I had a temperature of 103 and I felt miserable. I was there with Sajjid and Raju and we had to visit all these different sides of the hospital for different things. And I had to get my blood drawn. I hate blood. I hate needles. I hate getting blood drawn. I was waiting and waiting and I was so hot and dizzy that I let my head rest against the table in front of me. When the doctor was done drawing blood he put the bloody cotton swab right where my face had been three seconds ago ... wonderful. Also, one of the corridors was lined with buckets and buckets full of used needles. I asked Sajjid why they were there and he said that some people fight through the hospital garbage bins looking for food and they end up pricking themselves on a used needle and infecting themselves with HIV or something of the sort. So the hospital just keeps the used needles inside now. I got some fever medicine and got out. I felt better the next day and am so glad that I've been healthy since.

But perhaps the best thing that has happened since my last post was my trip to Mysore and Bangalore! It was my first trip outside of Hyderabad and it was wonderful! Theo's parents and brothers came to visit and together we all took the trip! First we flew to Bangalore then Theo's family and I took a train to Mysore while Theo and Marga stayed behind in Bangalore. Mysore was a beautiful small city (small with about two million people) with all these old British buildings. And soo many cows!

(Cows are holy in India. Can't eat them. What a waste.)

Mysore also had the most amazing palace I've ever seen! (And I've seen my fair share of palaces across Europe) It was incredible and at night they light the palace up! Millions of tiny lights, it's breathtaking! I have some photos and video to check out too! The photos of the palace interior I stole from google because you're not allowed a camera inside but I just had to show y'all.

Also in Mysore I saw lots of temples, lots of cows, and my first real live monkey! I also ate the best Indian food I've had yet at this little hole in the wall restaurant we tried. It was amazing! We spent one day in Mysore then took the train back to Bangalore.

In Bangalore the highlight was the Taj Hotel that we stayed in. Marga and Theo certainly know how to travel in style cause this hotel was incredible. On your bed they provided a pillow menu - about 15 types of pillows ready to suit whatever pillow mood you happened to be in. Also, at night, they don't leave a mint on your pillow - oh no, they bring a chocolate slab/ chocolate mouse box with a kiwi and chocolate sauce dribbled artistically across the white plate. The hotel was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it felt hidden and exotic even though it was in the heart of the city. Quite unfortunately we actually left the hotel sometimes to do sightseeing.

My favorite sight was the Bangalore Palace. It doesn't look like a palace at all but a Castle. Actually, the family who ruled in Mysore, the Wodeyar's, the Bangalore Castle was their summer retreat. But it was built after the Sultan traveled to Europe. Basically he saw the castles and said, "Very nice. I'll have one."

It was such a neat sight because it was completely different than any other palace I've been to. Not more spectacular but less and that is what made it so interesting. When walking around the Bangalore Palace you feel like you've stumbled into an 15o year old forgotten castle. The furniture inside is worn and dusty, pigeons line the pillars, and you are allowed to sort of just wander around while a guide follows you and explains things about the room you walked into. Interestingly, decedents of the royal family still live there today so parts of the palace are closed off to the public. With royalty still living in the palace naturally I had to poke around and look in through the windows until I got yelled at. The rooms still occupied by the royal family are incredible and are juxtaposed ironically with the rest of the palace which looks abandoned.

Okay I'm going to leave you guys here! I have so much more to tell you! Stories about Raju and Sajjid that will bring a good laugh and about the trip to the Taj Mahal I'm planning for next week! I promise more blog posts within the week! I have to make up for all the lost time but also not have a blog post worth submitting as one of my college 15 pg finals!

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