Monday, November 30, 2009


It's December 1st, hot, sunny, not littered with Christmas decorations here in Mumbai and the final month of my time here in India. With less than three weeks to go, I undoubtably will have more stories to come. Most likely in a week once classes are over and the real fun begins.
And I would also just like to note that this is the first Christmas, in three years, that I do not have to deal with peak! (I also look forward to pointing that fact out at Valentine's Day & Mother's Day...particularly Valentine's Day)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Turkeyless Thanksgiving In India

When I first got into this program, while I couldn't have been happier, a part of me was very sad that I would be missing Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. I consoled myself with the fact that once again, my mom would make Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas. However, it's just not the same. Very thankfully, the Bell family invited our group over for Thanksgiving dinner. The visiting mothers had brought decorations & food which made it feel like Thanksgiving and all the normal foods of corn, mashed potato, cranberry sauce (impressively canned & homemade), green beans, among others were prepared. The only thing was instead of a turkey, we had tandoori chicken. But no matter, it was just amazing to have a home cooked meal and some American style food. After dinner and seconds on dinner, dessert came out including homemade apple crisp. And the best part was, they shared the leftovers and gave us goodie bags. I think I am tied over for now on craving most foods. Although, I still want beef. On the way home, we saw the normal people in the back of a truck but this time with a goat & a goat in the back of a rickshaw. Mumbai, four months later, you still continue to surprise me. Great food, great company & a goat made a Thanksgiving I couldn't have been more thankful for.

A Potpourri of Unknown Medications

So the headache on Friday, came back Saturday night with a fever. Sunday I felt a bit better; however, just before bed the fever and headache returned. Monday, it was all over. I could barely get out of bed and not only had the most massive headache but also was sweating so bad from the fever that my clothes and bed were soaked not to mention the bout of chills I experienced where my fingers were white for 20 minutes and I couldn't get warm until I piled on the layers. By Tuesday, it was time for the doctors. I went to the local doctor a few doors down. No appointment needed and the office was a garage. The closest thing I got to a typical examination was saying ahhhhhh. Otherwise, I described my symptoms (which he seemed disappointed he couldn't easily diagnose me with food poisoning since I'd been here 4 months) and then he gave me a bunch of medicines as seen above. I was not told what they were or what they do but only to take certain ones at certain times of the day. All that for rs150 or about 3$. Following his instructions, pills were to be taken every eight hours. They only last four before the fever would return and I would be consumed by fever or chills. The pinnacle came at 4 in the morning when I felt like my face was going to burst into fire. Nothing was able to cool me down. Once morning came, it was time to go to the hospital. My lovely roommate escorted me to the hospital. Upon arriving, we found there was not a waiting room. We were just put in the long hall of "patient exam" rooms. Eventually, we were called into the doctor's office. After explaining my symptoms, headache & fever, he did the most advanced and out-of-date examination. Normal heart rate with the stethoscope, this really cool gadget put on my finger to take some readings of which I can only assume blood pressure & my temperature with a glass thermometer stuck under my armpit. I must say I was glad it wasn't being stuck somewhere else. Temp at 101. More meds, a shot and blood work was order. Getting the shot: I was taken into one of the patient "exam" rooms and told to lie down. Ummm gross. No paper covers but linen that had lord knows what stains on it. I pushed it aside. Getting blood work: Taken into a shared room with some little girl screaming. Wish I wasn't supposed to be a big girl so I could cry too. Hope I don't get hep. Peeing in a cup: Yup had a urine test. Very glad I had to pee but the fever had dehydrated me. After all was said and done, we went back to the doctors to give him the paper work to pick up my tests. We were supposed to go back for a follow-up but the drugs did their trick, the test results told me what I had and I wasn't going to waste my time. While I appreciated the cheapness of the doctors, I definately missed the steril enviroments. If I can't smell the disinfectant, it's not clean enough. BTW, all meds were obtained no prescription. It's better than going to Canada.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Help. I'm Surrounded.

One of our corporate visits was to an NGO. The NGO, Akanksha helps poor kids get an eduation. Unfortunately, they decided to take us to one of their learning centers. Kids were everywhere. Everywhere! This was going to be a long day. One of the girls even commented on my eyebrows. I don't know what is up with the kids and my eyebrows here. After their lessons, we all went out to build towers in groups. It was pretty cool to see how involved and excited the kids got over the competition and even some of my classmates....myself not being one of them. By the end of the day, I had a massive headache which I assumed was to the loudness of the school. Ooooo foreshadowing.

No More Forts!!

Upon arriving in Delhi, we were taken to what was about the gazillionth fort on our trip. Immediately, we vetoed it and any other sites we had planned for the day; we were forted out. We tried to have our driver take us to a market where we could get street vendor food but he mistook us and took us to a high street. We wandered the back streets til we found a hole-in-the-wall. Sadly, other white people had found it as well. Guess we weren't that special.

That evening, we wandered the streets near our hotel and found a plethora of street vendors. Everything from puri to frankies. I also discovered frankies are a Bombay thing. Or so the sign said. So we tasted as many as our bellys would allow. It was delicious. The others tried paan as well but having a wad in my mouth and spitting just isn't my thing.

This was the end of our trip. We headed back to Mumbai and now I can focus on recounting the stories of the weeks following. Hopefully soon I will be caught up.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little Bit of Awe; Lot a Bit of Antics at the Taj

Waiting in the long queue to enter the Taj just didn't seem like a priority. So we didn't; now, I doubt many people, if any, can say they re-dressed (a friend in my case) in the cove of the mosque & made a music video at the Taj.
The re-dressing: Annie who bought a sari was determined to wear it to the Taj. And she did. However, on our stroll around some little girls started pointing and laughing. Their sister came up and told Annie she had her sari & blouse on all wrong. Guess I didn't know that much about dressing in a sari. Needless to say, we were whisked away to a cove in the mosque and the re-dressing process began. I say process because it was a process. A process that involved multiple people, inputs and ended up in the removal of improper hair ties & sunglasses and resulted in the addition of bindis & proper hair ties to give the look of a proper Indian woman. After what was at least a half hour, we re-entered, made fun of other white people's failed attempts at wearing a sari, proceeded to acquire a stalker & Annie gained a million compliments.
Stalker, an Indian boy in his young 20s, was acquire during the re-dressing story time to Bob. Then proceeded to follow to the other side of the mosque & watched our next adventure.
Making of a Music Video:
On the other side of the Taj, we found Shawn. It was now time to make a music video. Annie & I were to be the dancers to Shawn who was the main character while Bob filmed the scenes. After Shawn choreographed and we practiced, we filmed three scenes. Each as ridiculous as the last and all in front of tourist watching. No one applauded our performance though.....

I rode an elephant & a camel in one day.

Booya touchdowned Jaipur.
We also had lunch at this amazing, hole-in-the-wall place where the locals had to fight for tables. We didn't cause we were white.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oompa Loompa & Solving to Death

All through our Golden Triangle travels, an eight or so day adventure, we had the priveledge of having Mr. Sardar as our driver. The good man got us to our destinations without getting lost (expect that one time arriving in Delhi), brought us to pleasant rest stops for our afternoon chai, kept us well hydrated, and never complained when consistantly we would show up late in the morning. After so many days, I came to the realization that our Mr Sardar, looked like the Oompa Loompa from the new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory movie which we just watched for our HR class (apparently it is a fine example of selection). I swear he does. Below is a picture of him on the right. Not the best photo for comparison, so you will have to trust me.

Along our travels, we naturally came across "highways" of India our group spotted a cow lying on the side of the road only we notice it was on its side. Team LASR went into quick analytical action from recognizing the odd position to suspecting death to confirming death due to the cow being on its side because cows on their side is bad because cow tipping is bad because they can't get up and hence die. Team LASR: Not only are we cool, but we are smart too. (and a good looking group)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So my vacation was about a month ago and I'm still writing blogs about it.

A mixture of illness (blog to come soon) and lack of motivation has prevented me from continuing with my Golden Triangle adventures. So let's continue.

Richard Gere was here.

It seems everywhere we went in Jodhpur & to the carpet makers in the village, Richard Gere had visited and the owners were more than enthused to share & show us proof that he had come to their establishment. The fabric house boasted that he bought 20 some scarves from them. I bought one cause I'm not as rich as he.

In the village, they drink opium. We got to see the guy grind it and filter it into a tea. No cups required. It is poured into the palm of your hand and drank.

In the village, we also met a potter. Annie & I got to make pots on the wheel. Good times. And no, the experience was not like Ghost. Although it would have been more exciting if they told stories of Patrick visiting.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Anthems: Not just for sporting events

One day I will finish my vacation stories. Promise. But for now....
Went to the cinema tonight to see the MJ movie. Before the movie or previews could start, we had to stand for the national anthem. The dancing snacks and "silence is golden" did not make an appearance.