Friday, August 14, 2009

Monkeys and Human Poo: First India Reactions

Oh, hey!

I'm safe and sound in India, just fyi. I really, really want to update my blog so I can put pictures up, but I don't know when I"ll be able to use that. So far, I can only use internet cafes, and I can't download pictures here because I can easily get a virus, and blah blah blah. Also, as far as skype goes, I think they're trying to get our apartment internet. If we can't get it, one of our professor's here is going to let us use internet in his home so we will have access to skype. So... my flights were long, but went well and smoothly. The worst part was that there was really bad turbulence towards the end of one of the flights. So I couldn't look out the window b/c everything was jostling around, there was a screen showing what was going on outside (which was idiotic, and basically just jostling blurs - def way worse than the motion sickness I get from mario kart), and then a girl on the row next to me had puked and looked like death. So the combination of all those things made me feel even sicker... but I didn't throw up, thankfully. At the airport in Delhi, we had to go to another airport because the other one was a domestic airport, but we got all that figured out and I arrived on time and everything was bueno. I'm feeling pretty good, jet-lag wise as well. I arrived yesterday morning and slept almost all day. I slept really well last night and I've been awake and feeling good thus far today. Businesses here are open from about 10 am to 12 pm, and then everyone has siesta from like 12 to 3 or 4, because it's way too hot to do anything else. Then everything is open again all evening.

Flying into Visakhapatnam was awesome - it's soooo beautiful. And the drive into the city from the airport was awesome. The city is beautiful - so green and lush, with vines, bushes, and trees everywhere. It is also dirty and smelly, but it's not bad. People are everywhere, (at least downtown, not as much where I live) and there are building/apartment buildings/houses everywhere, all packed together. But they are all painted different colors and have different decorative elements on the outside of them so they look rad. My apartment (aka mansion) is a little ways outside the city, and we are about a fifteen minute walk to the beach. My house is big, and really nice. Like, too nice (although, there's no air conditioning, and no hot water, etc.) On the first level, there's a tiny kitchen and a living area. Then up one spiral staircase and there are 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2 balconies. Nbd. Then up another spiral staircase to the third level, there is another bedroom and another huge balcony. I'll try to send pictures asap. It's painted in pinks, and greens, and other cute, beachy colors. Oh, and the shower in our bathroom pretty much just sprinkles. Imagine the most low-pressure showerhead you can, and then only 5 of the holes actually has water coming out. And all the water is cold, which is totally fine beacuse it's sooo hot here. Also, people for real don't use toilet paper here. We went out to buy a couple roles, just to get us adjusted to not using it, you know, and the store was only stocked with like 12 individual roles. Also, Andy and Faj, good thing i brought so many products, because they do not even sell a lot of stuff here. I haven't seen any sunscreen, bug spray, or pretty much anything else you guys were making fun of me for bringing.

Today is my second day here, and has for sure been the most eventful. This morning one of Chuckles' (ps, Chuckles is Prof. Nuckolls, the program director) close relations here, named Pentaya, (his "brother" in his kinship group) took us through the Jalaripet village (which is the really low caste fishing village, located right outside the city, like 8 minute walk from our house.) It's out of control cool. It's packed with little cement houses, some with thatched roofs. It's super dirty, also. Pentaya took us into his home. We took our shoes off and then walked up some cement stairs into a little bedroom with two tiny rooms off to the side. There was one bed. It was so small and crazy to think that people always live like that. Anyway, we were practically parading through the village since they rarely see white people, and everyone was looking at us and wanted to talk to us. At the edge of the village is the ocean, so we hung out there for a while. Tons of men and little boys were surrounding us and everytime I tried to take a picture, especially a candid picture, several little boys would run in and pose. They were divinely adorable though. I wish Finn and Lars could meet them. They would think their light hair is crazy and you guys would think they were so funny. One little boy thought he was so clever and funny and kept trying to tell me that Pentaya is a very bad man. I think it bothered Pentaya that he was saying that. Little pill. The ocean is covered with their fishing boats, tons of trash and tons of shizzzz. But, seriously, the shoreline, like right above where the water meets the sand, is completely lined with human poo. And maybe we still waded in the water anyway. Don't judge. All the little kids were diving in the water in their clothes.

Also, there were 2 little beggar-ish boys, and they were each holding little monkeys. They were so cute. Monkeys are sooo cute, in a creepy, almost too-human looking way. Beggars can be sketchy, because apparently it really is like how it was in slumdog millionaire, which is sad.

We eat all our meals at the boys' apartment, because we have cooks. It would be hard to cook on our own, and if you keep any food in your house, you just get rats and roaches. Except I don't think they make the food spicy for us, which is annoying, so we're all going to talk to Chuckles about it so it will be more authentic. We do eat with our hands though, and I'm already getting much better. My hands still get too messy, though. Imagine me eating with my hands. I know, right?

Anyway, I'll end this. I really, really love India so much and I'm totally healthy and safe so far, so don't even worry. Sorry if this email is unnecessarily long, and possibly boring, I just haven't really done anything yet.

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