We have all SURVIVED! After a day of traveling- where Eugene almost missed the flight,Katherine met a borderline alcoholic Irish man, Brittney fought an Indian lady for her armrest, and Laurie spent $8 on a Starbucks frappe in Dubai- we have all arrived in Vadodara. Raghu (Founder & CEO of MINDS) picked us up at the airport and was driven home by two vans (Eugene rode with our luggage in one, and Raghu, Laurie, Katherine, and Brittney rode in the other). The sights were overwhelming- we saw cows, donkeys, and dogs walking around the street, gross inequality (big houses fronted by shacks), and lots and lots of motorbikes and rickshaws. The air was also filled with the smell of cow dung and incense and loud car horns of various pitches and melodies.
Once we arrived, we were brought yogurt, water, and a Gujarati snack wrapped in newspaper. There’s geckos on the walls and the bathrooms slightly resemble medieval torture chambers. We were told we had the entire day to rest, and what was intended to be a 1-2 hour nap accidentally turned into an 8-hour nap (oops).
At night, while attempting to sleep there were an immense amount of various noises ranging from honking horns (which sometimes resembled music), birds chirping, people outside talking, and best of all a pack of stray dogs barking ferociously at monkeys during the wee hours of 3AM.
After an uneasy night of sleep, we rose at 6AM and were more than ready to go out and explore the city. Our first stop was the Seven Seas Mall. We were ever so lucky to all share an entertaining ride in one rickshaw (what Eugene called an “Ostrich Cart”) for 100 rupees, which caused Brittney to have to sit on both Laurie and Katherine’s lap in order to make room. Many of the locals were shocked to see Americans, since many have never seen an American in person, one man walking next to our rickshaw stopped to do a double take. Getting used to the staring has been quite the adjustment, and will most likely continue to be. In the mall we were able to eat lunch at McDonalds that included real chicken! Along with our meal we were able to do a little shopping in a store that can be considered a Walmart/Costco called “Big Bazaar”, where Laurie, Katherine, and Brittney were all able to buy some traditional Indian clothing for very cheap.
Beyond the couple of activities and events these past couple of days, the overall experience has been pretty strange to say the least. First of all, this blog post is currently being written in the dark because the power enjoys going out at the worst possible times. Also, the food is eerily simple; we had no idea there were so many different ways to make a curry that tastes just about the same. We’re still betting to see who is going to “get sick” first and apparently Brittney is in the lead (yay for pink pills). Anyways, on a happier note, we are staying in an old film studio and we are living next door to a really badass Indian soap opera star (luscious long hair and an awfully strong love for cigarettes). The amount of estrogen is also really frickin’ high.
PS. I am a whale