To Kollum

So I don’t have access to wifi and getting an aircard is quite difficult when I’m gone from 7 am to midnight. So, bear with me because this is from my iPad and it was 4 am when I typed this. And this is from several days ago. So, just, I’m sorry.

On Thursday we woke up after our first official night in India which involved 3 hours of official sleep. Thank you body for refusing to sleep even though you were up for about 42 out of 48 hours. You’re awesome as usual. Anyway, Yajira and I decided to cruise around Trivandrum since we were up so early and breakfast wasn’t until 9.

We found the library which had a fantastic tree.

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A market

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And an entire street where they were selling books. It was heaven. It’s too bad I can’t be lugging them around for the next month, otherwise I would have bought several.

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Afterwards we had an “American breakfast” provided by the hotel. I had a bowl of cornflakes drenched in hot milk. That was a bit of a surprise. I was not at all prepared for that. After breakfast, we loaded up to make the three hour drive to Kollum to begin our official program.

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Those taste exactly like crunchy Spaghetti-os. That’s not really a great thing. We also found this interesting hotel. What exactly are you tasting and taking there?

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When we arrived in Kollum, we were greeted by a large representation from the local Rotary clubs. We enjoyed some hot coffee which I quickly learned is meant to be consumed while it is extremely hot and in about two sips. I was quickly discouraged from my blowing and sipping. But seriously, that stuff was scalding. Guess I’m going to need to man up about that because I’ve since learned that this is the official way of doing things.

Post-coffee, we were immediately swept away to our hotel families. In all honesty, I had a little bit of a panic attack. It just happened so fast and I didn’t get to talk to anyone in my group or even figure out what was going on for that night’s Rotary meeting. As we manically zipped through the city, I really struggled to pull myself together. I guess I didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the fact that I would be completely alone with strangers, in a foreign city, and with no way to contact my team.

Thankfully, once I arrived, my family was so nice that I immediately forgot my worries. The hospitality in India is nothing like I’ve ever experienced. I mean people are super nice in Texas and extremely friendly, but these people really put everyone to shame. I enjoyed a few short hours getting to know my new family and familiarizing myself with my home for the next five days.

After some more coffee, we all got dressed and headed to the Rotary meeting. This was our first one, so I had no idea what to expect. The cultural norms for how people act in meetings is significantly different here and was extremely interesting to observe. It was also extremely hot since we were in an open air building with no fans. The jackets didn’t help, but the flowers around our necks were beautiful and very cold from being in a freezer. Thank God for the frozen flowers.

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That’s Yajaira with me by the way. She’s from the Valley (the very bottom of Texas) and is in event and venue management. We both have a pretty odd sense of humor, so we get along quite nicely.

The Rotarians also provided us with a meal and a lot of alcohol. I was prepared to not drink the entire time I was here, so this has been pretty surprising. At every meal and event they have served us very generous portions of liquor (I managed to choke down about two shots of Scotch because of one overly generous gentleman) and large beers (of which I have no complaints). I don’t know if this is normal in private meetings like this or if it’s because they think that we have the social expectation of alcohol. But, we smiled and drank every time they presented us with something (since saying no is not an option and attempts at declining are largely ignored).

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From the left, Vanessa (works in marketing and lives in the Valley), Janine (a photographer from the Valley), and Yajaira again.

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We have had a really spectacular time so far. We have been spoiled rotten. I will probably gain about 15 pounds over the next month because we eat all day long. Enormous breakfasts, lunches that last for hours, all afternoon snacking, and a massive dinner. I haven’t been sick yet thankfully, but we have been consuming dinner around 10 pm which gives me some spectacular night time heartburn.

I’ve also completely given up on trying to avoid eating certain things. I had planned on not eating meat, fish, or dairy. But, I don’t know how to avoid these things without looking like a jerk and most of the time they serve us. Like Downton Abbey style. I sit and servers come around with endless platters of food. There is also no way to politely decline because our Indian hosts are so excited to share their food and culture with us. So, I’m just throwing in the towel there and hoping for the best.

I have also been sleeping and living without air conditioning. Yes, me. I’m even still alive. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t rough. The weather is pretty spot on for Corpus Christi in the springtime in terms of temperature and humidity. The only problem is, I avoid this weather by hiding in the AC or a pool. Now, there is not hiding. I’ve taken up showering in the morning, in the evening before our Rotary meetings, and before bed. I feel bad about wasting so much water, but it’s the only way I don’t feel like I’m disgusting and covered in sweaty slime. Between the warmth and the time zone change, sleeping hasn’t really been happening, but I do have a fan and that makes me incredibly happy.

Anyway, I am loving my trip and having a wonderful time. I’m sorry I haven’t responded to comments, but until I get access to wifi or an aircard, then I’m on a pretty strict MB budget. This is also why the pictures are super compressed and highly crappy. You’re welcome.

16 Comments

Filed under India

16 Responses to To Kollum

  1. Christine

    No apologies missy…great pictures, great experiences, great and generous people…enjoy, learn, and we (or I at least) will be happy as long as you keep sharing when you can. I remember those experiences from long ago when I got to have them and am so glad to find out people haven’t changed. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be coming up with evil ways to make you realize how much we have suffered while you were away…

    • Justin

      I thought of another evil idea…you could rig each drawer with those popper’s. So whenever she opened it, they’d make a loud pop. She’ll poop herself.. here is an example of the fun you could have:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpXXI_Xoijs

      • Christine

        hahaha…nice. Are we related? I like the way you think, sir…and we have several weeks to plan for the return!

        • Justin

          Hahaha you would know if you were related to me. (I’m Cely’s boyfriend fyi) Here’s what you don’t know about cely: She loves to hide and scare the shit out of people. So she has it coming to her. I think it’s cool you are going to ruin her office and mess with her. I sent my employees monopoly money this week for pay checks. No one else laughed.

          • Christine

            All in a day’s work Boyfriend–I am one of the reasons Cely loves her job SO much, she gets to experience my twisted wackiness ALL the time. Wonder if I could get away with the monopoly money idea…and I would definitely have laughed.

          • Justin

            well I forgot to sign checks because I was busy with a crisis (cely) . WOMAN HASN’T HAD COLD CEREAL IN 4 days. Anyway I thought it’d be hilarious to send monopoly money THEN the real checks. But I just got a bunch of gripes. Ungrateful people, I could be a boring asshole! Also if you want to join me in on my cereal plot..you can. I’m making a collage of me eating cereal and sending it to her at the end of each week. Feel free to join.

  2. Justin

    Just remember, it’s only 5 weeks. After that you’ll be home. Even though selfishly I wish you were home.

  3. Fabian’s family is one of those hard to say no to so you don’t offend them bunch. I find it really hard to choke down food I would never normally stand in a room with. Such is different cultures. Although, I may have fed corn flakes and hot milk to a nearby plant.

  4. the B

    I hyperventilated reading the line about being alone with host fam in a foreign city with no way to contact your team…. You are going to come back to America like, you bitches are so lame. You’ll be all worldly & grown up. I’ll still be here like omg I’m out of eggs for cookies WTF DO I DO?!? Sigh. :) I’m glad you are safe & having fun!!! Miss you!

  5. Aneida

    Thanks for keeping us posted about your adventures across the world! Today’s post was especially cool to read since I’m from the Valley too! It’s so rare to see or hear about people from our small area of the state now that I’ve lived across the country for so many years (my husband is military). So thanks for sharing!

  6. Betsy

    Here’s a trick I use for sleeping when I’m traveling and there’s no AC. Sounds weird, but I promise it works! Soak your bath towel in cold water, then wring it out. Place the wet towel on top of the bottom sheet. Something about the interaction of the water in the towel and the strong air from the fan sort of simulates AC, and will get you through the struggle of falling asleep.

  7. Thanks for keeping us updated. Enjoy yourself with food and drink. You will probably only be in Idia once. I can’t remember if I sent this travel tidbit, but take a peptobismol tablet every morning and before going to bed. The ingredients in the tablets help control bacteria that your body is not used to. Be aware that the tablets will turn your tongue dark- so when you wake up with a black tongue, don’t panic- just brush it off.

  8. Nobody in the history of the world has gained weight while living in India and I doubt you will be the first.

    On another note, how incredible is the generosity of others? People never fail to amaze me, especially when traveling.

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