Since I last wrote, I took you through the wonders of Northern India. After returning back to Mumbai for a couple of days, I opted to see a doctor for my Delhi Belly…we like to call it the DB. After being diagnosed with a bacterial infection that most Westerners get when traveling to India, I headed over to the chaotic pharmacy where it is a free for all. I walked away with a handful of medications, at the price of $8. Something that would cost much more in the US. I also decided to venture over to the grocery store to get a bottle of Gatorade. To my amazement, they don’t have a scanning system in the store. It is done the very old school wa/y, where a guy memorizes the price of every merchandise in the store and yells it out to the cashier. The error rate is next to none.
Which brings me to my next point. The Harvard Business Review has conducted studies on India’s organized chaos (as I like to refer to it) with the Daba wala’s. If you don’t know what this is , you should google it. It is an amazing system where the woman makes her husband a hot lunch, leaves it outside their doorstep, and then a daba wala (Hindi for a ‘box person’) comes and picks it up without any addresses listed on it (just color coded), gets it delivered to the husband at work and returns it back to the house for cleaning. Amongst, all
this, there is not one single address written on it. They rely strictly on the color coding. I was able to witness the train statíon where the daba wala’s happen. A miracle beyond belief. And another reason why India is amazing.
Next up was Hyderabad. This is where I met the amazing girls that have been doing social work for hardly any pay just to give back to the Indian community. They deserve a massive kudos. And, many of you reading this blog now had contributed donations to help Camp Voice. I was able to see the schools first hand and talk with the principal. The conditions are so poor where we are trying to get this camp going; however, the smiles you see from the kids makes it all worthwhile. I hope that many of you vote during the next voting cycle…each vote really does make a difference in a child’s future. This could be the first step to me changing career paths entirely and going into social work and/or teaching.
Today starts a new beginning in Kerala. Known for its beautiful, pristine backwaters and beaches. The first day has not been the best, as we ran into a person. You don’t ever want to witness what happens in India when this occurs. It involves a series of men pounding your car and trying to get the driver out to beat him up. We were lucky the driver was able to escape and drive off with us in the car. Then we get to our hotel and there was a mix up with reservations, so we were brought to another hotel where we could enjoy a complimentary dinner. There was a bit of Nirali yelling involved. That is how they roll in this country and I am not afraid to speak broken Hindi to get my point across. Whatever it takes yo.
And now I have left you with a handful of photo’s taken over the last 3 weeks. It was a challenge to select a few from the thousands we have. I will try to get some Kerala pic’s up soon.
Drum roll…your fast facts for this entry include:
- The Swastika symbol originated in India. Hitler stole it from us to make it his own. Lessons learned: Never let your aunts hand your German boyfriend vases to deliver with swastika symbols all over it to another aunt. Sorted.
- In Indian airports, they don’t ever make boarding call announcements. As a result, we have almost missed 2 flights.
- Highlights in Hyderabad: Best chai ever. Best Biryani ever (they are known for it). And, best Kite Festival ever (happens once a year and we got to participate in it on the rooftop of a friends place).
- Dude tried to take my Longchamp bag from the security conveyer belt. I had to scream across the airport that it was my bag and couldn’t get past security to stop him. Apparently, Longchamp is the bag of choice among Westeners and he mistook my bag for his wife’s.
- Kerala: The most literate region in India. And, I also saw with Martin the most amazing sunset while swimming in the pool. Gold.
Those are your highlights for now. More to come as we explore the Kerala beaches and backwaters. I will try to keep everyone posted assuming Internet access is up and running.