Monday, January 31, 2011

A Final Tribute to India

Today is our last day in India. It's been everything and more than I ever thought it would be. We've had an amazing time! The North is definitely different from the South, but they are both great in their own way. Where the North lacks, they make up for it with the friendly faces we see on an every day basis.


It seems that every street we turn down, we bump into someone that Dan knows. We've stopped at his favorite places to eat, mostly street vendors and they all seem to recognize him and welcome us with friendly smiles and hugs. They ask if we want the usual. The usual? Today's the first day we got here, I'm thinking to myself. Dan gives his nod of approval. Every vendor that we've gone to has remembered exactly what Dan's usual order was a year ago. We've gotten a warm feeling from everyone we've come into contact with. 

The love, kindness and compassion that everyone shows us has been more than genuine. India is a country filled with love for every brother and sister of the world. With that being said, we will miss our time in India and cherish it until the next opportunity for us to visit arises. 

A final tribute and tidbits to India...

I'm not sure if i've touched on the fact that everyone eats with their hands.. or hand, right hand to be exact. Left is used to wipe. So when I eat with both my hands Indians stare at me in disgust. (I use t.p so i can use both my hands thank you very much!)  

video



I'm going to miss all our young friends that we made along the way. Their smiles and friendly hellos have certainly made an impression!

 I wont miss crammed means of transportation, but i will miss the friendly chatter on the trains.
 Good bye toilets. I cant say that I'm not going to miss these because I have no idea what my future toilet situation will be like. So for karma purposes, these toilets were manageable. Hopefully on the next leg of the journey, they are still manageable.
 Someone I know will really miss his Hindi television. This was taken at the first hotel that we stayed in that had a T.V. He sat there for a while just glued to the tube!
 Goodbye beautiful sunsets. Sadly we've had reports that the weather in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam is still on the rainy and dreary side. We're still hopeful!


Upcoming travel plans include a flight to Bangkok for an overnight stay and then a bus ride to the Cambodian Border. Followed by a week at Angkor Wat. If you have time, look this place up. This wasnt a schedule stop on the trip, but the people we've met over the past month have raved about it. So here goes nothing! 

Bye India! Thanks for treating us so well, until the next time we see each other :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Fun Filled Day

I ordered some books on amazon before I left and of course they didnt come in time. So my mother gave me the girl with the dragon tattoo to read on a whim as I was leaving back on the 4th. We'll I got hooked. I love the series and have read all three books as of yesterday. I stayed up until 2 in the morning with my flashlight just like  I was in summer camp.


I havent stayed up pass 9pm the whole time i've been in india! Danny was fast asleep and had no idea I had stayed up so late. So he couldn't figure out why I slept in until 11. After I got my barrings (more or less brushed my teeth) we headed out for breakfast. Our breakfast man commented on the fact we were so late! We sat enjoying an egg sandwich and some chai while this old indian woman came up to us and pointed. Dan opened up his wallet to give her some money and she shook her head. So we ordered her an egg sandwich too (all of 10 rupees) She sat and ate breakfast with us and then went on her way. While we were still sitting there, an asian woman came up to the stall with 4 street boys and bought them breakfast. They sat next to us beaming from ear to ear. We sparked their attention when we took out our malaria pills. They all gave us an open palm wanting some too. I laughed and said no sorry. (What I really wanted to say was, this isnt going to give you the kind of effect you're looking for guys, as I know that's what they were looking for.) We started to talk to them. I gave them the rest of my food and fruit juice and they shared their secret hand shakes with us.

This was all in the matter of about 15 minutes from when I woke up. At first I was a little overwhelmed with the old woman and the boys but as I was walking away waving back to them, I thought about how wild the situation actually was. In fact, it was amazing. As we walked to the internet place to get our upcoming travel plans squared away we bumped into Danny's good friend Patema. She has to be one of the sweetest women on the world. We found her sitting on the street and we literally just bumped into her. She stood up and was amazed to see Dan. She had the biggest smile I had ever seen. She kissed us both and we chatted with her for a while. As we were about to leave, she said a simple thank you. Puzzled we asked, what for? Just for talking with me. I dont want any money, I dont want any food, all I want is (She put her hand on our throat). I just want to talk with you. I've missed you my brother. It was an overwhelming feeling that her words brought to me. I was in awe.

We continued on with our day and realized it was 4pm. We grabbed another bite to eat and decided it was date night! We headed over to the movie theater and got a ticket for the pm showing of a hindi love film. Dan assured me I was in for a treat. It's the exact opposite of an American movie theater. Everyone laughs and really gets into the movie. They are loud, they dont turn off their cell phones, they actually pick up their calls! It was hysterical. We had a blast and the movie was actually pretty good. Yes it was in Hindi, but we understood the gist of it.  

We had a great day of fun and somehow we were tired! So we headed to bed. I was just about to fall asleep and heard all this banging. I thought it would go away but it wasnt so i sat up. Then I realized that it was getting louder and it sounded more like music then banging. I went into the hallway and looked out the window and saw what looked like a circus. I told dan to come out and we locked the door and headed downstairs. Mind you, I was in my pj's, I didnt have my glasses on nor did I even think to grab my camera. Silly mistakes right there. As we went downstairs we realized that it was a Wedding procession!!! It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen. There was TWO marching bands, some type of light up carnival looking thing, the groom on a white horse, and people everywhere. As we sat and stared at them for a half hour we decided it was time to go back to bed. The guest house manager assured us it would be fine if we went into the wedding. We were guests and we'd be more than welcome. I thought about it for 20 seconds and realized I would be a little peeved if someone in their pj's showed up at my wedding uninvited. Once again, we declined politely and headed back up to bed. After all, we did have a very fun filled day.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Turn That Frown Upside Down.



Before I left for India, I asked a lot of people that had been here to give me some advice and testimonial about their experience. Most of those people had only been to Calcutta so I knew their opinions only related to a tiny portion of India, which I knew would be the last stop.


For the last 20 days I have had a blissful experience in India. I have spent my time on the beach, in tourist towns, have had my own bathroom, and sometimes even a hot shower. Although my accommodations are below Western Standards, I have been very fortunate to stay in bug free, well maintained guesthouses that have exceeded my expectations.

When Danny and I got here on the 25th, we were coming in from Bangalore, the most modern city in India. During our long cab ride from the airport to Sudder St. I had a range of thoughts going through my head. All I could think about was the raving reviews from everyone who had been here, yet all I could see was a dirty, poverty stricken city.

Communication has been key on this trip. So i turned to Danny and said I'm kind of having a little freak out. He assured me that I had the best tour guide in town and it would be fine. We get dropped off on Sudder Street and ventured off to find some where to stay. (For those of you at home that have been here i'll use the names of the places he brought me to. Hopefully you can picture it and it brings a smile to your face) We headed first to Maria hotel. The man Danny had become friendly with when he stayed there last year was not there when we arrived. We were shown a damp, moldy room with no bathroom for 200 rupees. Dan asked if this was ok and I just stared at him. Bits of rage went through me. All I could think was I told you I was freaking out and you bring me here!! We said no thank you and asked if there were any other rooms by chance. With a shake of the head, we smiled and headed for the door.

As soon as we were away from ear shot I was like Dan, really. (I dont know why I waited to say anything because no one understands us anyways!) Dan explained that he had a great room on the roof top last year and had high hopes of another great experience.  He could see the disappointment on my face so he brought me to the lovely Astoria hotel. I know I'm a little on the spoiled side, but as soon as I saw these rooms I knew they were above our standards. We said no the the 1300 rupee rooms and headed out to try and find something in the middle. Third times a charm. We headed to the Center Point Guest House, (home of the famous Sabine) and found a perfect room to call home for the next week.  Crisis solved.


We've been touring the city day after day. Seeing sights, markets, meeting with the tailor etc. We're treating ourselves to some tailor made clothes!

Yesterday I had the best laugh I've had in a long time. We spent the day at the Victoria Memorial. We brought books and a deck of cards and set up shop on a park bench. Everyday I have people staring at me. Danny gets it to, but not in the same manner as me. Usual I smile back to acknowledge the fact I know that they are staring at me. Everywhere, except Calcutta, they smile back and feel awkward. In Calcutta, they just keep starting usually expressionless. So yesterday, we happened to have high schoolers as our park bench neighbors.  I was engrossed in my book and didnt realize what was happening until Danny gave me a little nudge. I looked up and there were people stopped and staring (and i mean staring) The teenagers next to us were "necking" as you old timers would call it. In America, we'd just glance and smirk and go on with our day. In India, it's not that simple. People were disgusted. I started cracking up. I couldnt contain myself. I told Dan we should hire them to walk near us everyday and make-out so everyone's attention is directed at them and not us. After 20 minutes, the two came up for air and were red in the face when they realized all the stares they had brought upon themselves.







After 5 days here, I'm starting to see what everyone was raving about. I'm not quite sure how to put it into words just yet, but Calcutta puts a warm feeling in my heart. I hope you are all great at home. Love from India.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

KPMG Offshore

We had a quick 24 hours in Bangalore. You know what that means, right? I goggled the address for the GDC and headed out in search. I found a rickshaw driver and he said it would cost 120 rupees. To put it into perspective a usual rickshaw ride would cost anywhere from 20 to 60 rupees. However, you get 45 rupees to the dollar. So it cost me about 3 bucks! It was sure worth the "expensive" 120 rupees.

We headed out in the beginning of rush hour traffic. Bangalore is a very modern city with younger people dressed in regular western attire. As we were driving there I was trying to imagine what this place was going to look like. I dont know if any of you have seen outsourced but, thats all i could picture. Boy was I wrong.

After a 20 minute drive we turn down this very busy highway rode and there is a big building with the KPMG logo. I was so excited! My driver said he would wait for me to do whatever i needed to. So Dan, my boyfriend, and I headed  out to take some pictures. We soon realized that there was one huge gated building with about 10 different company logo's on it. I sat there a little confused trying to figure out  if the first building I saw was a KPMG building or if this one was.  We snapped some photos of both and headed back to the rickshaw.

I started to tell the driver that I worked at KPMG is the USA. He said, why dont you go in. I turned to my left and said the armed security in front of the gate, thats why. He laughed and got out and said something to them and motioned me to come follow him. (What white skin will do in a foreign country) The let us into the industrial park.

As we walked around we came to the realization that the 10 or so different logo's on the main building all had a floor within that building and they also had their own building. This industrial park was huge. There was also a golf course in the back as well. You can see some of the logo's in the pictures, but there was also yahoo, dell, ibm etc. The building's were nice, if not nicer than ours.

No one stopped our searching so we continued. We walked into the main building and noticed KPMG was on the 2nd floor. We took the elevator up! As the doors opened there was a security guard there. I explained that I worked for KPMG in the USA and HE LET ME IN! I sat and took pictures and watched people come in and out of the glassed doors. He asked if i had a business card. (Woops forgot that in my pack!) He said if i had proof i worked at KPMG he could let me in. Sadly i didnt but i thanked him and the receptionist and went on my way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here, There, Everywhere

For the last week we have been in the State of Karnataka. We headed to Mysore, known for it's palace, spice market and Sri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. (The mecca of Ashtanga yoga, which is what I practice) Dan wasnt feeling so well, so we took it easy with a bunch of resting in between sight seeing. Once a week for a half an hour the palace is lit up at night and we were lucky enough to be there on that night! It was absolutely beautiful. People kept approaching us and asking if we wanted our picture taken. Politely i said no thank you. About 27 minutes into the lighting i glanced at someone's photo that they had taken. It was great quality and I thought about the mediocre pictures I had taken and decided I wanted one. We find a guy and the same second he takes the photo, the lights went out! It was too late! My mediocre pictures will have to do.

 The spice market was filled with fruits and veggies, fresh flowers, oils, incense, and of course our haggling friends. All and all it was a sight I would not have wanted to miss. We made it an everyday stop!
 We stopped in to see the Yoga Institute. Sri K Pattabhi Jois is a very famous yoga instructor (Madonna's teacher) who died in May 2009 at the age of 93. Quick picture for my friends back at Yoga Vermont!
 We treated ourselves to a Western lunch and enjoyed a deep dish cheese pizza. We were like little kids on Christmas morning!


After Mysore, we took a short train ride over to bangalore. I felt like I was in NYC, it's as modern as India gets. We were only there for a few hours but luckily we had enough time to check out KPMG offshore and buy a few gifts for you all at home!

We're now in Calcutta and I am enjoying having my own personal tour guide! For all of you that dont know, Dan spent 3 months here last year. He has been showing me around all day. We've been meeting old friends, getting clothes made (super excited) and enjoying local foods. We're off to enjoy our last week in India! Time flys when you're having fun.






Friday, January 21, 2011

Tidbit's about India

It just occurred to me that I see the wildest things everyday and I have yet to share them with any of you. It finally dawned on me yesterday when we came out of dinner and saw a cow standing in the doorway waiting to be fed. I didnt think twice about it. I guess that means they are finally starting to become my norm.

Note: most if not all pictures were taking without permission. i'm sure these nice indians wont mind, as they are constantly asking me to take their picture.

Let's start with the boys. They are affectionate about one another and they aren't afraid to show it. These are 3 middle school boys walking down the street. I didnt ask them to pose like this, it's just the common thing for young boys to do.
 Now the men. As boys get older, their affection grows. These two men are holding hands. I tried to sneak a picture of them and they caught me! They happily came over and posed for one anyway. They were still holding hands. Perfect. I have yet to see a man and woman holding hands in public but there are tons of men holding hands everywhere you look!
 This is the typical dress for men. It's a sheet wrapped around the lower body. Sometime it's folded up into a skirt as shown below. It's usually worn with a dress shirt. Business on top, party on the bottom.
 Spitting is allowed everywhere you go. You can find men and women chewing a red tobacco type product called beetle. I've been around a few men that use dip or chewing tobacco at home so it doesnt really phase me. It's the women doing it that blow my mind. We were in a conversation with a women last week and as i was talking she just spit right there in front of me. Yummmm
Sadly, their lobsters look nothing like maine lobsters. However, they taste pretty similar!
 I am not a big coffee or tea (called chai in india). Every morning I ask for a glass of juice. Usually i just pick the cheapest on the menu because they are all delicious. What i get in return is a glass filled with the freshest juice imaginable. It's so great. Costs me about 50 cents!
 There arent really trash cans in india. Instead they throw their trash anywhere they please. When a bug pile of trash accumulates in front of your house or store, you sweep it in a pile and light it on fire. It's smells as awful as it sounds. So sad :(

Cows are free to wander about. They are very sacred in India. This was a pregnant cow that we saw all around town in Mysore. She would go to all the food vendors on the street and they would feed her. Who's cow is it? We're guessing the neighborhoods!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Special Note to the Keshmiri Kids!

To: Sophia, Julia, Jake and Mia

Hi guys! Hope you are getting tons of snow days! Yesterday Danny and I went around town here in Kochi, India and we went went to a church called St. Mary's. We walked in through the gates and found out there was an all girls school attached to it. We met some of the girls and took pictures. Thought you'd want to see that there's a St. Mary's School in India too! Be good for your mom. (you can give you dad as much trouble as you want. I'm kidding!!) Miss you kiddies!


Love,

Meg and Dan.

St. Mary's church


St. Mary's School

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kochi

I know that I am on vacation or whatever one would want to call it, but I feel like I have been moving and grooving ever since we left the beaches of Goa. We've been setting our alarm for 6am for the past week and filling our days with sight seeing and the like.

Kochi hasn't been any different. We had a miserable train ride here and planned tour after tour to fill up our short 4 days. Don't get me wrong, it's been worth it to see all the beautiful sights, but I'm very tired and VERY hot. Enough complaining already...

We are staying on an Island off of Kochi called Fort Cochin. It's another tourist hotspot, but for good reason. Here you find the backwaters of Kerala. Yesterday we took a full day tour on a non motorized boat through the backwaters. It was absolutely breathtaking. 









On the trip we met a great couple from Melbourne, Australia. They were an inspiration for Danny and me. They said they started back packing when they were in their 20's and never really stopped. They told as all the places that they had been to. They had twin girls and took them on vacations as well. We were astonished. Danny and I gave each other a glance, both thinking the same thing, what fortune do they have. Later in the conversation we discovered that they were both in the school system, one a grade school teacher and the other a vice principal. Ahhh so it is possible. Guess we need to start saving our pennies.


After a long day we grabbed a bite at an ITALIAN restaurant, run by an Italian man who married an Indian woman. All the ingredients were imported from Italy. You would have thought i was in Venice for the day. Strolling along the grand canal and finishing my day off with a delicious and very authentic Italian meal. Not the case, but the backwaters were still beautiful.

We finally had a morning to sleep in. I was so excited. 7 am rolls around and you hear this screaming noise over and over again. I had no idea what the person was saying but they kept repeating it over and over again. It felt like a dog nudging you by your bedside to get up. OK OK im up. We strolled the streets looking for a breakfast cafe and there the noise was again. It turned out that a man was selling the fish he caught that morning. We kept strolling and found ourselves by the water's edge watching the fishing nets. Crazy contraptions.

We rented a rickshaw for the day to take us around to all the hot spots. 50 Rupees an hour, a little over $1. We made good friends with the driver who took us all over town. We went to churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and even a jain temple. As nice as it all sounds, it was another tiring day. Luckily I found the next book to the girl with the dragon tattoo series and spent the last few hours reading and sleeping. We're off to a Keralan Kathakali (Traditional Dance) Show tonight and hopefully another delicious dinner.




Hope the snow is manageable at home. Stay warm. Love from India!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feminism or Lack Thereof

I just Googled the word feminism. Wiki states that feminism is movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Dan and I had a conversation about feminism today. I was using the term as if the definition was those crazy ladies (you all know what im talking about). Yes just those crazy ladies... and rest assure I am not one of them. But like everyone else in America, we are all now very adjusted to the fact that women are just as equal as men. Sadly that is not the case in India.

Just a few examples... Whenever we meet someone, Dan is the only one that is spoken to. When we are asked to fill out information at hotels, Dan is the only one who can fill it out. When we sit down at a restaurant, Dan is given him menu first and is asked what he'd like to eat first.

At first I didnt really notice it. I was relaxed and taking things slow. I was happy to have Dan in the drivers seat. However, yesterday we went to the very southern tip of India, Kanyakumari. This is where the Arabian Sea, Bengali Bay and the Indian Ocean all intersect.  There were beautiful sights all around us.  We had to take a ferry ride to reach one of the temples. As we got in line to get the tickets a man came rushing over to me and started yelling at me. I had no idea what he was saying. As I looked around, more for support than anything else, I noticed that there wasnt a single woman in line. They were all off to the side. Women were not allowed in line. I laughed and pushed aside while Danny did the dirty work.

Well well well... how the tables have turned. This morning we took a 4 hour train ride north to Kochi. We met a very nice man on the train. Let me rephrase that. Dan met a very nice man on the train today. He spoke very good English and was eager to talk to Dan. I sat there starring into space eavesdropping of course. He was trying to tell Dan about the pilgrims that migrated to Kerala. This was the last week they would be there but sadly, there was a stampede and 108 or so people have died.

Like the inteligent woman I am (yes tooting my own horn) I read the paper the day before and knew all about it. As i sat there watching Dan struggle to understand what this guys was saying. I didnt intervene. I just kept on staring. We said goodbye to our (Dan's) new friend and went to another ferry to get to the island that were staying on for the next few days.

We get to the ferry station and see an extremely long line. Oddly enough, this line was filled with only men. So Dan gets in line. I think for a second, let me just check to see if there is a ladies only line. JACKPOT. There is. As i was 10th in line, I grabbed our tickets and we were on the first ferry out. (Maybe this segregation isnt so bad after all) (KIDDING)

We get to our hotel and as I was speaking with the Hotel Manager about tours, after they were already described to Dan, Dan sat and read the paper. (Click) "Meg, this is what the guy on the train was talking about this morning. There was a stampede and all these people were killed." I responded, oh interesting.

I obviously explained all this to Dan. And that is where the conversation of feminism came into play... 

As I sit here writing today, I want to remind everyone back home that we should all be thankful for the simple freedoms a Democracy like America has. I can honestly say, that until this trip, I have taken them for granted. Cheers for the power of women.

Thanks! (Contact Info)

I want to thank everyone for the kind words about the blog. Glad you guys are liking it. If you want to get a hold of me, I dont have a phone or an address but I do have email and facebook. My email is megsedlak@gmail.com and you can find me on facebook as well. If you want to send me a message i'll make sure to write you something back. Love to you all -Meg

Friday, January 14, 2011

Out of My Element

Alas, the train was on time and me made it down to Udupi. We still got in late and it was very dark so we got a retiring room at the train station had a hot shower and headed into town to try and get some food for dinner.

As we took our 10 minute rikshaw ride into town I started to feel uncomfortable and out of my element. It's about time right. There is way more to india than just beaches. We were dropped off in the center of town and came across some sort of religious statue being paraded all through town. So we followed the locals and did what they did. As i looked around I noticed there wasnt another white person in site.  There was also no food in site. So we went to one of the many store's on the side of the road and bought bananas, cookies, puffed rice, and water. This was our food for the next 36 hours. It took a while to find a rikshaw to bring us back to the train station. We had a quick snooze and woke up at 3am for our 16 hour train ride.

We borded the train and went to find out seats. There was someone sleeping in Danny's Bed. We gave him the boot and made Class 3 Berth 3 Seats 7 and 8 our new home.

We are now in travandulum in the very south of Kerala, India. This city is busy but is very friendly. There are no other white people in sight so we are eye candy for the locals. People just stare and giggle all day at us. I found that if you smile at them they usually just smile back. Oh what a simple smile can do.

We're in the midst of exploring the city today and signed up to take a 12 hour tour tomorrow.  I hope everyone back at home is doing well.

The only cool thing in Udupi



Just about to get off the train. Woohoo
 


After 12 plus hours on the train. Not looking too gross.

Sending love back to everyone at home- Meg & Dan


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Letting go.... (or at least trying to)

To plan or not to plan, that is the question. I came into this trip very aware that South East Asia, and particularly India, was going to be very lax. There would be no true planning, or so I thought. We've just been looking in our India guide book and hopping around to the towns that looked appealing.

Finally in Palolem did we decide we needed to get a little serious and start looking into travel plans. So we decided a stop to the travel agent on the way back from breakfast was in order. We tried to book some trains, all full. We tried to book some more trains, too expensive. We tried to book some more trains, tedious way of arriving to our destination. So after my hour of being mad glad sad etc (See previous post) we got everything figured out.

At 3pm we were going to head out on a local train. There was no booking involved. It was going to take us 4 hours south to Udupi, in the State of Karnataka. Well, the train was an hour late. We would have arrived at our destination when it was dark with no place to stay. So after all our planning we decided to hop of the train in Gokarna, another hotspot and spent the night. Well look what we stumbled upon...

video

As i sit on the beaches of Gokarna, I think to myself balance. Balance between planning and going with the flow. You've got to be able to change your plan on a moments notice. (Or while you're waiting an hour for your late train)


Well luckily our bump in the road dropped us off in this beautiful spot. We shared a taxi ride with an Israeli couple down to the beach and found our home for the night. We're going to try again for Udupi today. Cross your fingers...







Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Friends

Yesterday, Dan and I woke up and realized we needed to figure out our next move. We made a plan for the day and luckily stuck to it. We met with a travel agent and booked out train tickets. I had a mix of emotions during that hour. I was glad, mad, sad, frustrated, and happy all taking place within an hour. Booking trains in india is not the easiest thing, especially trying to do it with my lax counter part. Not to worry the trains are booked.

We enjoyed a nice breakfast and then headed home to do some laundry. I did my first load of handwashing. I have to say my clothes are very clean and smelling great. If you'd like to hire me we can talk about a price. Morning time, I give you good price (something that I hear every day). After out clothes were washed we hung them to dry and played with our guest's house son, Brydon who is two.

Realizing it was going to be our last full day in Palolem, we headed to a secluded beach we found the previous day. We found a nice relaxing spot, away from all the merchants, and commotion. I sat and read my book, while Dan played Solitaire and just watched the peacefulness of our surroundings. Obviously, that put me right to sleep. I woke up and I was PINK. No i dont mean the Victoria Secret Line. It wasnt remotely close to being sexy.

We didnt bring any electronics with us, so we had no way of knowing the time. The sun looked low enough to be past five. Why five? Well after talking with my new friends, the girls selling jewelry on the beach, i knew they were done at five everday. Ok so you caught me, I was trying to get out of the hustle and bustle of haggling. We were right in front of our hut and out pops Gita and Sunny. "Hi friend, You look today?" Dan sat there with a smile on his face. Of course he could smile, it wasnt him that there were after. After two days of saying no, i finally said yes.

They started bringing out of of their items for sale. I said hold on, I want two things, earrings and a pedicure. So i ran to my room and grabbed the nail polish that I had brought with me. Painting your toes in the sand.. not a great idea. I walked away with a little more than a pair of earrings. But it was all in good fun. After Sunny painted my toes, Gita said i love your nail polish. So i proceeded to paint her nails and then gave them the polish as a gift. When we were through we said our goodbyes. Walking away Dan said, you just made their day. I replied, no they made mine.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Head Bob

I talked with my mother last night and she said head boobs.. what are those? Laughing, I said head BOB's mom. Then she pictured Danny telling us about them the last time that he went to India. Well the are ever more prevalent in the South of India. So what exactly is a head bob? It's a slight movement of the head from right to left. It may be done once or a multiple of times. The Indian's use it for everything. You say hello and they head bob back. You ask a question they head bob back. Sometimes they're just head bobbing for no reason at all.

Well I have picked up on the trend. Danny will ask me a question and I respond with a head bob. At first we laughed, but now when I do it, he's like is that a yes or a no? I respond back with another head bob. It's great for indecision, which has become more and more prevalent in my life these days. 


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Saga Continues... (updated version)

Today we awoke to the waves of the beach and the sounds of birds chirping away. We said goodbye to Benhalium and hopped a bus to Margao, a city  15 minutes down the road to catch another bus to Paloleum, Goa. As we sat on an over crowded bus for 2 hours, I thought to myself, I really hope this place is worth the trip. Well rest assure, it is. We arrived in the center of town and walked a very short distance to the beach front. After walking for a few minutes we realized that we needed to find a place to rest our heads. So we literally took a right a headed up to a house. We found a woman with the biggest smile on her face. She said she had an open room for 400 ruppes a night. (To put this into perspective, 45 ruppes is equal to $1 making this place about $8 a night. I havent lost math skills just yet).

video


This place is amazing and the price is just right. Now if I can only get the women on the beaches to stop asking me if I will buy something.... I would be in heaven. After we found our new home we bought sarongs to use at beach blankets and sat on the beach for a while. We being me.. Danny still cant get over the fact that I can be half way across the world and still cant get away from consumerism.

If we had one person come up to ask us if we wanted something we had one hundred. In America, we probably would just give these people a dirty look and not reply. At first, that's exactly what I did. My counter part did the exact opposite. He just simply said, "no thank you". And they gave a simple smile and went on their way. I thought to myself, it's that simple huh.

As the time past and the people came over to us, we started talking to them. Men would come over to us but they weren't offering anything but high fives or thumbs down. Why you ask? Well when we were packing to come on this trip Dan showed me this little yellow Manchester United (England Soccer) Jersey. It's too small for him and I laughed and was like you're going to bring two shirts to india with you and one of them is going to be that?? Well little did I know, that shirt would make my boyfriend is a God here. People, mostly men, just come up to us and start talking about soccer. Little do they know Danny doesnt really know a thing about soccer or anyone on the Manchester United Team.

We met girls that we younger than I am that we married with three plus children that sold jewelry on the beach while their... and i quote.."Lazy husbands sat at home". These girls were uneducated not knowing how to read or write, yet they knew how to speak English. Mind boggling.

As we sat for about an hour talking with them, we looked over at a group of men playing cards. At first glance I laughed and pointed and said more lazy men. The girls were in agreeance and said, "You are so lucky. If you didnt like you're boyfriend you could leave him, but me, I have to stay with my husband and do whatever he tells me to do." I sat there not knowing what to say and put my head down thinking how lucky I actually am. As my head dropped I noticed the playing cards. Dan and I were in the middle of playing cards before the girls came over. I made a joke about lazy men playing cards, when what am I doing?

After they left us, Dan went to grab something at the market and left me on the beach to myself. I sat there thinking. What am I actually doing? Why am I here? This is where you pose the question Why instead of Why not. Hopefully the answer comes to me soon. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Behlium, India

The past few days we have been calling this beach town our home. Here are a few pictures.
Our beach hut

Beautiful beach

All sorts of markets

The road into town

Who needs car seats when you have a motor bike?

Just think, when our sun sets, your sun rises.