Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Happy Birthday to Me!
It still doesn't "feel" like I'm 21. But it's been a great day. I bought a shirt, 2 meters of fabric to make a skirt, a beaded coaster, and a Ganesh red Address Book to use as a Hindi Dictionary. Lunch at The Black Stallion, and now at the internet cafe. Off for a run in a bit with Carla and then out tonight to Ten Downing Street where supposedly they'll be having a big bash with a good dj as they open up their newly renovated dancefloor. :o)
The only thing annoying is that webmail is down for their maintenance ar 4am on Wednesday, right when I need to check my email.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I actually feel like I was super productive today. Which is funny, because I stayed up until 4am trying to finish the Mahabharata with still a few dozen pages unread. This means that this morning really sucked. I was sooo incredibly tired. You know those days when you've only had a few hours sleep and you wake up feeling refreshed for some odd reason. Well, that's what I was hoping for. It wasn't one of those days.
In Hindi I messed up speaking again. And I'm really dreading the test this week. But luckily it's not on my birthday tomorrow! It's Friday. Lots of cramming is needed.
Ancient Texts and Religions class is getting better. It's not excellent. I don't exactly look forward to it, but I don't dread it either. It'll get better though, once we dig into more stuff. I was really tired in class today, and the two hours seemed to last forever. But somehow I came to life after class.
First, the majority of our group went to FabIndia, a sorta upscale Indian store. Mostly clothes. Looks can be decieving. The store looked amazing, but on closer inspection I couldn't find a single thing that I wanted to buy. But a lot of other people found some great clothes. I guess I did find one shirt, but I felt bad spending 275 Rs on it, when I usually don't even spend that much for a shirt in the States.
Next stop: lunch. At? The Black Stallion of course! I've now had five official meals there, and I have no desire to go anywhere else. It's an easy 5 minutes walk from the hotel, convienantly located right next to this internet cafe, the waiters are super nice and the food is superb! What more could I ask for? Plus, every dish is under 100 Rs ($2), and very filling. Our group has successfully taken over Black Stallion, just as we have with Ten Downing Street. It's quite amusing. Today we had 7 students (out of 14) and our two professors there for lunch, and none of us planned to meet up there. It's sorta like how NoodlesEtc is for me in Hyde Park. It's the neighborhood place that I'm in love with, and I always seem to run into people.
After lunch the fun began. I think today was one of the best days since I've been here, the more that I think about it. After lunch I walked back to the hotel and met up with Yusra, Amelia and Margaret. We squeezed the four of us into a rikshaw (after bargaining with them to let us sneak an extra person in for extra rupees) and headed to Laxmi Road. It was like paradise. Well, not really at all, but it was a great neighborhood and there were so many neat stores! I really want to go spend more time here. Almost every store sells clothes and fabric. The first store that we went into was Balaram Market. It was pretty upscale and they had fabrics in almost every color imaginable. It was beautiful. I climbed upstairs and entered the fancy saree room. They were gorgeous. The walls were covered with shelves and shelves of sarees, all folded up in almost any color you can imagine. In the room next door there were silk sarees (much more expensive). Taking off my shoes, I went up another flight of stairs to the Poona Saree room. The floor was lined with a soft mat that felt good on my bare feet. Some women were sitting down while the male shopkeepers pulled down sarees from the shelves and laid them out to be examined. I was in awe at the selection. It was overwhelming. There were so many absolutely gorgeous sarees, and most were under 1000 Rs. In the end, after a few minutes of admiration, we decided to ask Pratibha to come back and saree shop with us. She's the administrator of our program, and is always very nicely dressed. We're hoping she'll like our offer.
We kept strolling down the street and my eyes were easily distracted by all the colors and objects surrounding us. The street was very alive. So many people, so much brightly colored and flashy patterned fabric hanging outside the shops. I ended up making 5 purchases at a store, and an anticipated purchase for tomorrow at another. After Balaram Market we went across the street to Shivkanchi Matchings. After pulling out roll after roll of fabric from behind the counter and talking to the manager (I assume he was) of the store, we decided to come back tomorrow with our garments ready to be copied. Margaret and I both want to get pants copied, and both of us really adore this grey material with tiny blue pin-stripes. For 250 Rs a meter it's a decent deal. And then it's only 175 Rs to get the pants sewn. Coolio. I just have to remember to bring my black pants to be copied tomorrow.
Exciting Finds
So walking along down the street I was window shopping and happened to spot these boxes full of fabric, which I thought were scraps. We went inside and it turned out that the boxes were full of dupattas (scarfs), some of which had small stains, and some of which only had little tears, and some seemed perfectly fine, just a little wrinkled. They were only 25 Rs a piece! What a deal. It was my favorite kind of shopping! Old stuff thrown into a box for me to dig through. I got so excited and dove in. I found 4 dupattas that I really like. :o) And then, I spotted some really beautiful fabric. It's really too rich a fabric than my taste, (and gold, which I'm usually not so fond of) but I loved it anyways. It's dark red/marroon with intricately patterned golden thread woven in. Kinda hard to explain. I bought two yards and the more I stare at it now the more beautiful it gets. It's my favorite purchase yet (and the most selfish one too!). I'm really excited to see how the skirt will turn out. Now I just have to find a tailor.

Monday, October 28, 2002

It's been an uneventful Monday. Woke up tired with the tea-guy laughing at my sleepiness as I opened the door and unconciously signed the slip. In Hindi we learned how to use adjectives, and it's harder than I thought it would be. At the end of class he called on me to do five sentences, and I seemed to loose all ability to communicate and completely screwed up. Lots of studying for me to do tonight! But instead of studying I'm back at the internet cafe ;o) wishing that people would be online to talk to. But no one is.
Fashion Design
I've started some sketches. Claire would be proud, maybe. I am trying to design some clothes. Tomorrow my goal is to draw some more sketches and hopefully find a good fabric store. Then soon I'll find a tailor and have them sew some clothes for me! And I'm also going to copy a whole bunch of skirts and pants that I have brought, mostly just the same thing over and over in different patterns and colors. It's so much fun to think about, hopefully it won't be a nightmare to put this plan into action. Maybe I'll go Wednesday on my birthday for good luck. ;o)
Even though I'm not a fan of fashion magazine I'm borrowing someone's Cosmo (Indian version, which is pretty funny because it's just the same as the US except the names have been changed to Ashish and Prathiba, etc) and am going to skim through it tonight for ideas. Any suggestions?
Angels Get Their Rings
So Anaheim wins. Whatever. I had no idea the World Series was even going on. And it feels so good to not know! I feel so disconnected from all of the American sports, I'm loving it. I've love sports, don't get me wrong. But there's just something about the NFL, NBA, and MLB that just makes me sad. It's too commercialized. It's doesn't seem like the players are playing for the glory of the game. It's all about money, and buying muscle. Yes, I know they have talent. And I still love Wrigley field and rooting for the Cubs and the Mariners, but I'd rather watch little league or soccer club games most of the time. That's where true American sports lies.
No Problems Here
I feel very lucky. I've had no problems with blogger, even with the security intrusion which seemed to have dismantled blogger for a while, I've experienced no problems so far (crossing my fingers). Except for the fact that my archives are still missing! which is making me mad. They've been gone for a few months now, and no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get them back. Someone help!

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Rikshaw Nightmare
I went to mass tonight at St. Ignatious Church again. After it was over Carla and I had a long journey back to our hotel, which included colliding with a bicycler, and being stranded at some random intersection for AN HOUR until finally we found a rikshaw that would take us the (less than two miles) to the Pride. It was ridiculous. After the little mishap with the biker we made friends with a church lady and she helped us cross the busy street (she obviously went into mother-mode after our previous trouble) and stood with us for half an hour as we tried to hail a rikshaw home. About five stopped, but either they didn't want to go our way, or had no idea where it was and weren't to take directions from a girl. It makes no sense, you'd think that they would want Rupees. They seem so desperate most of the time, but not when it comes to two girls stranded in the dark at night. After 30 min the lady had to leave to get back home, so Carla and I kept trying to flag down rikshaws, with no luck. One large one stopped, which was crammed with about 8 guys inside all smiling very big, but we were NOT about to ride. Just as we were about to get desperate and were pondering climbing into one of the larger rikshaws we finally hailed one and the driver was so nice. He delivered us right to the Hotel and even gave us change! Usually the drivers keep the extra 2Rs and always rip you off. We were so fortunate to finally get back to the hotel. So all in all we actually spent more time traveling then we actually spent in church. Next time I'm just going to bring my headlamp and a bat (for protection) and we'll walk home...... just kidding.
Religious Text
When I wasn't in my room trying to finish my reading of the Mahabharata I pretty much spent the entire day with Carla. We met for breakfast at 9am and the headed to Cafe Coffee Day of FC Road. Bought two coconut coffees (yum!) and spent about two hours reading and discussing religion. Religion has been a delicate subject to talk about since in our group there are athiests, christians (from very different denominations), hindus and muslims. I really like discussing stuff with Carla. It's interesting to hear the perspective of another Christian, especially when we have differing views on things.
Many people have gotten pretty upset with certain comments that people in our group have made. I don't know if these people know if they're hurting people with words though. It's hard to approach them about it, and even if one of us did, I don't know if it would make a difference.
Time Zone
Wow. It's strange to be in a time zone that doesn't have daylight savings time. I completely forgot about that until just now. And I still have no idea why India has an extra half hour. Anyone want to fill me in?

Saturday, October 26, 2002

New Toothpaste
So today since it's the first day that I haven't really had anything planned, I decided to go shopping here in Pune. I slept in, and then Anju and I moved rooms (finally!) and then I headed out to Fashion Street, a little marketplace. But it was uneventful. I bought only a few things, which consisted of a scarf, two locks for my suitcase, and then a tube of Colgate toothpaste. But it wasn't just your usual toothpaste. no no no. It was herbal Colgate, made with sage, myhrr, camomile, and some other herbs I don't really remember. I hope I like it!
Yesterday I attended my first cricket match ever. My new professor, Prithvi, played cricket at the University of Mysore when he was in college, and the first day of class (Ancient Texts and Religion) we started talking about religion, and then all of a sudden, he pauses, and talks about how there is a cricket match on Friday and if we wanted to go he'd take us, and that cricket was really the true religion of India. And it's not a lie. Everyone here seems to be a cricket fanatic.
So directly after class on Friday we all jump into rikshaws and head to Nehru Stadium to watch part of the Indian Railways vs. West Indies Cricket Match (as part of the Maharashtra Cricket Association of Pune). We sat down on the cement stadium seats, and I was confused from the very beginning. There was a huge grass field, on the other side of the fence with barbed wire (in place, becaue I guess they need a lot of crowd control, there can be riots when it gets tense), and lots of men in white. Two wickets, a leather ball, and a rope in a giant circle around them all. This, I learned, was the boundary line. I guess if it rolls over this you get 4 points, and if you hit it over you get 6 points. Hmmm. It seems like each time a person was up to bat they just lightly hit it to one of the fielders, I didn't understand why they didn't just smack it over the boundary line. But I guess it's much harder than it looked. What I was most impressed about was the bowler. That guy could pitch SO FAST. 80-90mph. wow. Or so I heard.
Our group stayed for about 40 minutes, baking in the sun. Then there was a tea-time break. Everyone was ready to get out of there. The action was slow, I think everyone was bored and tired. So everyone except Prithvi, Obie and I climbed into rikshaws and headed back to the hotel. I wanted more. And I wanted to actually understand this new sport. So we stayed for over a hour longer, and it was excellent. The action picked up and there was lots of huge hits outside of the boundary. Also, since it was just us three, Prithvi explained a lot to me.
The fun, and also distracting part of the Cricket match was that of course, our group of Americans stood out. And evenmoreso, me being a lady in the crowd. The entire time I was at the match I was scanning the crowd (of at least 1,000) for women, and I only found two.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Back livin in the Oxford of the East
It's nice to be back and get all settled in again, although today Anju and I will have to move rooms in the Pride, because for some reason our rooms reeks of some disgusting smell. We can't pinpoint it, but it is incredibly gross, and we are not about to live in that room for a whole month.
I love having Three First-Weeks in this program!
Second day of Ancient Texts and Religion class today. I thought it went pretty well, but some people seem very frusterated. I am too a bit, but I really enjoyed the readings that we were assigned last night. Finally so many of my questions were answered and I feel like now I really can understand India better once I get a better grasp on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. I feel like most people in this program have a bit of a lead over me when it comes to this class...I'm still about getting basic details about everything when lots of other classmates seems to have already studied South Asian texts and religions. Oh well, it'll be a great adventure, it just means it's gonna take me a bit longer to understand the readings.
My tummy is so full. I had this huge thali for lunch today, it was excellent, but no matter how hard I try I can never finish a full thali. That's one of my goals to accomplish before the end of this program. ;o) I still can't understand why anyone doens't like Indian food. I love every meal in this country.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Still chuggin along on my essay, it's due at 10pm today so soon I'll be free!

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Taj Mahal was the most gorgeous manmade thing I have ever laid eyes on.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I'm here. And Delhi isn't as intimidating as everyone said it would be. Surprisingly both the Pune and Delhi airports were quite nice, and on the two hour flight over here it was so excellent, and good food too! Once we landed all eight of us got a taxi/van for 50Rs each and we drove to our hotel, which is near the New Delhi Trainstation. We shoved our minimal baggage into our rooms and immediately walked on over to the train station to arrange our travel info for tomorrow. And the headache began. We went in circles going through all these people to get tickets. It was a nightmare, and over an hour later we were ready to punch someone. I'll spare you all the details, but in the end we only have a one way ticket to Agra (where the Taj Mahal is located). The trains comin back are full for the next few days. So it's a bit sketchy how we're going to return to Delhi on Sunday. Hopefully we'll head on over to the train station and just go standby, or else try to get a bus. Yikes.
Six of us walked to this absolutely amazing mosque today. I forget the name, but it was so incredibly impressive. About a 20 minute adventure walk from where we're staying (and on the way Obie even got hit by a car!). We arrived just as the sun was setting, so only had about 20 minutes inside (prayers start at sunset). It was so worth it. I took a lot of pictures, although I felt really stupid and stood out like a sore thumb doing so. But oh well, I couldn't resist. I really hope that they turn out. Since it was sunset it was getting pretty dark, but to be respectful I turned off my flash.
Best Purchase Yet..
I finally found a Hindi Alphabet Poster! 15Rs. Hurray!

Off to the Taj Mahal tomorrow morning. 3 hour train ride. There is talk of also going to visit an acient city- now ghost town nearby, but I think my plan is to just chill tomorrow. I really need a break, time to relax. I'm looking forward to a peaceful rest on the lawn in front of the Taj tomorrow.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Wish me luck! I'm writing my 10 page paper in the next few hours. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
So it's all set. Plans were made and I reserved our hotel rooms. I'm so excited! Our first night we'll be staying in Delhi, right by the New Delhi train station, north of Paharganj. Hotel Ajanta. 500Rs. for a double room. We'll be staying there Friday night after flying into Delhi and exploring the city. Then Saturday (Carla's birthday) we'll take a train to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. The place we're going to stay at sounds so fantastic. Here's the Rough Guide to India review:
Taj Ganj Area
Hotel Sheela, East Gate
Easily the best budget hotel in Taj Ganj: secluded, impeccably clean rooms only 200m fromt eh Taj (inside the "no pollution zone"), ranged around a lovely little garden, the air-cooled options are larger and only slightly more expensive. Dependably hygenic restaurant and friendly Alsatian dog called Tiger add to it's charm.

Doesn't it sounds great?! And I called and talked to a guy there who was super nice. We got each double room for only 250Rs. Also, because Agra is such a tourist place, everything is such a tourist trap for foreigners. It's rediculous, but not worth not going over. The guy was so nice, he informed us to not tell the Rikshaw drivers where we'll be staying because he doesn't give them commission and they won't take us there. Instead we have to trick them and just say the East Gate of the Taj. Plus, I feel very happy going to this place because it will have dependable food. There has been a scam in the past, where some restaurants in Agra will deliberately make you sick, then they'll reccomend a doctor, and one you go to the doctor, they will charge you hundreds of dollars to your insurance in some scan, making a big nightmare. I guess everyone has scamming connections in Agra. We have to be very careful with everything we do. Also, Delhi is supposed to be a very unsafe city, so I think the idea of staying in groups at all time and not going very far afterdark will be taken very seriously. The other good thing is that Sunday when we come back from Agra we have a free dinner and place to stay! Asha, our South Asian Civ teacher for the past three weeks, lives in Delhi and has invited all eight of us to her home to stay for the night. It's going to be so much fun. And we'll get to meet her 3year old son and see Chankyapuri, a nice neighborhood (or so I've heard) in Delhi.
I'm so excited for this adventure! Especially the train ride back, which will be a great way to see a lot of the country. We got tickets for the express train, so it's only 26 hours. We'll leave at 3pm on Monday and get into Pune at 5pm on Tuesday. Also, the train was only about 470Rs! As opposed to the 6,000Rs we spent on a one way plane ticket to Delhi.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Paper, what paper?
So this internet-cafe-working-on-my-10page-paper-deal is not working. I can't be productive when I see the internet explorer symbol blaring in my face. Nor when I pay for the internet, and not using it. So I'm procrastinating, like any good college student does. But the problem here is that the situtation is a bit different. If I don't take the opportunity to use this internet cafe to write my paper, and swealter in the 100 degree humid place that makes me loose all concentration, the only other option is resort to 16th century tactics and actually use pen and paper. yikes. I haven't done that since second grade or so. The whole process just seems so slow and much harder. Today I spend the entire afternoon in my hotel room trying to scribble out my thoughts. And after hours of work it amountied to two measely pages. uh oh. My goal is to finish the 10 pages by Thursday night, 11pm. Wish me luck. I really have to get this done before I venture to the Taj Mahal this weekend. Flying to Delhi to just use an internet cafe there would be torturous and dumb, so I'd better get my act together soon...
I Love My Daddyo
I miss my family so much. I've been in India for three weeks now, with no communication home. And today I finally get an email from my Dad. Hopefully he won't read my blog and get embarassed, but I just have to post his email to me. It's so cute, and I know it took so much effort since he is absolutely the worst typer (and maybe speller) in the world. ;o)...... reading this makes me miss him even more...I love you Dad.
yo kristy -- I think about you and all you might do doing
all the time. Wow the taj mahal and i will be at the beach
with your grama putting in new windows with ted.
Things our wonderfull here, i feel vary forchenet. I hope
your healthy and happy and enjoying lifes experances. Love
you soooooooo much --- Daddyooooooooo

Monday, October 14, 2002

3.) can indian models of "secularism" be considered adequate and appropriate to ensure the equal protection and freedom of religious identities of people? Contextualize the debate on secularism wiht special reference to controversy over the Shah Bano case and Ayodhya/Babri-Masjid despute.
New Location!
The Pride Hotel
5, University Road, Shivajinagar, Pune 411 005.
Tel:(020) 5534567 / 5530444
Fax: (020) 5533228
I am room #118
darn. i think i lost all my comment. anyoneknow how to get them back?
Indian PARADISE weekend
this weekend though i went with a friend here to her relative's "farmhouse". her family is all from india. and we drove for two hours through the coutryside through remote villages where people live in thatch huts. it was so nice to get out of the city. into the basalt mountains/cliffs with lots of waterfalls. green. palm trees. their house was on this tiny peninsula with this huge lake inthe valley.. it has iris fields all around. planted in this DEEP red soil that was so beautiful. and lots of fruit trees. mangos. papayas. and all the indian fruits i can't describe. apple custards. with the lake surrounding us and palm trees i felt like i was on an insland. it seriously looked like the movies. SO BEAUTIFUL. so awesome. and so relaxing. we slept outside, since it's permanently warm here. on cot beds with just a sheet. lots of bugs, but after alaskan summers and also working in entomology i have no problem with insects like other people. ;o) the sunset and sunrise were amazing! i can't describe how awesome it was.

Friday, October 11, 2002

News of the day from back in Chitown JC is in a frat. Why do I find this so funny?
News of the day in Pune: Classes are over for the week! Today we received our final paper topic. Now I need to write a 10pager by next Thursday. This is harder than it seems, with power outages at least 3 times a day, hot and humid writing conditions, and having to pay for a computer by the hour. But it'll get done. I'm going to try to get a head start and do some this weekend. Hopefully. When Carla, Anju and I are out in the countryside for two days.
After class today Mihra, Carla and I tried to find a rikshaw, but ended up walking for about half a mile before we found an empty one. By that time it was only 8 rupees to our destination: The German Bakery. They had great cheese croissants! I also got a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (way way way too sour though) and a slice of coffee cream cake. A completely non-nutricious lunch, which probably wasn't the greatest idea considering I'm sick now.
Yah, I'm sick. And it sucks. It all came so suddenly last night. Sore throat, runny nose. A huge cold. I feel terrible. Hopefully I will be able to take a nap before we all head out to party tonight for Amelia's birthday. Or maybe yoga will make me better. Today is the first day of (optional) yoga class. And we have a world-class greatly trained instuctor. I've never done yoga before, and don't really know how I feel about it, but I might try a class and just see how it goes. Plus, it's only 100 rupees ($2).
So the computer that I'm using right now has a tiny dancing stripper that comes out at the bottom of the desktop. It's really annoying and disgusting, but at the same time really funny. You never know what you're going to get at these internet cafes.
Moving Day
Tomorrow we're moving! And none of us could be happier with this decision. Over the past three days we've had so many power outages. It's a really good thing that I brought my headlamp along. No more scary guys. Feeling creepy in your own residence is not good. No more fire hazards, getting electricuted, sparks, and bad security. We're moving to the Pride!

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Hindi Test tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!
Ohhhhh, I want to do This!
The Nyanza Project is an interdisciplinary research training program for
outstanding undergraduates, graduate students and secondary school teachers
interested in tropical lakes in the areas of paleoclimatology, biology,
limnology and geology. The Nyanza Project is sponsored by the Paleoclimate
Program, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, of the U.S. National Science
Foundation. The project is run by The University of Arizona for the
International Decade of East African Lakes (IDEAL), an organization that
promotes research and training on African lakes. As a participant in the
Nyanza Project you will join a team of U.S. and African students in a 7-week
program of training and independent research. The program will be based in
Kigoma, Tanzania, a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The
program will run June 30th-August 15th, 2003. Any undergraduate and graduate
student attending a U.S. college or university, and secondary school
teacher, may apply, regardless of nationality. Students from
under-represented minority groups are particularly encouraged to apply.
Students enrolled in the Nyanza Project will have all of their expenses paid
(air fare, room/board and research costs) by the project and will receive a
summer salary. Application deadline is Dec. 24, 2002.
Don't Forget to Dodge the Water Buffalo
They seem to follow me. At least once a day during one of the many rikshaw rides I take, we get a herd of water buffalo. They are huge, and fat and have curly thick horns. Slowly slugging along in the middle of the busy street. There is really no way to hurry them up or move them. Soon, the herd encircles us, and I feel so tiny in the little rikshaw....and then we break free...finally.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

I'm linked on! Hurray. I like this new site. Now I just need to find time to contribute.
Paul is online, finally. this means. no blogging today! :o) For good reasons.
Registering With the Police
Yep, did that today. But no worries, it wasn't for anything bad. In fact, everything is quite safe here. Like I said before, the scariest thing is being hit, nudged, bumped by a car bike or rikshaw. Carla and I went to register as foreigners so that we can buy our plane tickets to the Taj Mahal in rupees, at the Indian price, which makes it much cheaper.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Cows and Camels and Pigs, oh my
i've been seeing a lot of camels lately. yesterday there was one that i walked by, right outside the Y. 4 littles kids on it's back. and it had bangles/bells on it's knees that made noises as it walked along the street. waterbuffalo pulling carts. lots and LOTS of cows everywhere. but they're not your normal cows, they have humps and are more boney. they live in the middle of the city. and at night when you go out they fill the streets. i mean, when you walk, they FILL the sidestreets. you're just shocked to see the city come alive with farm animals. i'm not really sure where they go during the day. hiding in the alleys i guess. they're so much bigger than me, at first it was kinda scary to weave your way through a herd of cows. especially after watching the running of the bulls on tv from spain this summer. lol. also, sometimes you see a pig roaming the streets. i still have no idea who actually owns these creatures and how they find them when they are running around loose everywhere. carla and myself both want to ride an elephant sometimes. but those seem to be rare. i think when we go to southern india we might see some though. :o)

Sunday, October 06, 2002

So for those of you who aren't satisfied by my frenzied hurried, badly written posts, check out Margaret's Blog. I think she gives a better overview of what our life is like here.
Change of Plans: We're Moving
The uninviting YMCA rooms are more than just ugly, they're broken, a fire hazard, and are harmful. Sparking air conditioners that don't work burning holes through the walls, sparking switches that have shocked people, and insane geysirs that pour out water at 190 degrees, burning the skin, and everything than even touches the wall. These hazards, besides just not having adequate study or living spaces, has gotten everyone to complain, including our administrator here. And finally the UofC has given her the ok to look for a new place for us to live. So Prathiba and Nama are out looking around Pune right now at suitable hotels. I'll be a little sad to leave the neighborhood, mostly because I know it fairly well now, but at the same time I think our moving will be a very positive feature. Better rooms, better food, and getting away from scary workers here. All's well that end's well. Let's just hope for the best.
Party Weekend
Hello hello. I'm back in my favorite hole-in-the-wall internet cafe on this very HOT afternoon. Last night our entire group went out again. On Friday night we went to this bar called Ten Downing Street. It was kinda small, and they had 80's music playing along with some other really bad songs. After going up to the DJ about ten times we finally decided to leave, and then at that moment they started playing rap and some songs we had requested. So all 16 of us stayed and started dancing. It was a lot of fun, and so exciting to have our entire group out and having a blast! And then we all went out again last night together. This time to a club called The Elbow Room. It had a nice atmosphere and a neat dance floor with glass windows with an outside bar/lounge area. But there were two problems. 1.) It was about a million degrees inside and 2.) whenever you go inside to dance you get molested by a whole bunch of guys. So after two attempts I decided the wise idea would be to just sit outside and chill. Especially because I was so exhausted from staying out late Friday night. Finding a rikshaw home wasn't as hard as it seemed like it would be, but of course they way overprice us for 140 rupees. oh well, we just want to get back. And Chiatra Yusra and I got into a fun rikshaw. He ended up having a green light that illuminated it and he blasted dance party music the whole ride back to the YMCA. It was rather entertaining, especially when we had to stop to wait for this train to pass.

Friday, October 04, 2002

so I'm in this semi-fancy internet cafe. nice dance music playing. AC! but i can't get the aim express to work here. ugg. I went swimming today. i don't know if i'll go again. it's just weird to be in a bathing suit in india with people staring. but the water is so refreshing, even if it is extremely chlorinated.
Bindi on the Cat
Arg, i just wrote this big post and the computer crashed oh well. i have 45 seconds to write this now. anyways. today this cat came into class as we were doing hindi and started walking around meowing at leach of us for food. as it went to the front of the class, our hindi professor bend down, dry erase marker in hand and put a huge black scribble on the cat's white fur forehead. "Now it has a Bindi! and maybe it will go away." we coud not stop laughing! the cat then ran off. probably out of embarassment. ;o)
then after classes today we went to this fancy hotel and had lunch with the president of the American Institue of INdian studies. he had flown in from Delhi. we all sat in a circle and every time i looked over at my hindi teacher i couldn't help but giggle thinking back to class..
i'm wearing a selwar-camis (probably spelled wrong), the traditional outfit of the women here. it's so incredibly comfortable. light cotton and breezy. it's really really light material, loose white pants that have a HUGE waist, but you use string to tie them around yourself. and then over te top is sorta like a long tshirt. it has sleeves, a little vneck collar, but goes down to almost to the knees, with the sides of the shirt split from the waist down. and then you have a scarf that you wrap around your shoulders. i forget the hindi name for it. you probably can't picture it all, but it's really beautiful and really comfortable. i bought it yesterday for only 200 rupees for the entire thing. i'll probably be buying a lot more of them too. :o)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Idon't even know where to begin. everything flies by and it's hard to update. school is goingwell. we finally learned the whole hindi alphabet today. well, ishould say i've SEEn it all, that's not to say i know it all. and the indian history class is great. we have one presentation that we have to do. each of us have a different day. i went today! so i feel so relieved to be done the 3rd day of class. and that's why i'm treating myself to the internet. cuz i'm done with that. it didn't go sowell. i didn't say anything wrong exactly. i spoke about the article.ijust got a bit flustered and it wasn't the greatest. my public speaking skills keep sharply declining. this is no good.

i just got back from a walk down fashion street. well, it's more of like an open air market. but more of like a little maze, with walls about one foot wide. there are so many vendors allsmooshed into this block that youhave to push you way through and ignore all the "madame, madame. what up madame. look at this shirt. watches watches. you like?" and sift through the stalls until youcome tosomething youlike.likethese cute little red dress shoes that ifound. and then youhaggle down the price. foreigners of course have to over-pay every time. but by the end of 3 months i thinki'll get a little better at haggling. also the good thing is that all the shoes fit my little petit feet! it's so great!
somuch to blog!

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Not So Easy Afterall
I didn't expect the Pune program to be easy. But I also didn't expect to read so slowly. The 100 pages a night is a bit much I'd say. I think it's just hard though because the only place to read is in our rooms, and that's where I really can't concentrate. Food, other things to do, lots of people to talk to.....many distractions. Anju and I took so long last night to do our readings, now we're trying to promise each other that we won't talk during the time we read, but so far that hasn't worked very well. ;o)
Lack of Pictures
I thought I'd be taking lots of pictures while I'm here, but really i've only been brave enough to take 9 so far. 4 on Elephanta Island of the caves (because even the Indian tourists were taking pictures there), and then 5 that i snapped in our moving bus through the open windown of the horrible horrible slums in bombay (that appear everywhere around india). i was scared to even take them then, and felt bad about just snapping them as we moved by, but it just doesn't seem right to take pictures in this country. or safe to carry around a camera. i don't know. i want to take pictures of our day to day life to document it. but i take pictures with my mind instead. i bet when we go onmore excursions i'll bring my camera along though. Like this weekend all day Saturday we have a group outing from 9:30am-5pm on a bus touring Pune and the outskirts of the city.
Wake Up People!
I usually get instant messaging, though it takes a bit to load--but no one is ever online! Now, I realize that this may be because the west coast is 12 and a half hours time difference, but still. I miss you guys in the US! Remember to sign on sometime in the middle of the night (or early morning).
Yet Another Change to the Study Abroad Program
So today after Hindi Nama comes to tell us some news. Ok guys, she says, Kathy Morrison (our Archaeology prof that we'll be having in a few weeks, the central person for the program) will not be coming to India. She just found out that she is pregnant and won't be able to join us. So we're chaning professors.
Sigh. Ok. It's just to be expected. They've now changed the time of the program (from Winter quarter to autumn) the place (from Bombay to Pune), the classes (from Bollywood to Politics and Ancient texts and religion) and now EVERY SINGLE PROF in the program. Nothing is stable. Nothing is for sure. Next thing we know they'll probably send us all home. Ok, just kidding. But seriously, this is rediculous! The communication and planning between the university and the trip participants is pretty undesirable. But
Political History of India
Is so intriguing. Mostly because I'm so ignorant and really no nothing about politics in general.
So every time I come to the internet cafe my stomach starts to hurt. What's up with that. I really wish we had a computer lab.
Today I had lunch with Carla and Nama at this fancy (for Pune, but lunch was only 250 ruppess=about $4.50 for three people) restaurant. It was nice from the oily food that we keep eating. Even though I love Indian food it seems like much of what we eat at the YMCA is cooked in so much grease and spice that it hurts all of our stomachs. But we've asked them to tone it down, so let's hope the food will be a little better.
many people here are actually pretty upset with the program right now. basically i think it's all mostly just bad communication and planning, but a lot of it has to do with money. we're staying in a pretty shabby place (though by indian standards, it's decent)'s a budget place listed in my lonely planet guide. the only perk is air conditioning. but there are BUGS everywhere. and the water is messed up all the time. there are no desks, and the lighting is poor. the graduate student spent 2 days convincing the admin lady here to buy one lamp for each room (because she was having to strain here eyes to do her own work), but they're pretty bad lamps. there is no lounge area or anyplace to just sit back, nowhere to hang out. i'm not really complaining that much because i don't have that high of living standards, but other people here do. but on the other hand comparing it to other study abroad programs (and thinking about how really we're only paying 700 rupees a night for two people per room) and everything costs just cents here, everyone is wondering where our study abroad fee is going towards. i'm a bit curious too. especially when all of a sudden they tell us that we have to pay for the optional/suggested readings that they bought us ($30) which none of us are going to read, and rickshaws to and from class every day, plus laundry (the laundry is actually much more expensive than in the states because we have to get it done). the expenses keep adding up. anyways. enough complaining.