Published: March 12th 2011
March 5th 2011
Place: Pacific Ocean --- going to Chennai
So here it is, the first entry to my India blog! Pretty crazy stuff…I can’t even comprehend the fact that I’m still going to be there in less than 24 hours. I mean I’m pretty much half way around the world at this point and the trip is at the halfway point as well. Time has been flying. I mean when I look at the flat map of the world in my room, I see the dot at where I started and where I am now and I am amazed! Literally, I have already been to 2 continents and 5 different countries.
Anyway, staying on topic, tonight at pre-port they yet again freaked us out with all the safety, dress, and multiple health issues in India….oh not to mention the threat of terrorist bombings! OMG! But I’m hoping that I’m in safe hands and that SAS knows what they are doing (I’m guessing they do, considering the fact that they have been traveling successfully on to India multiple times on this voyage). The cool thing about pre-port was all the dancing. They did the Jai Ho (If you don’t know what it is, it’s a really popular Indian song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire (they do the dance to it at the end of the movie). Then a bunch of kids learned from the Indian students an Indian dance and performed it for all of us. The little kids dressed up as pepto bismal tablets and did a dance for us while we were hearing about the health and food safety rules. Doctor Bill (who we all love---he’s hilarious), made jokes to lighten up the tense mood about these topics. My favorite one is all the positives about getting diarrhea. He like hey you might be sick, but…. (you will lose weight, have something to talk about or learn to appreciate your life so much better)….hahah really funny…..I think I laughed for about 5 seconds until I realized that we were all going to be sick at some point ugh!
So I have decided to tell my readers everything that happens in India and my feelings about everything, because I think it’s important. I just want to say a few things before I start ranting on and on. First, off I don’t mean to offend anyone who is from India or has friends or family from India. I know I’m going to have a great time, it’s just it’s a crazy country. I mean if you think about the stats of the place, it literally blows you away. Okay, first off, the country is the most populated place in the world. It has some of the worst poverty, treatment of women and health care. There is no clean water or access to clean water, un-sanitized food, and terrible traffic. No matter what I eat there, I have to take 2-3 pepto tablets before every meal. Also, kids have died in the past on this trip from road traffic accidents! They have a caste system in which the poorest and lowest caste individuals (untouchables), job is to pick up shit and dead people on the street. So, to me India seems like a different world all together. I think this will be the most culture shock I have ever experienced in my entire life. We were told at pre-port that some of us will be in shock.
The craziest thing about preparation for India is what the crew does to the ship. They have laid out plastic and cardboard boxes all over the hallways, decks and stairwells. This is because we walk in crap (not just dirt, if you know what I mean) and when we come back on the ship, they don’t want us to ruin the carpets or anything like that. Also, the pool deck is closed down and the furniture had to be removed and wrapped in plastic, because the air is so thick and dirty that it will be coated they said.
Until I buy clothes to wear in the marketplace tomorrow, I’m wearing my jungle lodge clothing (long black leggings and a white Hanes t-shirt). I mean I don’t want anything to get ruined from the air or ground…ewww gross! I might go to a Hindi temple and have to pick shoes to wear tomorrow that I can slip on and off. We will take turns watching our shoes. You cannot wear them into the temple and if you wear sneakers and untie them with your hands, then you can’t enter the temple. Instead, you have to find a place to wash them and then you can enter. You can’t even use your left hand here for anything (eating or shaking hands).
It’s so hard to sleep when we are all so anxious. Anyway, it is 1:30 am and I’m still trying to figure out how to carry my stuff. SAS is stupid and making us carry around our passports. I bought a money belt so I can hide my money and passport under my clothes. My friends and I made game plans to watch each other’s backs and be really careful. I decided to not bring my camera the first day because it is too risky….I want to check out the area first….ahhh this is crazy. I’m sitting in my cabin with my roommate freaking out about what to wear. Were both just laughing trying to put together ridiculous conservative outfits. Anways it’s gonna be an adventure…it always is hahah!