Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 7 -- Mammalapurm and Ideal Beach

Today was shopping central. Where was my sister when I needed her??? I think I still made out pretty well and have zero buyer’s remorse. In fact, I am so stoked about my purchases and can’t wait to show them off back at home. When I was looking at souvenirs for my family it made me realize how souvenirs mean soooo much more to the person who was actually there and had the experiences. All of the stuff I bought is full of memories and feelings.
The ride over was pretty comical. We were so exhausted and we cram everyone on the buses even when there is no more seating. I usually take the ground because it’s no big deal. Today it was sweet to have the ground though because we just laid out and all fell asleep. It’s crazy but I have actually gotten to the point where I enjoy the traveling. It’s nice to have time together and the bus ride is smoothing and gives down-time for reflection. It also allows you to see the sites of India. I am known for crashing hard on the bus. I feel like a little kid again when I would zonk out hard as soon as I went horizontal.
We went to Mammallapuram today. It has some Indian ruins and a motherload of shopping.
But this place is a lot more quiet and quant than T-Nagar. We spent the first half of the day shopping our little hearts out. I was awarded an A+ for my effort and newly acquired shopping skills, but I still asked more than my fair share of people’s opinions. Thank goodness Kim was with me. She is super cute and trendy and I don’t know if I have ever come across a more confident shopper that knows exactly what she wants.
I am a little skeptical though because she beyond LOVED things that she bought in Chennai and I was so excited for her. And then when we got home, she disliked more than half her stuff. I was in absolute shock. I guess she loves to shop and then returns like half of her clothes because she has buyer’s remorse. It was quite comical. The girl still has skills and I try to mooch accordingly.
I was worried about getting dehydrated because we are out in the heat shopping and we sweat like beasts. So I downed a huge water bottle and then when we were about there, I had to go to the bathroom EXTREMELY bad. I asked where there was a bathroom and there wasn’t one anywhere. They have yet to have them on any of our trips. It’s not like America where there are public restrooms or anything. This was one time I was grateful that shopping is more of a stressful rather than fun/relaxing thing for me. When you are relaxed, your body is in it’s parasympathetic mode which is used for “rest or digest”. That’s when your body relaxes and can sleep or go to the bathroom. But when your body is in a stress mode it goes into sympathetic mode. This is your “fight or flight” mode and your body won’t allow your body to go to the bathroom in it. Thankfully, I didn’t think about how badly I had to use the bathroom once. Greatest blessing.
I got some great stuff and some of the things were stone carvings. There was this man who was so nice and we all went to him for our carvings. He was amazing and carved all of the stuff from hand himself. I was in absolute shock of him. Kim asked him if he had any eyes that she could buy. He replied that he didn’t but that he could make her one. She gave him some vague instructions and it turned out awesome! I was blown away and we absolutely loved him. This is a picture of Kim and the man and his son.
After shopping, we all went to Ideal beach. You pay 300 rupies (about $7) and get to use their private beach area and pool and everything. It was sooo nice!
The water was literally like warm bathwater in the ocean. It made Hawaii seem like the arctic ocean. It was our own piece of heaven.
We bought our lunch there and jumped at the chance to have American food. Don’t judge me people. My stomach can only handle so much. Come talk to me after you have a stomach ache and diarrhea from the food you eat EVERYDAY. Anyways, we had Hawaiian pizza and it was the best Hawaiian I have ever had. Usually I fight Katie on this because she loves Hawaiian and I generally think its not very good and would rather have pepperoni and sausage but everything here is pretty vegetarian. We all loved the food and enjoyed it very much. They called it Polynesian though. I guess that’s all the same general tropic thing right?
We saw these fisherman boats on steroids but in the old school form of rickety fisherman boats lining the beach. This indian boy came up and told us that he would give us a ride for 200 rupies each. We were kind of hesistant because we didn’t know how cool it would be and we were on a time limit. But Elise, Camille, and I ended up jumping at the opportunity.

We ended up loving it. The boat was super wabbly and sketch and just screamed India. There were 3 boys to man it – one to stand with us, one to hardcore hold the motor, and one to sit in the front.
When we went over a wave, the front of the boat would get really high and then slam back down.
This is why there need to be a guy’s body weigh tint he front. They let us jump out and swim. I wanted to jump out immediately but the guy made me wait for a rope and gave me a life vest. I said I didn’t want it and he didn’t care if I wore it. Big difference between India and America because these people have no liability. If you die, you die. I waited for the rope though and I was sure glad I did. The boat gets away from you sooo fast in the ocean. Now I know why tom hanks had to let Wilson go in cast away. He never would have been able to swim back. It was a sweet experience and I felt super legit.
We had to run back to Mammalapuram to get our stuff we had made and we had the most interesting experience. Kim had her wet swimsuit on and didn’t want to change, so she asked the supervisor if she could just throw her chuddiar top over her swim suit, which comes about mid thigh. The supervisor said that this was like a beach town, so she should be fine. WRONG!!!! Oh my gosh, it was a mortifying experience for her. We were walking together and it’s a darn good thing. Indian men were crazy staring and cat calling at her. One guy was like “you American women are so pretty”. She said she felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She looked at me and said “we need to get back to the bus right now!” I told her she was crazy for dressing like that and quickly agreed. It was one of those situations where you just don’t know how you got yourself into it and didn’t realize what you were doing.
On the way home, we stopped off at a little shop and ate paroti. The supervisors, Kim and Derek, were so excited because they love this stuff. Its almost like a mix between a tortilla and a croissant but doughier. They serve it with an egg full of onions and some dipping sauce. I didn’t love the dipping sauce but thought the paroit was pretyy delicious.
Man, everything is so relative. At home, I probably would have thought this stuff was kind of blah and yuck. But here I thought it was pretty delicious. Everything here is spicy and full of onions and they just don’t make sweet stuff. The paroti wasn’t sweet, it was just kinda plain without the sauce and I loved it.
Every Saturday night at RSO is movie night with the kids. We watched Hercules and no one had ever seen it. They were in awe when we could all sing along with the songs. It’s just so foreign to them while everyone in American knows what Hercules is and has seen it a bunch. They project it up in the dining hall and then we all sit down on the hard floor and the kids lay all over you.
We were all struggling with the hardness of the floor and the extra weight of the kdis. It was pretty difficult to get comfortable. I ended up going and sitting in the back so I could stretch my legs out and hang out with whoever was back there and needed some more attention. The kids kind of bounced around and I spent time with a lot of them. This cute little boy marimarion, who is about 6, cuddled up with me for a few minutes and it was very sweet.
Then I saw Reishma and she is one of my new favorites! I grabbed her and she sat with me for a few minutes and then “braided my hair”.
She is too young to really know how to braid, so she more just played with it. It felt good and was really sweet.
Another person had brought an ipod and I can’t compete with that, so Reishma ran over there. These kids LOVE electronics like cameras, ipods, laptops, etc. They are just fascinated by them and just swarm them. Anyway, sweet girl, Angel, came and sat in my lap and ended up just laying down. I sat by on of the house mother’s, vanilla. It was a little weird for me because I wanted to bond and talk with her and could tell she wanted to do the same but I didn’t really know what to talk to her about. When you come from such different cultures and backgrounds, it's sometimes difficult to carry on a conversation. I still talked to her and it was fun and it’s getting easier. She offered me half of her pillow and I originally declined and then gladly accepted. I layed down and then Angel just cuddled with me. It was very cute.
It was a very great but exhausting day. The drive to Mamallapuram was the usual 2 hours each way. And then shopping in the sun and heat and being at the beach really took its toll. I crashed when I got home but had a great day. Movie night was awesome.