Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

shoes anyone...

so I came downtown today to buy shoes -- not "shop for shoes" which would require price and selection comparisions, but "buy shoes" which put me at ONE store and very little haggling -- I guess I haven't learned that fine art yet... it hasn't quite become that important to me to save ten cents...!

yesterday I bought a tagari -- the metal bowls that we are using at the school to carry sand, cement, paint, rocks, whatever needs to be carried... the ladies at the guest house think that I'm a bit loopy, but I expect it to be on my coffee table, not put to hard labor in Utah! although they think it is a strange thing to buy, I know that it will remind me of my time here more than most of the kitch I could get at the local market.

we started to realize we are at risk for not finishing all our tasks before the time is up -- this is a big school -- many more classrooms than other groups have tried to upgrade... we plan to work late tomorrow, then see if we need to do the same on our last two days next week!

it seems a bit shocking to realize that we are almost through with our service project -- and that it is March already... I have quit cycling, which has got me some gentle ribbing from the other team members -- but my knees were crying and moaning even though I was trying not to verbalize my pain much!!!

I will miss some of the people we've met here -- Raj especially has been particularly kind. we are taking afternoon Hindi lessons, laughing a lot, and preparing to celebrate our first team birthday on Saturday [Victoria, our Spanish beauty, will turn the ripe old age of 24] I think our next birthday girl is Jess -- she's hoping for a tiger sighting on or before she turns 22.......... Victoria is planning pizza and doesn't know we've made arrangements to have a cake for her -- yesterday two girls when shopping and ordered a two tiered chocolate cake which will easily feed all of us for 210 Rs == under $5USD

it has been cooler -- they told us the temps when we first got here were unseasonably warm -- now our blood has thinned and we will be putting long pants and jackets on in the mornings/evenings. This weekend we plan to have ourselves henna-painted tomorrow, early Saturday drive out to some caves and hike back [~10K -- nice little stroll!], pizza and dancing Sat night, cook Italian food for dinner Sunday, perhaps take in a Hindi film [at least part of one] and perhaps swim/sunbathe at one of the posher hotels in town... we really have a relatively hectic schedule.

at the school, we made chai in the new kitchen for the first time today -- we visited the village potter yesterday -- he uses a sandstone wheel that he spins with a stick, and the clay he puts on it he just makes item after item from the top of the lump... the wheel spins for a long time -- after they told us it weights 100Kg, I realized just how strong he was to get it started, and why it keeps spinning for as long as it does.

I took the second of two house-visits planned for smaller groups [so that all 11 of us don't overwhelm a household] -- we went to a different family and upgraded their grinding wheel -- I don't know that it is dramatically easier to use, but definitely easier to adjust.

we are planning to get a group photo of us, as well as print photos of the villagers -- it has been quite an adventure for us all. we are working on mentally preparing for our next adventure [camels, here we come!]

my stomach is better, trying to fight a cold -- perhaps the cold is winning -- but a little extra sleep would be reasonable antidote! have a couple of people that are still dealing with a sensitive stomach -- some think that they've picked up a bug/bacteria in their platypus [water bottle] -- could very well happen, since not much is clean in our universe... I bought myself a new toothbrush yesterday, just because I thought about how many times I'd used it when I was ill and how little opportunity I've had to clean it -- so used to throwing it under the tap at home, but here it is a swish with a bit of bottled water -- doesn't feel nearly the same!

several of us suffer from sore knees -- Tanya cut her hand on a bangle, several have scrapes from bike falls or dives into sand playing with the schoolchildren, I have a headache from smacking myself twice -- once on the train, a second time in the shower... but our general disposition is still upbeat.

Dave from VentureCo came over from London for 10 days -- looking for other service projects and while he was nearby, decided to stop in and see us and the projects that prior teams have worked on. he also put into place some contingency plans for if the situation in Nepal is dicey enough that we cannot follow our planned itenary [our group leader Andy is married to a Nepalese woman and living in eastern Nepal -- he doesn't think that there will be any problem, but there has been demonstrations/unrest in the area, so it is wise to keep our ears open and have options available if it becomes unsafe for us to travel as we would like...]

off to catch up on my e-mails. I didn't bring everyone's addresses with me, but I have been trying to correspond to those that write me... if you have news or questions, send them my way.

grins, b