Tuesday, December 1, 2009

India, Day One...

After Paul left yesterday I went into cleaning mode. Not only did I tackle the furnace room in the basement and fill six huge Hefty bags with crap that’s been there for evahhh, I cleaned out both refrigerators/freezers. One of the items I threw out was a beef roast that had a sell by date of May…..of 2008. Shut up!

Done with cleaning, I pick up the phone to try to fill the void, but either people weren’t home or were too busy to realize how much I needed to talk. It got to the point where I probably should have just gone to bed but I decided to try Sheila. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I absolutely love her. I am 22 years her senior and she’s younger than both my children, but it doesn’t matter. We have, from what I see, dug and poured the foundation for a great and long lasting friendship. She answered her phone and got stuck ended up talking with me for a couple of hours. Thank you, ‘She-She’, it’s was just what I needed.

Today I hit the grocery store after work. For those of you that don’t know, Paul does the majority of food shopping and cooking. It’s not that I can’t cook, but I’m just tired of it after thirty years. He enjoys cooking and he’s damn good at it, so why wouldn’t I take advantage of it when he’s in town? When he’s traveling I usually make something quick for dinner, like a baked potato or a can of soup…or a phone call to whatever place delivers. Anyhoo, I went to the grocery store after work today knowing that I’m going to have to cook for myself. How depressing was it that I found myself at the butcher counter asking for one fillet, two small pork chops and only a pound of ground sirloin? I also picked up a couple of Marie Callender frozen dinners and one banana. Yes one banana folks; I had to break it off the bunch. I felt bad; like I was separating it from its friends and family…but then I figured he probably should have seen it coming and gotten on that plan with Verizon.

So back to Paul leaving. He told me his flight was landing around noon CST today and would give me a call at work when he landed so I wouldn’t worry. No call. I got home at six and still no call; no voice mail and no email. I tell myself he’s okay and the reason I haven’t heard from him is because his cell phone isn’t working and the hotel’s internet is obviously down. Not time to freak out yet.

He finally called me around eight o’clock and sure as shit his cell phone doesn’t work there, contrary to what AT&T told him prior…and the internet at the hotel wasn’t working when he arrived. He was able to sleep for a couple of hours before he got internet access and then called me via Skype. We didn’t do the whole ‘Jane Jetson’ session; he talked at his computer screen while I was on the cordless.

Apparently his initial impression of Mumbai/Navi Mumbai (formerly Bombay/New Bombay) was not good. Though newspapers are in English and most signs have English on them, people he’s encountered so far don’t speak our language as well as he thought. During the ride from the airport to his hotel he saw a lot of poverty and plenty of shacks along the way that were actually stores/shops. He also said there were heaps of garbage everywhere. He did say he saw a garbage truck, but apparently they’re behind. The thing he really emphasized was the haze looming overhead. His estimation was that it wasn’t because of weather conditions, but from people burning things, a/k/a garbage.

He was curious before he left if the few Christians that live there would decorate for Christmas. He told me he saw one house decorated, but the other strands of lights he saw were probably just up because the people liked them and probably had them up year round.

Arriving in a foreign country, half way across the globe, with no one to meet you is hard. After a grueling 20 plus hours of travel, making your way from the airport to the hotel with a language barrier, and then finding out there is no way to contact anyone for hours is even harder. You feel very isolated. Paul told me he’s not in Kansas Illinois anymore, but it’s definitely not Oz.

Here are a couple of pictures he took from the balcony of his hotel tonight…uhm, Tuesday morning for him (He’s eleven and a half hours ahead of Chicago time).

Any helpful hints for traveling abroad, mainly India, are appreciated. Leave me a comment with any questions you have for Paul and I’ll send you his reply in an email or he’ll respond himself as a comment once he gets situated and has time.


Evansmom said...

Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Um, could you come clean my house, too??
Those pictures sure do make it seem like a whole different world. Will he be living in a hotel for six months?

Badass Geek said...

At least the time change makes it easy to figure out when you can or can't call him. If that works as a silver lining.

Lola said...

Here is my friend Ellen's link. She had a hard time adjusting to the poverty, too: http://areason2write.wordpress.com/

Check her out. She's been through it all in the past year.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I've never been to India, so can't help Paul out there. Just tell him to take pictures of the people and the culture and share with us!

And you've still got my cell number, right? Call whenever you want! Love you!

Sheila said...

Ahhhhh....it warms the cockles of my heart to know I was the last on your list of people to call.

Seriously though - I'm glad you called me and that we got to talk.

I'll have you over for dinner soon!

I'm glad Paul made it there safely!!

Cuz'n Carol said...

In the first picture, what are those things that look like graves dug out of the ground? They look weird! And right in the middle of what looks like a road?

Avitable said...

I've definitely heard that about India, and the haze is from the pollution, too. Don't be surprised if he gets sick for the first few days from the air quality, before he adjusts.

Anonymous said...

I hope he gets the chance to get out and see some of the sights. Some of the temples and so on are amazing. But the poverty is hard to get used to. I found it quite upsetting. I hope it turns out to be a positive experience for him. I'm glad you have lots of people around who can support you. Your bit about the single banana was really funny!

Unknown said...

Just make sure he keeps his left hand in his pocket.