Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 15, 16 & 17~Transfer Day then Get the Heck Out!!

So this is being written as a one lump deal. We actually just arrived home. So thankful for my home, but also thankful to be able to have gone on an adventure/quest like this. I'll just try to go over what took place on our last few days.

Friday morning, we awoke, packed our bags and then hurried up and waited for time to pass until the transfer took place. It was supposed to be done at 1:00, but ended up not getting done until 3:30. Needless to say, we were anxious and a little worried that our surrogate backed out. That wasn't the case at all. She happened to already be at the clinic, but there was a lack of communication and some of the staff didn't know she was there, so they had been calling her and her phone was shut off. Yeah, it was shut off because she was already in the transfer room all gowned up. After the long wait, we got to see our embryos on a computer screen. I asked Dr. Patel to rate them for me on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best. She said they were very good and she would rate them at 100%, so I took that as a 5. After we viewed the embryos, they did the transfer. She transferred 2, so now we wait and see what happens. Joshpina now stays on bed rest until they do the test and we find out what the results are. We gave our thanks and a small gift to Joshpina, said goodbye and thanks to Dr. Patel, also to all the nurses and finally said our goodbyes to Jen and Homero who I am going to really miss! At least now I've got a good reason to visit Napa Valley like I've always wanted to because they live close by.

Our driver picked us up and drove us to Udaipur that Friday evening. Mike wasn't feeling well (again) and by the time we got to the hotel (The Tiger~kinda sounds pornish if you ask me, but it was a really cute boutique style hotel) it was already 9, so we stayed in that night.

Saturday, we awoke to a sunny day and Mike was feeling up to doing touristy stuff, so we visited a temple and a palace and walked the streets of Udaipur. Now this is what I imagined more of India to be like. It's still dirty there, but not as much and there are tons of shops with hand crafted items. Beautiful paintings, hand bags and lots of stuff. The afternoon was spent on out hotel's rooftop. We watched the monkeys that were playing on rooftop next door. I had my first beer in a month and Mike took some sunset photos. Udaipur was a great way to wrap up India.

I've been up for way too many hours at this point so I'm signing off. Hopefully we'll have good news to report in the future. If not, at least we can say we gave it a try!!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 14~Drumroll Please.............

And...........We have some Embryos

After a restless night, I'm feeling better. Today's the big day that we find out if any eggs fertilized.

We had 3 very good eggs. The doctor was expecting more and that worried us, but the ones that she got are of high quality, which is better than having let's say, 7 (or more) low grade eggs, so she said, not to worry. After the retrieval, they added Mike's magic and today we found out whether or not we had embryos. And we did!! We have 2 high quality embryos and they are waiting on the third because it looks like it could be better tomorrow, we are calling that one "little Nemo". Tomorrow is transfer day. If all 3 look good, she'll transfer all 3. Studies show that transferring 1 or 2 actually has better results, but she likes to do 3 if possible, so that will be discussed tomorrow. Just gotta pray that it takes.

Anyhow, our day was filled with outdoor walks and only a few beggars. A boy (about 10 years old) who was missing an arm was after me for money (as in following me down the block at close range), but I couldn't even bare to look at him. He got way to close and was pointing his stubbed arm at me. I may be going to hell for not giving in to that one. Next boy was probably 12, but he was missing a leg and had his prosthetic leg off and was sitting on a curb, so at least he didn't chase us down. Now I really am going to hell. Oh well, tomorrow is our last day here and we will hand out some food to these kids on our way out of town.

Our afternoon was spent going out for lunch at Mirch Masala with Jen and Homero. It was more of an upscale place considering the area we are in. Very good food and enough to feed at least 6 or 7 of us. After lunch, we all shopped and got some good deals on copper items. I have tried to pick up a few things for my peeps while I'm over here, but honestly, most of the stuff that I see is really not worth buying. They have awesome deals on luggage, but that's not exactly a souvenir and it would cost us an extra $60 to get it on the plane.

An overall great day that wore me out a little. All the walking is supposed to be good after minor operations, but I am really sore. Kinda feels like my innards are all in a jumble. I guess it is quite normal. (Jen is experiencing the same thing). Hoping to feel even better tomorrow as we journey on to Udaipur (hoping to have internet there and post lots of pics). I am so excited for the weekend and then coming home!

It's kind of weird when I reflect on my Anand experience. When we arrived, I definitely had culture shock. Now I am so used to it. I don't mind walking in the streets with traffic. I don't mind the honking. I don't mind the tuktuks, in fact they are pretty fun. I don't mind any of it (except maybe the weddings at times) and there are things that I am going to miss. Like going to the gym with Hitesch, and meeting new people every day, spotting cool animals, and the cheap food.

Tomorrow we will meet our surrogate for the transfer and present her with a small gift (we got her a small decorative silver box and will put some money in it). Even if it doesn't take (and I hate to even write that because I am trying to have pure positive thoughts), she is giving it a try. She will be put on bed rest for 15 days and will be staying at the clinic during that time. Taking 15 days out of her life and her children's lives to try and do this for us is worth at least a trinket, right!!

GoodNight All.
And GoodNight Anand...............See you in the fall :-)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Day 13~Retrieval Day

Today was the big day. I don't want to get into too much detailed info on here because, one you might not want to read it and two, I can tell you up close and personal in a week from now. Can you see me smiling as I write that??

Here's what I will say.....We have to remember that we are in a whole different world over here. I know other countries have different standards, witnessed that first hand in Mexico with my Grandma, but it is truly a surreal experience when you have a medical procedure done in a 3rd world country. As I was entering the operating room, I'm not gonna lie, I got a little scared. Just kinda weird, kicking off my flip flops in a hall and having a nurse slip on a cloth gown over my t-shirt. I then walked into the OR on my own and hopped on one of the two gurneys in the room. I was just thinking, what are they going to do, two of us at once?? Let's not get stuff mixed up here. I hope they have a good labeling system. But they didn't have 2 of us in there. I guess I was rolled out when Jen was walking in. It was about a 15 minute procedure and then they got me into the "recovery room", where everyone just kind of walks through, mills about, stands around, whatever. Mike was waiting for me and then he had to leave to do his business. I awoke a bit, but was really in and out of consciousness. Next thing you know, Homero and Jen are with me and we are recovering together. When all was said and done, I went into the clinic at 8 in the morning and was heading out by 10, not feeling my best, but not dead either, so there's that.

The retrieval took its toll and I was down and out for the afternoon and evening. Didn't feel good at all and thought I might've had something go wrong, but by 7 or 8, I was feeling better. Good enough to order some Dominos Chicken Kickers and thoroughly enjoy them.

Tomorrow we check and see if the eggs fertilized and if so, Friday is the transfer day and then we are outta here!!!

Even though this is a horrible pic, I wanted to include it. Notice how the sheets could have came from your home closet.

Day 12~An "Off" Day Flies By

Other than some paper work stuff, we really didn't have much to do today. We got a late start today, imagine that~the Lanin's late for stuff, never. Anyway once we got rollin', we headed to Hitesch's office. Took a tuktuk to the law office, which is in an upstairs office building that looks like you may be entering a crack whore apartment building, to do the paper work and then back to Hitesch's office to get some prescriptions. Let me tell ya, this is a pharmacy haven. You can get anything you want, except narcotics, without a problem. What a racketeer that we've going on in the US. Mike, Jen and I loaded up on some  medications that will induce us into a lovely comatose state for the airplane ride home.

After hanging out at the office, we went for lunch at Subway. Yay!! Meat!! Not the beef products that most Subways offer, but I had real turkey.  I've never been more happy to eat lunch at a Subway as I was today. Then we headed over to The Chocolate Room for some dessert. The Coffee Nirvana was an excellent choice. It's basically a frappe. Jen ordered a Brownie Sizzler, which sounds and looks better than it was. Don't get me wrong, it's edible, especially since we have been missing so much of the food we have at home and you can't screw up chocolate that much, but the sizzling part scorched the chocolate and it had a weird burnt taste to some of it. 

By the time all that was over, it was already 3:30, wow, a day that actually went by at a semi high speed rate. It's almost time to hit the gym....

5:30 rolls around and we hit up Hitesch for our ride to the gym. Not only did I see a family of monkeys running around on the rooftops (wow, they do come right into the city), I also saw a camel hauling a cart of stuff. So cool. Hitesch helped us plan our excursion to Udaipur on the car ride to the gym, so we are all set to start our journey back home. 

Tomorrow is egg retrieval. We will stay in Anand until Friday after the transfer and then will venture to Udaipur for a couple of nights. Sunday evening we will be leaving Vadodara (aka Baroda) and head to Delhi, then to Paris and back Minnesota!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 11~End of the Road

Let's get the IVF stuff out of the way. It was the last day of injections today. Everything is looking good. I had a regular injection at 10:30am and then the last of the shots is an antagonist shot called Orvitrelle and that was at 11:30pm. My usual nurse, Sachay (sp?) came to my room at the hotel to do the late night injection. She brought her husband and son, which was kind of weird, but I can also see why she has her husband go with her on these late night house calls. I wouldn't want to show up at some stranger's hotel room alone late at night either.

As for our day, well it was the usual. Breakfast, clinic, hotel room for Words with Friends, walk around the block and then we went out for dinner.

Oh and Mike also squeezed in a haircut between all that business. 30 rupees (about 65 cents) for a barber shop haircut. The guy was so happy to get a 35 cent tip, we saw him run next door from his shop and buy some snacks afterwards. Stuff is crazy cheap around here. They do jack do some stuff for foreigners, like tuktuk rides. We pay 40 to 50 rupees for a ride across town, which is still cheap, but for locals, it is like 5 rupees.

We went to dinner with Jen and Homerro at the Moon 2 Night rooftop restaurant at the Hotel Laksh. A very cool atmosphere, but the food was not anything to write home about. I am sure it is probably good to the Indian people, but we weren't quite down with how they seasoned things. Mike and I both had personal pizzas, but they put cinnamon in the sauce. I just can't do something that I associate with sweetness, in my pizza sauce. Gross!! All of us are dying for some regular meat at this point and this was a "all veg" place. There are only about 4 or 5 places in town that do have meat, so we are going to hit those up this last week. I cannot wait to have a regular burger back in the states.

We also had our laundry done today. Not that I think ya'll are interested in that, but it is a pretty sweet deal. We had 45 items washed, dried and pressed for about $12 dollars. I would seriously consider paying someone $12 dollars a week to do that at home. They even iron your underwear. I told Mike he better enjoy his nicely pressed white t-shirts here because it's not gonna happen at home.

Another uneventful, but nice day. Tomorrow we will do all the paper work, go to the lawyers office and sign the contract. Oh and if Mike and I happen to die and this surrogate has our baby, we needed to put people down who would come and get it, because they don't want it over here, that's for sure. So who are the lucky caretakers.........................................................................
Grandma Kim Taylor and Grandma Cindy Lanin

Later dudes and dudettes!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Day 10~Another Relax Day Drags On

No Sunday Funday here, it's all about taking it easy, which I'd be all about if I were at home, but it makes for a REAL long day here.

Not gonna say a whole lot about today because we didn't do much. Our one outing consisted of walking to Calison to pick up my dress, which I am going to bring back later this week and have them take it in a little cause it is a little big in places. Other than that, we mostly hung out in the room, playing Words with Friends and reading. Can you tell that I can hardly contain my excitement for Sundays in Anand??

We do have a big week coming up. Daily check ups and retrieval. Let's hope the anaesthesiologist is on the up and up (I'm just kidding mom, I know he is a decent one, Homerro said he is good).

Hope to bring a little more enthusiasm and adventure in my next blog.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 9~On a Monkey Hunt

We hear so much about the cool animals that you can spot roaming in India, but our biggest sightings have been cows and dogs, which by the way are very protective of their blocks, but I'll get into that later. Anyway, my goal today was to spot a freaking monkey. Somewhere, anywhere, just let me see a monkey that is not actually in a zoo!!

Started the morning out by having breakfast with Jen and Homero (pronounced O-Meadow, cuz I can't roll my r's), who is a gastrointestinal surgeon, who mostly does gastric bypasses and lap bands (Janet~this could be the best person I could've possibly come across, who knows what the future holds, j/k). Made plans with them to go to the resort after our injections.

Went to the clinic, met a very nice girl (Nueton) who is from India originally, but is now a US citizen and lives in Delaware. She came back here for IVF and surrogacy because of the cost factor and also the high success rates. Spent a longer time than usual at the clinic as it was very busy today. Had a check up and am now up to 8 good sized eggs, plus a whole bunch more smaller ones. That's double from 2 days ago. So things are looking good medically and she's estimating retrieval date to be Wed.

After the clinic, we headed back to the hotel to grab some stuff for our day at Madhubhan. Spent the afternoon soaking up some sun with Jen and Homero and the pool temp was even warm enough for the guys to take a dip. Also enjoyed watching parrots fly over us while we were at the pool. Having some time to kill before dinner, we took a walk around the Madhubhan grounds and there they were. The monkeys were hanging in the trees behind a garden area at Madhubhan. Finally, a monkey just out in the open, no big deal. I guess they hang around at Patel's clinic on slow days, but they are kinda mean and they hiss at people, so I'm not sure if I exactly want to run into them there. We have yet to spot an elephant or camel, but this trip's not over, so who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky and see some this week.

Oh and about the dogs, it's rough out here people. These are dogs have street cred fo sho. Dogs hang out in gangs, so to speak. They each take care of their own blocks and if they see other dogs trying to get on their block, it ain't happening'. Watch out for the one eyed dog with a marred up face, he may look a little weathered, but he's still got lots of fight in him.

As Porky Pig once said....That's all folks!!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 8~Bring on the Beggars

Well I figured it was too good to be true and that eventually we would get hounded and today was the day. We decided to take a trek around our area. It seems like we've been out, but really only to go to a destination and we haven't really explored what is around us, so today we went shopping in our area. Everyone has a store here. I can't fathom how every little shop owner can possibly make a profit. There is a drugstore or a jeweler or a tailor or pillow maker (the list is endless) on every single block, sometimes a few of the same stores, right in a row. Crazy!!

I found it to be funny how Mike and I are interested in different things, for example, the padlocks catch his eye every time we walk by a padlock shop, granted there are some unique gigantic padlocks, but I'm so not interested in looking at a padlock. I was just kinda like "what do you need that for?", Mike's response "I don't know, but they're cool". I suppose he could say the same about me and the jewelry, but at least I can wear jewelry.

On our way back from shopping, a trio of young girls (ages 5-9) approaches us begging for money. I'm sure their mom probably sent them to us, but I didn't see her around, so who knows. Not sure where these girls are from because all of the kids around here are in school and they all are dressed in uniforms. These little ones must be from some outside village. Anyway, Mike was gonna give them a quarter, which wouldn't have done them any good anyway, but being the hard ass that I am, I said "don't do it, you'll be asking for trouble". So, we just let them keep grabbing at us, literally grabbing at our arms with their dirty little hands, until we got back to the next block, then they turned back. Now before you all think that I am a total jerk, let me say this, I think it is more appropriate to give out extra tips to the people that are working and doing stuff for us, but with that said I do have a heart and feel bad for some of these kids, so maybe on the last day when they won't see us again or rather when we won't be a target again, maybe then we can give some money to the beggars. Anyway, we got back to our room and proceeded to scrub our hands and arms. Who knows, those kids might've been petting a sick cow or dog before they were touching us??

Later in the day we hooked up with Hitesch (pronounced hee-tesch, in case you've been pronouncing it wrong, like I had been at first) and went to the C9. The interesting thing at the C9 tonight is the construction that is going on next door. Now the buildings that they have here are massive concrete complexes, it's not just shacks in the city. It's all done old school here, all by manual labor and I do mean manual. We watched in awe from an upper window at the C9. One woman, shovels the rock/sand into a big bowl and then she hoists it up on her shoulder and goes and throws it in one of those huge mixers, then after it is mixed and comes out the shoot, a man shovels it into another big bowl (I'm talking huge bowls that are bigger than what you are probably thinking). After he puts it in the bowl, he hands it to another woman, who then hoists it onto her head and walks with it to the guys on the ladder. The ladder guys then pass it up to the top ladder dude, who then pours it into the support column structure. This process is repeated and the next thing ya know, ya got a building, wow!

Another day down, how may more to go?? We'll find out where we are for egg retrieval on Monday. We are ahead of schedule at this point, so it's looking like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Day 7~Half Way Home, Well Almost

Surprisingly, I'm not really that homesick, probably because I've been sleeping more on this trip it seems than I have for my entire existence. OK, so I know that is an exaggeration, but I really have slept good through the nights and I never do that at home, so that's a plus.

Anywhoooo, today was a regular injection day, tomorrow will be a check up. It will be this way from here on out, an every other kind of day deal, unless we decide to venture out somewhere on an overnight trip, then Dr. Patel can delay the check up and I would do my own injections. Actually Mike would because I don't do needles. We are thinking about doing an overnighter to Udaipur, the city of lakes. We met a woman in the dress shop today who was passing through and stopped to visit Dr. Patel. She had twin girls 3 years ago with the help of Dr. Patel. She told us to get out of this ugly city (her words, not mine) for a night and go to Udaipur because it is beautiful and romantic. She said it is really worth treating yourself to see some of the areas in India that are beautiful. So we might just do that. We are going to talk to Hitesch some more about it. We have a day trip planned with Jen and her husband to Ahmedabad sometime next week, so we'll just have to see what comes of it.

I totally feel like Jen has taken us under her wing. She knew Mike had been sick and offered pretty much anything that they could do. Her husband is a surgeon (which he tries to downplay all the time, if I were a surgeon, you'd know it, c'mon all that studying, I'd make sure everyone knew I was a doctor) so obviously he has a medical background and she told us to call if we needed anything at all. So sweet.

In the afternoon when Mike was feeling a bit better, we decided to go to the ATM, ooooh, big trip out of the hotel room. Well the trip to the ATM was cut short by Mike's urgency to use the bathroom IMMEDIATELY. He ran back to the room, so we were stuck there for a bit. Finally, he thought he could make a trip out, so we headed to the ATM and then to the dress shop, Calison. I figured I should bring one dress back, so we went to Calison on Hitesch's recommendation. I picked out a really pretty white/silver/aqua dress and will go back for it in 2 days. No, I'm not gonna start wearing Indian garb, this is more of a dressy dress that I could actually wear for a special occasion or something.

After our big trip out, it was back to the room for lunch and then to the C9 gym with Hitesch. We've kind of just attached ourselves to him. He's cool with it and invites us, so we take him up on the offers or maybe he didn't realized that when he offered, we actually would take him up on it. Anyway, he really does seem ok with it.

Just a few random things that I may or may not have already written, but I don't want to forget.

The weather~Absolutely Awesome!! It is their winter and it is perfect. 80 and no humidity. We are here during the best time of the year, hence all those obnoxious weddings. Have I mentioned that I loathe weddings?? What started off as something really spectacular to see has come to be something that I truly don't give a rat's ass about! Oh and it is really funny to see these guys wearing earmuffs and big sweaters because it's cold out. Too funny.

Food~The cheapest I have seen anywhere. We eat lunch at the hotel for about $1.20 and it really could feed 3. Our expensive dinner at the Hungry Jungle was $13 and that was with 2 drinks, 2 entrees, an appetiser and plenty of sides.

People~Really nice. Almost all of the locals smile, even though they do stare out of curiosity. Other people we have met that are here for the same thing are great too. We have met people from the all over the US, the UK, Nigeria and who knows where else. Dr. Patel's clinic brings people from all walks of life. Everyday that we go to the clinic, we commune to this small room and share experiences, stories, and whatnot. It is something that I will never forget.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 6~Another Mundane Day

Had my check up today, all is well. Will have another one in 2 days. Both Mike and I were put on antibiotics. It's just a precautionary measure. They don't want you getting sick around transfer day. However, Mike was already sick today. He had a fever and chills, so we just hung out in the room. Really quite boring.

Since I don't want to bore you and write a bunch of crap, I'll just touch on one thing......
WEDDINGS!! Have I mentioned weddings, of course I have, because that's what goes on every night. Have I mentioned that I have come to HATE WEDDINGS!! I probably haven't stated that yet, but I have started to hate them. They are seriously obnoxious, loud, over-the-top celebrations over here. We had a wedding march that went on for oh about 3 hours outside of our hotel. Right in the alley where I watch the cows eat trash every morning. The wedding marching band is sooooo loud, but I could maybe almost handle that along with the chanting and dancing, but it's the mortar style fireworks that get to me every time. I hope that is the last wedding that takes place around our hotel. I don't know if I can take it for too many nights in a row. Plus I think most of the wedding party is staying at the Rama too, so they were super loud and obnoxious when they got back. How is there not any alcohol involved in these celebrations?? People are like this stone sober??? I say this because we are in a "dry" state, so people don't drink here and from what we've seen, they really don't. We haven't seen any smokers either. If I had to live here, I'd probably be a chain smoking alcoholic. FOR REALZ.

Day 5~We meet our Surrogate & Make some Friends

Started the day off with our usual breakfast at the hotel. An omelet and toast. I swear to God tomorrow that I will switch it up and get the hard boiled egg instead. Another couple invited us to sit with them. A very tall cute skinny blond girl that looks like she could be a model. Like a real model, I'm not just saying it. Almost makes me wanna not like her right then and there, but she is absolutely the sweetest person. Her name is Jen and I have yet to be able to pronounce her husbands name, so I won't try and spell it on here. Anyway, she is originally from North Dakota and he lived there as well, but he's from Mexico. They live in California now and have been dealing with the heart break of multiple miscarriages. She has had 5 herself and they've lost 3 through surrogacy here, the last one at 34 weeks. Dr. Patel said that was the first time that a pregnancy has gone on that long, only to give way to a stillbirth. I totally feel bad for this couple, but she is so upbeat and personable that you can hardly tell she has been dealing with this kind of stuff. After breakfast we head to the clinic.

Today was the big day to meet our surrogate. We met in Dr. Hitesch's office, a separate office from the clinic. As we sat and waited for our surrogate to arrive, Hitesch tells me that Tara is a popular name here and it means "stars". Pretty cool, if ya ask me. Anyway, our surrogate arrived. She is 5'2" and looks to be in good shape from what I can tell under all the garb. Her name is Joshpina, a name I can actually pronounce. She is a widow and is doing this to be able to put her kids through school. She has a 16 yr old son and a 11 yr old daughter. She lives with her mother in law and is a paediatric nurse. Everything about her seems great. She is on the upper end of the age for surrogates as she is 37, but she is a picture of health and really understands this process, especially since she is a nurse that works around it. We took a few pics with her, thanked her and said goodbye. We'll see her again on transfer day.

We arranged to go with Hitesch to the C9 gym at 5:30 pm, so we head back to the hotel to rest. Jen called and asked if we wanted to go to the Big Bazaar with them, so we took them up on their offer. There really isn't much to do than go to the Big Bazaar, at least not today, so off we go. It was way better today than on the weekend. Way more mellow. I guess it's the same all over the world with weekends and shopping.

After the Bazaar, it's back to the room to nap until we meet Hitesch. We meet up with him and head to the C9. It's like our Anytime Fitness. A very nice facility amongst run down buildings. That's the way it is all over here though. We got a small workout in. I can't do anything too strenuous, but walking on the treadmill and some light weights are fine. Hitesch said we can meet him everyday at 5:30 to hitch a ride with him to the gym. I can hardly believe that I am actually looking forward to going to the gym each day. Who am I?? Well boredom will drive you to crazy things, I guess.

We took a tuktuk back to the hotel after the gym. This was probably the funniest part of our day. First off, Mike (and I say it's Mike's job to do that, cuz he's the guy) didn't negotiate a price with the driver before hand, which you should really do, but we know what the price range from this distance usually is, 40-60 rupees. So when we get to the Rama, the driver says 220 rupees, we were both like "no way". The driver starts getting all revved up, Mike is saying "I give you 50", it's going back and forth. Mike doesn't have change at this point and doesn't want to hand him a 100 because he knows he will take off. Our hotel doorman comes over to help us out and next thing ya know, he's calling over more guys. It was like a gang of 6 guys on our side against the driver, who was still arguing and God only know what he was saying about us, but our guys still stuck up for us and our doorman took Mike's 100 and went and made change down the block. We gave the driver 50 and he swore at us and took off. You probably had to be there, but it was pretty funny and pretty awesome that all those guys that didn't know us were sticking up for us.

Off to bed for the night. I have an ultrasound tomorrow. Hopefully it will bring good news.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Day 4~Madhubhan Resort

Started the day off with meeting Dr. Hitesh, that would be Dr. Patel's husband. He's basically the go to guy for anything. For lack of better words, he is her bitch. Is that bad to say? I don't mean it in a bad way, but it is what it is. She's like the Goddess and he's doing all the grunt work for her. By the way, he is awesome!! Super cool and can get all your needs met. He is tour guide, money guy, shopping master and can get deals on whatever you need. He set us up with a map of places to go and places to eat (bring on the NON VEG joints this week) and set us up with a deal for Madhubhan Resort.

Madhubhan Resort is their creme de la creme of hotels. It is s a luxury resort that I suspect mostly out of towners stay at. Absolutley gorgeous place. Kind of strange going from broken down shanties, which are all along the road to get to Madhubhan, to this paradise. We had their buffet lunch, which did have some chicken dishes on it, and then spent the day by the pool. So relaxing and beautiful. Finally, this feels somewhat like a vacation, at least for the day. I'd write more about what we are eating, but I honestly don't know what we are eating. I took pics and will post on FB. Some stuff is good, some stuff not so much. I've found that avoiding anything that looks like tofu in green sauce is probably in ones best interest.

Our tuktuk driver came and got us at 7 and we headed back. It was actually a pretty enjoyable ride. Fireworks everywhere from the numerous weddings. I think weddings go on every night during this month (wedding season). Not everyone here is destitute. The ones with money have some pretty elaborate weddings. Lights, flowers, marching bands and lots of glitz. Pretty sweet.

Finally back to the hotel to watch Finding Nemo. We almost made it to our bedtime goal of staying up til 9, but fell short a little. Sleeping by 8:30.

We meet our surrogate tomorrow. Exciting & nerve racking.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Day 3~Slow Goes It

This will be short and sweet because it was a slow day. Sundays are a day of rest around here. Very quiet on the streets. We asked if it was their religious day, but were told no, it's just "relax day". After driving on the streets all week, I get why they need "relax day".

We wanted to check out the Chocolate Room, so we headed there for lunch, only to be told that the power was out and wouldn't be back on til 3 :( So we headed to the Big Bazaar, basically because we didn't know where else to go. I immediately did not want to go in. It's like Walmart on the weekend, except 100 times worse. Almost like Black Friday, but maybe just a little bit better and we all know what Black Friday can reduce me to(a common thief). After words with Mike outside this crazy place, I caved and went in. We got a few things and got the hell outta there. *Note* we have not made it to the upper floors of the Big Bazaar yet, I know Mike will want to go back. God, help me through it.

After hanging around the room for the afternoon, we decided to go back to The Chocolate Room for a snack in the evening. This is located on the cool kids side of town. There's definitely a difference from the area that we are staying. Many girls in jeans and cute shirts. Lots of American music blaring and just more of a "mall" type of feeling. I broke my cardinal rule of never drinking any milk product in a foreign country and had a ChocoLite shake. Leave it to the American girl to have to order the "lite" item and make them have to run out for ingredients. I would have changed my order if I knew that ahead of time. I don't know if the "lite" cocoa powder and milk will help when I broke down and bought a piece of the Chocolate Swiss Cake that I have yet to dig into.

That's it for Day 3. Pretty slow, but I've got a lot of reading in. I hope I brought enough books with. 2 down, 4 to go.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Day 2~We Venture Out

So let me start by saying that I am totally grateful for what I have and what I'm able to do, so if I ever sound whiney or like I'm b*$%ing about anything in here, it's just me venting. I figure I can make this a cathartic type of thing, since I don't have my usuals to talk to on a daily basis........

I was up all night, but got a few hours of sleep in the morning. I awoke to the sound of people chanting their mantra's outside somewhere in this big city. Went to take a look out our hotel room window, to see people dumping their trash in the vacant lot below. There is so much trash around, I had wondered earlier if they had land mines or anything for garbage, apparently it's in our backyard. Anyway, I left the window for a bit and then Mike looked out and there was a big fire back there. So I guess they do take care of their trash by burning it. Later, enter the cows, who are back there eating the burnt trash, grass etc.

Clinic in the morning, then off to the Big Bazaar. It's their version of Walmart. Just a small bit of info, India is currently fighting to keep Walmart out of their country. They don't want to see the big box store derail what economy they do have. I see their point, but I do wonder if it would create some jobs for these people. I can't imagine having nothing to do, but sit around on the streets day in and day out. Well they must have homes, at least around this block because we don't see people laying around at night. Our hotel manager tells us that Anand is a very safe place, even at night. We really have nothing to go on, but what he says, but everyone does seem pretty harmless and if we were to get jumped, I think I could take most of these people.

So the Big Bazaar is a 40rs tuktuk ride away. That's about 80 cents for the ride of your life across town. They take your bags before you enter the Big Bazaar and the guy taking ours asked where we were from because he figured we were Americans. He said he lived in New York for a few years and loved America and New York was the greatest city. I don't blame anyone for wanting to be in the US, we really do have it made for the most part. I know that's not the case for everyone, but this place is beyond compare to any place I've see in the US or Mexico.

We had our first beggar outside the Big Bazaar. A really old woman. Felt a little guilty about not handing her anything, but once you do that you are swarmed, so we just say, sorry no and move on.

For dinner, we went to the Hungry Jungle, one of the few places that serve meat. It's decorated in an all jungle theme, with tables painted in zebra, tiger and cheetah style. Really cool looking place. We were the only ones there, so we had servers hanging around by our table at all times, which would be awkward at home, but I think they are just so curious about us. We seriously get stared at everywhere we go. We have met some other couples from America that are here for the same thing with Dr. Patel, but even they haven't been white. I think the people here are just are taken aback by us.

Oh and it's wedding season here and so this Sat. night there was lots of action going on. We didn't venture out on the streets after dinner, just observed on our tuktuk ride back to the hotel. Fireworks all around town, a carnival, marching bands, packed hotels, and endless people.

Day 1~We meet the Queen Bee

Day 1~

A quick description of the area. Old, decrepit, broken down sidewalks.  I'll post pics at some point, either here or on FB or if I am really bored maybe on both.
There is such a gap in income here, it really is unbelievable. There are some very nice rides around here (Audi's, BMW's etc.) and then there are the "one leggers". I seriously saw a guy with one leg, hopping and pushing a big cart of veggies or goods to sell on the corner. All I could think was that guy must really be strong.

Anyway, we went to the clinic, just wanting to check things out. My first appointment was supposed to be Sat. morning, but we went there and they got us started right away. They shuffled us into a waiting room, had me write my name and email down and told us to wait. There were tons of people around, but from what I gather only Dr. Patel's patients get put in this separate waiting room. We sat there, sock footed and all. You take your shoes off before going in, at least most people do, not everyone though. I haven't figured out who does and who doesn't or exactly why, but we just do. I imagine it is for sanitary purposes because the streets are so filthy, but maybe it's some religious deal. The nurses eventually got me into a room to do they typical stuff (blood pressure, weight etc.)

As I sat in this back room/office/ultrasound room, there were tons of people (nurses?secretaries?not sure what they all were??). There was definitely something going on in a room that I could see down the hall. I think someone was maybe having a baby. I got a glimpse of one of those big lights that are in operating rooms and there were lots of nurses bringing in wash cloths.

Then out of that room walked Dr. Patel. It was like seeing a princess or something. She is really pretty and dresses traditionally even when working. Her Saree style of dress is elegant and looks like it is probably made out of silk and chiffon. She was very pleasant and kind, but also very busy. She seems to always be doing 20 things at once. We exchanged hello's, she said let's do an ultrasound and blood work and if all looks good, you can come back this evening for injections. I did the ultrasound, had one cyst on an ovary, but nothing serious.

Then we did the blood work (both Mike and I). Now that was a little sketchy, but they did use new needles, so I guess that is all that matters. What I mean by sketchy is that we were sent back to the waiting room for the blood draw guy. He came to the waiting room, barefooted and all, with his pack of needles and containers and took our blood right there with everyone hanging around. A little of my blood dripped on the counter, no big deal, just wiped it up with a cotton ball. We were told to come back at 5pm for blood test results and injections.

Back to the clinic we go. All tests were good, so I started the injections. Just 2 in the tummy. Easy peasy. I felt fine afterwards. So all is good today.

Domino's for dinner in our hotel room. The time change is really efffin up my body. Lot's of in and out sleep.

Just a little on the area......Sickly cows, goop in their eyes, starving, eating out of garbage cans. Sickly dogs that have puppies nursing on them. I actually thought a mama dog might have been dead, but Mike thought she was probably alive. Let's hope so or those puppies are outta luck. Deformed people riding on skateboard types of carts, probably hoping and praying that their good hand they use to push them along doesn't get ran over. Ok, so that's the icky stuff. There are cool looking shops and fresh fruit vendors all over. We will check that out tomorrow.

Traveling to India~Just Getting Here is a Task

We left home Wednesday at noon and got to Anand, India by Friday morning (their time), so that would be Thursday evening our time. Basically about 33 hours of travelling/waiting and whatnot to get here. Not much to say about the plane rides, they are what they are, but one piece of advice.....if ever flying Air France and they offer French or Indian cuisine, go for the Indian, because the French was gross. Very disappointing since I thought it was probably going to be my last good meal. Lucky for me the Domino's here in India is pretty decent, so when all else fails, we can turn to that. Our taxi took us from the last airport to our hotel, Rama Residency. A bit of a scary ride, but we made it. Let's just say, we will never rent a car in India. We will always leave the driving to someone with experience. It is nuts on the roads around here. No traffic laws, well maybe there are, but they don't go by them. The only thing that they use is the horn and it is used for every signal. The horn means you could be turning or you could be going through an intersection or you might run someone over. The horn means everything, which to me seems like it loses its purpose and really is just a noise maker.

The Mahi Bridge, built across the great river Mahi, is a major bridge connecting Dangarpur and Banswara districts in South Rajasthan.


Let me preface this whole deal before I start, I normally do not put my thoughts down in writing. Not a big believer in "journaling" or now I guess it would be called blogging, but I know this is an experience of a lifetime, so I thought it would be good to write it down. That way I will be able to pass on info and share stories with others and be able to remember some of the details more clearly later in life. With that said, don't expect this to be some deep, mushy shit because it won't be. Those kind of things, I like to share in person or not at all. You are only gonna get the basics of what is going on.