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.