Monday, March 31, 2008

India, the Verdict

So, was I right about anything? Of course not. Welcome to my world. If I stay worried and paranoid, look how pleasantly surprising everything can be.

1. The smell. Ha! NYC still reigns supreme in the hotvomitchumchowderpowdereddonutpoopstain odor competition. Chennai and Bangalore had plenty of air pollution, but it wasn't particularly exotic. An interesting smell that greeted us often was that of jasmine, which is not objectionable in the least. The real pollution? Noise pollution. Car/tuk tuk/motocycle/truck horns are used primarily to say "Here I am" which means it does not stop, ever.

2. The poverty. It was not as clear cut as you would think. And I only saw one naked baby butt...and it really was a fat baby butt and not really a big deal at all. Only one child begged for money, but it seemed more automatic than desperate. This happened just outside the big Kapaleeshwarar Temple, a big tourist area (aside from the heavy traffic of devoted who come to pray). Crumbled buildings, garbage, scantily clad and skinny old men were everywhere in Chennai...and evenly interspersed between shiny, modern buildings and people of every collar on the way to work. If anything, it was a matter-of-fact coexistence.

3. The heat. It was there, but we were inside most of the time. The only time we were really "in" it was at the end when we were strictly tourists. It was about 95 to 100 degrees and we were sweating like mad, but it was fine. I was woozy and nauseated during two of the days, but that was due to general anxiety, exhaustion, a degree of dehydration, and just being all jacked up from travelling so far and doing so much.

4. The panic attacks. The nausea days threatened to bring it on, but I bore down and willed it away. Booyah!

5. My boobies. And womany womanhood. I shook all the hands, and to hell with it. As far as I could tell, we only incurred true bastardy sexism at the airport. And the guy had his Big Man Uniform and Hat on, so he could hardly help himself.

6. Sacrilege. I did almost commit one act of totally sacrilegious faux pas. When the Hindu priest told us to touch the grand and marvelous bull on his side, I reached out with my LEFT hand, a.k.a. the DIRTY hand. He said, No no no no! And I was shamed and completely freaked. But I did not touch the bull with the dirty hand, nor did I make kissy faces at him.

7. Kali will destroy me. She's totally gonna love me when she sees what I got her. Trinkets of glory!

8. Food. Totally was not a tool, really. There was one cracker thing made of pure pepper that burned my face off, but after the vendors stopped laughing we all realized what a fine time can be had when someone cries from pain. Otherwise, the food was UNBELIEVABLE. Even on the plane, the Indian cuisine was something special. The heat did get to me, but I soldiered through (save the devil cracker - kill it), and I really enjoyed most of what we ate.

9. OCD. I went zen on the hand-shaking thing. As well as the rare opportunity to wash with soap when we were out and about. I had no choice, which was somehow more calming than having a sink, soap, and paper towels nearby.

10. General idiocy. It was a total lovefest. I really had nothing to fear.

11. My favorite moments: The Bull Temple (despite my faux pas), the Kapaleeshawarar Temple, the dance recital, meeting the vendors, the food, the beach, and the SHOPPING! Oh, and never forget the stinky monkeys of the Bangalore Botanical Gardens.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Booyah! You did it! I'm so glad you enjoyed the trip. Can't wait to hear all about it Lovey.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neices and I are so happy you enjoyed yourself!
Am I the Kali who gets presents???

9:38 PM  
Blogger Shiny said...

You are, indeed, that very Kali, my sugarlumpagus.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In truth, you are our only Kali you sugarlumpagus you. =)

9:15 AM  
Blogger Flushy McBucketpants said...

see? traveling is awesome. soon you'll be like me. homeless and unemployed and occasionally satisfied with your semblance of a life.

as they say: retire young and rich with friends, doing good work for others who need you...

9:42 PM  
Blogger Shiny said...

Hey, wait. Does that mean you are retired? Dude? I might have to hurt you a little.

Also, define "good work."

9:44 PM  

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