Monday, February 26, 2007

A Few More Cultural Mishaps

In the past few hours, I have made two cultural/language blunders: I am taking a course right now and after one of the sessions, I asked one of the guys, who I practice my language with "did you enjoy the class?" He gave me a puzzled look and asked me to repeat myself and I said it again. Then he shook his head, looked around and motioned for me to come over to him. As it turns out, I got the pronunciation wrong and said something else. He said the proper way to say it and the way I said it, but they sounded the same. As it turns out the word for "class" sounds just like the word for "underwear"

Also on the way home from class, our autorickshaw was hit by a waterballoon and me and the other guy with me got a little wet. The driver stopped and I decide to get out and for some reason I chased the kid down. He only runs ten feet or so and stops at his gate, so I called him over and asked him why he did that. The 11-year-old looked back at me from a few steps up and with a cowering voice he mumbles "because it is Holi". Then I said, "well... don't do it again." Holi is a holiday here where they throw water at each other, and later in the day they throw powdered dye and all sorts of other craziness. But it doesn't start for another week.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Some of you have gotten onto me for not putting anything about my appt up. So here goes...

This is my living room (pardon the mess, I wasn't expecting company)

Here is the hallway/foyer - I have no idea how to spell that. The appt is a 2 story with an entrance upstairs. I didn't want the whole thing and had them seal off the steps. So, yes, I have a staircase that leads into a wall.

the bedroom is a mess, so you don't get to see that, but here is the balcony. I'm on the 6th floor, but they don't count the ground floor, so in the states it would be on the 7th floor.

Here is an elephant that was at the front of a wedding parade. Behind him, they were shooting off fireworks that would burst right in front of my window until about midnight the other week.

And these are a few office buildings that were decorated for some governmental holiday.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Guess I Just Have Big Feet

This week I decided that I needed a new pair of flip-flops to wear around the house. And on Wednesdays (today) there is a big flea-market type thing within walking distance from my house, so off I went to find a new pair of chappals (sandals). After going to a few different stands to ask if they had my size, I received a few different answers ranging from a mixture of "no"s to strange looks and confused faces. Most of the places I went to stopped at men's size 8, and being that I wear a size 12, this would not do. More than one vendor gave me a puzzled look, paused, and leaned over his table to get a look at my feet. I guess to see if I was telling the truth. I did, however find a pair of baby blue size 9's that the guys insisted I try on. My heel hung over the back about an inch or so and that was the biggest pair I found. With no luck, I returned home determined to one day find a pair of chappals that fit.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

trip out of town

It's been a little busy the last few weeks. After making my visa run, I came back and hit the ground running. A few days after coming back, I had to go visit some friends in another city. I had only met them once before, so I was anxious to see them again. We spent a few days together with seeing their homes and them introducing me to their families and after that, they asked if I wanted to see the fort in town. I had only seen the top of it over the trees a few days before so I was anxious to see it. So they told me they would pick me up at 12. A few hours after they dropped me off at my hotel, they called back and said they would come at 9. I was a little anxious to sleep in that day, but if that means I get to see more of the fort, then great.

When they picked me up, they said we were going to a bigger fort about an hour away. And away we went in our full-day-rental auto rickshaw. When we stopped to get out, I immediately began taking pictures of all the old run down temples strewn about, but they insisted we keep moving. We walked around a hill and there was a few bigger temples lining the nice clean river and a palace that had been used a few hundred years ago. We ran around those for a bit and took pictures and all the fun stuff. Then one of them said we should get to the fort pretty soon, before it gets too crowded. On the way to the fort, it was starting to look a little more touristy and then we started seeing westerners here and there. Then we got to the fort, which was much bigger than I had expected. It was definitely the tallest structure around. On every side you could see for miles. Then after a bit, you could start to hear a slight rumble avery once in a while, and one of the guys said we should get going. And on our way out, we discovered the rumbling was tour buses shoveling people into the fort. I can say that they had perfect timing in getting in and out.

What really got me though was every time we passed a foreigner, my friends would ask if they were from my country. Some sounded like they were speaking German, so I said not them. Then there was a group af maybe 50 -60 from east asia with their video cameras and everything and they asked if they were from my country. I don't know if it sounds all that funny, I guess you just had to be there. But all in all, we had a good time.