Monday, June 16, 2008

India

So we left the beaches and headed on a horrible bus to Singapore for a couple of days. Singapore was ok...it was basically just a big city with not a lot to do. The coolest and best thing was the Night Safari. It was awesome! There was a night show, 45 minutes of trails through the jungle, then a tram ride for an hour through the coolest stuff. There aren't any cages! The animals are just there and could come eat you any minute:) All the animals were up and alive and moving around. Nothing like the Hoggle Zoo. Our favorite animals were the elephants--because the male was HUGE and had the most beautiful and perfect long tusks, and the lions!! When we went by them we just stopped and were all quiet because they were all roaring. They were perched up on this "simba's rock" and were about 30 feet away ROARING! It was SOO cool!!

We then took a flight the next day to Chennai, India and here we are! We went right to the Rising Star property and stayed a couple of days. It was awesome. The school for the kids is big and nice. There are quite a few volunteers out there who were all really cool. We went to the leper colonies first thing. Wow was it cool. It really pulled at our heart strings. I thought these people would be annoyed at people coming to see them and take pictures of them, but they were SO happy. We just walked through these dirty colonies and sat down with some men and women and just held their hands and smiled at them. Some would talk a little, one cute lady just grabbed my face with her stubs of hands and kissed it all over and then yelled "Halleluia!" over and over. Ben danced with some of them. They were amazing. We brought a guitar and sang them songs. What a great experience. What a sad disease. And how sad that these cute people are just shunned into these colonies away from the world. We left and came home to play with all of the kids. Most all of these kids are children of the people in the colonies. Rising Star is giving them a chance at an education and a life. They were incredible. We played with them for hours. They'd call us all "auntie" and "uncle" and just hang on our clothes and want to be swung around and chased and stuff. They are beautiful and it's amazing work they are doing there.

We left a couple days later on an overnight train to Southern India with Brian and Callie and 2 other volunteers, Mike and Brett. We're going to travel for a week and a half, go back to Chennai, then to Dehli and home. India is hot. India is dirty. And India is crowded. It's nothing like we've seen before. Us girls have to wear Chinadharus which are these long thick traditional shirts and long pants. We can't show ankles. Wow it's hot. Lucky boys. We also can't show affection, no holding hands even--it's taboo here. So we stayed a night on the VERY southern tip of India in Kanniyakumari, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal meet, we went out to the beach and stood on the actual tip. We watched the sunrise and the sunset all at about the same place, which doesn't happen anywhere but places like here. The wind and waves were CRAZY! We took a ferry out to this memorial and huge statue that reminds us of the statue of liberty. It was cool.

We're celebrities here. EVERYONE wants a picture with us. I guess it's the white skin and blonde hair, but guys, old men, children, and whole familes will come up at least every 5 minutes and want a picture. Either taken on our cameras or theirs. It's so funny. Everyone stares at us and sometimes gasps and points. This isn't a tourist spot at all so I'm sure we're totally foreign to them. We found a place for $2 dollars per person to stay the night. It was filthy and only a fan and I could just tell we wouldn't sleep. Needless to say, Ben and I didn't sleep a wink. We had the worst mosquites and bed bugs I could even imagine. We finally turned the lights on at like 3am and went on a killing frenzy. The walls, our hands, and our sheets were covered in our own splattered blood from killing the mosquitos. We killed at least 50. I've never seen so many. Our bodies, especially mine, are covered. I have 381 bites (and this is an under-estimate). Yep, we counted last night. Here's the breakdown, Face: 44, Neck: 37, Back & Shoulders: 46, Left arm: 48, Right arm: 52, Chest: 4, Bottom: 2, Left leg: 87, Right leg: 59. Wow do they itch. Ben got a lot of bites too, but his thick hair is quite a defense mechanism. His feet and areas without much hair are bad. Today we're in Kovalam. It's just north up the coast. We stayed at a $3 dollar per person room last night...we're really moving up:) It was much better though and we actually got really good sleep. My bites are getting worse I swear, bigger and redder, and more itchy. The beach here is cool. The waves are just insane. Almost scary, I dipped myself in yesterday and the undertoe is powerful. We played volleyball on the beach with the natives. Us 6 white people against 6 of them. They said if we won they'd buy us pepsi's, we ended up winning 3 out of 4 games...and never got the pepsi's, but oh well. It was a blast!! Then we played soccer which was fun too. We leave today to the Kerala backwaters. Which is supposed to be one of the highlights of India. We're really excited.

2 comments:

Whittney Clark said...

sounds like you are still having fun! I don't envy the bites though!! Wow how the time has flown by! Are you sad to be leaving soon?

TeamCarter said...

I love your pictures so much!!!! Glad you guys are safe and happy!