Saturday, 21 May 2011

There's a lizard in my room!

            Ugg I still keep waking up at 3 AM IST but at least usually after I write, I can fall back asleep.  So currently there’s a lizard in my room- these harmless little guys are everywhere over campus.  A couple nights ago, Rehka was awaken by one falling on her face- I’m glad that hasn’t happened to me yet (knock on wood!).
            So our plans for the Tag fell through, which is kind of what I expected when we hadn’t book anything and it was getting to be a day before the tour.  The companies who got back to us offered private tours so an air-conditioned air tour for the two of us and Rehka thought that wasn’t safe and that it was too expensive ($65 USD for a private, air-conditioned car ride to Agra over four hours away, breakfast, lunch, informative tours and admission to over 6 sites and more is included so that seems like a steal to me when just a bus or train ticket could cost that much in the US!).  I guess if I’ve got to try again to find an air-conditioned group tour a couple weekends from now and she might consider it.
            I think as the workshop gets closer, she has more to do and she suggested I connect with a bus tour to see the Delhi sights she originally said she’d show me.  I hate having to depend on someone to accompany me everywhere but if she doesn’t feel safe visiting an unfamiliar place when she’s a native to the country, I think it would be an incredibly bad idea to try to go anywhere on my own.  Even though most educated people speak English, the accents make it difficult to communicate and Hindi is definitely the dominant language of communication- especially for rickshaw and taxi drivers, which I might need.  My growing but limited vocabulary, which currently consists of the words/ phrases for: water, bread, potato, curry, “how are you?”, “I’m doing well”, thank you, and “I’m full” won’t get me too far in the city.  But not knowing my way around, not having a map, not speaking the language, visibly looking like a foreigner and Delhi’s reputation for being the rape capital of the world does not make me feel like venturing out would be consistent with my two primary goals of staying safe and staying healthy.
            Besides that, I finalized and distributed surveys for the physical science majors in the hostel.  It sounds like a couple are excited to talk to me about their experiences but unfortunately tomorrow is the last exam for another batch of them so they’ll probably be heading out soon after.
            I did enjoy reading the college’s literary magazine.  I more about my new friend, (the campus cat), I read about the girls’ experiences at the Commonwealth games this fall and their opinions on switching to the semester system/ subsequent strikes.  I found comfort in the reflections of first year students from other parts of the country who were similarly overwhelmed by the fast-pace and diversity of this crazy city.  One wrote about traveling to Dhamasala (sp?), the holy city of Tibet on a twelve-hour bus ride.  That’s not something I expect to fit in this trip but definitely on the list of my life pilgrimages. 
            There were several social commentary pieces that were especially eye opening.  I found out the pile of old stacked chairs on campus marks the spot where a girl committed suicide a couple years back.  One of the pieces described in detail why Delhi has earned the reputation of being the rape capital of the world.  I wonder if the high security all around has made a difference.  Every time you go into the metro, mall, tourist site, pretty much anywhere, your bags need to be scanned and everyone needs to be frisked.  And I don’t mean the half-hearted pat on the shoulder of Providence College security checks- its borderline too close for comfort.  But at least there’s a separate line for both sexes.  Anyway, the literary magazine was a great find- these Miranda House girls are very talented!
            Well, I’m going to attempt to rid myself of the lizard and go back to sleep.  Wish me luck- these little buggers are fast!
The next three pictures are art from the INA metro stop- they didn't really fit anywhere else so I decided to jazz up this post.