I got my turn.

Jaipur Travel Blog

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Day 1: February 16, 2009

During orientation of the MSID program I remember looking around wondering who was going to get sick first. It took about a week for the first case to come about and slowly more and more began falling ill. It came to the point where I was just waiting for my turn. Today at school five of my classmates where home sick with fevers and GI related problems. As I observed my peers during our morning class I realized I was the only one who has not yet been terribly sick.

It was short lived. My number was up in no time.

My stomach was a little upset this morning but I figured it would go away. It has not. I must have spoke to soon and jinxed it. I haven’t thrown up but I feel nauseous and I’m awaiting the on set of diarrhea. My poop still has a relatively good consistency, like that of soft serve, but give it time. I’m laying in bed in the fetal position. 4:41pm

4:50pm Okay, I lied. I just threw up. It was awesome, let me tell you… I’m not sure if the toilet had been flushed since the last use but I hope it was, because after I felt my stomach heave-ho today’s lunch out I got to experience the cool toilet water splash upon my brow. It was pretty gross but I do feel better. I’m sure that was the first of many visits to bathroom.

Thank God school ended early because I would hate to be stuck there throwing up in a bathroom with a leaky toilet you can’t flush. I can’t imagine kneeling in a puddle of standing toilet water. I have never been so happy to be sick at another person’s house. I’m also glad that I’m throwing up instead of having diarrhea because in India you are not supposed to flush your toilet paper down the piping. If you do, it may clog the toilet so you must to throw it away. It doesn’t sound bad but our bathroom is connected to our bedroom and the garbage is only taken out every couple of days. With the temperature rising I don’t really think it would give off the fresh aroma of glade plug-ins one would hope for.

Since I don’t want to do that my other option I can use for cleaning myself is the built in bidet I doubt it would be sufficient. It shoots straight forwards, ricocheting water off the front of the bowl and onto you. If you turn it too low it trickles into the rest of the water. If you turn it up to much it shoots out of the bowl between the seat and the plaster. Anyway, that is why I prefer to vomit.

Day 2: February 17, 2009

I am home from school because I my stomach has yet to settle down. I showed up to class for 20 minutes or so then headed back to my bed to lay in the fetal position for a while. Last night was not very pleasant but somewhat amusing. My host mother was excessively checking my forehead for a temperature. She very worried for me and insisted I call the doctor. I told my family my condition was not severe enough to request medical attention and all I needed was time and a little more rest.
Apparently my plea was not convincing enough because I later found myself calling the doctor. I was instructed to take Domstal, O2, Cyclobam and drink Electrical to prevent me from getting dehydrated. I was hoping she wouldn’t prescribe anything and just tell me to get some rest. I feel like every time I would get sick at home with a stomach ailment my father would often suggest some type of medicine to help with the nausea. I can only remember those instances ending with me throwing it up shortly after ingesting. So I was dreading the return of my youngest brother who was sent to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine.

While I anxiously waited for his return my mother insisted I try some of her home remedies. She made me a tall glass of hot water with lemon juice and told me to drink it. While I struggled to finish my soured water she promptly handed me a small plate with a lemon half slightly cooked covered with black salt. She instructed me to squeeze and lick the lemon on my to my tongue several times and swallow. After every lick more salt was applied. It was horrible and I slowly felt more and more green. All I wanted was to avoid putting any substance into my body, water alone was enough to send me to sandbox and there I was putting acidic juices into my system.

My brother’s errand took only fifteen minutes. I spent ten of those fifteen pacing back and forth from one end of the house to the other at my mothers request. We paced together side by side in silence. I felt like we were bonding. The walking did help settle my stomach a little but my back was sore and achy, so we stopped and was told to sit in yoga pose with my back straight. At this point, I eventually began telling myself I was participating in an intense weight loss program. Anyway, I am surviving but no wait has been lost.

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Places I have been:
• Jaipur: Amer Fort, Block Printing Factory, Paper Factory, the Jaipur Foot clinc and the G.P.O. I had a foot race against a patient at the Clinic; I lost, badly. The Post office doesn’t sound exciting but it was one of the most interesting places I’ve been.
• Agra: We visited the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Rauthambore National Park and
bird watched.
• Shekawati: We saw and toured 100+ year Old Mansions and attempted to enjoy
the local fair but we were swarmed by little curious boys so we had to leave
shortly after arriving to the grounds.
• Pushkar: Stayed at the Pink Floyd Hotel, saw the Ghats, and the only Brahma
Temple in the world.
• Rishikesh: The Ganges! We white water rafted and cliff jumped into India’s holy
river! We also hiked a mountain in search of a waterfall we never found.

Things that are considered Auspicious:
• Most things Orange: A lot of statues are orange, holy men are dressed in orange,
and the bindies received after visiting the temple are orange.
• The Unexplainable: One thing I’ve noticed in India is if Indian’s cannot explain
why they do what they do they simply tell you it’s auspicious.

Constant Sounds
• Horns: Horns are used all the time to notify you a vehicle is coming. It is also
used to try and get your attention.
• Bells: Our grandma is always ringer her bell and doing so sort of ritual. If not her
someone else grandma is.
• Drums: We live next to the Ganesh Mandir and it’s wedding seasons so drums
are used during ever procession. Since Ganesh is the god you pray to before any big event or adventure, the procession parades usually start there.
• Fireworks: Fireworks are used during every wedding so at night we are
constantly hearing the explosions.
• Anything Related to Music

Things that are Black:
• The Heels of My Feet: They are impossible to keep clean. In India you live in
your chhapl or in English your sandals.
• My Finger Nails: Doesn’t matter how short I keep them.
• Beggars: Some of the darkest people I’ve ever seen.
• My Boogers: The pollution is terrible. Dirt and sand also accumulate there.

Questions I hate being asked:
• Are you going to marry your boyfriend?: They are looking for a yes or no
answer and the best one I can give them is a “I don’t know”.
• What God do you believe in? or What religion are you?:They can’t
comprehend people who do not believe in a God because after all most people
here believe in hundreds.

Things that are Hard:
• Learning Hindi
• Beds: All of them. The mattresses take a lot of getting use to. I sleep with my
blanket under me some nights.
• Staying Hydrated During an Illness: They give you Electrol which tastes like
salty Powerade, it helps but it sucks drinking it.

Animals You Can See Daily
• Cows: They are just everywhere.
• Monkeys: Today I saw a guy shoot at one.
• Dogs: Majority are strays. It’s rare to see one on a leash.
• Geckos: They live in our house.
• Hogs: They roam the streets and have huge teats.
• Mosquitoes: They breed in our bathroom.
• Mice: They live in our house
• Doves and Pigeons
• Other Birds: They fly in and out of our house.

Things that are gross
• Men Peeing Everywhere
• The Scent of Men Peeing Everywhere
• Gawking Men: They are everywhere!
• Rice and Plan Curd: They give it to you when you’re sick. It’s horrible.
• Chach: They also give it to you when you’re sick. It tastes like sour curd and the
left over pickle juice from a jar of dill pickles. No wait, that would taste better. It’s awful.
• People Puking on Buses: I’ve seen it twice. Once I was crossing the streets and a
man puked out the window and the other I was on the bus when the woman across from me started vomiting out the window. Every heave sounded like she was saying burlap as her vomit splattered and streaked onto the windows.
• Garbage Everywhere

Things I Like
• Seeing Women Ride Side Saddle on motorcycles: They look very elegant and
often have a baby on their lap.
• Women Driving Motorcycles
• My Neighbor’s Pet: It’s a cow. It’s always chained to our fence and I got to feed
it one morning.
• Warm Milk with Sugar: It’s the only way I’ve drank milk here.
• Getting Clothes Made: It cost very little to get clothes made except I keep doing
it and so it’s getting expensive but I love fabric shopping.
• My Host Family

Food I Miss
• McDonalds
• Cereal
• Meat
• Meatloaf
• Mickey’s Diner’s One Eyed Jack
• Coffee
• Chocolate
• Eggs

Other Comforts of Home I Miss
• Family and Friends
• Youth Studies Department
• Snow/Bundling Up and Colder Weather
• Biking
• Working
• Minneapolis

photo by: oxangu2