It’s not fair to generalize all of India based on the few states I’ve been to but for the purposes of this post, that’s what I’m going to do.
I have not seen a bathtub so far. Every bathroom has just a shower head with a slightly slanted bathroom floor leading to a drain. I’ve been showering directly next to my toilet.
The under estimating of time, or “Indian time”, definitely exists. When we traveled to a village outside of the Bhawani orphanage, the locals and our drivers said it was 20 minutes away. It ended up being an hour and a half away. This happens quite constantly.
Sometimes, it ends up just being chance if you get what you want when you order food. You can say exactly what you want, your waiter or room service hotel staff guy can look you in the face and say, “Yes” but you still may end up getting tomato soup with French fries in it.
I’m currently on the fourth floor of the Hotel Yogendra and at the end of the hall, there is a balcony overlooking the street. The hotel staff will dry laundry out there and sleep out there. I just looked down the hall and I can see two guys sleeping on cardboard on that balcony.
We get stared at all the time. I have not seen another Westerner in a long, long time. We’ve run across a few Europeans but that’s about it.
The man who works at the liquor store down the road may be the most articulate Indian on the street of JSG.
Including the bathroom, I have 22 switches in my room for the lights, fans and outlets. Also, at this particular hotel, my room key is a skeleton key with a plastic rectangle attached to it. When you get into the room, you put the rectangle into a slot by the door and that’s allows the power to run. Not a bad idea to conserve power if you ask me, because guests have to take their key to lock the door.
Many of the trash cans on the street and in our rooms say “Use me” on them and the trash cans at Sooch Village say they are “100% virgin plastic” and have pictures of Sumo wrestlers on them.
Speaking of plastic, Rourkela is a big steel town and I caught the local steel television channel while we were there. It was a public access type format but at the bottom of the screen it said, “Say no to plastics.” The steel industry here really despises plastics apparently.
It’s common for men to walk around with their arms around other men. It’s an expression of friendship here.
While driving to the Bhawani orphanage, there were a couple of interesting road signs telling people to drive slow – “If you are married, divource the speed” and “Speed thrills but kills”.
Since it’s monsoon season, rain is constantly threatening here and it rains at least a couple of times a day. Sometimes it rains just a touch and other times, like now at 6 AM on Thursday, it’s absolutely soaking this already drenched city of JSG.
The kids at our orphanages are by far the most well behaved children I have ever seen. It’s not even a contest between America and the orphanages. One mention by a house mother to get into the classroom or to eat and those kids are immediately on it. It’s amazing. I had my computer on a table for three hours shooting a time lapse video and even though there were dozens of children within inches of the computer, not a single one ever touched it. For whatever reason, none of the kids ever gets so excited that he or she won’t listen to the house mothers. Ha, try to imagine that in America. I have yet to see a temper tantrum here. I’m not saying they don’t happen. I just haven’t seen one.
The kids also love, love digital cameras. You can find the one kid in the orphanage who won’t smile for anything and show him or her his picture and they’ll crack a smile.
All of the men are called Uncle and the women are called Auntie. “Good morning Uncle!” they’ll say to me. I still love it even after the thousandth time.
The vast majority of men wear either long sleeved button up shirts or collered polo type shits. T-shirts are very few and far between. The contrast between the men and women’s dress is amazing. The women wear fantastically bright colors and the men generally wear rather drab, dull colors compared to the women.
The mustache has not gone out of style in India.
Peeing on the side of the road is very common. And it’s not behind a tree or anything. You just go.
The journey home starts this morning. There will be so much more to come once I get back to America.
And a gecko just jumped on the curtain in my hotel room. I forgot to mention that geckos are everywhere here.