Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome to the fires of hell

In case you were wondering, yes....I'm still alive. I arrived at my worksite last monday and have been adjusting to the heat since then. Living conditions are spartan, but I can't complain because the locals have it much more tough. For starters, the power and water supply are very eratic. There was no tapwater for the past 24 hours so we had to truck some into our work colony. Electricity will go out for about 3 hours a day on average. And clearly, there is no a/c.

Cold water is also a luxury....and good luck trying to find ice in this village. I'm convinced it doesn't exist here. The average daily temperature is 45 degrees celcius....and there's no way of escaping the heat. Most of the guys will just pass out from 1pm - 3pm and return to the office when things are marginally cooler.

I can honestly say that i've never sweat so much in my life. I drink about 5-9 litres of water a day.....and urinate rarely. When I stand up, you can see sweatmarks on my legs, back, chest....pretty much everywhere. I'll take a picture of my glorious sweaty self....just to drive the point home.

Internet is very hard to come by at the moment, but that should be fixed within the next week. I'll edit this post later and give a few more details.

Oh, did I mention that india has a 6 day work week? Yaaaaaaaaay! My weekend started this morning, and now its over lol.

Cheers Y'all!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adjusting to life here...

It's kind of odd, but I haven't really experienced much culture shock. In fact, of all the places I've been to, I'd say the middle east is more intimidating than India. Why? Well for one, you can get by pretty easily with english alone....which is always helpful when you're placed in a new environment. But more importantly, because the people here are so damn open and friendly! Granted, half of them are nice to you because they want to sell you something (sidenote.....soft-selling is alive and kicking over here). But for the most part, people are willing to give a helping hand at every corner. They're are genuinely intrigued with foreigners, and are eager to learn as much from you as they can. 

So what adjustments have I made thus far? It's taken a few days, but I think I'm getting a handle on haggling with rickshaw drivers. It's a pretty standard routine once you know what to do. First off, you should agree on a price before getting in the rickshaw, and always pay at least 25% below whatever they quote you. Sometimes, if there is a group of cabbies, they'll collude on a which case you just have to name your price and walk away. Within 10 seconds, one of the colluders will inevitably break rank and undercut his peers.....thats when the bidding war starts :)

Haggling has also taught me a lot about reading people's body language. Indians are very slick with their words, and can be extremely convincing at face value. BUT....if they quote you a price and crack smile, you know that you're being fleeced. Usually you'll haggle over 30 or 40 rupees (75 cents to a dollar). It's not the money, but rather the principle that counts. You shouldn't let people take full advantage of you just because you are a foreigner. Nonetheless, I have to admit that it's damn fun....and is usually done very jokingly.

I guess that's all for now. I've got a few more things I'd like to write about later, most notably the ridiculously chaotic "driving" that endemic in this country, and the zoo that lives in the streets.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arrival In Jaipur

So 30 hours after leaving my frontdoor, I arrived in the pink city, Jaipur. The airport kinda reminded me the one in Bahamas, but bigger. Bassically just one big room with a luggage carrousel (sp?). Being the genius I am, I decided to risk drinking the water at the airport seemed legit....I had paper cups and everything. I guess my bowels will tell me if it was a bad choice in the end.

Stepping outside the airport, I was greeted by my internship manager, Anuj. He took one look at my bags, and exclaimed how pleased he was that I had packed light (because that meant we could take his motorcycle to the guesthouse instead of cabbing). Soooo, in my half-drunk insomniatic state, I got on the two-wheeler and prayed for dear life that I wouldn't go flying off. The ride was really fun, but kinda terrifying. Note to Brent: Royboy's got nothing on Indian drivers.

I'm friggin exhausted....gonna go nap and finish this post tonight.

Back from the nap. First impressions of the guesthouse are good. There's an American, and British guy here, as well as a French and Chinese girl. An all around chill crew. The house itself is pretty standard student housing. The cost.....a whopping 100 INR per night.....or $2.50 CDN. Not bad eh? It gets better. I had an awesome lunch consisting of pizza, and an indian dish I can't remember the name of.....all for 55 rupees, or just over a dollar. All in all, things are looking up. Tomorrow, I'll be going into downtown Jaipur to check out the sights.

Catch y'all later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Disclaimer for the Know-it-alls

Ok. Before I get into blogging, I want to voice a little disclaimer: to all those who read this and think its pretentious crap....(Justin, Azim and Brent, I'm looking in your directions)..... congratulations on identifying the essence of blogs. It's kinda hard to ramble on about your day without sounding like a conceited twat. But I'll try.

If you've actually got a bone to pick with anything I say, comment away. Feedback will be much appreciated, and as long as it doesn't end up putting me on a "no fly" list, I'll get a kick out of it.