Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday, 13th October, 2006 – Fruitcake and sweet coffee

I had a horrible night and woke up this morning feeling pretty tired. I just couldn’t fall asleep. I woke up at 9am because I wanted to get ready and head out so I could go visit my new place and meet my new host at 11am. I switched on the TV and Oprah was showing, with Jada Pinkett Smith and the Williams sisters as her guests. They were talking about problems young girls face, and all the guests had just written books on the topic. I was intrigued, so I kept watching. I ordered some toast and a bottle of water, as I didn’t want to face the tea they had served the day before. Around 9:40am Twum called and said he would call back in ten minutes. This meant I couldn’t go take a shower in case he called. I just kept watching the Oprah show, which ended at 10am. Twum finally called around 10:15am, and we had a small chat. He was getting ready to go home. Around 10:30am I told him I had to leave, and then got ready for work. I got downstairs around 10:50am (yeah, I was quick!), handed in my room key, and went to wait at the bus stop for my bus.

While waiting for the bus, a middle-aged Indian man kept staring at me, then finally said hello. I nodded, said hello, and turned my gaze elsewhere, as per the Lonely Planet guidebook instructions. He wasn’t done though. He wanted to chat. He asked me where I was from and I said Ghana. He asked if Ghana was in South Africa and I said no, in West Africa. He wanted to know what I was doing here, and I said I was just touring. He asked if I was staying in that hotel and I said yes, and then he asked me for my ROOM NUMBER!! WHATTT??!!! I told him I couldn’t give him that, and he said that he was also staying in the hotel. He then asked if I lived in Lumumbashi, and I said no, I was from West Africa, which is near Nigeria. Then he said that I had a good body, and looked really fit. I said I thanked God for that, and he asked if I was Christian, and I said yes. Then he said again that I had a good body, and that he liked it, and I said that my husband liked it too. I wanted to scream at him to leave me alone. Then he asked me where I was going and I said Hazra Road. Around that time the 33 bus was approaching. For a split second I wanted to wait for the 204/1, but I knew he would keep trying to chat with me and maybe keep commenting on my physique, so I jumped on the bus. LOL!

I got to my stop safely (cost Rs. 4.00), and dropped in at the office quickly to let them know I was going to visit my new host. It was pretty close to the office, just as Anu mentioned. As usual, I drew a lot of stares. I’m getting a little used to it. The lady lives in a high rise, on the 14th floor. There was a security gate there, and I had to sign in and give the name and apartment number of the person I was going to visit. I did that, and went to wait for the elevator that would take me to the 14th floor. I got upstairs with no hassle, and rang the bell to the apartment. An older man opened the door for me, and greeted me with his hands clasped in a prayer stance just below his neck. The old lady in there also did the same thing, and I copied them. I thought it was so cute!

I sat down, and chatted with the old lady. Her name is Mrs. Kamal Sanyal, and she is 83 years old. She was quite young looking and active for her age. We had a lovely conversation, and I was given some slices of fruitcake, water and coffee. I was also given a fried dough type of thing, but I didn’t know its name. She showed me the room, which is large and has a double bed, and has a great view of the city (hello! It’s on the 14th floor!). She would be charging Rs. 800 per day, and it includes breakfast and dinner. I thought it was a pretty good deal, about $18 a day. I spent an hour with her without really realizing I’d been there that long. We settled on me moving in there on Sunday. I agreed to stay there for two weeks, to be extended if I stayed longer in Kolkata.

I left and went back to the Swayam office, and did a bit of reading. I got some coffee to drink, in an attempt to stay awake. However, since I hadn’t slept that well last night, I kept dozing off. One of the staff members asked if I would like to take a nap, and showed me a little room with cushions where I promptly fell asleep. I had a fan on me, so it was a pretty sweet nap. Thirty minutes later I woke up because I was sweating profusely. The lights had gone off. Apparently there is some load shedding going on in the area, so it was our turn. I went back to my nap after a few minutes. Another staff member came to wake me up for lunch, but I was still so sleepy I said they should give me ten more minutes. This ten minutes turned into thirty, and I woke up at almost 3pm. I think I had napped for an hour and a half. I didn’t want to wake up but I didn’t think it was nice to sleep the whole afternoon away. I forced myself to wake up, and got some more coffee to drink.

As I was sitting at my desk, one of the staff members came by and introduced herself as Chandrana, the mental health consultant. She asked me if I wanted my lunch, and went to speak to the canteen staff to prepare my lunch. For lunch I had boiled rice with red beans, the Dal again, and some potatoes in a spicy sauce. That potatoes and spicy sauce is very good. I can’t seem to ever finish my lunch because I get filled up pretty quickly.

After lunch, I went upstairs to chat with Chandrana, and we had a lovely conversation. She also gave me a dessert (Rosh something) to try. It’s made from milk; the milk is boiled for a while, then a citrus juice is added to curdle it I guess, then a bit of flour is added to it to make some balls. Then, the balls are soaked in syrup (sugar water, basically). The balls are chewy, and taste a bit like condensed milk.

I did a bit of reading, finishing up the book on helping domestic violence victims who have tried to commit suicide. It was around 5:30pm at this time, so I went online to check my flight booking, which had been sent by the STA agent I’m working with. I hopefully leave India on or around 20th December. I then registered with Jet Airways, so I could claim the miles I had flown (and will be flying in December) from them.

I left around 6:15pm, caught the 33 bus again, and this time, was able to get a seat for most of the trip. I missed my stop and had to get down at the next stop, but it was near the internet café so I knew how to get back to the hotel. I got into my room, ordered some dinner (two chicken wraps. I’ve learnt my lesson.), and I’m now working hard to finish my blog so I can put up the updates online. In the meantime, I watched an old version of Friends and Seinfield, and I’m now watching this year’s VH1 music awards.

(Honey, I just saw the Bacardi Mojito advert on one of the channels! LOL!)

Thursday, 12th October, 2006 – A lovely dayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!

I had a pretty good day today. Twum and Kwasi called and woke me up around 10:30am IST (Indian Standard Time.. or some say Indian Stretched Time), and we had a lovely chat. It was a nice way to start the day. I took a shower and went outside to investigate what the loud, booming noises were. It was raining cats and dogs outside. That meant I wouldn’t be leaving for work anytime soon, and it was almost noon. I had told the staff at Swayam that I would be in around 1:30pm. I decided to order breakfast from the hotel restaurant, and to be safe, I asked for toast and tea. The toast was delicious, with some nice butter spread on it. The tea? Pretty weak, but sweet. What put me off though was the smell of the milk. I wasn’t sure if they had put fresh cow’s milk in there or something, but it smelled weird. I couldn’t eat it (sorry to those who were rooting for me to live outside my comfort zone). Inam, the guy who had offered to take me to Mother Teresa’s house, and has also offered to get a SIM card for me, came back to say that they wouldn’t give him the SIM card unless they saw a purchase receipt for the phone. It’s a little ridiculous. I just need a prepaid phone card, but I have to jump through all these hoops to get it. First, I need to send in a copy of my passport, and add a passport picture, AND have a residential address before they will let me buy the SIM card. Now this guy who has a driver’s licence and could get it for me, they come up with another hurdle. Anyway, I took my phone and money back, and waited the rain out while catching up on some reading (work – related.)

When the rain abated, I went downstairs to ask where I could catch the bus to work. The previous day the receptionists had told me that I could take either the 204/1 or the 33 to work. Today when I asked them, they said they didn’t know, and that the best way would be by cab, which would cost me upwards of 50 rupees. I knew for a fact that the bus wouldn’t be more than 10 rupees, so I found it a little ridic (thanks to Elizabeth, Yale 08 for that term!) that I would pay five times that amount. Having prayed to God for strength, and feeling pretty positive about the day, I went and stood at the bus stop (which, thankfully, was right in front of the hotel). The bus stop even had a sign board that listed the different buses that stopped there. As usual, I drew a lot of stares from passersby, and one lady who was waiting at the bus stop with me finally met my eye. I smiled at her and she smiled back. J Anyway, you wouldn’t have believed that it had just rained, because it was as hot and muggy as it was the day before.

Once the 204/1 came around, I moved towards it, but before I climbed on I asked the lady who had returned my smile if the bus was going to Hazra road. She said it was, so I got on. I wasn’t sure where I was going to get off, but I knew it was called Allenbury Stop, which was the name of the institution or building that the bus stopped in front of. It was a pretty long trip, at least 20-30 minutes, as there was a bit of traffic. I spent most of the trip standing as there were no seats available. What I remember most about the journey was that the song “Bananza” by Akon started playing on the bus’s radio, and it took me back to the DASAC dance with Stephanie. I was a bit amazed that the song was playing on the bus, mainly because the bus had all these symbols and pictures of Hindu deities, and I wouldn’t have expected globalization to hit the bus. But I digress.

The bus got me to Allenbury Stop, and the “mate” as we would call him in Ghana (or bus conductor to the non-Ghanaians) was quite nice. Every time I called him to ask how much the journey cost, he would just incline his and hold up his palm, telling me to wait head (the inclining of the head seems to be a cultural thing, because most of the people here at the hotel and even at work also incline their head several times when talking to me. I don’t know if it means they understand or don’t understand me.). When we finally got to my stop, he told me it was Rs. 5 (five rupees) and stopped the bus for me. I got to work at 2pm, which wasn’t too much later than 1:30pm.

The lady I met yesterday, Anindita, wasn’t at work today, but she had left me in the care of another staff member, Anamitra, who quickly dished out lunch for me and told me we would talk after I ate. Lunch was plain boiled rice, with a potato and eggplant thick gravy, a Dal (some greenish soup of some kind, a little salty), and the sauce that the fish was served in. It was quite good, and I got full pretty quickly. While I was eating, I had the chance to chat with Anu, one of the staff members there, and she left me feeling very much at ease and comforted, and I wasn’t as worried about my stay here in Kolkata as I was a few days ago. I also met her mother, who volunteers at the organization, and a young man who just graduated with a Masters in Psychology and was also volunteering at Swayam. I took a picture with some of them before I went upstairs with Anamitra. She gave me some publications to read, including how to deal with women who are suicidal as a result of domestic violence. They also had internet access, so I nipped on there quickly and checked email.

Anu came out and asked me to sort out some papers they had to use, so I spent most of the afternoon doing that. Anamitra got someone to make us coffee. After the morning’s experience with “tea” at the hotel, I was a little worried. The coffee was amazing! It was exactly like how my mom used to have it back in Ghana. It was instant coffee (of course!!), pretty thick, and with a lot of milk and sugar (and this time it was good milk!). I finished it in record time (even though I was sweltering in the heat), and got another mug, this time accompanied by some biscuits. By the time I was done, it was 5pm, and the office close at 6pm. Anu had mentioned to me that she knew a lady down the road who usually hosted young people working with the organization, and she said she would contact her for me to check whether she had any space available. I was pretty excited by that, because it meant I would have a homestay near to the workplace, and wouldn’t have to struggle with the bus everyday (though it was a memorable experience.)

I went back onto my email account to send a quick message to one of the STA travel agents because I had received an email saying that I had a booking I was yet to pay for. Since she hadn’t told me what dates the booking was for, and I had no other information but this single email, I asked for clarification. I then shut down the computer, and went downstairs to meet Anu. She called the lady, who said she would charge me Rs. 800 per day, with breakfast and dinner included. That’s a little less than ten dollars a day for food and lodging, as opposed to the Rs. 900 I’m paying right now at the hotel, with no food included. We made an appointment for me to look over her house tomorrow. I’m quite excited about that.

With that settled, I left the office to try my luck with the bus. It gets dark pretty quickly over here. I think the sun sets around 5:15pm. This was the first time I’d been pretty far from the hotel and it had been this dark. Some men started hollering in the street when they saw me. I wasn’t sure whether they were calling me or not, but I didn’t turn, just kept walking towards where I thought the bus might stop. No buses seemed to come, and the few that came by were not the right ones. I saw a lady standing a little further down the road, and went to ask her if that was the bus stop. She said yes. I saw this old man selling pawpaw, pineapples, bananas, and another fruit I didn’t recognize. I tried to get his attention but his mind was somewhere else until another friend called out to him, and he finally saw me. I asked how much a piece was, and he said Rs. 4, so I bought one. He made a container using toothpicks and some leaves, so that it looked like a cross between a calabash and ….actually, the best description is that it looked like a navy sailor’s cap, the one the young sailors wear. It was quite skillful. He chopped up the pineapple into the navy hat-like receptacle, and then, wonder of all wonders, he sprinkled salt on it and tossed the pieces to spread the salt evenly. LOL! I tried to get him to stop but he had already done it. I paid him, got my change, and went to wait for the bus. I was a little scared to taste it, but it wasn’t too bad. It was an experience. I mean, next time I get pineapple, I’ll be quick to add that I don’t want salt, but I’m glad I tried it. (I’m growing up, eh? Hehehe…)

The 204/1 finally arrived, and guess what? It was the SAME bus I had taken that morning. The “mate” recognized me and smiled at me. The bus was very full, and I had to stand again. I didn’t mind too much. It was on this return journey that I noticed that the bus was actually demarcated into Ladies’ seats and Gents’ seats. I hadn’t noticed that the other two times I had been on the bus. J I didn’t even try to give the mate money this time, because I figured he would let me know when it was time. When I thought we were getting nearer to my stop (which I found out was called Ladies’ Park), I told him, and he told me it was Rs. 5. He beckoned me when the stop drew near, and stopped the bus for me. I hope I get to pick his bus again. Across the road was the Marina Hotel. I now had to cross the road and ensure that I wasn’t run over. I tell you, crossing the streets here in Kolkata is a risky adventure. Each side of the road is wide enough for three cars (has three car lanes), and pedestrian crossings are few and far between. You basically have to time the cars, autorickshaws, motorbikes and bicycles to make sure you are not run over.

I finally made it across the road, tipped the security guy at the gate Rs. 5 (because he always greeted me and had a smile on his face), and walked into the hotel feeling pretty good with myself. I had had a full day and been pretty adventurous, if I may say so myself. I got my room key, and sat down to cool down a bit, since I was pouring sweat! I watched some music videos on the VH1 channel, worked on my notes a bit, then decided to work out a bit since I was already sweaty. I did 22minutes of Winsor Pilates, then took a lovely shower.

For dinner, I ordered Palak Paneer, which they didn’t have, so I settled for Paneer Tikka Butter Masala without the butter, plain rice, a bottle of water, and a chicken wrap. Even though I asked for no butter, they had substituted cream for it, and put the cream in the middle. I must say it wasn’t as good as I thought it was, although the chicken wrap was amazing as usual. This was third time I’ve had the chicken wrap. I should have just stuck to my guts and ordered a paneer wrap with my chicken wrap. It would have cost less (the total for the two is Rs. 42), tasted better, and filled me much better than the tikka masala did. I wanted to taste different things, so I don’t really regret ordering it.

I watched quite a bit of TV while doing some reading for work. The shows I saw were Friends, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Will and Grace, and E! News. All in all, I had a fabulous day, and I feel I’m progressing a bit from my initial afraid-and-lonely state, to a cautious-but-willing-to-try state. I’m still a bit apprehensive, but I’m not as frightened and nervous as I was when I first got here.

(The only downer on my almost perfect day was that I waited for a certain somebody to call so I could share the good news, but the call never came. Oh well, you can’t win all of them, can you?) It’s now 2:30am over here, which means it’s 2pm on the West Coast, and 5pm on the East Coast. I’m now going to bed. Hope your day was as good as mine. Stay blessed!

PS: He called Friday morning.

TV Shows along the way

I just noticed that I’ve been watching quite a bit of TV along the way. It’s a nice way to get to know the local culture, and it makes a great segue for conversations in different places (so does knitting. I’ve made quite a few acquaintances while knitting on the trains back and forth from England. It also helped when I stayed overnight in the domestic terminal of the Mumbai airport. This lovely lady Aishah and her husband were just returning from a holiday in Mauritius, and she asked me to watch their seats for them. When they came back, she struck up a conversation with me and asked me what I was making. They then gave me the husband’s business card and Aishah’s cellphone number, saying that I could call them whenever if I needed any help. How nice!!).

In Worthing, UK:
Big Brother
Love Island

In Crawley, UK:
Coronation Street
Inspector Linley Series
The Bill
Diel and Pesco
Last of the Summer Wine
Only Fools and Horses
CSI :Miami
CSI: New York

In Thornton Heath, UK:
One on One
All of Us
My Wife and Kids
That’s So Raven
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
Two and a Half Men
MTV Base
B4U Hits
Beats, Rhymes and Life
Other assorted music channels

In London, UK:
BBC News
This Morning (a talk show)
The Sharon Osbourne Show
Deal or No Deal
The Weakest Link
Who wants to be a millionaire?

In Kolkata, India:
MTV Cribs
A lot of old Barbra Streisand movies
Pop up Video
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
CNN News
Bollywood movie music videos (they only show snippets of the videos, never the full thing)
Friends (early seasons)
Boston Legal
Baywatch (just bits of. I never stay on that channel if Baywatch is on.)
Inside the Actors’ Studio
E! News

Wednesday 11th October, 2006 – Interesante

I woke up around 1pm today. I had made an appointment at Swayam to come in around 3pm to talk about my work and how I would be working with them. Inam, one of the workers here at the Marina Hotel, had volunteered to take me to Mother Teresa’s house, so we left for there around 2:15pm. When we got there, we were told that public viewing was from 3pm – 6pm, so I turned to leave. Actually, I’m jumping the gun.

Inam and I took a taxi to Mother Teresa’s house. Once we got down, this random guy standing by the road, noticing that I was a foreigner, started making a big show like he was pointing me to the house, when in the first place, I was with a guide, and secondly, there was a big sign on the house stating clearly that this was Mother Teresa’s house. After we had been told the viewing times and we turned to leave, the man started asking for money, claiming that he needed money for milk for his infant. It sounds pretty cold and callous of me, that I didn’t give him money, but I didn’t like his tactics. It might seem like a big generalization, but I have been feeling like some people want money for not doing anything, mainly because they think I’m a tourist and I have lots of money to spare. It is quite frustrating.

We then took a taxi to take me to Hazra Road, where the Swayam office was located. The taxi driver didn’t know where it was. He took us to the wrong place, and charged Rs. 53. We got down and asked for directions, and walked for about thirty minutes before we ended up in the right place. It was quite a workout, as I had my backpack with me, and Kolkata is hot. J I met up with Anindita, and had a nice chat. When I left, it was almost 5pm, and the sun had set. Inam was getting antsy because he was usually home around 2:30pm, and he said his wife would get angry at him.

We took an auto-rickshaw to the end of the street (that was quite a lot of fun! I wish someone had taken a picture of me in there.), and then caught a bus to the end of that main road, where we crossed over to Park Street. Inam took me through the houses from Park Street to the street where the hotel was, instead of just walking by the main road. It was pretty convoluted, and the place reminded me very much of Nima (in Ghana). We saw some watermelon and bought Rs.10 worth.

Once we got to the hotel, Inam said he would go get me a SIM card. I gave him Rs. 300 for the SIM card, took out my UK SIM card and gave him my handset. I also gave him Rs. 100 for taking me around. He kept saying that I should give him the SIM card when I was leaving, so I asked him if he would pay me back for the SIM. He smiled and shook his head, and said that after I had returned it to him, I should later on buy him a handset. Can you believe that? I asked him if he thought I was rich, and he smiled, saying that I could get him one for Rs. 2000. I felt sad and disappointed in him, because I thought he was one of the few who didn’t want to take me for all he could get.

My hotel room has TV with about seventy channels, including VH1, and the Zee channels that show western sitcoms, soaps, shows and movies. It’s pretty fun and comforting. Garnier seems to have a big market here in India as they have a lot of ads on TV for different products I didn’t even know they made. I’ve been here three nights (technically), and I’ve been to the internet café two of those nights. I therefore decided to adhere a little more to the Watson spirit and not go to the café tonight. My parents called me right after I had made that decision, and I was very happy to hear from them. My mom is with my dad at the moment, so it was lovely to chat with both of them and hear their voices. Twum called me last night and early this morning (which was nighttime on the west coast of the US). I had been feeling a bit lonely till then, so I was happy to hear from my family. I had been told earlier today that the West Bengali area is known for it’s fish dishes, which is why I ordered Fish Tikka Butter Masala and plain rice and a bottle of water from the hotel’s restaurant. I hadn’t eaten the whole day so I pretty much wolfed the food down, after which I promptly fell asleep. This was around 7pm. LOL!!

I woke up later with a really bad headache, due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten much earlier that day nor drunk enough water. I took some medicine, chatted with Twum on the phone, and went to bed around 4am. It was a pretty okay day.

Tuesday 10th October, 2006 – Totally jetlagged

Since I went to bed so late, I woke up around 3pm, but I still couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I went back to bed till 5pm. J When I woke up, I ordered a veggie wrap and a chicken wrap and a bottle of water. When I was done, I went out to the café to check mail. On my way to the café, I stopped at an Airtel ( a phone company) office to enquire about getting a SIM card. I was told I had to bring a passport, passport photo, and a cell phone to them. When I did, they told me that I needed to have a residence address, so I should ask the hotel owner for a letter, on the hotel’s letterhead, saying that I was staying at the hotel. The hotel of course wouldn’t do it, so I’m stuck with no SIM card. I can’t quite believe that it’s so hard to get a prepaid SIM card.

Twum was online on Gmail when I got to the café. He said he had been waking up intermittently between 4am and 7am to see whether I was online( how sweet, no?). We had an interesting conversation, and he said he would call later that evening. I had also gone there to get the Indian access numbers for the STA phone card I had. I was there for a bit, but around 10pm, I realized that I was the only female there so I decided to leave. I got back to my room, did a bit of reading and writing up notes, till Twum called and we had a nice long chat. He called again a few hours later, and then the following morning (which was night for him). It was nice to hear from someone at home. So that was my Tuesday. Not too eventful.

Monday, 9th October, 2006 – Arrival in Kolkata

Apparently domestic flights are not allowed to take off late at night, so I had to stay over in the domestic terminal of the Mumbai Airport till 7am when boarding started for my flight to Kolkata. I saw two black women there in that terminal, and they actually came to sit next to me. It was pretty nice to see that. I was sitting down alternating between knitting and reading. Once my flight was called, I boarded a bus to the airplane. My seat was 03C. It was in the first class part of the plane. I thought I had the wrong number so I went further into the plane. One of the flight attendants came to my aid and directed me back to the first class section. I was pleasantly surprised, and kept wondering when the right owner of the seat would arrive. I relaxed a bit more when the plane took off.

It seems one of the trademarks on the Indian airlines is the provision of wet towels. On my flight to India from London, we were given hot towels. On this flight to Kolkata, we were given cold towels (because the weather was hot enough). We were also fed wonderful Indian food, with lovely desserts. My flight to Kolkata was a lot of fun. I actually nodded off right after eating because I had stayed awake the whole night ( I didn’t want to risk missing my flight.)

When we arrived in Kolkata, I started getting nervous pangs. My arrival in Mumbai had not made me that nervous because I still hadn’t arrived at my destination. This was it, though. I had to manage over here, without knowing anyone nor the language nor the system. I got my luggage with no hassle, and now had to figure out how to get to my hotel. I was pretty scared. I asked a lady standing next to me how to get a cab, and she said I should just go outside and take one.

I saw that there was an internet café in the departure hall, and I thought I would go send a quick email to my family and friends that I had arrived safely. I couldn’t leave my luggage outside the café, and no one in there seemed to be paying me any attention, so I just went outside to find a cab. I ignored the first few drivers who hailed me, but finally stopped to talk to one of them who was pretty persistent. He said he would charge me Rs. 800, and I finally negotiated to Rs. 650. I felt pretty proud of myself. I gave him my address, but he said that hotel wasn’t good, so he took me to one called Kings Hotel, which was pretty near the airport. Their rates were a bit expensive, so I said no, and we headed off into the city. He took me to a hotel called Hotel Royale (I think), which was pretty posh. The cheapest room was about Rs. 1200 per night, and I didn’t think that was a wise way of spending. The lady at the reception recommended a sister hotel that was a little bit cheaper. The driver took me there, and I ended up paying him Rs. 700 to thank him for his hard work (although he had overcharged me a bit).

I was shown my room and asked if I liked it, and I said yes. After checking in/registering, I promptly fell asleep because I was so tired. This was around noon. I woke up at 5:30pm, and went downstairs to get some food from the restaurant, only to be told that there was a strike, so no store or restaurant would be open till 6pm. I finally left for the internet café around 6:30pm, chatted with Christelle on Gmail and sent email to let folks know that I had arrived safely. Just as I was definitely starting to feel that I was the only black person around, a group of US students came, and two of them were black; Octavia and Brendan. Octavia spoke with a Texas accent, like my friend Kristina Ross, and it was just to nice to talk to her.

After using the net for a while, I went back to the hotel and ordered a chicken wrap and a paneer wrap, with a bottle of soda. I went back upstairs and was up till 5am because I couldn’t fall asleep, and also because I was hoping my family would call. (I found out that sermons by Creflo Dollar was broadcast on one of the TV channels, Star World I think, in the morning. So was the program by Kenneth Copeland and his wife. Interesting. )

And that, was my first day in India.