Almost two months in INDIA, oh beautiful, hot, colorful INDIA. So what have I been doing? Not so different to what I may be doing in the states - saw STAR WARS. Way too much love and dialogue. I like the ewoks, what happened to them. Was nice to see all the CHUYs, okay I obviously do not know much about STAR WARS facts, no buff that is for sure.
Nice to see english movies once in a while, the Hindi movies I have seen at the theatre have not been too hot. Naina, a supposed horror flick, I needed translations only twice and I think I got the jest of the film. Most the crowd was laughing throughout. Did you know that many bollywood flicks are knock offs of hollywood? They have intermissions in films too and they do not sell candy. They do have veggie burgers. Lots of veg everything in India, you are really almost more outcast by eating meat. They even have vegan restaruants (miguel would love it)people that follow the Jain religion (an offshoot of Hinduism) do not believe in eating in a home or restaruant that has meat in the kitchen.
OK I saw another film, LUCKY, about an Indian in Russia and he saves the daughter of the Indian Foreign Service representative in Russia. NOT good! There are no subtitles so I need a willing translator or if I rent on DVD they have english subtitles. In India they have VCDs too, I think they skipped right over VHS. I do not really understand what a VCD is I know if you watch a movie it often has two to three discs, where a DVD would have one.
So, I am working with two NGOs now. AVNI, who I originally came here to work with, Sanjana's husband Ajey runs it (the name is AV - for Avantika and NI - Niharika their 8 and 7 year old daughters). The other is PSI - Population Services International - India, working on a CASE STUDY of their VCT clinics (voluntary counseling and testing). That is for HIV /AIDS, I have been into the red-light district here in Mumbai where girls are sold often, by their families into prostitution or kidnapped, many from West Bengal, Kolkatta area. They have a clinic smack in between the brothels.
M & W I take a bus (or rickshaw if I have the cash and running late) 15 - 20 minutes to the Andheri train station, then ride the infamous Bombay slow (local) - train about 20 - 30 minutes to my stop toward town. If I get on at the train that originates at Andheri station I can usually get a seat. Ladies come thru selling hair bows, ties, barettes, earings. Young boys with newspapers. Monday there was a lady selling lychees. (Gopa and I got a dozen for TEN rupees at the Vashi truck terminal, one of the PSI VCT clinic sites).
Oh the fruits! Mango season is about over but it was amazing, a dozen of the most delicious, sweet alphonso mangos for Rs 200 ( $4-5). I was eating them for breakfast, snack and desert (with ice cream).
Ok - back to what I do all week......T, TH and usually Fri I take a bus or rickshaw again to the Andheri station, but walk over the pedestrian bridge to the EAST side of the station. Then I walk up the street, past, chai shops, sari and cloth stores, electronic, hawkers of belts "yes, madam jeans - your size!" "yes madam, sunglasses, you need"
I walk about 1/2 mile, still do not understand the km thing, damn american system are we the only country in the world that uses it? To a municipal (government run) school where the AVNI office is. No, AC as of yet, but there are fans, by the end of the day I am toast, I need a nap, which I can sometimes get on my bus ride home!
In the evenings I have been walking at the local park with ROHINI (sanjana's sister in law) sometimes out with friends to bars, discotechques, or restaraunts. Folks eat here late, if you want to eat before 9:30 that is considered eating early. You might have a snack with chai upon returning home from work, like Vada Pav (pow) - a potato sandwich or paani puri (crisp hollow ball you crack open stuff with a potato mixture drizzle with some chutney and then the slightly flavored water aka paani), or I have been introduced to these other tasty snacks that are typical Gurjarti (the state north of Marharashtra, where mumbai is located) snacks. Pattcis (sounds like patties) - there is a bit of cocunut in them and other goodies in this small round ball of a snack you dip in a mix of chutneys. All the food at this Gurjarti place is veggie - so I can try anything without the worry I will be eating goat(mutton).
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