Friday, January 16, 2009

Where to Start?!

Hello my friends! Where to start to tell you what's going on? I'm tired, and there's so much to say. This will just be cobbled together nonsense.

Right now, I'm safely in Trivandrum. We left Nagercoil at 2 and drove from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, supposedly the most beautiful area of India. It's so lush--there are forests of palm trees. I'm used to seeing just one or two palm trees on a beach. Here, it's literally forests of them all jungled together. Below the palm tree forests, there will be fields of banana trees, which look like little midget palm trees. As we conduct our interviews, there are so many exotic bird calls. 

On the drive here, we watched a Kaliwood film, which was a lot like an Indian High School Musical but with more graphic violence and ostentatious costumes. For lunch, the Salvation Army project we visited us made us a traditional South Indian lunch. It was served on a big banana leaf, and had about a billion dishes. One was a sweet soup with lentils and cardamom. 

It's Pongal here now, a harvest festival. People draw bright drawings on the ground in sand and decorate cows. They eat a traditional meal made from pongal, which is a bit like grits. At every meal, I get a fresh lime drink. I think Indians only have this for dessert, but we have it as our beverage at every meal cause we're tourists. They put some fresh squeezed lime juice in the bottom of your glass, then you mix in fresh squeezed sugar cane syrup and club soda. Very yummy, like a virgin mojito. You can see people making sugar can syrup on the streets--big rollers press stalks of sugar cane and catch the juice in pitchers. 

Umm...Met my sponsored child day before yesterday. Was great; I'll tell you about that in another post. We travelled from Chennai to Nagercoil on an overnight train. That was fun. We were squeezed into a tiny little compartment and I listened to all my coworkers snore all night. As we arrived in the morning, it was stunning. I poked my head out of the train door, and watched in the dawn light the bumpy hills and palm trees go by. It's hard to get any picture of the beautiful scenery though, because the city so often blocks the view. 

I'm totally sick of Indian food. No offense. But breakfast, lunch, and dinner? No thanks. Eating stroopwaffeln instead.  I suppose I should be sleeping now, as it's 4:30 am. I tried to load pics, but it's going too slow--for those with Facebook access, I added some there. Bye!


Ric Sieben said...

I completely understand about the Indian food. My first visit there in 2004 was 2 weeks (Chennai and Trivandrum, btw) and I didn't eat anything with curry for more than a year after I got back.

QUick question - what's the difference between a Kaliwood and Baliwood film? I have never heard of the Kaliwood variety before.

Mom Dad said...

I used Google Earth today and saw the cities of Nagercoil and Trivandrum and the area around them. It was amazing to see all the palm trees . . . a literal forest as you said. Loved all the photos . . . thanks for taking time to post when you are so tired. We especially like the one of you and Serath. Thanks for your descriptive narative . . . can almost taste the lime and hear the bird calls.
Love you,
Mom and Dad

Amber said...

Thanks parents! It's nice to see your comments and know you're thinking of me. :)

Ric, I spelled it wrong--it's Kollywood, and it's the Tamil Nadu film industry. I guess their films are viewed throughout India and other countries and are really popular. Here's the superstar whose picture is plastered everywhere: There must be at least 300 million women in love with him. To me, he looks like a chubby ethnic George Michael.

Tara said...

Am, This all sounds fabulous. I love your description--thanks for the updates!

barleygreen said...

Fantastic...thanks for taking the time to keep in touch!