Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things I've Learned in India (so far)

So... I've been in India (Chennai, to be exact) for about a month now. I'm starting to settle in and become accustomed to India's quirks, faults, food, and people. In my relatively short time here, I've learned some things...

1. In India, farts are scary; you never know what might happen. (no I haven't soiled myself…yet)

2. People will pee anywhere. Men, women, dogs, name it. I've seen women in saris peeing in plain view, I've seen men on busy streets, in fact, I saw 4 men peeing on my 6 km (3.7 mi) round trip to work today.

3. Food in India is nothing like Indian food in the US (at least in my experience). I loathed everything Indian that I'd ever tried in the US, with the exception of my friend Chintan's samosas. Here, I've loved nearly everything I've tried, with sambar, dosais, and onion uttapam leading the list of favorites. One more thing…Indian food is SPICY. Not America spicy; FLAME-THROWER spicy. I've had tears rolling down my face on more than one occasion (and what I consider spicy, many of the people I've encountered consider bland).

4. American food ingredients are VERY expensive. For example, pasta can cost the equivalent of $3/lb. Pasta sauce? $5 for a jar of Prego or Ragu. I'm not devoted to my American food, but every once in a a while, a $2 box of Kraft Mac & Cheese can transport you home.

5. TV, even when aired in English, often has English subtitles. I can't figure it out.

6. Tamil, the language of Tamil Nadu (the state where Chennai is) is very hard to understand. The people here speak so quickly, and even words I know I have a hard time understanding. It's like a daily tongue-twister competition. I have no idea how the words roll off their tongues the way they do.

7. Indian snacks kick ass. Their biscuits (cookies), candy, crackers, chips, and other Indian snack foods are downright addictive.

8. Bananas are delicious, white guavas are not.

9. (Most) Indian people are sweet. They've always got a positive attitude and a willingness to help.

10. The flight here is SO. EFFING. LONG. I traveled for 30 hours. THIRTY. HOURS. I remember falling asleep on the flight from Brussels to Chennai, and waking up after what felt like a lifetime of sleeping, only to discover we were over Abu Dhabi, only 6.5 hours into our 10 hour flight.

11. Skincare is going to be fun to find here, since everything I seem to find is 'Skin Lightening', and about the last freakin' thing I need is to get any paler in this country. As if being a blue-eyed redhead and so pale I'm nearly translucent didn't get me stared at enough…

So that's it for tonight… I've learned more things, but I think I'll spread 'em out. :-D