Monday, February 4, 2019

India ICMC - Grad Trip Round 2

I've never had so many people reply to my Insta Story of 'What? You're in India!?' Same reaction as when my parents told their friends I'm in India (and same reaction from the pharmacist and doctor back in Sydney lol).

Went to India with some ppl from different churches visiting an orphanage and sort of like a cultural experience of rural India. Sort of like mission but not mission. The place we stayed was sheltered from 'real India' so the air was a tiny bit cleaner, but water pressure was really weak that it was my first time doing bucket showers.

It was really an eye opening experience. Visiting towns where the don't have running water, and handing out those Operation Christmas shoe boxes to them, opening a church with our name on it, and BW and I now have our 2nd sponsor kid.

Seeing where our money went to help fund churches/schools/colleges/hospitals and just essentials to kids. If an orphanage has beds, it's a luxury, even though the kids were squished together. Just playing with the kids or giving simple things like a very cheap packet of biscuits really makes their world and melts your heart. $10 water park entry fee means nothing to us, but a lifetime of memories for them. Even if the slides are dodgy metal stuff/rusty, or the ferris wheel and rollercoasters look like it's about to break apart. $2aud in India vs $50aud for high ropes since in Aus we have insurance, and India has loose harnesses...

We are alll so over spoilt in the Western world with clean water and pretty much anything. A maccas burger is equivalent to one day or one week wage of people who don't like in the cities. There are heaps of villages with cement building and palm leaves roofs who don't go anywhere except farm or stay in their villages to survive, or they trek really far away to work. $1aud in India can get you 2 ice cream and 2 soft drinks, whereas in Aus, you can get 1/4 of an ice cream. The Western dollars really do have a lot of buying power in India, where everything is dirt cheap, except for the airport where stuff is like internationally priced. Majority of Indians travel are very, very rich. Even having an old car in India and you're considered rich.

So once again, going to compile some thoughts here:
- 2 weeks of using bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth. So much plastic wasted. These bottled water aren't from springs or mountains, they're just filtered water, but over half of India doesn't even have access to proper water...Anyways, pretty much if you're a tourist, bottled water it is cause it's been treated/filtered
- India is so dusty and dirty, with soooo much smog. If you have been to cities like HK, NYC in the summer and think that air is bad, India is 10x worse. When we were in NYC going to SF we were like fresh air, India is soooo bad everyday. Apple weather reporting every day it's 'unhealthy air quality.' Pretty sure if you were asthmatic, you would suffocate. They also burn their rubbish everyday on the streets. The place we stayed at were more of a controlled burning, but on the streets it's literally fires everywhere with smoke and ash
- Burning rubbish is illegal but no one cares cause actual landfills cost too much in labour, so burning is easier. Imagine smelling burnt plastic and bush fire everyday. Whenever we got driven out onto the streets, I immediately started coughing
- Streets are so dusty as well. India in general. My shoes went from black to literally dirt brown coloured
- Streets are filled with sooo much rubbish
- Everyday is a struggle to connect to 3G, most of the time I had E (although I shouldn't really be on the internet lol)
- So sick of curry and chicken. The food we had was very well controlled and cooked with bottled water, but it did get repetitive. They have quite a few diff types of long grain rice to go with it, with diff sort of bread things, but towards the end we just wanted other meat. Hindus don't eat beed, Muslims don't eat cow, fish and lamb/goat aren't really accessible...
- Maccas and other restaurants/fast food have very seperate places/lines to cook veg and non veg
- There was a massive lack of fresh fruit and veggies in India, it just like doesn't exist...
- Got sick on the second week, probs lack of hygiene from the kids, bad air, lack of proper nutritious food
- Got food poisoning in Delhi from chicken curry. Worst food poisoning ever. Ended up throwing up on the plane 5hr into 8hr flight on the 2nd flight. BW had it worse for the 2nd flight. Other ppl had it on the 1st flight. Didn't help my immune system was already down. It's been 5 days and I still don't feel hunger. Literally only eaten a few bites of congee or one slice of white bread everyday for the past few days. Never had food poisoning before, and just so happens to be when we're travelling to Delhi.
- Taj Mahal was very nice in person, but imo a bit of a waste to bury someone there rather than live in it. It was also the cleanest place in India and most expensive attraction fee, but once you step outside the entrance, it's back to crazy cars and people haggling you to buy
- Bribing people like Police is real in India, heard of stories for people to like cover deaths or incidents. Even inside the Taj, 'officially' you weren't allowed to take photos with other people's camera, but then I saw the guards taking photos and some notes in their hands...so yeah, can just pay them and you can take photos inside. It's so corrupt, and I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface
- The air was really dry, my hand started peeling like it did on the way to Europe
- First time wearing a saree, all held by one safety pin.
- Apart from India being the dirtiest place I visited, I think it's the interactions with other people which made it worthwhile

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