Friday, August 13, 2010

Personal stuff

Just gotta share a few things about personal "stuff" that you really have to experience to fully understand. If you're a diehard out-in-the-woods tent camper, you have some of this perspective. But that's not been my experience and these things made me laugh as I tried to figure out exactly how to do things this way.

First - Western toilets may or may not be available wherever you go in India. The "normal" here is a squat version of the toilet. Hmmm. And if you want to be sure that you have toilet paper, you need to take it with you!

Second - The electricity goes out here just about every day. It may be out for a few minutes, an hour, or three hours. One just goes with the flow, sweats a little more, and sooner or later it comes back on.

Third - Bucket showers are a quick way to refresh. Since there's not great water pressure in the regular shower, it actually is better in some ways. Difficult to actually wash your hair, though. I'd have to practice to get that down pat. Oh, and have you ever used a squeegee to push the water off of the floor and into a little hole in the wall (at floor level)?

Fourth - I really don't like bugs in my living space. Outside, yes. Little ants crawling in my suitcase, on the sink, in the shower/toilet area, not so much. I happened to see spray to ward off bedbugs in Bed, Bath, & Beyond before I left home so I bought it. I'm SO glad. Don't know if there were any bedbugs but if so, they were held at bay and the spray kept the ants under control, too.

Last item - The smell of raw sewage in the street is not my favorite. Makes the smell of manure sprayed on the fields at home seem not so bad. At least the fields are sprayed only occasionally so you don't have to smell it every day.

Ah, India. I realize that I've just gotten a little glimpse of life here. Just a snapshot. There is a wealthier India, a cleaner one, and maybe a less chaotic one. But the wealthier people that drive to Park Street to eat at Fire and Ice and Flurry's and shop in the expensive stores still have to go through much of the city, if not the poorest parts. What I have seen is real life for millions of people in Kolkata -- a hard, dirty, poor life. And I haven't even mentioned the corruption of government, police, etc.

I so appreciate my own family, my own home, my own little community, and life in the US.

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