Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun in Sun and Other Cliches

Sorry for the hiatus. Hope at least some of you haven't lost interest yet and are still checking!

January 19, 2010
Welcome to le Beach!

Hellow! Just kidding, I know how to spell for realz.
Today we went back to Chennai. Thus much of the day was spent traveling… driving to the airport, waiting at the airport, flying, driving to the hotel.
It’s HOT here :).
Oh baby.

Oh, and our hotel is a fancy smancy beach resort (Ideal Beach Resort)!! Seriously, it is almost as nice as that beachside place we (the Roberts fam) stayed at in Hawaii. We are by the ocean, there is a pool, we have a cute patio-thing… oh man. (Why do we say “oh man” and “oh boy” but not “oh girl” or “oh woman?”)
Take a look see.

[reminded me of Hawaii or something]

[and how!]

[hug the cute porch with your eyes]

Right after dropping off our bags (new roommates = Shannon and Morgan), we headed to a nearby village where a large number of women are involved in a milk cooperative. This means that an outsider (can’t remember the guy’s name, unfortunately) helps them get loans to buy cows and/or water buffalo and to sell the milk. He gets a small cut of the money but they make a ton compared to what they would if they were going at it alone.
They had a lot of fun answering questions for us (it was all translated through Dr. Julius). At one point they said something like, “Hey why don’t you help us? Can’t you build a hospital here or something?” That was depressing. We couldn’t really convey to them that we don’t have the resources or know-how to build and staff an entire hospital. Many poor Indians sort of assume all Americans are very rich. Sort of like one might assume that all poor Africans have AIDS or all people from Bangladesh are very poor (which is a generalization, not fully true).
Still, it was a good experience. Here are some of the things I learned:
• Most of them have TVs; Bryan played Super Mario Brothers in a hut
• A cow is milked twice a day
• Water buffalos produce more milk and creamier milk than cows
• A cow costs about Rs 15,000
• All of the children in their village are going to school
• The women directly involved probably make between Rs 1,000-1,200 each month (about $22-24, but above the poverty line here)
• The nearest hospital is 5 km away
• The kids go to government schools, which are free but not as good as the ones you pay for
• The villagers also grow chilies and rice (or something)
• Practically none of them speak English
• Practically none of them have shoes
• We are super tall compared to them!
• Mentally disabled kids are offered a special day care by the social workers, but in school they get no special help
• Most of the older women never went to school
• None have more than 3 kids
Oh, and once I took my camera out, everyone got way too excited and they all (even some of the adults) begged for pictures! So I got plenty, but eventually I tired of it and put my camera away. And the little kids were so cute, they were all excited to hold our hands and walk us out of the village when we left.

[hello village]

[i luv MOO]

[twice a day, every day]

[Julius, master interpreter]

[who wouldn't want in on a pic of Bryan feeding a cow?]

[aww, she was sweet]

[apparently boys being too cool to smile at this age is universal]

[yep. the gang's all here.]

[solo shot by the temples]

[BFFs? brothers? cousins? if only I could speak Tamil]

[her late arrival to the picture leaves her forever smeared in my camera]

After it got dark (we had only been there about 2 hours) we went back to the hotel for dinner. It was GOOD.
Tomorrow we are going to Mahabalipuram (earliest stone temples in India, even earlier wood ones are all lost in time)! Yesh :]
Night night.


  1. Christie these are the best pictures yet! The beach resort looks beautiful but I especially love the pictures of the village!! I like looking at the people in the background too.

    I also love it when you put in a list of 'random facts'. I learn but I enjoy it, you are a good writer :D