Perhaps some of you are wondering why this post is entitled "Arrival to India" when in fact we have been here over a month. Well, there are a number of factors:
- We still do not have any internet in our apartment (I'm currently crouched in a corner, stealing someone else's)! As you will learn from my posts to come, things take a lot of time here...
- It took a week to move into our apartment. Another week to get a bed (we slept on couches). And another week to get our air shipment (computer, sheets, towels-we've been drying off in t-shirts).
- And frankly, I've just been allowing myself to be a lazy butt and just never felt like writing this post! But there are some good stories, some of which I will share with you now (these are just excerpts from my journal, so please excuse the informality of the writing).
August 28, 2008 Hugo did very well on the flights. We could NOT get him to pee anywhere, let alone on the weewee pads. Sometimes I feel like God really does have a sense of humor, because while on the plane to Frankfurt, I prayed that Hugo would go when we got to the airport. Well, while walking through the busiest terminal, where all the food and shopping is, all of a sudden we notice a trail of poop coming from Hugo! So we had to stop in the middle of the terminal and I had to go back and pick it all up! Luckily, I had brought little baggies with me just in case. What forethought, if I do say so myself.
August 29, 2008 Arrive in Hyderabad, no one waiting to pick us up... again! Wait around, make calls, nothing. Meanwhile, these four men started picking on Hugo and taking pictures of me! Very awkward... Ryan finally picked up yet another one of those men with cars that are not associated with a taxi company. I was so mad I could have screamed (this is exactly what had happened on our last visit). And on top of that, we didn't know where to go! At first we thought we'd go to one of the nice hotels and sneak in Hugo, but the way he was whining so much at that point, it wouldn't have worked. So we got the guy to take us to Ryan's office.
When we got there, about 8 security guards needed convincing that Ryan actually does work there and then we had to get them to call the ex-pat resources person. Finally they got a hold of her (in the middle of the night) and she gave us the address of where we were going and sent a cab. The cab was a tiny little car and can't fit all our suitcases, so he had to put one on the roof (mine, of course) ...and he didn't even secure it up there! So we thought we were finally headed for the guest house. Well, the cab driver couldn't find it! We probably drove around for an hour looking for it. (Our cab driver even had to stop to pee on the side of the road! Or at least I think that's what he was doing... he stopped the car, took out the keys and ran around the corner for about 30 seconds and then came back.) After many phone calls and many wrong turns, we arrived at the complex.
Up we went with all our suitcases and walked into a reasonably nice apartment. "OK," I thought, "This isn't too bad. I could stay here for a while when Ryan's at work." Well, then I started noticing all the locks on each door. Then I realized they were taking all our bags into one small room in the corner. That's when it hit me we just got one room in the place. The rest was community area. I sobbed myself to sleep.
August 30, 2008 We don't think they get any Americans at this guest house. First of all, they do not speak English-at all. They also seem to think it's very weird that we keep the door closed while we're here. Ryan says we seem to be an anomaly in every way: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, not keeping our door open when we're just hanging around, bringing a tiny dog around with us everywhere. We are probably quite the site!
Well anyway, today we didn't have any food or water! And we didn't know how to get any... I think we were slightly dehydrated. We had no phone, either. Luckily we have email, so Ryan was able to get in touch with our relocation expert and after much communication, we finally got a car to pick us up. Apparently this woman tried to call the guest house twice, but the man said to her that he could not disturb us because the door was closed. This was after having knocked on our door twice, once to ask if we wanted housekeeping and once to see what we were doing for dinner! He doesn't really speak English though so the conversations went something more like this:
Little man: Housekeeping? Ryan: No we're fine for today, thanks anyway. Little man: No housekeeping? Ryan: No.
Little man: Dinner? Ryan: No thanks, we actually have a car coming to take us out to get some food in a bit. Thanks anyway. Little man: No dinner? Ryan: No.
The car brought us to Q-Mart, which is a store of mostly imported foods from America and Europe. It's funny the different clientele you see there: very western looking. Even the Indians that were shopping there were speaking English and dressed in jeans and t-shirts. This is opposed to what seems like 99% of the women walking around the city who are in saris or those Indian suits. We got some food and water (thank goodness!) and came back to the apartment to a dinner of peanut butter and nutella sandwiches. September 1, 2008 I was dreading today, but it turned out much better than I thought! After not sleeping well, Ryan and I met with the woman who manages our apartment to sign the lease. She confirmed that it will be ready for us on Sunday (yay!) [note: it wasn't] but also mentioned she had another "guest house" that didn't have any other guests, so we could basically just have the whole apartment. And the best part was that it was in the same complex as our apartment. Well, we jumped at the chance!
So here I sit, in an apartment almost exactly like ours will be. The internet is limited here because we haven't set it up yet, but other than that, it's 100x better! And the grounds are so lovely, it's so nice to take Hugo out there. There's actually grass!
People are enamored with Hugo. No one yet has been familiar with Yorkshire Terriers. We were pleased that the manager of our apartment complex seemed to love him. She thought he was adorable and so well-behaved (yeah right...). And tonight at work, Ryan said that the only question that his employees had for him was "Is it true you have a dog? What kind is it?" It seems to be quite the oddity.
September 2, 2008 So much for being productive today. I was about to write and say what a good day it was because Ryan and I went out to lunch together and had such a nice time. It was called Serengeti and it was basically a Rainforest Cafe with Indian food. But then when I got home, I killed an R [note: my way of saying "roach" without having to say it] which put me in a state of terror. I cleared off the bed and made myself a safe space and just sat there pretty much all day! 9 hours!! Just not a good day overall.
So that's basically our arrival. After another week or so, we finally moved into our apartment and from then on, it was basically shopping for furniture and appliances, waiting for furniture and appliances, and passing the time watching King of Queens.