Sunday, June 5, 2011

India - Week 3

This week started out kind of rough. Seth's ear had been hurting for a few days and Sunday night he woke up super sad with extreme pain. Steve gave him a priesthood blessing and then we gave him acetaminophen and I slept with him. Steve had class on Monday and Tuesday, but our time after class was spent taking Seth to the doctor. I am glad that we could find good doctors at the Apollo Clinic here. He has some medicine and is now better.

Wednesday was a fun day. Steve's class had a test that TAs took care of so we had the day to see more of Bangalore. First we went in to Leela Palace. This is a very fancy hotel and shopping gallery. There were beautiful grounds that we walked around. We went in to find more books, but also saw some other beautiful and very expensive pashmina scarves and hand carved goods.
We then went to a Hindu Temple with a huge statue of Shiva. You remove your shoes and then they had us walk through all these tunnels that tell about Shiva and several other holy places in India. The statue is huge as you can tell from the picture. It was interesting just to be there and see how they worship.
We then went to lunch at Barbeque Nation. This was a unique place because they put little grills on your table and bring some of the food out on skewers. The food has already been cooked by them but continues to warm and grill at your table. They even made us some less spicy versions. Now we have been to many buffets and tried many kinds of Indian food.
Thursday and Friday again we spent most of our time around home and just took some time to play games and to play outside with balls. Saturday we also headed into Bangalore. First we went to the church to join in a Primary Activity. This was for the children for the whole district. Church members in the US and their mothers had helped sew scripture bags for the kids and so they were creating thank you cards. They played temple bingo and learned more about the temple. Then they had a treasure hunt for pictures of the temple. And then more games just for fun.
We left at that point and went to lunch, this time to The Only Place which serves more western food that I thought would be good for our kids. We finished the day at Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens. Bangalore has pretty good weather but at times it is hot. Saturday, particularly on some of the sunny paths, got to be too hot. We didn't see the entire gardens but enjoyed what we did see. They were having a Mango & Jackfruit Show - so many varieties of mangoes and the Jackfruit was something new to us. It can grow to a size about as big as Seth. Our favorite part was probably this enormous rock with a tower at the top that we climbed to. This was a watch tower from hundreds of years ago that marked how big they thought the city would grow to be and allows you to see over the city.
One of the instructions the finance secretary gave to the new US elders was that they had to start thinking in rupees. That has definitely been a difference for us being here just short term. For us taking the toll road for 50 rupees (just more than a dollar) each time we go to the city is worth avoiding more traffic, but is a big sum to our driver. The entire bill for the doctor, blood work, and medicine was around 1000 rupees (about $20) which is just a little more than our copay just for the pediatrician in the US. You can get some food for very few rupees, but since we are being more cautious with the kids we are eating at more expensive hotel buffets often that are fairly equal to US prices. The beautiful scarves I mentioned were still very expensive, as I am sure they would be in the US. We had money budgeted for the trip, but I do think if you were to live in a country long term you would have to function better than we are within their money system.

And we still see interesting sights as we drive. I enjoy the writing on walls saying "Please do not urinate here." We saw a car that had driven off the edge of the sidewalk, not realizing the construction had removed the street several feet below it. We saw a few horse-drawn carts yesterday. We still like looking for cows and water buffalo, but today also saw chickens and goats. We also saw mutton that had been butchered and was hanging out for sale. Women often wear beautiful strands of small white flowers (that the kids think looks like popcorn) in their hair. We still love seeing the beautiful sarees and colors of the clothing. There are several Muslim Mosques and we often hear their calls to prayer which sounds like a song to me. The kids have started back to school here so we see them in their uniforms. We also found out that often children start school at age 3. They go during the week and also have half days of school every Saturday. We are slowly learning more.


Shannon W. said...

Hi Stephanie and Steve! Any chance you're coming up to Hyderabad during your stay? Looks like you've done a lot of fun things. We had similar experiences when we first shifted here, things take time to get used to.
Shannon Workman Willden

Anonymous said...

You may see my parents some time there in Hyderabad. Since my dad is mission press they go there for the missionaries and for district conferences. So look for Pres and Sis Funk and you can tell them you knew us in college.

As for us we won't get to Hyderabad. From Bangalore we will travel to Mysore and a safari, then to Kochin and the backwaters and the beach, then up to Delhi/Agra/Jaipur especially for the Taj Mahal before heading home to the US.

Let us know if you have a blog or anything. We would love to see your family and what you are doing in India.