Oh, the Fruits of Exploration!

I have never traveled anywhere far away without a clearly mapped out itinerary of the things we will see and do each day. It is exhausting to keep up with the itinerary, but when you know you only have a limited amount of time to see everything you want to see, and may never have an opportunity to see or do those things again in that part of the world, it is worth it.

My exploring buddy

That being said, life in Reliance Greens, India, moves at a much slower pace. Austin is working night shift, and so even on his days off, he still wants to keep mostly on schedule, which requires him to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. The area around Reliance Greens is rural, and everything I need is right here within the walls of the compound (really, there is a big fence with barbed wire on top protecting us. I don’t really want to be wandering around out there alone with a rambunctious toddler who needs to nap in the middle of the day anyway. So, except for the few major highlights that I definitely want to see before we leave with Austin,  we hang out in Reliance Greens. That is not to say there aren’t things to do and see, but it is just on a much smaller scale than my other travel adventures thus far.

Camels!

On my first run/walk once we got here, I spotted a herd of camels all tied up to trees. There were 2 babies not tied up that were running around, but staying pretty close to their moms. Landon and I went back to visit with the camera, and Landon enjoyed trying to feed them rocks, and I enjoyed trying to make sure Landon didn’t get bitten by camels. I’ve heard they are temperamental, and toddlers are so impulsive it’s hard to know what they are thinking. Austin says that the owner built a zoo for his son within the compound. I think these camels might be a part of the zoo. I know that the rest of the zoo is across the street, but there is a security outpost at the entrance, and I only see workers coming in and out of it, so I’m nervous about actually going inside the zoo. There are peacocks everywhere as well, so I don’t know if they are indigenous or part of the zoo. By the zoo today when I was running home, I spotted a peacock perched on top of a light pole! I’m used to seeing little birds on top of light poles, but this was a peacock with full plumage. I wish I had taken a picture.

Mommy and baby camels 

It was a struggle to get Landon to turn around the look at
the camera, this it the best I could do!

Landon and I also made it over to the newish rec center to see about swimming. Turns out that in addition to “ladies” and “gents” swim times, there are some times that are “open for all”. We are going to check it out today and see what that actually means, “open for all”. There is a little kiddy pool that would be perfect for Landon to wade in, but on the pool rules it says that everyone needs to be given medical clearance by a medical professional before being allowed to swim in the pool. I’m a Dr, at least of physical therapy, so that should count, right? I guess we’ll see tonight. Also at the rec center are badminton courts, a squash court, soccer fields, cricket fields, a library, and a gym. The gym also has “ladies” times and “gents” times. Another enigma is the time labeled “adults”. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, except maybe mixed genders for those that are ok with that? It made me smile yesterday when I walked by the gym and heard blaring out of the room the song “Gangster’s Paradise” during the ladies’ gym time. Oh ladies…

Another fun thing is that many of the people who work here, at least in service related capacities, do not speak a whole lot of English. I was surprised, because everybody at the Mumbai hotel and airport spoke perfect English, but I found the same thing in rural southwestern France vs. Paris. People in rural areas just don’t speak English as well, or those that excel in English go to the city, or they don’t have as much opportunity to practice it out in the country. Everyone who speaks to me on the street typically does not speak ANY English, and they are surprised when I don’t speak Hindi. I feel bad that I don’t see the point in learning when we will only be here 4 weeks, and everything is provided for us. Languages have never been my thing. My favorite moment with that so far has been with the guys that clean the rooms. Typically they work in a team of 2-3 and they are always out in the hall either cleaning rooms or mopping floors, they are so busy and the place looks spotless, always! The one guy knocked on my door to clean my room. Austin was sleeping gearing up for night shift. Landon was sleeping too. I tried to explain to him that we did not want our room clean, but some fresh towels and water would suffice. He got the part about not cleaning the room, but when I tried to explain the water, he just said. “Sorry ma’am, English problem”. No really, it is my problem that I am in your country and don’t speak your language.

Another time, Landon and I were eating lunch. Austin sleeps through lunch, so he was not there. Landon ate two bites and then declared he was “done!” I forgot the tie chair so he was slithering out of his seat every 2 seconds. The pickings at breakfast had been slim, so I wanted to eat a good lunch. Landon was running around, taking buffet spoons and generally being a terror, the way he gets right before he crashes for a nap. There were a few waiters in the room and not any other customers, so one of the guys said, “excuse me, may I touch it?” and pointed to Landon. I said sure, and he whisked him up into his arms and started playing with him while I finished eating. It was a lifesaver for me, and a funny thing as well.

Landon tried to feed rocks to this guy. We didn’t get bit, though!

Lastly, let’s talk about clothing. As an LDS woman, I wear knee length shorts or capris and t-shirts everyday. I am also the least covered up person in all of Reliance Greens, except maybe for the little toddler girls running around in spaghetti strap tops. Everyone is at least in short sleeves if not 3/4 length sleeves for women, as well as long pants or saris. Even the ladies working out at the gym were running on the treadmill in long sleeves and long pants. It is between 90-105 outside, and I don’t know how they do it. I am sweating like a pig and have much less clothing on! During the week I see mostly people in traditional dress. It made me feel a bit better that at the Reliance Mart today (Saturday) I saw a few younger women in jeans. But still, I would NEVER wear jeans in this hot of weather! Not that Landon and I don’t stick out already for a variety of reasons 🙂

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