Friday, May 9, 2008


We took the train here. Eight hours and then some. It was lovely. After all the heat of Chennai, the train had a constant breeze. It was a little crowded, but not too bad. At one stage it even started raining. The roog leaked as did our window, so we got a little wet. At about ten pm we reached Coimbatore. We meant to stay there one night and travel to the village in the morning. But we looked at over thiry hotels and none had any rooms available. So we called out host family and took a taxi straight to the village.
The six girls share a room. At night we lay out bamboo mats and sleep in sheets on the floor. When I roll over, I knee someone in the head most of the time. We have a ceiling fan, but the power goes out at least three times a night. Luckily, it isn't so hot here as it was in Chennai. I even got almost chilly the first night. In the morning, I get up and put on my flip flops which are not allowed either in the house or on the veranda, and cross the yard to the outhoust/washroom. Let's just say the outhouse is a squatter and leave it at that. Surprisingly, the left hand/right hand thing is working for me, though still a little wierd. I take a "shower" by filling a bucket from the cystern and splashing myself with it. I am careful as I fill the bucket not to use too much water as I will need to replace what I have used when the government pump is turned on in a day or so. I'll bring the water from the pump back to the house in a plastic vase thing which will probably be most comfortable on my head and dump it in the cistern where little fishes keep it clean. For drinking water we filter it with a pump filter into our bottles.
The village is surrounded by trees of all kinds and it is truly picturesque. Inside, teh houses are painted pastel blues, greens, yellows, and purples. I have been to the goddess temple where I'll be doing most of my participant observation, but it was not open when I got there. THere are a few tree shrines as well, one of which is a promising spot to chatt with the village women. As it is they come out of thier houses when I pass and we smile and put our palms together and say "vanacum" and head bobble at each other. I don't have much else to say until I find a translator.
The children drive me crazy. They won't leave us alone and you know how little I like children anyway. I'm nice, though. I keep telling them my name when they ask and no matter how often it happens I do not try to explain that no matter how many times they ask my name will still be Cathlin, and no matter how many times they repeat it they will never pronounce it right. Oh well.
Meals are eaten on banana leaves which we rinse off. Mostly rice with some spicy gravy/sauce that we mix with our hands and eat. I'm getting used to eating without utinsels. It's not so hard. The walk into "town" from where we live is long, but breezy. The "restaurants" are pretty scary looking, but I eat there twice a day and still do not feel the least bit sick.
Mattew and Jeeva (our host family) have an old man living with them (I think he is Jeeva's father). He's pretty kooky and we all enjoy his company. He speaks no English, but plays a mean hand of Uno. We try to learn Tamil words from him. Today we learned "beautiful". He told us how to say it and then gestured at me and said it a couple of times. He pointed to my braided hair and head bobbled, then to Sydney's short curly unbraided hair and shook his head. I guess unbraided hair is not beautiful.
We are back in the city today to grocery shop and internet. I can't get pictures uploaded. I'm sorry. I'll try really hard next time.

1 comment:

Natlyk said...

oh jenny. i'm thoroughly enjoying your stories. keep 'em coming! you are beautiful and of course you're getting all the attention, we knew you would. =) miss you much my friend!