Here’s a shot of the guesthouse where I live at Shanti Bhavan:
I’m not kidding you when I tell you this is the picture of our backyard:
Yes, a cow comes over every once in awhile to chew up some grass around the coconut trees. Cows are a mainstay in India – roaming busy city streets and country roads. They are everywhere!
I only taught on Monday this week because I’ve caught a respiratory bug. I can’t complete a full sentence without coughing. The Indian teachers have been very kind in loaning me their vaporizers and decongestants, but I still have a raspy voice. I’ve spent four straight days in my room and have devoured two and a half books so far - Born Round and The Last Chinese Chef. Both books are about eating and cooking which has made me crave western food even more! I’m half way through The Help that also has some delicious descriptions of Southern cuisine.
On the weekends, we’ve typically been hiring a driver to bring us into Bangalore (1.5 hrs away) or into Hosur (45 mins away) to use the internet, print documents, grocery shop, run errands, and eat out. Everything in India takes much longer to do. In the US to run the above errands would typically take me a few hours, but in India, it takes us all day. You are dealing with poor road conditions, traffic congestion, your driver’s knowledge, etc. You learn to be very patient and flexible about time.
I’m hoping to get to travel in the upcoming weeks to see a bit more of southern India. If anyone has any recommendations for Chennai, Kerala, or Goa, please send them my way.