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Jodie’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012

Location: Keeranur, India

MapToday school was cancelled due to heavy rain Ė which is why I am taking the opportunity to get all this down. No photos of anything at the mo. Once the new kids stop crying and begging to get away from me (ha!) I will get photos. I will get more photos of the food here too so you can see what Iím on about when I talk about dosa and bhajis etc.
Bedtime is an interesting time. Sometimes the near-by church choose to sing Ė over speakers blasted out for the whole town to hear, at quarter to five in the morning. Roosters start cock-a-doodle-dooing at any time they like. Dogs fight and snarl through the day and through the night. Mosquitoes feast on me. I scratch myself awake. The noise of the fan makes me dream about aeroplanes regularly. The other day a cricket got itself in my room and sang its way through the night Ė and let me tell you, they are loud and my room is all tile so it seems to echo. I finally found it last night, got it out my room and somehow through the course of the night it got back in. Iím afraid it faces certain death on next capture!!!! And finally, the three little birds on my windowsill. To those of you for whom this conjures up sweet images similar to that in the Bob Marley song Ė NO. They peck maniacally at my window!!!! They are actually crazy. I go to bed early every night though and my days are rather sedate so I donít know why I am still tired. I think I am just one of those people. I like my room. Once the door is closed and I have got my coffee and my book open (actually Kindle on, but that sounds much less picturesque) the room feels very safe and comfortable.
Babies donít wear nappies Ö I havenít yet ventured the question, Ďwhat happens when they wee or poo?í
Little boys have black string tied around their waists Ė I need to ask why.
Little girls often have short hair and then almost all around 10 and up, including grannies, tend to have long hair. We are more used to little girls always having long hair and hair getting shorter as a lady gets older. Because this is what Iím used to it does look a bit strange to me. The little girls look a bit grown up with their short hair, and a long plait looks like a young girls hairstyle on a woman.
These are generally speaking, obviously everybody is different, but Ö Social boundaries and Ďnicetiesí seem to differ quite a lot, ie. Privacy Ė people think they can just go in your room and look through your stuff (this has been rectified). It is not meant offensively, it is not done secretly or anything, it is right in front of you. They are curious, so they look. People interrupt each other when they speak, and, the language barrier makes this less clear to me, but, the tone of voice used for speaking to one another appears more abrupt/aggressive. Less emphasis is placed on manners. And, Iím fairly certain they donít have mystery shoppers in India!! Hahaha Customer service is very, erm, different. Haha All this said though, the minute you are inside someoneís home they are making you sit down, feeding you, offering you coffee asking how you are Ö
For most Indian people, England is synonymous with London.
Everything (travelling, shops, businesses, police Ö) appears a bit disorganized, a bit Ö Ďrough and readyí. Maybe thatís just how it appears, maybe thatís how it is.
Because most businesses open early and close late, itís not unusual for people to have a late lunch, around 2, and come back to work around 5. Like a Spanish siesta I suppose.
People seem to be scrupulously clean and yet places are not. Women dress up in their sarees, plait their hair, put oil and flowers in it, paint their hands and feet with henna, dress their children up smart, little girls wear bangles and ankle bracelets and pretty clothes. Little boys and men look clean and smart. But, I canít help but find it strange that itís to go out shopping, on streets that are filthy, shops that arenít particularly inviting, restaurants/íhotelsí that are purely functional. People donít go to bars, or nightclubs, thereís no theatre or even bingo. Socialising here is very different Ė I realise that I am not in a big city and that I may see something completely different if I were familiar with Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu), or Delhi or Mumbai. Iím just saying what I see.
A very honest admission Ö donít judge me! I know societies Ė like ours Ė which take in a lot of alcohol and you see alcohol at every occasion possible Ė have their problems. And, I know drinking is something normal to me to do, and to see people do. But, life without it feels strange. Like there honestly is something missing. To me, it seems to open up so many doors for socialising more easily. Enjoying a bottle of wine with your meal makes the meal more of an Ďeventí, going to the pub or a bar, it is social. It is fun. It is something to do Ö I donít know if this sounds Ďsadí, if Iím even getting my point across properly but it honestly feels as though something is lacking and after much consideration I truly believe it is alcohol.
When Iíve taken a closer look, all the dried foods Iíve been eating are stuffed full of E numbers Ė itís not like at home where everyone is dying to tell you that their product is free from artificial colours and preservatives. Which, leads me on to my eating habbits. They are not healthy. The reasons for this are: I do not know how to cook!! I know how to feed myself at home, but, I do not know how to cook from scratch. Ingredients are unfamiliar to me. I donít always feel like going out to buy them as you have to be in the correct frame of mind to face the hussle and bussle, the traffic the litter and the staring!! And, I have two gas hobbs, and I just donít know where to begin. So, I am going to have someone cook for me. Lunch and dinner on weekdays. Breakfast I am quite happy with my biscuits and coffee and the weekends I can just do whatever, but I need to make sure I eat more veg etc Ė and Christine and Suresh keep telling me off!!!! Anyway, I fought against the idea for a while Ė it just feels wrong to have someone cook for me I guess Ė but I have to concede. I need to eat better and it will also give someone a job, which is a good thing.
For now Ö Thatís all folks