These past weekends were pretty hectic. My German friend came to hang out last Saturday and the next day we went to South Mumbai in order to do some sight seeing with other exchange students. In a way, it's not the best way to go see these things with other caucasians because... well people stare a lot. And ask you for pictures. And in the end, you end up feeling like a tourist in the city/country you live in which is exceedingly awkward.
But anyways, so when my friend and I got up, we took a rickshaw to the nearby train station to meet up with a boy from Belgium to go to south Mumbai. Trains can be crazy, especially during rush hour. Thankfully, it was a sunday and not too crowded in the morning. Actually taking a train isn't too bad, you just have to be confident in yourself. Well confident enough to push through the mass of people and watch after your belongings. Pickpockets are everywhere and while I haven't had any trouble, doesn't mean there isn't any.
We got safely to the Queen Victoria station and headed off. Our first stop was a quick drink at Cafe Coffee Day (kind of like India's Starbucks) and then this famous fountain which sometimes runs but not usually. And yes I don't remember the name. But it is very pretty. Then we walked for quite a while, passing through a church and a garden until we reached the Gateway of India. Oh and on the way there we passed a TV serial filming. I was kind of excited :] After taking the standard pictures of the Gateway, we went into the Taj Hotel to look around but didn't see too much as the ballroom was still closed because of 26/11. From there we walked a bit more to see the Leopold Cafe, another place hit by the attacks and then went to the Mahalakshmi area by train.
Mahalakshmi is actually named after the temple that it stays there and right next door is the Haji Ali, a durga of a muslim saint/priest? which many muslims visit. It was all really cool and at the mahalakshmi temple, we were given blessings by the priests. We had to go after that because I had work to finish so me, the German girl and Belgian boy took the train home. At rush hour, it was completely different, as I've said, packed to the brim. Besides being very late, we got home okay and I was able to finish my work. I actually had a project due the next day and had to finish putting the presentation fully together. All went well though and I got a 28/30 on it. Hopefully my luck will continue.
This weekend was even a bit more crazy as I didn't have school on Friday so I once again had a sleepover with my German friend. Then when we woke up in the morning we took a rick to Bandra with another german girl. Breakfast was interesting though because it was the first time in 3 months that I had eaten eggs. You see, my friend's host mom is kashmiri and so she's non-veg (meaning she eats meat). So since she offered, I figured I would have one. Once we got to Bandra, all three of us went shopping including street shopping for shoes. It's a little stressful but oh well. I got some nice things in the end. From there I was supposed to go straight to school and I tried but unfortunately I got lost while taking a rick. So I called my friend and ended up bunking to go to her house.
My friend has been bugging me for weeks to get my haircut so we finally went that night. When we got back we had pizza (with chicken so more meat) and her driver took me home. I was tired when I woke up but had to get up because the chairperson of AFS India, one of the reps for YES, and another AFS India employee came to visit my home for lunch. We talked about the program and such and they gave my host family a certificate of appreciation to my host family for hosting me. After they left, I went to hang with my friend again for some coffee with my host sister and an AFS volunteer before I went back to her house to grab my stuff from our sleepover.
I'm sure reading it, it doesn't sound as crazy as it was. One thing that I was happy about though was the amount of hindi that I was able to use during the weekend. And I also did need to get few things. Unfortunately, I forgot that my camera was in my bag during this so I have no pictures of it. But there are some of my area and of our sight-seeing.
In other news, I've started my dance class and it's going well. I'm learning folk dance from a lady in my area so I'll have to end the classes when I switch families. But so far I really like the. Well, except for one thing. Since it's usually evening when I go to see her, both of her kids are there. And because it's so hot in India, parents allow their kids to take off their pants when they're hot... under which there is no diaper or anything. It caught me by surprise the first couple of times but now I'm getting used to it. But it is weird to me. America would never allow anyone to do that and they would immediately become someone you didn't want to know. But here, even my host cousins do it and my mom won't say anything.
Last but not least is Annual Day night school. Some kids like it, some don't. I like it. Of course, it's tiring to be at school at night when you might've done something during the day but still. You get to hang around with your friends and do silly things. Some people are studying because SAT are coming up but other wise, thing's are pretty lax. Hm well have to go now, there's a long day ahead.