The India Archive [2]

In 2012 I spent four weeks in Bangalore, India. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried a lot, I complained a lot, and there were at least two instances that I was positive I would die. That said, I learned a lot and went on adventures and had so much fun. On a bi-weekly-Monday basis I will share my trip here.

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If you missed it, last time I talked about the 36 hours of travel to reach Bangalore, India…

When we landed at the airport & met the rest of the group we learned that we had a two hour bus ride to the hotel. It was evening in Bangalore & it made total sense to sleep on the bus. But I couldn’t sleep.. and so began my first taste of culture shock.

Just being in a moving vehicle on an Indian roadway was enough to shock my American system. On top of that, the streets and sidewalks are littered with other cars, buses, trucks,motorcycle, auto-rickshaws, cows, goats, camels, dogs, people, and carts. It’s incredible.

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I remember the first stray dog I saw. He was sitting near our bus at the airport. I saw another as we drove out of the lot. I was so shocked (and horrified). I had no idea those two would be the first of hundreds.

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He’s just sleeping, I promise.

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We reached the National Games Village very late in the night. When the trip had been presented to us we were told we’d be staying in a gated community. Well… technically it was gated and had walls… but the gates weren’t shut and we could move in and out of the apartment complex just like everyone else could. Also, one of the biggest slums in Bangalore was adjacent to our complex. Like I said, it was an adventure…

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Alicia opening the outer gate of our apartment.

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Door to our apartment.

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(When we booked the trip we had the option to live on campus or in the NGV apartments. The campus living arrangement wasn’t any more luxurious AND they locked the gates at 10pm every night. So if we weren’t home, we were on our own for the night. That did NOT sound appealing. Every student on the trip opted for the NGV apartments. It was a 2 mile walk from campus.)

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View of apartments across the way.

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This family lived outside the gates, below our balcony.

Our apartment was a nice size. It had three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, dining room, living room, and two balconies. Five girls lived in this apartment (4 from my university, one from TN). I’ll talk more about my travelmates next time.

The apartment didn’t have a/c (hahahaha) but it did have fans. We could leave the windows and doors open because there were bars on them. Of course, mosquitoes and malaria were real things, so we had to be wary of that. But we all had our pills and shots.

Our first night was rough. We were totally freaked out because we were expecting…. more. We didn’t sleep at all that night. We didn’t even try. We contemplated booking a hotel. We talked about going home. I cried. I don’t want to look weak or whiny, but we were very uncomfortable at first. Fortunately, it got a little better.

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ICYMI: Part 1

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8 thoughts on “The India Archive [2]

  1. Culture shock!!!!! I wouldnt do good with it.
    & I’d be bringing a dozen cages & bringing all those dogs home with me 🙂 haha
    … & maybe a cow…

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    1. It was insane culture shock. We were told not to pet the dogs (they just go about their business usually) because of mange, but I totally ignored that when they trotted up to me 🙂 I wanted to bring them home but apparently a student tried once and the dog died almost immediately in the states because of the difference in environment 😦 I had one little guy that followed us to school some mornings- I named him Cooper the Trooper.

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  2. ahhh i cannot believe there were just cows everyone along a speedy road – that’s insane. i have learned that sometimes it’s better just to close my eyes when traveling abroad because it’s SO stressful and i just know i’m going to die.

    can’t wait for the next installment!

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    1. Traveling was so crazy. I can’t believe we survived. (Crossing the street was just as treacherous!) The random cows took some getting used to but we were pros after a while and passed them without a second glance on our walks to school! (The dogs, on the other hand, were always on my mind.)

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  3. You weren’t kidding about the trip getting even more crazy! I’m sure the culture shock was a great eye-opening experience and those types of experiences have the power to change you, usually in the best ways possible so I’m glad you got to have this experience!

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    1. After the initial shocked our days were more good than bad 🙂 I’m an introvert so I still needed to escape the city and spend some downtime locked in the apartment, but we adjusted to the craziness eventually and had lots of fun! It definitely changed my views and my heart!

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