Day Two and Check in!

Written by Anika, a participant’s first impression of India:

“Hello hello!

So my second day in Chennai is winding down and so far…wow!

The city is definitely overwhelming at first, but after a few hours of trying to find cab service and hanging out with the team leaders I settled down. I won’t go into details about the last couple of days, but will note the few things that have stuck out for me so far.

1) The driving!!! Oh my goodness…it seems as if there are no regulations to the driving at first. As you spend more time in auto-rickshaws though or walking on the sidewalk (or running across even when you could casually walk) you begin to notice a rhythm to the streets. I now can understand why people say “If you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere”.

2) My first South Indian dish. I’m not going to lie, I was afraid of the intensity of the hot spices here at first even though I have been trying to build up my tolerance over the past few months. Today we went to a vegetarian restaurant and was surprised with my tolerance. It wasn’t all that bad – although I am certain that there will be dishes too hot for me to handle in the future… Anyways, we had rice cakes and “Indian donuts” with three types of chutney. The first one, a white one, was definitely coconut based (my favourite). The second was a red one and I am fairly certain that it was tomato based. The third one was a green one…and I have absolutely no idea what was in it. Doesn’t matter. They all tasted delicious and had a bite. We also had these crispy fried crepe-like breads stuffed with onions and another stuffed with dahl and sweet peas. Everything was absolutely delicious and was all topped off at the end with fresh fruit juices (made with filtered water of course).

3) No problem! Enough said…haha…

4) The smell…or lack thereof! I was warned by several people that the smell in the cities would be terrible and so far I have only had a few whiffs of bad smells. It’s like walking in an alley in a big city or going to the washroom in a subway station. It’s really not that bad. Then again, I’ve so far only been to Chennai. It could be worse in Delhi. But I’ll worry about that later. No problem!

5) The team. Everyone is awesome and we are all getting along well. We all have different backgrounds, stories, interests, ideas, but we have so far all come together. I look forward to playing some more “Wah!”. Watch out Sonny…I just need practice and you’ll find some competition.

There are so many things going through my mind right now, but I don’t have the words in my head to type it out. All in all, I am having a fabulous time and am stoked for this trip.”

The team has miraculously acquired free accommodation in a gorgeous, massive apartment! It is absolutely amazing here and Lenin, our host, is by far one of the most helpful and kindest men than we have ever met. The team has been spoiled with personal drivers, food already on hand, and comfy beds!

Everybody has cell phones and are enjoying the South Indian cuisine. Pondicherry here we come!