Hello! I am blogging from here in Mumbai! We finally made it after a 15 hour plane ride! The very first thing I noticed when we arrived was just how blessed we actually are in America. It's very true that you don't believe it until you see it. I had no idea how bad and unsanitary the conditions are. Children in the streets come up to you begging you for money (instead of being in school). People are sleeping on the streets everywhere you look: some without clothing, shoes, food, etc. The good parts of this city are like the bad parts of where we live. It really broadened my perspective of the world and helped me realize just how blessed we are.
We started out by touring on Monday and Tuesday. We had our own personal guide that took us to the temples in the city as well as Elefanta Island and the Gateway of India. These were each very interesting. The temples were all different depending on the religion. Some you could not have your shoes on and the boys couldn't go in because they had on shorts. The Gateway of India was a huge monument which we went around to get on a boat to Elefanta Island. Here we climbed 120 steps with hundreds of shops aligned on both sides along the way. Once we reached the top, we saw a memorial with Shiva and other gods in it, relating to the Hindu religion. There were also many monkeys that we got very close to. Throughout these journeys we have encountered a variety of Indian foods. Most of it has spices in it including cury. It's very different from what we are used to, even the sodas taste differently. We are only aloud to drink bottled water and sodas out of the can because the rest is considered unsafe. After meals the waiters bring to you a bowl of water to clean your hands and some Indian mints that look like herbs. It's a very interesting experience to try new cuisines from a different country.
The American School of Bombay took us on a tour of the city today (Wednesday) where we got to do some more shoppping and sight seeing. After that, we got to meet our host families. Mine and Jordan's is very nice and hospitable. Their names are Rebecca and Ben Sullivan and they have 2 daughter, Emma (4) and Rachael (7). They are originally from Australia and have been in India for a year. Their home is very nice and cozy. I particularly like it because we have internet! We were expecting not to have it but were very relieved to find out we did! Right now we are just relaxing in our room and giving ourselves time to breathe. The conference officially starts tomorrow and I am looking forward to what is to come! So far it has been an amazing experience!
Street in India
Entrance to the Islam Temple
Lambs on the street
Inside the Hindu Temple
Garden in India
Gandhi’s place of residence while in India
Restaurant overlooking Ju-Ju beach