Monday, September 30, 2013

Rotary youth parilment and zonal conference

Everybody wants to meet the American, so I'm attending a lot of Rotary events.

The day before yesterday was the youth Parliament (think debate, then add Indian accents.).
September is Youth (or 'yoot' as it's pronounced here)  Month for Rotary, so most of the events are for/ about kids.

That guy in the second photo is  hilarious. I snapped this pic of him as he was explaining that I need to take lots  of photos of him so "you can tell your friends at US that you met most important man in India!"  he's also the rotary motto is take photo guy; its a shame I can remember his name.

After the debate my host sister and I walked around the mall, which is remarkable similar to malls that I am used to.
Amitabh Bachchan pillow

Yesterday was a rotary Zonal conference. My host parents and I were only planning on attending for a little while, but ended up staying a couple hours.

this kid was the biggest flirt

The kids were funny, if shy. Its hilarious how much awe I inspire by just existing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Rotary Meet and Greet

yesterday night, I was introduced to my host Rotary club. There was a really bad thunderstorm yesterday right before it (seriously, I have never seen that much lighting in one place) so the power was out for about the first half of the meeting. My host father said that only about half of the club showed up to the meeting, because many didn't want to drive in the rain.  But it was still really nice.
They really rolled out the red carpet for me. (My host sister: "Megan! You are now famous!") It was so funny hearing all the different pronunciations of my name. My host father calls me mEEgan, the man introduced me called me something along the lines of mEHgan (I hope that makes sense). I find it really cute.
They called me on stage and gave me flowers, which I liked. Then
they made me give a speech, which I didn't.
After I was introduced and the other aspects of the meeting were over, we took photos. Lots of photos. One of the Rotarians told me, "Megan, Rotary motto is take photo." I can already tell this is very true.

(They all introduced themselves, but I don't remember. I was really tired.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My New House

Mornings around here are really slow - its about 10:30, and I'm the only one who's dressed - so I took some pictures. I have only taken pictures of "my area" here, mostly because I don't know my host family well enough to walk around snapping photos.

The whole second floor is "mine" though the only rooms I'll ever use are the corner bedroom and the washroom in the bedroom right next to it.

I got really lucky when it comes to my bedroom. Not only does it have its own AC unit, it's also where the WiFi router is.

You have no idea how happy I was when I saw that toilet paper. 
There is also a nice terrace that over looks the front yard and street right across from my bedroom.

All in all, it's really nice setup.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leaving and Arriving

or: In Which Megan Spends Way To Much Time Around Airplanes And Is Very Tired Now

It's been... 48 hours since I've left? I don't know anymore. Lots of international travel = way to many time changes = a very disorientated Megan. Well, however long its been, it has been exhausting.

I left for Chicago the afternoon f the 24th. Reily, Kylie, and Rod Kreie were lovely enough to come and see me off, along with my family.
They're wonderful, aren't they?


The flight to Chicago went smoothly, as did Chicago to Doha. I had a whole row to myself on Chicago to Doha, which was lovely. In fact, that flight was really awesome.

You know all that lovely stuff you can get on airplanes like peanuts and movies and it costs about $800? Well, on Qatar airlines it was all free.

(I also watched Star Trek Into Darkness and The Avengers, but I didn't take pictures of those.)

And the airport was really nice. And really easy to navigate. The only issue I have with Qatar is that the flight attendants know who Megan Fox is. Getting checked in: "Alright, can I see your passport? Go down that escalator, Miss Fox... Miss Megan Fox? What are the chances!" I can't escape my name, even in the Middle East.
my first view of India. Worth posting, even though its a crappy picture.
The only airport I had any real trouble navigating was the Mumbai airport. But then, the Mumbai airport is really confusing. Once I got off my plane there, I had to go through immigrations (the third time I had to go through customs, if anyone is counting) then grab my luggage - or actually watch as an old guy runs in front of me and grabs your luggage off the conveyer belt, watch as he pushes to the domestic flight (which was about 200 yards away), and then give him a couple of bucks because he won't leave until you pay him for his unasked for service (this happened three times, by the way) - then go through domestic flight customs (fourth time through customs).

At which point I realized that I didn't have a ticket for my flight, so I had to get on a bus with a whole bunch of creepy guys with mustaches, leave the airport, come back in, and check in: where thankfully my ticket was waiting for me. Then customs again (that's five) where I got pulled over and made to go through the line again (six), because the lady running the machine thought my flat iron was a knife.

By this time, I had about 15 minutes to get my gate and board my flight. Except when I got there, the gate was boarding for a different flight. After a couple panicked minutes, I realized that I had moved my watch to far forward, and I actually had about an hour before my flight even began to board.

Another creepy bus ride, and I was safely on my last flight. I have no wish to repeat that particular experience.

Bye-bye Mumbai.

When I was on my flight to Mumbai, the guy I was sitting next to shuddered when I mentioned that I was off to Calcutta next, so I was pleasantly surprised how nice the airport was. I found my luggage easily, and I found Surinder and Sanjay (district youth exchange coordinator and my host father) right off.

We ate lunch at a restaurant right across from the airport with another Rotarian, who I'll be staying with in Calcutta later on. They had a long and involved conversation about the different places I needed to visit and people needed to meet (which I only understood about a third of) which culminated in the collective promise that they would "make this the experience of a lifetime." which was nice.
Sanjay is in the pink shirt, Surinder the turban. They are both almost
 exactly as I imagined them, except I thought Sanjay was bald. 

SRK greeted me as we left the airport

Surinder and Sanjay and I then drove to Durgapur, stopping for coconuts along the way.

After three hours, we arrived at my new home.

I can't believe that this is happening!