Everyone keeps asking if I'm having a good time. How on earth do I respond to that? Best to say I am not having a BAD time.
But so many factors come into play...
*Still not 100% recovered from jet lag, feeling better every day but still tired and sore. In addition, the oppressive heat (96-100F daily) and pollution (inc. noise pollution) are affecting my sinuses, sense of balance, appetite, sleep cycle and more.
*I am not sure I will EVER get used to being stared at so boldly with such a lack of friendliness.
On one hand, I am just trying to ignore it, just not really looking at people and doing my own thing.
On the other hand it is virtually impossible to ignore. You can't even walk in the park or to a high end tourist shop without causing a disruption.
*Language barrier...although many of my host's friends speak very good English, it is still spoken quite rapidly and with a very strong accent. Sometimes (I'm embarrassed to admit) I can't even tell when they are speaking English, especially when they mix Hindi and English phrases!
I have learned several words/phrases in Hindi, but don't have enough connective words to move from 'yes', 'no', 'thank you" and (my greatest achievement) "I would like some______", to actually expressing my own thoughts.
Culture barrier...there is no reference point here.
I can't stress enough how difficult this part is for ME, as I am super sensitive, self-conscious and anxiety ridden even in my own US surroundings at the best of times.
Here, now, even if I understand what's being said as far as the WORDS, the meaning beneath them can be vastly different, so I hesitate to engage in conversation.
More than anything else, this barrier makes me feel like bawling like a baby.
I feel like I cannot make myself understood (besides, most of time, with my host) and also cannot understand what's going on.
Other factors are, I am somewhat reliant on my host when he's off work for deciding a daily schedule. We've been napping in the worst heat every afternoon after lunch, sometimes til almost dusk.
I am trying to keep up with my thoughts and process my experiences here and in my written journal.
I am trying to work on editing and uploading my pics.
Still, my time is NOT fully my own. It would be rude not to dine with my host or chat with his friends and so on.
I suppose starting tomorrow I'll have a better perspective how I'll pass my time when it IS my own, as he'll be going back to work and I'll have most of the daylight hours on my own.
I am planning a few more walks especially in his general neighborhood, and also Marine Drive as well as Nariman Pt. and Ballard Estate (more "touristy" areas insomuch as Mumbai has touristy areas).
Time now to run errands...do some shopping...get a cell phone, some salwar kameez (clothing), maybe even buy some BEADS!
Forthcoming: descriptions of a local hospital, the thali lunch we had yesterday, and some typical sights and sounds of the area