Monday, August 02, 2004

Ah! Monday morning!

I woke up at 6:30 this morning. Curious.

Well, the Apex gathering was really good. They still did child care though, which I thought was kind of weird, but what do I know.

So, ready for another look into our trip? Me too.

Not sure of the date or time. I know it is around 4am India time, and we just arrived in Damoh. We were greeted by about 60-70 staff members from the mission with flowers and hand shakes and smiling faces. The girls looked a little overwhelmed. I know I was.

David said Mama Pushpa's home is 100 years old. This is where we are staying and it is very beautiful. The girls are together which is great because they will have a chance to become closer I think. I am sharing a room with Kellinee, and Susie has her own room. Much deserved I feel. She is the reason we are all here really. I feel welcome, safe, but still a little on guard. I believe that there isn't anything on our agenda for the day but rest and relaxation from the journey.

I can't put into words accurately enough the full events of today. We saw the Taj Mahal and it was awesome and beautiful, breath taking, full of history behind the reason and way it was built. It was extremely hot, and at one point I thought I was going to faint. Between the heat and humidity you dehydrate very quickly and I don't think I was drinking enough water.

We also saw the Red Fort which I thought was going to be very close to the Taj for some reason, but isn't. It is across the river. I took pictures of everything I could. Keeping up with our guide was a bit difficult, but we pushed on and we ended our tour at the Only restaurant in Agra. Yes, that is it's name. The food was very good, the water and air even better for me. Funny how we take so much for granted until we don't have it any more.

I have seen people begging on the streets, causing their children to cry so people will feel sad. I have seen children wondering alone in a pile of trash. I saw and was approached by a man who walked on all fours because his back was twisted and deformed. I've seen cows, wild dogs, pigs, monkeys, donkeys, camels, and an assortment of birds that I have never seen before. People sleep on the curbs that separate the middle of the road which freaks me out. Wouldn't you be afraid to roll off and out into the street? They drive on the other side of the road here. Weird.

While at the Taj, we were greeted by a large group of Indian girl scouts who wanted to have their picture taken with us. Many men and boys stare and grin. That's freeky.

I am so grateful to be here, yet miss my girls and Shad very much. I did get to call them today. It brought me to tears and was totally awesome to hear all of their voices.

We took a couple of train rides today. One in first class seats and one time in a sleeper car. The sleeper cars have air and are separated by just a curtain. There are four sleepers to one compartment. Kell was above me, and there were a total of three families that shared our spot on the way here. I woke up at one point as I was being sat on by some lady and some kids. She apologized, and I told her, "no, no problem, just sit." and I went back to sleep.

The squattie is something else. Gross to the nose, and hard to use on a moving train that is bouncing you around every which way, but better than the western toilet which is just foul.
There were a lot of military traveling on our train which was freaking me out at first sight, but eased my concern at the same time. David said he upped security while we are at the mission so we would feel safer. That just freaks me out a bit but I will keep that to my self.

For now, I lie here on my bed under a mosquito net and I am very glad to be in the cool air, stretched out, safe and finally done traveling for a while. I have taken 160 pictures so far. And, I spent my first bit of money on these marble jewelry boxes for the girls. I found out later that I was totally ripped off, but I don't really mind.

I have been blessed with this whole experience so far. More tomorrow.

-well this ends today's journal entry. I hope you enjoyed. If you ever have questions, just email me.
Happy day!

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