Christmas at the Mayfair Lagoon
Two other volunteers (Jennifer and Lucy) and I stayed at the wonderful Mayfair Lagoon for the nights of the 24th and 25th. We dined on fancy food and lots of it! On Saturday we all had booked spa treatments to help distract us from being so far away from our families on Christmas day. I had a pedicure and a very interesting massage.... I left that massage feeling tenderized (that tiny Indian woman had fists of steel) and slightly sexually assaulted... ask me for the details if you want them. Haha. I swam on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day... in the mermaid pool! Santa greeted me at the pool and presented me with a mint. I was really hoping for a candy cane but it did the job.
My feet and the mermaid pool.
I want to be where the people are...
Best Christmas gift ever: (lyrics below)
oh annmarie, you are the one i'm dreaming of,
though you're far away today, there is no other that i love.
oh annmarie (oh annmarie), it is to you i sing this song,
though you've travelled off to india and took my heart along.
the days are long, the nights are cold, my love is far away.
but i'll stare down all this lonesome time, and to the hours i'll say:
through tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow for a year,
i'll be waiting back in canada, and loving you from here.
oh you've gone to teach the blind folk how to use computers well,
and you'll write petitions, man, you'll give their government some hell!
and you never give up hope through all the trials that you face
you're an inspiration, darling, to the human raaaaace,
We had Christmas dinner at the Chinese\Thai restaurant and we ordered a bottle of sparkling wine. It was the first time that I have ever spent Christmas outside of my parent's house. While I still would have rather been home I had a good time and skyped with my whole family for a couple hours that night.
Christmas dinner. (clockwise: Me, Prangya (my colleague at the OAB), Evans (VSO), Jennifer (VSO), Lucy (VSO))
Perhaps after the wine?
Christmas night while at the bar we were approached by another foreigner, Daniel, he was claiming to have not seen foreigners in Bhubaneswar even though he had been here for two months. It turns out that he is also involved in development work and is volunteering for a tribal school called KISS which takes the poorest of the poor tribal children and educates, feeds, dresses and houses them for free. He introduced us to his Indian counterpart Vicky who is currently a UN employee. Vicky invited us to tour the tribal school and it's sister university KIIT (which I believe supplies the funding for KISS). It was a great opportunity so we accepted and went to see what they do. All the kids were curious about us as we walked the campus. Many of them gladly smiled for photos. Vicky was interested in becoming professionally involved with VSO India and hopes to be a partner eventually employing VSO'ers in the school. We are putting him in contact with the VSO India head office.
KISS students smiling for the camera.
KISS students cooking their dinner.
Happy New Year
Just want to wish all of you out there a grand welcome to 2010. The volunteers had a small party at my place (beach plans fell through). We spent the night eating, drinking and watching the blue moon lunar eclipse. Sorry you had to miss it Canada, it was the middle of the day for you but it was not a full eclipse and was only interesting because of how rare it is. We cooked naan, pakoras, stirfry, salad, hummus, and I managed to bake an awesome banana bread for the occasion. I baked without any measuring equipment, half of the ingredients missing and in a baker that has a dial but no temperature indicators. It turned out surprisingly well, everyone loved it. Everyone was stuffed... we were eating leftovers for a couple days.
Yeah, I'm that proud.
For those of you that missed it. (Photo from http://newshopper.sulekha.com/philippines-new-year-lunar-eclipse_photo_1107776.htm_)
I finally got the chance to visit Puri, a small seaside town about an hour and a half bus ride away. (60k, I think) I went with Lucy (as she lives there) and Jen, the same vols from Christmas. We spent our time there eating at a diner on the beach and shopping in the touristy shops. Puri has a vast beach and I was able to wade in the warm waters at sunset. It was quite beautiful... too bad that the sand is covered in garbage.... as is everywhere in India. I think I will be heading back there despite the garbage for some swimming... fully clothed swimming of course but it will be nice when the 50 degree weather hits.
I'm standing in the Bay of Bengal.
Song from title: Let It Snow by... everyone?