|So now that they fixed the Internet in all of our rooms, I am able to take the time to let you all know about my first full day in India. I took a very very cold shower when we got into Mysore this morning (around 5:00 am Indian time) because the water never seemed to heat up. At breakfast, I then read in our guidebook for the Center that you have to let the water run for at least 5 minutes. So I guess that was my first real lesson in India :) We spent the morning converting currency (39 rupee = 1 US dollar), getting a tour and orientation of the Center from our advisor Dr. Rao, and waiting on the computer guy to fix our Internet. It all went well except for the Internet part - he started at 10:30 am and still hadn't been to my room by 3 pm. Thankfully, we have a few computer/networking-literate people here who figured out how to configure everything.
After lunch, we decided to go into the city of Mysore (about a 15 minute drive) to do some shopping and just look around. The popular mode of transportation here is called a motorized rickshaw, which can fit 2-3 people comfortably (4 people if you're feeling a little daring). From our bus ride yesterday and the rickshaw ride today, I can only comprehend one big thing about Indian transportation: there is NO organization whatsoever. People are continually cutting you off, honking horns, and speeding past. There's little use of lane restrictions or turn signals, so it can be a little bit scary riding around in one of these babies for the first time! They're pretty fun though, as long as the driver knows exactly where you need to go...
Anyways, we shopped around the circle in Mysore for a couple of hours. The sidewalks are always super crowded and, sadly, you see a lot of people begging for spare change as you walk by. The stores sell mostly clothes, small trinkets, or sarees - which I bought myself for my birthday :) And because of the good currency conversion rate here, I got it for about $30.
Around 5:30, we decided to head back to the Center and decided to hire another rickshaw since it was pretty cheap (25 cents or so). A large group of us went downtown, so we had to split up into 3 separate groups...NONE of our drivers knew how to get to the center! They took us to Mysore University, back downtown, all over Mysore, and then, of course, we had to pay them. So the group that I was with decided to walk back to the Center, not really sure of how to go to get back. We walked all over, got lost a lot, and at least 4 miles and nearly 2 hours later, got back to the Center. Clearly, we got our exercise and a crazy tour of Mysore.
It's 7:40 pm here right now, so we're done with any events for the day. Tomorrow afternoon we will be visiting Mysore Palace with Dr. Rao, who used to work for the huge archeology department here in Mysore and is able to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of the Palace. I can't wait!! Also, I'm posting a few pictures on here, but I have lots more that I will figure out a way to share with you all. Thanks for all your good wishes (and the birthday wishes)!