Day 3 - A Strange Man Joins the Team

We woke up pretty early this morning to celebrate Ben’s 18th birthday.  The concept of a sweet tasting breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and a big dinner seems to be a mostly American concept, so after an Indian breakfast (which looks almost identical to an Indian lunch or an Indian dinner), we got on the bus and drove to the Indian Ocean.  We visited three beach temple complexes that all had some pretty incredible rock carvings.  The first one had a bunch of giant animals and stone structure which were all carved from single boulders.  Twenty five hundred years ago, the rocks weren’t yet at the flat, sandy temple site, so they had to be dragged by elephants from a different location that was a short distance away (although no distance is very short if you have to pull Stonehenge sized boulders).  The second temple was on the beach, and it provided a nice view of the Indian Ocean.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go in, but we should have another chance in a couple of days.  It was the third temple though that was the most fun.  The third temple was up on a large rock hill, with boulders strewn all around.  Most of the top of the hill was covered in a long, rocky bald.  Steps were cut into the rock, but most people chose to get around without them.  Everybody got to practice a little bit of bouldering and rock climbing in flip-flops.

I think that we would have happily spent all day there, but by noon it was time to reboard the bus to go to the school and get to work.  When we got off of the bus, we were greeted by a crowd of overwhelmingly adorable children (ages 3-10).  My knees just about melted when they sung us a welcome song; it was also hot out.  When we got to the computer lab the first task was to unwrap the computers and monitors and to set them on the desks.  Keeping the computers safe while shipping them over had required a lot of bubble wrap, which one of the teachers asked to have.  We didn’t know why they would want it, but we said that they could certainly have it if they wanted.  A couple of minutes later, we were called out to find that the bubble wrap had been laid out on the ground, and the children were all jubilantly jumping on it.  It was quite a spectacle.  After the computers were set up, we reached an impasse because there was no power to turn on the computers, and no internet to cut cables for.  It was really frustrating, for Ryan more than anybody.   Unsure what the future would hold and whether we would be able to finish the job, we went back to AGK’s house somewhat defeated.

At dinner, we had a surprise birthday party for Ben, with a cake and singing flower candle.  Following Indian tradition, we ate cake first and then dinner.

Trash disposal seems to be a problem here, where the majority of plastics and packaging are simply tossed along the sides of roads and in ditches of stagnant water.  The trash that does get disposed of gets pushed into smoldering piles of burning debris, and you can smell the toxic fumes pretty much wherever you go.  This seems to bother Zach more than anyone else, so look out for his Indian garbage disposal company to make it big in the coming years.

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