Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our First Full Day!

Our sweet Devi Rose is such a joy!

Kolkata, as seen from our room

Here they where helmets on more than just the driver.

First off, I have to say thank you to everyone who has left comments on the blog. Words from home are wonderful to receive and are a source of comfort as we bumble along as first time parents. Half way around the world, it is nice to be connected with this little bit of home.

Gymnast or wiggle worm, Devi is very active in her sleep! We had her between us trying to provide comfort to her in the event that she should awaken in the night. She was perfectly still until about 1am then she began searching for the boundries of her crib that are no longer there. This continued until about 4 am when she finally settled down. It is odd because she is totally asleep but in constant motion, moving from back to front to side and back again. It reminds me of one of the those dime store balls that rolls into a wall and then bounces off in another direction. Fortunately, when she awoke at about 7:30 she seemed rested and was all smiles.

We joined the Welser's for breakfast in the hotel asking for a table for eight instead of six! Everyone is doing great. Jenya is adorable and can steal your heart with her krinkled up nose face. She is feisty...a necessity to keep up with the boys....a perfect fit. I love that at 10 months she is already a woman with an opinion.

We decided to go out for a bit of shopping and the girls took to it as if they had been out in public their whole lives. We are a spectacle for sure. A gaggle of American tourists, one snapping photos, most clad in floppy hats, one with dreadlocks, one carrot topped boy and two Indian babies in tow. We are stopped frequently to answer questions about who, why, how etc etc. We've also had to get used to the very small amount of personal space people here require as well as how they squeeze the cheeks of the children as we walk by. People have no problem stopping a mere foot away and just staring at us everywhere we go...into our taxi, shopping, restaurants and hotel.

The heat and humidity here are intense. I love it, but even I need a rest from it on occasion. We try to have lunch at places that have air conditioning and Naan bread, of course. So after a spot of lunch we walked the streets back to the hotel.

Kolkata is far different from the other cities we've traveled through this far. It is a crowded city, for sure, but it seems fewer people speak English here. A mish-mash of shops from tourist stops to upscale bags and shoes all within the same block the people watching possibilities are endless. The sidewalks are lined with food vendors and people selling just about any little trinket imaginable. As you take in a city block on foot, the smells are hard to resist in spite of the conditions in which they are preparing the food. At a typical stall one might see a few sweaty men cooking over an open flame and several customers in business attire as well as blue collar workers scooping the days fare from their tin plates with the first three fingers of their right hands into their mouths as they clutter the sidewalk with their presence. Amongst the heat from the preparation and scooping and chewing you hear men discussing what I assume are politics or work matters in Bengali. When a meal is complete the tins are hand washed in buckets at the shoulder of the road by crouching boys and the waste water is tossed into the streets evaporating in the heat as it hits the pavement. This goes on for blocks and blocks and after awhile you get the feeling that you are experiencing the true essence of what the city of Kolkata is like.

Nap time arrived and we headed back to the hotel for a siesta. Devi is still a bit unsure and wakes herself up often to check and recheck that we are still here. She seems to really like her momma and her daddy has a way about him too. We are convinced that she is a keeper....I think she is maybe still sizing us up!

ISRC and Dillon did us a huge favor by processing our paperwork for Devi's visa for us while we were traveling because the person at the US consulate was not available the dates that we had scheduled. We and the Welser's felt we needed to thank them for taking on this task, so while at the babies home, we got a list of prescription medicine and basic supplies to donate to the babies while we are here. With this is mind off all eight of us went in search of a chemist with list and donation money in hand. Destination PG hospital with a chemist store close by was the direction we were given and we're off.

An Indian hospital is much different than anything medical related that we know of in the states. There were people laying everywhere...benches, sidewalks and under bushes, I think waiting to be seen by someone. If I didn't know it was a hospital, I don't know that I could have figured it out.

Off we trotted in search of the chemist store. After asking directions a couple of times and wandering off aimlessly we finally came upon the Franklin Ross Chemist. The building was two steps down from the sidewalk into an open area office about ten by ten square. Karen and I approached the counter with our request for supplies. After trying to convey our message to two or three of the employees, the pharmacist finally came out to help us. By now, a crowd had ensued and the squishing of baby cheeks and questions about why we have Indian babies started to flow. Curiosity knows no limits. Our order was unusual in size and in quantity of items, plus trying to arrange for delivery, pay now and get a receipt...the whole transaction was difficult to explain and even more complicated with the language difference. Providing a donation like this to the babies we just met the day before was so gratifying. As we left the store, Karen turned to me and said "This is a moment". It really was one of those moments that makes you feel good inside and holds a memory that lasts a lifetime.

Hailing a taxi we were off for a bite of dinner at the Kwality restaurant and then home for a warm bath, warm bottle and nightie night. No sooner had we shut out the lights when we started to hear a tremendous commotion outside. The street has been exceptionally loud due to the upcoming Durga Puja festival. We have been seeing statues of Durga being transported all over town, bringing cheers as the statue drive past. This was a sudden extreme rise in the noise level. Something immediate. Then we heard yelling in the hall way of the hotel outside our door. We were afraid to open the door because it sounded like a fight between many people. At one point, I thought that they were in the Welser's room. Just as quickly as it started, the noises died down and all was quiet again. Hmm, turns out it was cricket. India beat England by 10. Apparently, there are sports fans staying at the hotel....we were hearing drunken sports fans. Who knew :)

Yeah India!

1 comment:

The Labontes said...

How amazing to be able to make a donation that will be so imperative to the little ones! I've loved reading about your travels, and the bond you are forming with the Welsers comes through more and more in each new post. Devi is Gorgeous! Good luck with the thumb sucking. Maddie will be sucking hers utnil she graduates high school:)