Sensory Overload

My sister Mary and her husband Matt did a Round the World trip a few years ago (check out their site, http://www.austinsonline.com) and India was one of their stops.  They told me it was sensory overload and couldn’t have been more right.  Here’s but a few of my observations using the five senses over the past 9 days in India.

Sight

*Cows, bulls, bikes, rickshaws, autorickshaws, and camels jockey for position on roads built for three lanes but being used for six (or seven)
*Piles of cow dung used for cooking and heating stacked neatly like one might stack firewood or bricks
*Poverty like I’ve never seen before, and not having any clue how to react
*The 5 star Hotel Intercontinental next to a garbage dump where people were rummaging for anything of value

Sounds

*horns (for some reason “blow horn” or “horn please” is usually painted beautifully on the back of all trucks.  Everyone obliges and the the result is a cacophany of horns ranging from that of a buzzer to an apartment building to a cell phone ringtone on steroids.

Touch

*Indians are very touchy, and I like my personal space particulary when it comes to strangers (don’t we all?)  Beggars touch you, children touch you and on the train ride one woman started slapping the top of my head saying “baksheesh.”  For what?  Not giving a tip I got another slap on the knee before she moved on.

Smells

*From the aromadic smells of samosas and other Indian food to the stench of stale urine, my nostrils got a work out.  I wish I could have had a meter telling me when to smell and when not to.

Tastes

*I loved the Indian food…for a while.  I had chiken biryani (a rice dish), lots of naan (warm pita like bread), a variety of curries, and some excellent lassi drinks (yogurt drinks, usually salty or sweet, but also with banana).

Ultimately, sensory overload did just that with that last sense sending me to bed for three days in Jaipur. Our Hotel Pearl Palace (which we loved) was dubbed the Pearl Prison. I was quite ill with a high fever, headache and stomach issues and didn’t leave the room for a good 48 hours. Fortunately I had wonderful care from Courtney–she even arranged a house visit from a doctor certified by IAMAT. Dr. Sen came did a few tests, took some blood and gave me quite the shot. I saw him three times in all–cost of care for medicine, home visit, and the one hour it took for him to get in touch with Blue Cross Blue Shied in the States? About $100. How’s that for health care?

Being sick was a downer, but all was not lost. We were able to see most of Jaipur which is really a beautiful city. It is less crowded having only 2 million people and there are a wealth of sights to visit. Among them was an amazing astrology complex, and some beautiful markets.

I’m writing this from Bangkok, and feeling close to 100%. Sorry for the barrage of posts, but I had some catching up to do. Hope all is well with everyone.

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4 Responses to “Sensory Overload”

  1. Joan/Mom Says:

    Hey Ed,

    What a relief to hear from you…. no fun getting sick so far from home. Glad you are on the mend. Courtney’s email gave me some reassurance that you were on the mend…. but was really happy to see you were well enough to post. Can’t wait till you get a chance to post some pictures as well. Take care of each other and enjoy. Miss you and love you.

    Mom….. Dad says hi too.

  2. Auntie Annette Says:

    Hi there Ed!

    So glad to hear that you are feeling well once again. It’s terrible to get hit in this manner. Your story reminds me of Uncle Bud and me when we first went to Egypt. It was such a cultural shock for both of us!! Of course, Egypt has changed since 1983!!!! Health conditions are much improved now and you can shop til you drop if this pleases you! The horns are not tooting as much and more people are paying attention to traffic patterns. Maybe this will happen in India too! We never quite understand poverty until we visit these countries. Travel is certainly an eye opener.

    I love reading every word you write. Missed you!

    Love you.
    Auntie

  3. Neha Says:

    Ed, I’m so sorry to hear you were sick in Jaipur! I hope you still loved it. I wish I was there to show you guys around… Did you go to Choki Dhani? Write to me when you have a chance… and enjoy!

  4. buvcoz Says:

    She still clothed body and when, so he was no choice lonney toons if he suspected that.

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