We have been in Jaipur for a full week now, and I was certainly not prepared for life outside the hotel. Last Monday we saw our apartment. This was the first time I was seeing it, and Matt kept telling me about how it is the best place to live in Jaipur. Now, I knew coming into this that Jaipur is a lot different from New Delhi and Gurgaon, which are the only places I've visited before moving here. But the apartments here are much older, and there is an overall lack of modern amenities.
When we walked into our apartment at the "Royal Ensign", I was floored by how disgusting it was! The place was filthy...covered in dirt and dust, and filled with huge spiders, cockroaches, a gecko, and gecko poop. The nasty smell along with the pigeon poop covering the patios certainly didn't help. There were also doors that wouldn't work, missing keys and broken locks. At that point I had to work really hard to hold back the tears. I was really looking forward to seeing where we were going to live, and wasn't prepared to feel so uncomfortable and grossed out there. The real kicker here was when we were walking out of the apartment to the car, and I realized I had pigeon crap on my jeans! I think at this point Matt really thought I was going to lose it. I just looked at it as the topping to a really terrible morning. Matt grabbed some dirty newspaper to try to wipe it off, which of course just smeared it in. It was funny later, but not in the moment.
Luckily, we have an awesome relocation agent named Reynold who helped us sort this all out. He communicated to the building manager about how it was supposed to have already been cleaned. He was able to have them clean it out, as well as have pest control come in. By Wednesday when we went back, I was glad they had cleaned it (somewhat) and that the bugs everywhere were dead. (Matt just told me last night that the gecko didn't make it...he found him under the bedroom curtains. I felt really bad, but I have to admit I won't miss his droppings all over the walls.)
On Thursday and Friday we spent the whole day cleaning. Matt spent hours and hours disinfecting the kitchen, wiping the insides of cabinets, scrubbing the sink, etc. I really appreciate how hard he worked to help make it a more comfortable place for us. It is to the point where we can at least move in. Our water filtration system was set up, we are still waiting for our new laundry machine to be hooked up, and our internet installed and couch delivered.
The most important thing I learned this week is that everything will get done...eventually. There is no such thing as being on time, or anything happening on a strict schedule. I am confident that even though our purchases were not delivered the day they were supposed to be, they will come (hopefully!)
The best thing that happened this week was we found a great driver. His name is Ajay, and he speaks great English. We chose a bigger car called an Enova, which I feel much safer in, in this crazy traffic. Ajay has been awesome so far...he is good at helping us find stores we need, he comes in with me if I am unsure of a place, and he is very professional. I am happy we found him and hope it continues to work out.
So much has happened this week, and I have been faced with so many complicated situation I can't even begin to explain them. However, here is a list to give you a taste...
Top 10 Challenges (so far)
1. Apparently getting cell phones activated is the hardest thing in the world, and takes three days. You must provide passports, PAN cards (like a social security card), letters of intent from employers, proof of address, etc. etc. It is extremely frustrating, and the plans are usually pre-paid monthly, which means we will have to go back to this crappy Airtel place often!
2. No one understands me and I don't understand them. Google images and Google translator have been a lifesaver so far. English is far less common than in Delhi.
3. Neck breathers...when I go shopping, about ten employees are usually hovering over me, so close that they are literally breathing down my neck. My favorite is when they touch all the things in my cart. I just need space! Reynold explained to me that they are simply curious, but this will be really hard to get used to.
4. Hygiene. I am not used to a water cooler having one cup for everyone to share, public restrooms without toilet paper, or being allowed to pee anywhere you want.
5. Traffic. There are cars everywhere. You don't have to stop at lights, or look before you turn. You can even drive in the same lane as oncoming traffic if you want! Basically, just avoid hitting a cow.
6. Rules - there are none.
7. Swass (sweaty @$$ for those of you unaware. Matt made me add this one.) It is NOT a dry heat here! It was very hot and humid.
8. There is a lack of anything familiar. I went to HyperCity, which is similar to a super Walmart. When I went there to get some groceries for our apartment, I really struggled. I couldn't find anything familiar. Where is the Chobani yogurt?! Why does the milk come in a tiny plastic bag?! The only meat is "hygienically processed chicken". I got some chicken breasts and chicken meat balls. I tried to get some new types of food...I'll let you know good finds after I start cooking.
9. Wildlife - cows, camels, pigeons, elephants, goats, horses, peacocks. We are all sharing the same road apparently.
10. Missing my friends and family. I already miss everyone and I have only been gone two weeks!
So those are the biggest struggles right now. It is noon here and time to finally leave the hotel and move into our apartment. I am looking forward to finally un-packing our suitcases after three and a half weeks, and create a new home. This week I should be busy with errands and visiting an NGO, so I will have pictures to post next time!
"When you have a bad day, a really bad day, try to treat the world better than it treated you." - Patrick Stump