When Tal and I spoke on Skype each day before I arrived, he told me about the incredible, spectacular, amazing experiences he was having in Bangalore. His enthusiasm and supremely positive attitude top the list of things I adore in him most. So I'd like to begin by saying that the amount of setting up, organizing, and planning he accomplished before I arrived, in order to ease my acclimation, was truly astounding.
It does not, however, make for a funny story.
What DOES make for a funny story, are the things Tal failed to mention.
Tal: " Not only is our apartment comfortably within our budget, but it's HUGE and only built 7 years ago! It's considered fully furnished and there's even a pool!"
Reality: Mr. Rose Colored Glasses wasn't completely blinded by rainbows and unicorns. We live on a wonderful property that is well maintained and very safe. Our apartment really IS huge… and every single bit of the seemingly infinite square footage was covered in a layer of black dirt. Some of the dirt turned out to be a stratosphere of ants. And while it was in fact constructed only 7 years ago, it was built with the intention that each owner would want to add their personal touch. Our landlord did not feel compelled to do this, so we have cement floors, bare light bulbs, and no shower rods/walls/doors. And while the apartment probably should have been described as partially furnished, we have a totally adequate bed and a TV in our room. There is also a table in our dining area, but it is of the plastic variety, and judging by the intense layer of filth in which it was coated, it used to live outside. There are also three plastic chairs around our four person table. I found the fourth on one of our balconies, literally COVERED in bird poo. The kitchen is fully stocked with cookware, utensils and dishes. None of which had been cleaned since their last use, and the cupboards they resided in were entrenched with what could only be a millennia's worth of dirt, dead bugs and some small creature's poo (the building was surely built around these cupboards). Let us not talk about the aroma. We DO have a washing machine. FABULOUS. The only problem is that the bathroom it's in is missing a window panel, and we seem to be subletting to an Indian pigeon. I thought this might be the case when I found feathers in my laundry basket. I KNEW this to be the case yesterday when I had to chase it out before I did my laundry. Less than fabulous. Finally, there really is a pool and it is clean and truly beautiful. I've yet to see a woman in it. (Thanks to the sweet woman who is our wonderful housekeeper, we now live in perfectly lovely, huge and clean apartment -which for the time being we still share with a pigeon.) (Yes, we have a housekeeper, I'll address that in another posting.)
Tal: "This city is SO full of energy and life."
Reality: This city is SO full. There are a bajillion people living here. Yes, that's the real population count. A bajillion.
Tal: "Yea, the traffic is busy, it takes me a while to get to work."
Reality: The traffic is ABSOLUTELY F*#$^*& INSANE. I can't quite put my finger on what makes it so nutty. Perhaps it's that there are equally massive numbers of motorcycles, buses, cars, and autos (auto-rickshaws) "sharing" the road. Or maybe it's that there are no actual lanes, traffic signals, or laws. Though possibly, it could be the way they use their horns as turn signals.
Tal: "Wait till you see how they cross the street!"
Reality: You know those roads I just described? Well they don't have crosswalks, at least not any that are observed. So to get across you clump up into a group; friends if you've got 'um, strangers if you're near 'um, and when there is a micro-break in traffic, you forge on into the chaos and RUN. If you don't get all the way across in one go, you stand in the middle and pray. Any of the gods are fair game.
Tal: "It's exhilarating here!"
Reality: It's exhilarating here, and so far? I love it.