Cool people you should look up:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Auto Rickshaw

Hey everyone!
I'm having a lot of fun in India :)
It's currently half-past midnight here, while it's 3pm Eastern time. It's random that we're 9.5 hours into the future - I've only ever been full hours ahead or behind.

We're currently just sitting in the trainee flat - Analucia, Emily, Mathieu and Oleg - and things are winding down.
We woke up at 10, which is early enough to take full advantage of the day, but too late to go to the gym (it closes at 9 for a few hours). We messed around and chatted to Joy, who had a vacation day today. We decided to go to the store to buy a few things (we are out of toilet paper!!), including snacks and food for lunch tomorrow. We also wanted to set up new phone numbers so we don't pass ridiculous roaming fees.
However, buying a new SIM card is not as easy as in Kuwait. We had to bring passport sized pictures and a copy of our electicity bill, which is to prove you live somewhere, and for ID I think. As we didn't have either, Emily was going to get a number, which we'll put in Analucia's blackberry and share. It took a while... and we put 100(rupees) into her phone... and then the number didn't work. So we'll try again tomorrow.

The weather hasn't been as hot as yesterday, which leads me to believe we're getting acclimatized! And so quickly :)

We went to the movies today. It was about 130, and there were awesome reclining seats! It's assigned seating here, just like in Kuwait, but unlike Canada/US. I like this way better, because you can stroll in just a few minutes before the movie starts without worrying that you won't get a good seat. One thing that stuck out as amazing was the complete silence before the movie started! And the almost silence during the movie. It was so quiet that everyone felt it, and we heard someone yell LOVE! It was neat. There was a 10 minute intermission in the middle of the movie, which was just the perfect amount of time to hit the wash-room, and for Prakash to hit up some popcorn before we went inside.

We also went to the store, where things looked a lot like Kuwait stores. We bought enough food for two people for a couple of days, including cereal, soy milk, yogurt, a green coconut, pasta and sauce. We spent $17 in total. We also bought a little chocolate cake for Emily, who turned 20 today. It was hilarious, because she is not used to the non-Chinese way of celebrating birthdays - with cake, and singing, and people throwing cake in your face. I felt so bad when our flat-mate spread it all across her face and she didn't understand. But she soon recovered and threw cake at all of us!

We also had a great lunch today, at a fancier international restaurant. I was so happy to see that they had pages of veg options, including at least 8 veggie steak options! As I like coriander, I picked something with rice in spinach and coriander sauce. The portions were huge, so we shared, and even at this most expensive restaurant, my meal was under $10! I also got a (virgin) piña colada, to keep in the Kuwaiti tradition I started last week - try every  piña colada restaurants serve to find the perfect one. So far Hard Rock in Kuwait is rocking the list!

Here is a picture of an auto rickshaw. This is the way we travel around here. While it isn't nearly as fast as a car, and only fits 3 people comfortably (we usually travel in 4 - one sits on our laps) it is preferable to walking in the heat. And they're very cheap compared to taxis in Canada/US.

First picture in a google search for 'auto rickshaw'. They are all exactly this colour.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I've arrived! And I've met too many people, so that I can't remember their names. I'm not too worried - names usually come with time, and it's even easier once we're friends on facebook.

The drive to our flat was hilarious - between the two new arrivals, we had too many bags between us and they didn't fit in the car. Or at least the bags did, but the passengers didn't! Two of the guys that picked us up at the airport rode in the trunk, with the back door open! :) Needless to say, we drove pretty slowly, and were especially careful on each speed bump.

They drive on the other side than I'm used to here. And each car honks a lot. There seemed to be no pattern to the honking, so I asked. It's a rule to beep at the rickshaws as you pass them. And the motorcycles. Or the people. Or the dogs. You gotta honk before you overtake them!

So far I've seen two cows... but I wasn't really looking for them. There were a lot of people sleeping on the side of the street - good thing the weather's warm. Okay, it's HOT, not warm. We have a fan going in the flat, and it's moving air, and it's pretty effective for what you'd expect of a ceiling fan. But as soon as you move away from directly underneath the fan... you'll start to sweat.

I arrived a few hours after another intern from the States. She's had a longer flight than me, but I've had a horrible lay-over (12 hours) and so we've both missed a night's sleep. We're a bit unsure how to beat the sleepyness, and in her case, the jet-lag. Should we take a nap now - at 7:30am? How long should we sleep for? What if we oversleep, miss the entire day, and then can't sleep at night? I guess we'll play it by ear, and figure it out slowly.

There are a few others in the flat - another intern at the school with us, Emily from China. There's a guy from Equador, that's been here for over a year. There's an Asian girl that's been here a while and is leaving in a couple of months. There's a sleeping girl from Sweden we haven't met yet. We're currently being made tea, so I'm excited :)
One of the first things I noticed in the flat was the ROMANIAN flag on the window! There was a kid, Dragos, here last year and he left a huge flag in the window. Oh, and a guy from Ukraine just walked in without a shirt on! It's going to be a very interesting two months.

Leaving Kuwait

I'm in Doha, Qatar now... or at least in the airport. I've been here about 6 hours now, and I have 5 more to go before I board another plane tonight. It's not as bad as it sounds. While I hadn't made arrangements to have a room in the hotel before I left Kuwait, they've been kind enough to give me free meals for my lay-over, and I'm allowed to use the quiet rooms. I was actually looking for a washroom when I found an electric socket and decided to plonk myself by this pretty window-wall. I've been surfing the internet and watching planes take off for the past few hours.

I've always wanted to watch The Terminal in an airport, but I don't have a good copy. I started watching it an hour ago, and it stopped working once I'd gotten into the plot!!!
I've been lucky to have been entertained by my friend MJ - he's been telling me how people get married in Kuwaiti tradition, and how funerals are. He's even let me know that there's a cemetery where I least expected one to be, in Kuwait City...
I found the entire first season of I Shouldn't Be Alive on my laptop and I'm slowly watching through them. Wow, I am thankful to be in an airport, bored but safe! I've just been watching one where a couple and baby drive across the States to visit family and then get stuck in a national park during a blizzard. They were out in the cold (or in a cave or cold car) for NINE days before they were found!! 

Anyway. A green helicopter just landed and I've started to play the helicopter game. Who's with me?!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My visit to Kuwait

Meet my sister, Luiza. She goes to U of A, in Edmonton, and she's studying psychology to become a speech therapist. She likes to sleep a lot, she's recently started running, and she is a mean swimmer!

Since arriving in Kuwait, I have been a little jet-lagged. I would wake up early (6/7) and crash at around 9pm at night. To make this work, I developed a morning routine that consisted of reading the paper in the morning, cutting out interesting articles, high-lighting cool TV shows to watch, and checking my email. I have loved being awake in the early morning – makes me feel like there's more time in the day :) I recently tried this organic apple and raspberry drink and it was interesting.

Just before I left Canada, while I was at an AIESEC conference in Ottawa, my phone drowned and hasn't worked since. Everyone keeps telling me that I need a phone (I don't 100% agree) but I decided to look around at the prices around here. I fell in love with a phone, that wasn't too expensive, and we were on a mission to find out which store sells it for the cheapest price. One day we went to the biggest mall in Kuwait, The Avenues. This place is so big, they have 2x Columbus cafe's, at least 7x Starbucks, 3x H&M's and more stores than you can imagine. They also have a huge IKEA.

We also did some shopping, in order to get things to make a yummy lunch! We made soy beans with peanut sauce, and asparagus with butery-garlic sauce.

As well as eating well in Kuwait, I have been exercising quite a lot. I've been alternating between running, stair-climbing and swimming. I've slowly increased my workouts to be able to do 40 minutes of running, 3000m of swimming in 1.5 hours, and I can now climb 60 floors of stairs in a row, in 25 minutes. It's great to be able to see improvements in such a short time (I'm only here for 2 weeks), and I am certain that the hot weather allows my muscles to heal faster! I'm thankful for that, because running outside in a sauna is HARD!
My sister and I go for walks around the campus when we're bored.

Yesterday, I went swimming, and did 120 laps = 3000m. This is the furthest I've ever swam! I decided to do 50 laps at a time, with tanning breaks in between. This way I wasn't getting bored, and I could cool-off with a swim. Some people may not like swimming caps, but I can't swim without one. I always feel like my hair would suffocate me.

After swimming, we cooled off at home watching Grey's Anatomy and eating a delicious salad. I then checked my email to see if I had some work to do, and watched the women's tennis finals. It was a great match, and it got intense at the end of the second set! As soon as the tennis ended, my mum drove us to my friend Fadey's house.


It was a great night! After pool, we went back to Fadey's and got some Fatayer, which is sort of  wrapped-up pancakes with savoury stuff inside. I love cheese and tomato ones. I went to bed soon after I got home, it was a long day :)