1. Caught a virus, ie developed a 103 degree fever and a rash. Our program aides Maggie and Danny had to practically carry my diseased body to the local hospital, where I received in the butt a shot of dubious qualities and was also told to take three other pills. Then I threw up and didn't have to take the pills anymore. Am better now.
2. Went to Kerala, the state next to Tamil Nadu where I'm living. State is also known as "God's Own Country" because it is possibly one of the greenest, wettest, floweriest, most beautiful places in the world.
A. Rode an elephant with friends Rachael, aka Sister MC, and Scott-kku. (Both are nicknames I may or may not explain later.) Have never felt guiltier in my life. Worst part: when the elephant trainer hit the feet of the elephant with a stick and it uttered a mournful little moan and shuddered. Will never go on animal safaris again. To Kathryne: please don't hate me. I hated me enough for the both of us.
B. Went hiking at dawn through the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Did not see tiger, but did see elephant bones, wild boar, deer, wild dogs, wild elephants, and somehow admitted a leech right onto my underwear line. Only discovered it when I took my clothes off for a shower and it fell, fat and full and flailing, from my stomach onto the floor. Threw it, screaming, into the boys' room. If women have to give birth, men can handle squiggly things that suck your blood.
C. Stayed in Kochin, the best city ever. Ate Italian food, flirted with Kashmiri men, and watched Sister MC and Scott-kku vomit it all back up in a truck graveyard in the dark while I waited in the rickshaw trying to convince the driver they weren't drunk. First assumption of all South Indians: if you're vomiting at night and you also have pale skin, you have consumed too much alcohol. Also met a really cool Anglo-Iranian chick named Camilla who spent two months building eco septic tanks in a village outside Mysore. We'll always have Cochin.
D. Took a night train. Was not sketchy. Did start to hate Snoring Man, who snored the same way tigers snarl to mate. Also started to hate Snacking Man, who decided 4 am was a good time to turn on the light and eat some chips. Loved the rocking motion of the train while sleeping in the top bunk. Listened to a This American Life podcast saved on my iPod about a marine boat in the Arabian Sea and all the people who live on it.
3. Found out my host dad, Rajesh Kukreja, loves to listen to Death Cab For Cutie, INXS, Steely Dan, and certain ditties by Kylie Minogue. Bonded over the Transatlanticism for an hour while driving around Madurai. Felt a deep sense of contentment with the world.
Stay tuned, citizens. I'll report again soon.