That's probably an overstatement, but I am enjoying myself much more than I thought I would on this the first day of my India adventure. This morning I went and did breakfast with the crew before work, and was pleasantly, nay, fantastically, surprised to see the breakfast is actually really good here! (We have a thing about breakfast. As you know, it sets the tone for the day.) We have an omelet station and eggs made to order, pastries, fruit, cereal, and some Indian stuff that I'm sure is delicious but might make me regret eating it later. Later, when all the workers had gone and I was left to my own devices, I headed to the fitness center to work off some of the million pounds I gained while sitting on my rump for days on the plane. It's a pretty good gym, but hot and small, and the attendant stood in there and watched me the entire time I ran on the treadmill... which wasn't very long, I'm afraid. Then Assam (or Hassam... Asham?) the attendant explained that he is a personal trainer, and can help me "lose all that weight". As much as I love to be told I need to lose weight, I was pretty excited when he showed me all the ways to firm my triceps. That's all we did. A million different exercises for the backs of my arms... yet I won't deny that I needed all of it. My arms were shaking something fierce by the end of it, which I'm taking as a good thing. He wouldn't let me do ab work because he said we'd done enough, but I think it had something to do with his shift ending. In the end, he made me lay down on a mat and proceeded to stretch me out in a way that seemed mildly sexual (for India... I mean, they even have separate security checks for women at the airports) but completely unthreatening. Then he told me I was limber. I was pleased. Then he showed me the massage room and sauna and said he hoped I would let him massage me sometime. As I was leaving, he said he'd see me tomorrow, and I said yes, maybe. And he said, no, not maybe. I will see you tomorrow. It is the only way to lose the weight. So I guess I'm locked in now. I'm actually really excited about it. I've never had a personal trainer before, and a free one is even better! At least I think it's free. I'll probably be in a lot of trouble if Matt finds out I've spent all our money on getting fit. On second thought, after he sees how good I look, he'll probably forget it. Maybe.
After the gym, I took a tuk-tuk (one of those three wheeled things where they drive you around) for the first time (in India) to the Vadodara Center. It's basically just a department store with a small super market on top. I bought the essentials (shampoo, body wash, crackers, noodles, water and of course, peanut butter) and then had lunch at the food court. Most of it was under "renovation" although there's no telling how long it's been that way, and there was only one place open, so that's where I went. I asked what their best dish was, and the guy told me they didn't have one. "So all of your dishes are bad?" I asked. Yes, he said. Yes. I don't think he understood. Or maybe he was just trying to be honest. I ordered... something. I meant to write it down, but forgot. It was a huge wafer-y thing stuffed with potatoes and spices and lightly fried or baked or something. It came with either a dipping sauce or a soup, which wasn't great, but that wafer-thing was delicious! Well, just the inside was delicious. I was going to take a picture, but all these people kept walking past my table to stare and I got embarrassed. Look at the foreigner, taking pictures of her food. See how she uses a fork. So childish!
Later I hopped in another tuk-tuk, this one driven by a toothless man who charged me the same price as the other guy, much to my surprise. Then I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by the pool (it's fantastic, by the way). I know it doesn't sound like much, but for my first day, I quite enjoyed myself! Also, the day's not over yet, but it's so bloody (yup, I'm saying bloody now) hot outside I don't think I'll be doing much else. I hear it will be getting much much worse as this is only the start of summer, so wish me luck.
Now I'll leave you with a few random things I keep thinking about: I think I'm retaining water here because my calves and ankles seem to be perpetually swollen. Either that or I'm developing cankles, in which case thank you Lord for sending me Assam the trainer. Also, I have been wearing bug spray (with DEET) and am taking Malaria pills every day, but I still somehow seem to have huge mosquito bites all over. This always happens to me. Hopefully the DEET killed them after they bit me, but who can know? Also, last night on the dessert buffet, there was a small brown and pink cake labeled "barfee". Seriously. you can't make this stuff up. The Indians got offended when I used the word "barfee" but to me, that's what their cake looked like. That's a derivation from a Jack Handey quote. Hope you enjoyed it.
Oh, and another thing for those who I haven't told yet: the hard drive on my computer crashed the day before we flew out of Chicago. Can you believe it? Luckily we were able to get in to see a "genius" at the Apple store that night and they fixed it for me OVERNIGHT and for FREE! Apparently it was some sort of manufacturers error for this year of computer. They also gave me a new keyboard because mine was cracked. I couldn't believe it! That's probably hands down the best customer service I've ever gotten. Thank you, Apple. It makes me want to purchase Apple products exclusively... which is probably why they do it in the first place. Anyway, they were able to retrieve my data (all my pictures, too!) with the exception of some software I installed, including my camera software. So I'll re-install that and then get some pictures to you as soon as I can. Love to all, write me back while I'm still in good spirits!