Day 7 (Friday, May 9): Play it Hard

Woke up in the middle of the night freezing so I flipped off the universal switch in the room. Woke up in the morning with a warm room. I got up at 7:15am and stayed in room until 8:45am to do some last minute studying for the first quiz. While I was brushing my teeth, the water trickled and slowly stopped altogether. I looked around the bathroom and used the bidet to wipe the toothpaste off my face. When the water turned back on in the afternoon, the color was brown for a couple minutes. This made me think about the availability of clean water (or lack of) in the world and how we are so fortunate to not have to worry about access or sanitation in the US compared to other countries. Sometimes I take hour-long showers because it feels nice, but with this new perspective I will think twice about it. I may be naive about this topic, but I wonder why other countries cannot gain permanent access to clean water. Financial reasons? I looked to the trusty Wikipedia for some answers. Here is an excerpt about India:

India’s growing population is putting a strain on the country’s water resources. The country is classified as “water stressed” and a water availability of 1,000-1,700 m3/person/year.[3] According to UNICEF, in 2008 88% of the population had access and was using improved drinking water sources.[4] “Improved drinking water source” is an ambiguous term, ranging in meaning from fully treated and 24 hour availability to merely being piped through a city a sporadically available.[5] This is in part due to large inefficiencies in the water infrastructure in which up to 40% of water leaks out.[5]

In the same 2008 UNICEF report, only 31% of the population had access and used improved sanitation facilities.[4] Open sewers are common place in urban areas.[5] A little more than half of the 16 million residents of New Delhi, the capital city, have access to this service.[5] Every day, 950 million gallons of sewage flows from New Delhi into the Yamuna River with any significant forms of treatment.[5] This river bubbles with methane and was found to have a fecal coliform count 100,000 time the safe limit for bathing.[5]

Due to surface water contamination due to lack of sewage treatment and industrial discharge, groundwater is becoming increasingly dependent on and exploited in many regions of India.[6] This process is being expedited by heavily subsidized energy costs for agriculture practices;[6] which make up roughly 80% of India’s water resource demand.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_issues_in_developing_countries

Breakfast: round bread-like ball, omelet, veggie curry and tea. I went to the Manipal Library rock garden to take the online book quizzes in preparation for the quiz. I completed three online quizzes and did not get to two. The real quiz was good. I’m thinking I may have missed one multiple choice question, but let’s hope for the best. Then, Raj lectured on two topics: cultural & environmental effects on health.

Lunch: barley rice, veggies with curry flavor, vegetable curry, paneer (cheese) curry and coconut milk jelly dessert. Some people bought ice cream for only 50 rupees. I need to get some one day. A group of us went to the store. I got another 4-pack of toilet paper ($2.50), tide bar ($0.17) and a light green blanket with a stitched flower design ($3.40). This is weird, but buying items here is a liberating feeling… succumbing to that consumerism, which is good and bad. Good – because the goods in India are cheaper compared to the US. Bad – because I don’t want to buy items I don’t need. I’m usually conscious about spending money. I’m still not completely used to the exchange rate here. When I’m using a 1000 or 500 valued bill, I perceive that as a lot because my mind is still in US mode. The blanket will come in handy because I brought a small and thin blanket for the trip that doesn’t provide enough warmth and also does not cover my feet so I am excited to sleep comfortably tonight.

Went to Manipal Library around 1:30pm. Today was Dr. Bhat’s last lecture with us on Indian society and culture. He traveled all the way here from Hyderabad to provide these lectures for us and is going home tomorrow. I feel so bad because I experienced the post-lunch dip during his lectures several times. It was not my intention to fall asleep :/ We took a group pic with Dr. Bhat in the classroom.

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ImageAs a group, we walked to the Marena, the “RPAC” of Manipal University. It’s a beautiful facility with great views of a green and luscious valley. Their slogan is “play it hard” compared to the RPAC’s “life in motion”. The front desk guy told us about the amenities and policies:

  • Non-markable soles are required for most of the sports offered.
  • One has to bring their own equipment for sports.
  • Patrons have to bring new shoes with them to workout; no outside shoe can be used inside.
  • Some amenities include: sauna, pool, badminton, simulator games, basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, indoor track, weights, cricket and tennis.
  • They close during class hours (1-4pm) to encourage students to go to class.

ImageThe Marena is on a hill so the floors go down into the ground (-1,-2,-3,-4,-5). It was funny seeing negative signs in the elevator. I tried to take a picture, but they did not like photography in the building. They took us on a tour of the facility, and we had to take off our shoes. I like that they keep it clean. I learned that cameras are not allowed when I was vlogging on the track. I would totally workout there if they didn’t have such stringent policies. I don’t have another clean pair of shoes, but it was nice to see the facility.

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We walked back in time for tea. Something that tasted like fried tofu balls were served. I ate one and gave the other to Lindsey because I don’t enjoy fried foods. Went back to hostel and washed all my dirty clothes with the new Tide bar. I have decided to try hand-washing clothes again and I liked it this time maybe because I knew it would be more clean with the Tide as opposed to another bar soap. I also recorded a five-minute video of myself washing a shirt. I am thinking about speeding it up for the real vlog to give people an idea on how to hand-wash clothes. I didn’t know how before coming here, but I figured out a method and wanted to share because it’s a good thing to know in life I guess?

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2 thoughts on “Day 7 (Friday, May 9): Play it Hard

  1. Jason Saiter says:

    Ellen,

    Just read all of your travel entries. Looks like an amazing opportunity. I love all the attention you give to the the small details in your writing, especially the food. Looking forward to reading more.

    Jason Saiter

    • Mr. Saiter,

      It’s so good to hear from you! Thank you for the support. I am enjoying putting my experience into words and pictures. Hope all is well with you and your family 🙂

      Ellen

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