Hey everyone! Elena here, updating you on our progress so far. It’s only the first day, so not much has happened yet other than sleeping, eating, and of course preparing for the work-filled week ahead. Nevertheless, here is an update on our adventures so far (sorry for the delay, the WiFi at the hotel isn’t the most reliable).
We arrived in India safe and sound! Our flight got in a little before 3 AM local time. Nobody’s luggage was lost and we got through immigration with no problems. At the airport, entire families were lined up outside to greet their incoming loved ones. It was refreshing to see the huge grins on their faces as they spotted who they were looking for.
The plane ride, by the way, was incredible. For the first flight, the plane was nearly empty, so everyone had an entire row to themselves. This meant sleep and beautiful views. Plus, Garima and I got upgraded to business class for the second flight and we were spoiled by the treatment there.
Driving through Ahmedabad to Vadodara, the differences between this country and ours were quite evident. There were stray dogs, brightly colored clothes, cars honking non-stop, and street vendors galore. Our driver got us to the hotel at around 6 AM. We then checked into our rooms and got settled. Rohil and I went on a mosquito-killing spree (the hotel has since made an effort to remove the pests from the room, and we are both wearing insect repellent while we sleep. As a side note, I won the game, killing nearly twice as many mosquitoes as Rohil) and everyone took a short nap before meeting up for lunch.
There is a mall just down the street from our hotel that we walked to. Here, we were able to grab a bite to eat and stock up on snacks. The woman at Paratha Express didn’t think Rachel and I would be able to handle the food, so she made it less spicy (which, by American standards, is still pretty spicy). At the grocery store, there were a lot of sweets for relatively cheap prices, resulting in a very happy travel team. We then returned to the hotel to rest more, grab some dinner, and have a meeting to organize ourselves for the busy week ahead.
Today was a rest day, so that’s pretty much all that’s happened thus far. Stay tuned for more action in the coming week!