Due to being on the world's most sluggish internet connection, coupled with the supersonic speeds that embody Windows 98, this will be a fairly short post, but wanted to let everyone know we are doing well, we picked Luke up in Bangalore just fine, and have been chilling/relaxing at the Dhavanyaloka Student Center, in Mysore, where he studied for the fall semester of 2005, pretty much ever since. We've explored a bit of Mysore and its surrounds, visiting the large Maharaja's Palace downtown one day, and on Saturday Luke's friend Ravi drove us to Tipu's Summer Palace as well as a nice nearby temple. Most nights are spent hanging out with Ravi, Somu, & Sivu, or some combination of the three - Somu works at the student center as cook and is the director's personal assistant; Ravi used to drive for the director (Dr. Rao), but now works for the Bank of Mysore; Sivu is their friend (and ours). We also played pool one night with Luke's friend Pradeep, which was a rather Western experience, complete with satellite radio, though for Liz's birthday (on Jan. 6th) we indulged and went to Planet X. Highlights included the impossible mini-golf (complete with silent caddie/time-keeper since we were only allowed to play for 30 minutes), go-kart racing, and a drink called "winey beer." So things were, as they are consistently, quite Indian. We also got a birthday cake, and sang Happy Birthday, and enjoyed (yet another) dinner out.
We have also endured our worst sickness yet, by far, with all three of us being reduced to bedrest by vomiting and endless diarrhea - fortunately the worst effects were over within 24 hours, though it wasn't until the third day afterwards that we were entirely recovered. While the most likely culprit is some water we drank, it either could've been from visiting Ravi's family in their village, or at a restaurant the next day, but then again, it could have also been any of the wide variety of foods we had all consumed, so the end result is that all we know for sure is that we have no clue what the cause could have been. While we are being more cautious about the water then, at the same time, we are often in situations when we are dying of thirst and local water is all that is available, so we just have to chance it.
We have a busy weekend in store for us, since on Saturday we are going on a daytrip of site-seeing with Sivu, and then Sunday we are getting up early to climb Chamundi Hill, whose temple overlooks Mysore, before then going with Somu to visit his family in his village. And then Monday is supposed to be a big festival, which although of course we haven't been able to find much about, but sounds like it should be a pretty fun time...
That's all for now, hopefully better technology will be in our semi-immediate future!