Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Ordeal

So yes I went to India. Big place, quite hot. I was staying at the bosses flat along with him and 3 other guys, 2 Kiwis and 1 South African, which is why it was a relief to find that Gujarat was a dry state, I don’t imagine I could’ve kept up.

Things got off to a spectacular start when I lost my debit card. You see, cash machines in India aren’t like cash machines in England, where after selecting your amount, you get your card dispensed back to you followed by your money. In India, you get your cash then your card, well I assume so, I just took my cash and left.

I didn’t suffer from jet lag too badly at first, but as the week went on, my health took a few hits. Office hours were from 11 to 8 over there, so that the office was open while the UK was open. And because I had to check up on my UK team every day, I was constantly watching the time and most of the clocks at the office were set to UK time. Lunch wasn’t till 3, and because the boss doesn’t get to India that often, working hours were frequently extended due to meetings and such like. We wouldn’t get dinner till about 10pm. Most of the time, I really had no idea what time of day it actually was.

Then of course once back at the flat, we just sat about till the early hours, and there was at least one heavy drinks session in the evening. And I’m not so good at sleeping in new beds anyway. Gradually, each day I got more tired and exhausted. The air-con did and didn’t help; it was good for keeping the temperature down, but it left you with a nasty dry throat in the morning.

I got properly hammered at the end of the first week. And despite the booze, still struggled to sleep, but things got worse. The drinking weakened my immune system, leaving me totally unprepared for a long journey across India for a cricket match. The country air hit my nostrils, and left them dripping for most of the day. We were supposed to be in an executive box; in reality this was a concrete room with windows, plastic lawn chairs and an air condition barely fixed to the wall. And as for the toilet – it’s a good job I didn’t have the runs or else I’d have been screwed. If I’d have dared place my behind on one of those seats, something would’ve probably sprung from the black water within and bitten my balls off, it did look like new forms of life could evolve down there. Did I mention that I don't even like cricket. There was a machine gun point at the crowds as they came in, what a welcome!

Fortunately for the second week we were moved from Baroda to Surat, where we stayed in a decent hotel and I got a room to myself. Finally some peace, it didn’t feel like I was on duty in front of the boss for once. Unfortunately it was then that I experienced the obligatory Westerner visiting India stomach problems. Frequent diarrhoea (I didn’t urinate for over 2 days) and unpleasant stomach cramps. These managed to carry me through to the end of the trip.

So overall it was quite an ordeal. To aid my stomach's recovery I made sure that I reaquinted it with an English breakfast, KFC, sausage and cheese mash, roast dinner and cheese sandwichs as soon as possible when I got back. It was hard work, but very necessary.