1) Back in Chennai. The air is so thick, you can trip over it. First time in my life when I wished I had *more* nosehair.
2) Had an Indian haircut to go with my Indian shirt and pants. I am now virtually indistinguishable from an ordinary Indian, except for my skin and my face. Apparently, a haircut here means you get a massage, too. Apparently, a massage here means that they punch you in the back of the head. Like what boxers do with those speed-bags. That was alright, but I nearly cracked up when he started pounding my head from above. Still, for $1, those were the cheapest punches to the head I ever got. (Last time, three punches cost me a camera.)
3) It hasn't rained since I got here. I haven't even seen a cloud. It's creepy.
4) Didn't think I would, but I'm sick of Indian food already. The Chinese food is pretty dire - the first noodle that I had was packet noodles with a bowl of lime-cordial curry. I ended up having steak - beef steak - in Bangalore. It was good, or as Homer would say, sacrilicious.
5) The concept of privacy in India is a bit strange. The several times when I forget to lock the door, at 7am sharp, some guy hits the buzzer on the door, then barges in half a second later, looks at me on my bed and asks: "Shoe shine?"
No. No shoe shine. I don't even have shoes.
6) From the "Tourist-becomes-toured" file: Kept running into this ridiculously-tanned Scandanavian couple. Saw them in the park yesterday having an argument, so I went over to see what the matter was. "That's so *rude*," says the woman. Turns out, some Indians had asked if they could get a photo of them. They said yes - but only if they give them 10 rupees (33 NZ cents) to give to someone who needed it. The Indians had taken the shot then walked off.
It's interested to hear similar experiences from one Mr Hamish McKenzie, a fellow student media alumni who's ended working as a journalist in Hong Kong. He's just been off to Shanghai and ends his tale of adventure and copyright violation with a story about a shoe shine, too.
He also has an exclusive interview with Richard Meros, the author of On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me As Her Young Lover, discussing his latest project.
Finally, here's a double-dose of NGA, because I couldn't post it last week:
Click here for more NGA.