Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Adventure Begins

Today another place on my "life list of places to go" was checked off. The plane ride went about as smooth as it could have. I got a window seat in the emergency exit area so nobody sat in front of me and I felt I could actually breath for the 15.5 hr flight.
Landing in Dubai alone did not sound fun to me. Foreign country that really looked foreign out the plane window. Felt like I was landing in Vegas, if Vegas actually looked like it should without all the sprinklers; waves of desert with little bits of land and highway sprouting up. Then of course the fancy city.
I found a little place to connect to the internet as I waited at my gate and sent off an "I'm safe" e-mail to mama. It was very strange, however, to turn on the internet and be reading an AOL blurb about a crash in India of a plane that took off from Dubai. Remember that I was sitting in that very airport about to board MY plane to India. Hmm.
Felt SO out of my comfort zone as I realized I was one of 3 white people on the plane. But I sat next to a friendly Indian family who were flying home after a holiday in Oregon with family. Told me to have a good trip, with the parting advice of "Be safe, and don't go outside. Especially as a woman." Ok, thanks. As soon as I exited the terminal I could clearly see that the women of the country took that advice very literally. There were only about 100 men waiting behind a metal fence waiving and holding name cards for those they were trying to meet. Wanted a photo, but in that moment I was mostly just trying to keep my head down and not look lost, cus I was pretty scared! This was the moment I had been most nervous about since leaving.
Then the sign "Ms. Anne Marie" caught my eye and I was SO relieved to see that my driver genuinely looked kind. After meeting him and walking with him through the streets and parking lots (and accidentally going to the passenger's side which is the Indian drivers side of the van) I couldn't help asking myself, "Where are all the women?" I didn't see ONE woman out on the streets, on the busses, or anywhere. I mean women don't really make it a habit of cruisin' around any city after dark, but seriously it was strange. It wasn't like this in Africa at least.
The conversation I had, or tried to have, with the driver was hilarious. Technically, both of us were speaking English. I think. But seriously I still have NO idea what we were talking about. As you can see from the photo, the languages aren't exactly similar. Beautiful looking and sounding, but wow. I mean, this accent was insane! I had to stop myself from laughing like 10 times. He'd say something and point and I'd be like, "oh, ok. Uh huh." ??????? I tried to stick with small words, or none at all. And I am SO a talker, but I was scared to start a conversation for fear he'd ask me more questions and I'd be like, oh no dude, I have no idea what you just said. HA! Then before entering the gates of the hotel they had guards come search the underside of the van with a huge mirror, and brought a dog out to sniff around it. That was different.
Then after 24+ hours of travel, this was a beautiful sight. Especially after the passport clerks almost didn't let me in the country. You have to go through immigration check points entering any country where they look at and stamp your passport. The clerk checking mine apparently didn't think I looked like myself. Stared at me, made me take off my hat, brought his other clerk friends to come cast a vote, then finally let me go. I was thinking, "Seriously? I've been on a plane for a whole day. I probably don't look like the same person in the photo. But it's me."
Went to bed around this time Sunday morning,
which was I think around 3:37 pm Saturday in the U.S.?
Huge time change. Night and Day opposite.
Slept till mid afternoon, around 1 am in the U.S.
When I opened my window to see where I am this is what I got.
~Hello India~
Now I'm in the lobby using the internet. When the elevator doors opened this little party greeted me. Not quite sure what's going on. Think I'll go ask cus I'm dying of thirst and if this guy in front of me pours one more glass of cocoanut juice and I don't get one soon there might be issues.
So...I'm here, I'm safe, and I'm soaking as much up from the very beginning as I can. I'm excited for others to get here cus it's uncomfortable being on your own. But daddy blessed me to be aware and alert without being so fearful that I can't enjoy the experience. It is always exhilarating stepping foot in another country and into another culture. And it comes with a hyper-awareness of reliance on the Lord and gratitude for the many cultures of the world. Keep praying for me please. It helps me feel safe~

{This was a very word heavy post, but more photos will come soon}


  1. Whew! Challenge number one...getting there on your own safe and sound completed. Such a long journey, but it sounds like it all went about as smooth as we could have ever prayed for. I will email you. Eager to live the next few weeks vicariously with you. Grateful for the Internet! I'll email you...

  2. P.S. After you went through security in S.F. the entire crew of your airplane passed by us! We saw the stewardess' in your first photograph here with their pretty red hats and flowing white head wraps that draped down and I immediately wished I could see your face when they passed by you! So, I had to chuckle that they were your first photo of the post!!

  3. so glad you are there safe!! you must be so exhausted--thank goodness for that wonderful bed (well, at least it looks comfortable). keep the posts coming as you have time.

  4. safe! Can't wait to hear & see more.

  5. Ahhhhhh I am so glad you are there safe and didn't have to sit next to a fat sweaty indian man on the plane! That view looks amazing... you can't tell but my voice is dripping with sarcasm when I say that but your hotel room looks very nice! I am excited to once again live through you and your adventures Annie while I putter around Turlock! Love you!

    p.s. I think the passport clerks dont get to see too many gorgeous blondes and just wanted a good look at you ;) hahaha!

  6. Wow, looks amazing. I love your photos already. I can't wait to see more. What are you doing there? Is it another internship? Have a blast and soak it all in. Love ya.

  7. Yay! I'm right here with you. I'll be checking in with you.

  8. Oh Anne Marie you will be in our constant prayers!