By: Kerrie Olejarz
Tuesday, Day Two in Delhi.
I awoke and readied myself for breakfast. I was hungry, but had traveler’s hunger –the kind of hunger where you know you should eat but the time change, travel, and excitement make you not really hungry at all. I headed down to the main floor for the included breakfast buffet. There was cereal, fruit, toast, some Indian hot dishes and an omelette stand. I grabbed my coffee, ordered an omelette, and made my toast. The service was good and the Bollywood dance program on the 50-inch TV was at full volume. I sat there as a solo traveler, eating my breakfast and watching what felt like MTV in Hindi. The general manager came in and said good morning to me and asked if all was acceptable in my room. I could have kissed his feet but I chose to use my words instead. He asked if I had been to the patio yet and since I hadn’t, he took me there.
Atop the hotel was a large rooftop patio with a pool, lounge chairs, and tables with umbrellas. Ahhhh, I was in heaven! I had previously found that India lacks comfortable outdoor areas; it has grown so much over the last decade or so that buildings had taken over the green spaces. The roof top patio was not green, but definitely a place to get outside and enjoy. There was also a small balcony with a table and chairs just across the hall from my room, decorated with pots of tropical plants. After a long chat with the GM I received a phone call from Shilpi with an invitation to lunch. Of course I accepted and was thrilled to get out a bit with Shilpi. Today was Day 6 of my stimulation and I was starting to feel it. My abdomen was feeling heavy and full and since I had packed for warm temperatures, I struggled with what to wear for my lunch date.
Shilpi and I headed to Select City Mall for lunch. This is a huge western-style mall with a hotel attached to it –trendy stores, coffee shops and restaurants. We went to the Punjab Grill and pigged out! We had Channa Masala, Paneer, and Naan. Yum! Great food to enjoy while chatting with Shilpi! I was dying for a great coffee so we headed to the Coffee Bean in the mall. This was like any other trendy coffee shop, busy beyond belief and really good coffee. Also, like most trendy spots, expensive. During our coffee time, poor Shilpi started getting a lot of phone calls. She was swamped that day helping a Norwegian couple arrange the final paperwork so they could leave India with their baby. We headed back to my hotel and said our goodbyes. It was a great couple of hours spent with Shilpi, and I really enjoyed seeing this mall and all it had to offer.
It was getting close to morning at home and also getting close to the time for my shots. I logged in to my work through VPN and started working on emails. I also logged in to Skype on my net-book in hopes of chatting with Mark when he woke up. My dueling laptops spread out on the hotel room desk did not paint a picture of relaxation at all. A couple hours later, Mark Skyped me and I was able to show him my new fancy digs. He was beyond relieved! He barely slept the night before with worry for me, and kept questioning why we chose to let me travel alone. The poor guy, I really felt for him. His heart is so big for me and he was beating himself up all night. But once I showed him my room and told him about my great day, I think he was able to put himself at ease.
It was time for my injections. It goes like this: Remove the Gonal-F from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature. Clean an area on the counter with alcohol wipes, lay out a paper towel. Think sanitary! Wipe the Superfact bottle top with alcohol, insert the small syringe. Draw out 1cc of liquid medication. Recap the Superfact syringe, then dose the Gonal-F. Crank the dosing dial to 300iu’s. Wipe down the tip with alcohol, put a new and sterile needle tip on. Drop trou, swab the belly with alcohol, let that dry, and then insert the Superfact. Next, pull off the protective covering of the Gonal-F needle, slide that needle into the abdomen, press the plunger, and feel the burn.
That’s it! Minutes of prep and action and I was done, back to work like nothing. My doorbell rang and it was the same boy who delivered my luggage. He was checking in to see if I needed anything. I asked for more bottled water and he obliged. We sat and chatted a bit for a few minutes about this and that. He told me about working at the hotel and his long hours, as well his long commute back and forth. He seemed to really enjoy his job and chatting with me. He is considered “lower class” in India, and I imagine the Indian travelers treat him as such. I think he was really enjoying our chats and the fact that I treated him well. Culturally, Westerners are very different and I think this was obvious to him. As a result, for the rest of my stay there he treated me like royalty! I started referring to him as my boyfriend.
I worked for the next eight hours. I finalized sales goals for my Canadian team as I sat in the comforts of my hotel, with hours of repeats of Friends on TV. Around 2 am I was done and hit the hay, realizing I had not eaten dinner. Luckily I had snacks with me, so I quickly made some instant oatmeal before bed, chowed down, and lay my tired body down. I was still on Canada time, and despite how tired I was, I could not sleep. This is when I discovered Burn Notice, a US show about a spy who had been kicked out of the field and has to restart his life. The acting is awful, but yet soooo watchable at 3 am in India. There were very few English options on TV, so Burn Notice it was.
The next day I was scheduled to see Dr Shivani again, and after another solid three hours’ of sleep I awoke, took a shower, and headed downstairs for breakfast. Same deal as the day before: watching Bollywood dancing on TV…but today the volume was much lower.
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