The food – love it but how am I not going to gain 20 extra lbs while here? To avoid Delhi Belly (sick as a dog), I am mostly focusing on cooked food which means Indian fried, cooked or baked food – and it is not exactly light or slimming. I am also not sure that I can handle Indian 3x a day for 20 days – sooooo – this led me and Colin, my British colleague to decide that we are going to hit the gym this morning.

Mind you, this is a very conservative town. I have not seen any woman in any western outfit, in fact, I have not seen any woman in any service job yet! And despite the heat, all the women wear long pants or long skirts. The gym was Gold’s gym about 1 km away from the hotel, so my logical thinking is – shorts/shirt for exercise. First mistake, we didn’t bring passport and didn’t carry our sneakers in a bag (who doesn’t do that, clearly?). Once we got that out of the way, we walked to the gym. So picture this…. very modern gym with equipment I am not even recognizing,  with about 30+ men working them and not a single woman around. Second mistake, a bit under dressed. Well, will survive the looks. Then a guy shows up out of nowhere and leads us in and this is where it starts – apparently, he is our trainer and a serious one! What follows is this:

Trainer: “let’s stretch, to the right, to the left, count to 10, breathe, straight legs” Me: “oh ok, now?” thinking – is he serious, will he be with us all this time?”

Yes, he will ! For an hour, he moved us around from machine to machine, putting weights in, increasing my minutes on treadmill. Techno music banging out of the speakers, people watching the foreigners, me huffing and puffing and regretting coming but hoping it will balance the salt overload. One hour later, we were back in a hotel, getting ready for our kick off meeting. Phew…. I may end up in shape in 3 weeks!

I will cover the kick off and project under separate cover b/c the number of cultural impressions is overwhelming. In the evening, we finally ventured out to see the Ganges – it has always been my dream to see the river so I was excited but realistic. Still surprised – the dirt, the trash, the poverty, the river holiness vs. dirt. Lots of different emotions best told in pictures.

One pictures needs explanation. Allahabad is special as this is where 3 rivers meet – the Ganges, Yamuna and invisible underground Saraswati. This makes this spot very very unique and very holy. People come here to bathe in that particular spot and the boats take them there. The colors of both rivers are actually very very different so you can see the grey mixing with green. But given the data we have seen how incredibly polluted it is (human waste full), I am going to opt out of this holy ritual and maybe take lots of pictures instead? People bathe in it daily b/c many on the banks do not have bathrooms so maybe a good choice?

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The rivers meet where the boats are – on the right is Yamuna, left is Ganges that continues to the far right