May 30 – June 8: Many Partings

10 nerd points for anyone who gets the reference in the title of this post. The day after Tara’s wedding we went to A. Beatrice’s for lunch and to say goodbye to some of the family that was leaving. After that we headed to Tara’s to help her unwrap some of her gifts, and then there was a small birthday party for Alia’s birthday later that night.

The next day the girls went for a self-defence class while I relaxed at home. That night was another Sessions party at Shiva’s other restaurant, The Ugly Duckling. It was fittingly titled (for Joanna and Justine) “The last Saturday. We had a nice dinner and then drank and danced. Joanna and Justine were both tired from the self defence class and sad that their trip was coming to an end. The next morning the girls did some last minute shopping and then we packed up our stuff and went to Koramangala to visit Miki, Mario and Niharika for Justine and Joanna’s last days in India, and my transition into volunteer work. The next day we went to do some more shopping at The Forum and ate some Indian McDonald’s. The McChickens are pretty much the same except they add some cheese sauce. Justine got the Maharaja Mac, which is basically a Big Mac with and Indian style chicken burger instead of beef patties. The consensus was that it was not good. Sadly, no one opted for the McAloo Tikki. We also saw a sign that on some other day we could have met Ronald McDonald. I was not disappointed, since Indian Ronald McDonald (the guy, not the statues like in the picture above) is one freaky dude. Basically a brown guy with a bad red wig and white face make-up reminiscent of It. This is the best picture I could find on the net. Later that night after dinner, Karn (who lives in the area) drove us to Russell Market for some chai and then we went to Monsoon for some yummy molten cakes. Karn brought a card reader so that Joanna could get her pictures off her memory card (Karn had been taking a lot of pictures with Joanna’s camera at the roce and the wedding, and at the wedding he slipped while dancing and broke her LCD, so he had sent it for repairs).

The next day we relaxed a bit and then Justine and Joanna grabbed a cab to the new Bangalore airport, which is more than an hour away, and doesn’t allow non-travellers into the departures area at all, so there was no point in coming along. For the next couple of days I relaxed. One day I went with Miki on a site visit for her survey audit for the group Saathi. Saathi works to reunite runaway kids with their families, and rehabs the kids that have addictions. We were to interview a 12 year old boy who had already ran away several times. When we got there, he had run away again, but we interviewed his sister and some of the other local people. Finally, it was time to head out to Palamaner to begin the volunteering phase of my trip.

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