Sunday , March 15
I woke up a little before 7:30 after less than 4 hours of sleep. Luckily I woke up before my alarm because I found out later I had accidentally set it for 7:30 PM. I showered and met Randy in the lobby at 8:00. We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant buffet. They had all kinds of strange Indian dishes available, like Aloo Paratha and Poori Bhaji. But I was a chicken and went for the things that looked like pancakes and some bacon and some spiced potato things. We also ate the pineapple because Randy said it was less likely to make us sick. We're supposed to stay away from most fruit. Also, no drinking the water, unless it's bottled water and the cap is still sealed (and not sealed with super glue - has anyone seen Slumdog Millionaire?) We're even supposed to use bottled water to brush our teeth. I nearly forgot last night and rinsed my toothbrush with tap water. I poured a whole bottle of water over it after that so hopefully I dislodged most of the critters. After brushing I gargled with Listerine, so maybe that will kill some more. We're all watching each other to see who will be the first one to get sick.
Randy and I met the driver and drove to the address of the church we got off the web. The driver stopped a couple times to ask people on the street more specific directions, since there aren't any house numbers or street signs to speak of. Turns out the church had moved in the past 6 months, but luckily one of the guys working on the side of the road near the old place knew the new address. The church was in the basement of a building. There was a small sign out front, but I don't think I would have been able to find it.
We got there at 9:00 but it didn't start until 9:30 so it was basically empty when we got there. But lots of people came up to us and introduced themselves as they started to show up. One lady told us how her trainer from the US had introduced her to the gospel even though she had never met him. She has since been baptized and married in the Hong Kong temple. She told us how they have had property to build an actual Church building for 11 years but because the Church won't pay the necessary bribes, they haven't been able to build yet.
Church was very good, especially one talk about general conference and how we need to be prepared. There were a fair number of non-Indian people in attendance, mostly missionaries and people from the US working here. But the majority of the congregation was Indian. All the women wore saris. The bright colors were very striking and beautiful and I wished I could have a picture, but didn't think that would be appropriate. Randy and I had time to go through most of Sunday school before we had to get back. Here's a picture of me on the stairs going down to the church.
Our driver was outside waiting for us and he drove us back to the hotel and we met up with the rest of our group. We had a tour guide and some people that we work with in India. They were going along on the sightseeing tour to Mahabalipuram.
I'll finish this later...