So…where did I leave you last?
Well we took off from Delhi after some amazing times touring the city and experiencing some of what India had to offer. The buzz for Obama was growing before my eyes and everyone that found out that I was an American had to give me their opinion on his arrival. Most Americans should know that 99% percent of the feedback I got about him was positive. Us Americans and our stupid approval ratings.
So the drive to Kasauli was a 7 hour trek in its totality and included a climb during the last two hours on a windy dark roads in the southern Himalayas. Have you ever seen that show called Ice Road Truckers, when they go to south America and India?? I promptly changed my underpants upon arrival 🙂 However the rest of the drive was very enjoyable. I had the pleasure of riding with our contact in MSD India. His name is Jacob. And oddly enough he just happens to be one of the 4 percent of the 1 Billion Indians who practice Christianity. I hate to take this to a religious peak but I found it very odd that I was accompanied by a Christian. And when I say odd I must admit it made me feel very safe…for the drive…not my eternal salvation 🙂 Jacob and I discussed his current readings, which included C.S. Lewis Screw Tape Letter and Mere Christianity. Jacob found it as a sign from God that I was reading C.S. Lewis the same time he was. I was flattered. We discussed religion and it’s place in India culture versus American culture. The Hindu religion is much more tolerant of others…and it is actually written that way in most of the Vedas. However, the Muslims, at least from what I gather, are very combative in this country. We discussed the sad state of religion around the world and how something meant to create so much good has instead collectively been used to spread so much hate. This conversation happened after he asked me about the crazy Christian pastor who wanted to burn Korans. I apologized for all Americans at this moment and immediately went into a kind of Christian defense mode. I didnt’ want him to think all Bible Belt Bible Thumpers acted this way, although in my mind they do. Ironic I know. It was a very enlightening conversation but I will spare you the details…after all it was a 7 hour drive 🙂 We did stop to eat at a “rest stop”. I was immediately drawn to the camel giving rides for 20 rupees. I engaged in a deep belly laugh as I watched a young boy beg to ride then camel then proceed to scream in fear once he had mounted the camel and the camel stood up. I wasn’t the only one. His father and brother were laughing as well. Life is simple…and sweet. Also with myself, Jacob, and Liza was Bhavna, another contact from MSD India. I posted pictures of some of them on my photobucket site. She is quiet and observant, but when she talks she is potent. Both of our colleagues from India have made this trip so enjoyable with thier presence..
Today was our first day at work. We promptly started at 11 am (the customary start to a workday). On our ride up to the government lab we saw two types of monkeys. One of which I was told is violently carnivorous. I was then enlightened as to how I will need to be airlifted to Singapore if I am bitten because there is a good chance that the monkeys have rabies. So…my dream of bonding with the roadside monkeys was unapologetically crushed 🙂 My spirits were revived once we reached the lab and the scientists at the government lab were so welcoming and eager to learn. The lab is located 6000 miles above sea level. From the windows you can see the peaks of the northern Himalayas. I imagine that every one of the snow cap peaks could be Everest. As I do not enjoy driving at these heights, I am happy to enjoy the beauty of the northern Himalayas from a distance 🙂 I hope you all can see my pictures of the sunrise as well as the video I put on Facebook of what I woke up to. We had a very successful first day and I look forward to getting back in the lab tomorrow to spread my greatest asset…knowledge.