Posted by Amanda
Today was going to be a beach day. I had such fun at the beach yesterday that I was ready to make an entire day of the beach. However, Noah is sick today, actually quite sick, so I did what any good wife does and went out all day. Noah did tell me I could go out and the clinic did give him some meds to help him out. Likely some sort of food poisoning. I caught up with Carrie, the physician's assistant for the day. She was on call so if Noah needed anything, a simple call to her would have brought me too.
We decided to go to the botanical gardens and the sugar factory. This meant going to the taxi wolves to arrange a ride. Since we are not at the waterfront there are only a few taxis by the ship. They all work together to fix their prices. We ended up getting an agreement for $40 with the understanding that rupees would be okay. Later we heard that some drivers charge you a fee for using the air conditioner.
When we got to the botanical gardens, we headed to the tortoise area first. The garden itself is not a lot like a typical botanical garden. There isn't a huge greenhouse anywhere. Instead it is much more like a park. The shade was very nice because it was crazy hot. The tortoises were cute as they always seem to have a smile on their faces as they chew.
The e-ticket item for the gardens is the Amazonian lilly pads. They are really huge. We watched a bird hop from one to the other occassionally swimming when two were too far apart. It really seemed like you could just sit on one all day, except for the spikes on the underside. We also saw some banyan trees, palm trees, and some sort of imported deer. Overall, if this garden were in the US, I would not have gone.
The cab drive took us basically across the highway to the sugar factory. Overall this was a museum with not a ton of info but all presented in an overly technological and theatrical way. They'd use a lot of mirrors and peepholes to showcase information. We zipped through that pretty quickly.
The gift shop was actually a lot of fun as you can try about 10 different kinds of sugar. You'd spoon a bit onto the palm of your hand then lick it off--very sanitary. It was interesting to see and taste such a large range of flavors of the same thing. Some were suggested for use with coffee, some were better for making gingerbread because they had a more molassas taste, others for tea, etc. We also tried a few samples of rum that had some nice vanilla and pineapple flavors.
Our cab driver brought us back to the waterfront and asked for more rupees than what was equal to $40. I think he was a bit frustrated that we didn't give him more than the exchange rate dictated.
Carrie and I wandered around the waterfront, shopped a bit, and ate some Indian food for lunch. We went out to the central market to see the vegetable and fruit vendors. There were people selling noodles, rice, beans, some squash thing I didn't recognize, all sorts of peppers, and many other grocery items. It was actually very nicely presented. At one point we were curious about some odd looking item. It was sort of the shape of a potato chip but was hard like pasta. It came in all sorts of colors and was being sold from a large bag the way beans or rice is. We asked what it was, but didn't understand. Surprisingly, Carrie quickly picked one up and put it in her bag. Shocking but hopefully, we'll find out what it is.
When we got back to the ship, Noah was still a bit under the weather. He was still content to hang out on the ship. Carrie and I made plans for dinner with the hopes others would join us. In the end only a faculty member joined us. I was a bit nervous about this because I hadn't really interacted with this prof much. Would we have enough to talk about? It was actually great. We took some time finding a place as our first two choices were closed. Actually the entire area that bustles in the day time is totally dark and dead at night. We ended up at a Chinese place.
The conversation was good, we heard the problems profs face on the ship teaching three courses without days in between to recover and prep, and we enjoyed the food. Though, I should have started my vegetarianism with this meal as the chicken was filled with bones. I don't eat meat with bones in it; it is too much trouble.
When we returned to the ship, Noah was feeling better and all was well with the world again.