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never saw blue like that: This weekend has been great. The weather has turned extremely nice; bright blue skies, pretty hot, but a really great breeze that persists all day long.

Saturday we attended a birthday party for Ethan, my coworker Alan's son. Said party had a bounce house, a magician, face painting, and a camel ride. Now we've all done the camel thing in Mysore, and, truth be told, it's not the most comfortable ride. But we needed to get photo ops of this camel ride in particular, because this time, we rode a camel in Orlando, FL! Seriously.

I haven't been to my boss's house since Christmas Eve, and at that point, India was still a big old mess in my head. But now I've been here long enough to sort the mess (something the locals can't do) and was really able to appreciate where they live. It seriously is a closed community that screams Wisteria Lane. Every house has a palm tree, and it's really quite nice. India awaits literally outside the front gate. But for all intents and purposes, our camel ride was in Orlando, FL. Susie will post pics.

I've heard a lot of people tease the Erickson's for choosing to live there, but most of them eat their words after India takes its toll. Now I can understand why Alan is less patient when we complain about India. It's easy to leave your troubles at the barricaded gate. No stray dogs. Reduced chance of being run over. Very quiet. Smells decent on the whole. No trash piles. It's a very nice place.

I'm trying to get Ross to move there when Alan leaves, as I think it would be a good place for his pet dog, Doug.

The party was a lot of fun and Alan's wife Kerri had special party favors for Maggie and Dalton: dinosaurs and farm animals. Very thoughtful.

We also had a successful day at Big Bazaar yesterday as well. I finally found a decently priced short sleeved short that felt wonderful at the piano that does not get any A/C exposure. And we also found a great BD present for James! We liked it so much, we got the same present for Ethan. It's a red shirt showcasing both India and cricket.

We also hit Chili's for lunch. My burger came with fries and onion rings, and the kids loved dipping them in ranch dressing, something not found here. We also had our ice cream choc chip cookie dessert we love. My burger was supposed to be sliders but I guess they were out (everything is always out in India) so they cut my burger into four pieces and stuck it with toothpicks!

Our driver used to get a weekday off but he prefers weekends so now he gets Sunday off. So every Sunday is an auto drive to church, which is also fun. I enjoy a good auto ride when I'm not getting ripped off.

A lof of people here complain about corruption. I used to feel so bad for the people here that all their leaders are so corrupt. Yesterday at the BD party the camel-driver wanted double the agreed-upon price when he found out the party was for foreigners. They also tried to take down the bounce house an hour early. I guess the reason corruption exists here is because it exists at all levels, and corrupt leaders can be seen as representative of the whole. Which also says a lot about my own country I suppose.


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