One week into our trip and we've settled into our hotel and are becoming familiar with the area.
Just about everything we need (restaurants, pharmacy, fruit vendors, the shala, coconut vendors etc.) is within a 5 minute walk from Urban Oasis. The farthest we've had to travel is to Saraswathi's house, which is about 10 minutes away. There are some locations we've heard about that are slightly farther, but rickshaw drivers are all over and are very cheap.
Below: Drinking some fresh coconut water!
Our daily routine couldn't be easier. Every morning we wake up at 5am, get ourselves ready and make our way to the shala for 6. We practice as much of the primary series as we can (you are stopped and told to start the finishing series if you can't get into certain "gateway" poses). I (Adam) am stuck at Marichyasana B and Aaron is stuck at Supta Kurmasana. Each day we get just a little closer to acheiving the poses. After practice, we head to the coconut vendor to have some extremely refreshing coconut water, then return to our hotel to shower, change and have breakfast. From then on, the rest of the day is ours to do with as we please.
Usually that involves light stretches, eating, getting some more coconuts and chatting with some other student from around the world and walking around to explore the city. As our days come to an end, we watch TED talks, documentaries and movies etc back at the hotel.
Below: hanging out at the coconut stand
Everything here is relatively inexpensive. To lower our cost of living, we'll be leaving the hotel and moving to an apartment, which will cost around $300 for our first month, then we move to a nicer place for about $400 a month.
We made the mistake of accepting abd booking the first apartment we found. Shortly after we came across far nicer places to stay, for just a small amount extra per month. So, on the 20th we are moving to a decent apartment about the size of our hotel room for one month. After that we will move to a very nice apartment, with a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom.
The food has been fantastic. So far we've been eating all vegetarian meals. Many if not most of the locals are vegetarian, and have been their whole lives. The vegetarian dishes more than satisfy, all for just a few dollars.
Below: one of the great vegetarian meals we've been indulging in. Aloo Gobi, Mushroom Masala, Naan and a pineapple lassi
Every morning we have our free breakfast on the roof, tasting various Indian dishes and fresh fruits like banana, watermelon and papaya. It's very quiet and calm, with an amazing view; a great way to start each day.
At the end of our first week our mind-set has completed changed. We're loving our trip and thrilled we made the decision to come.
Our practice is going great, we've already started to get stronger and make improvements. We're meeting interesting people from all over the world and happily soaking in the amazing weather and great food.
At the end of the week Saraswathi tells us "new time start monday, you come 4:30". So, starting on Monday (the 17th) we begin practice at 4:30.
We aren't sure what this means, but with fewer people there, we'll have more room to practice and I'm sure she'll be able to give us a little more attention.
The shala closes for a few months after April 6th, so after some discussing we've decided to cut our trip down from 5 months to 3. After all, with the money we save, we'll be able to come back again sooner! ;)