Sunday, February 24, 2013

Technology Trauma

So Anna will probably find this whole post ridiculous considering her current views on modern technology and our obsession with it, but here is my story......

The electricity around here can be crazy at times. Last week, in particular, it was going crazy. It would come on and off erratically.

My first incident involved my ipad (which I love). It was plugged into a power surge protector and then into the wall. Well, the power surged and out went the protector and the little white power adaptor that was connected to it. I then had no way to charge the ipad. But then I realized I could plug it into the laptop. I tried that and it worked, but incredibly slow, like hours, to recharge. So, it was inconvenient, but doable. I was worried however that there had been some internal damage as I couldn't believe it should take so long to charge through the laptop..

The very next day, the power surged again and out went the laptop adaptor. So Now I have no way to charge my laptop or ipad. But luckily, my next door neighbor just happens to have an adaptor that fits my laptop. Thank goodness for Erin, but I was worried about having to borrow it all the time for the next two months.

Two days after that, I am carrying my laptop out of our hostel over to the school. Our power was out, but there was power over there. The power cord was available so I wanted to use it then. As I was walking out, my feet slipped and down I went. As I was falling I realized something was going to hit the tile hard, either me or the laptop I was holding. So, the edge of the laptop hit first. Luckily the only damage was the little stick that was in the usb port (that is for the wireless mouse I use). I figured I can live without a mouse. But when I tried to use the touch pad, it didn't respond. It thought  there was still a wireless mouse. So, now I had a laptop that wouldn't work at all.

So, that was my dilemna. No laptop and no way to charge my ipad.

The solution:
Feeling like the ox was in the mire, I travelled to Chennai on Sunday. After dropping off  a group at the Church, I continued on to Express Mall. I should say our driver did all this driving and dropping off. At the mall, I was thinking I would probably be buying either a new laptop or netbook. I located the computer store, and with a bag full of all my damaged goods I entered. An hour later and only $100 poorer, I had new power adaptors for my laptop and ipad, a new corded mouse and a new power surge protector. I learned that recharging an ipad through a laptop is much slower than through the wall due to the low voltage. So, nothing was wrong with the ipad and fortunately I was able to plug a new mouse into another usb port to get the cursor to work.

So all ended well. I will not have to spend the next two months without email and facebook.

And they worked on the power and it is doing much better this week - Something about cutting back branches on the lines.

My purchase at the mall.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day Trips

Most every Saturday the volunteers go on a day trip to a neighboring town. My first Saturday we went to Puducherry. The following Saturday we went to Mamallapuram.

Puducherry, also known as the French Riviera of the East is about a two hour drive from Rising Star. It sits on the south east coast of India, on the Bay of Bengal.

A little history: The French East India Company set up a trading centre at Pondicherry in 1674. This outpost eventually became the chief French settlement in India. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s, they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country. Pudicherry remained a part of French India until 1954 at which time it merged with the motherland.

The french influence is seen in some of the architecture, little street signs that say "Rue ..." and the presence of the French Consulate. Puducherry is a popular tourist spot for national and international travelers.

 The local market
 My travelling buddies: Max, Erin and Anita

A highlight of the trip was a visit to an Italian restaurant and this Gnocchi Pesto and its accompanying Focaccia
A giant statue of Ghandi

Local Park
Bay of Bengal


Mahabalipuram was another day trip. It is about 1 1/2 hours from Rising Star. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city.  It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples.

We walked around and looked at everything. I'm not that into ancient ruins, but these were pretty cool.

Highlights of this trip included: purchasing new leather sandals, customed-made right on the spot, eating lunch at the 5 Star Radisson Resort and spending the afternoon at another resort pool, which included ice cream.