By the time you read this, I am already in India and the conference I attend would’ve just finished. If you’re a little late, I’m probably already back in Malaysia. Anyway, my trip to India is 13th to 16th.
This is the first time I’m travelling out of the country since 2002. I went to Singapore with my friends for a class trip. If you forget, I didn’t want to go because I want to play chess (I’m crazy).
Anyhow, this is the first time I get outside South East Asia, and of all countries, India, and of all places in India, Trichy (southern). And I’m going to the foreign country, not knowing the native language, alone.
Why India? I have no idea. Probably that’s because my research fellow chose India and I just simply agree. We did consider Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan too. We couldn’t make in time for Singapore, and we didn’t want our paper to be published in Chinese, and I need a visa to enter Japan (I didn’t know I need one for India at first). If things are not clear, I’m there to present a technical paper at INCOSET.
My course mates view it as a great opportunity. But everybody else didn’t see any opportunity. Realistically speaking, there is actually not much benefit for me. Whether I turn up at the conference or not, my paper will be published anyway. Presenting at just one conference will not establish my research [career] as well. Probably some will say that I will have an additional thing to write in my résumé or to gain some exposure (do I really need them?).
All I saw was how much money I will spend there. Air ticket wasn’t cheap. If you include my passport and visa application and my expenses there, I can probably feed my whole family good meal for 2 weeks. Feels kinda bad to spend my parents’ money. But then, AirAsia had a promotion for my return ticket and my research fellow told me that I have a high chance to win the best paper award (is it worth it?). Oh well, I decided.
My mum didn’t feel comfortable and kept repeating the familiar phrase, “Of all places India.” There are more than enough people expressed their concern as I’m going to the southern of India.
They all said that I cannot drink any water that is not sealed. Some even said that the water must be imported. Some saints told me that I cannot put any valuables in my luggage and my uncle told me that it is best to carry everything with me. A brother told me to take injection, and a sister told me to go for blood test when I return. A sister even told me to bring my own medication there. A brother joked that I should bring two loaves of bread and I should lock myself in the room. Someone even told me that at the river in India, you can see some corpse that are not completely cremated, you can see people bathing there at the same time, washing their clothes there, and washing vegetables at the same time. Okay, how to survive. (Everything is hearsay).
I did my own research and people in the internet suggested that I should take injections for polio, tetanus, hepatitis, BCG, and more I forgot. Okay, I only had tetanus and BCG. Time was too short for me to take any jabs. Some sites even suggested me to take malaria pills. I think I’m only going for the basic prevention measure: Use a mosquito repellent, wash my hands before I eat and don’t drink unsealed water. Some sites even say told me to rest during the first two days of the trip. Obviously, I can’t because the conference is in the first two days.
Previously my researcher told me to book the air ticket and then we plan our trip. But after I told him about my time of travel, he told me that he will be going home after the conference. That means that I will be forever alone on 15th and 16th. So shall I make local friends during the conference? Or shall I make friends with other tourists? I mean, will there be tourists even? Lol
Some people view me as adventurous and some told me that I am brave and asked me to share my experience when I’m back == It’s not that I’m brave but since I already planned to go, I cannot don't go, right? I don’t know what to expect and what to experience there. Probably I’ll experience a life of prayer. Hahaha.
With minimal experience in travelling abroad, I’m only bringing a small backpack. I don’t plan to bring my bottle because I am supposed to drink from a sealed bottle, no? To make things sound even worse, I’m not bringing any Indian Rupee there. Ahem, I am supposed to meet my researcher there. If I don’t, okay, I have his Indian mobile number and also a Trichy brother’s number. But I’m not even sure if he will be in Trichy because there will be a conference in Chennai. Sounds like walking by faith. xD My dad was worried and wanted to activate my DiGi roaming. But it is just too expensive.
It’s time for me to get some rest before I head to the airport. (I'm an airport idiot).