Actually, that's one of the nicer ones. The pavement is mostly intact, and you can't see the sewers that run down most of the streets. Those are pretty nasty. Here's a breakdown of your average street pests. These are some of the rats, if you can see them.
These are actually some of the more common animals that wander the streets. The cows do a good job of keeping the grass clipped, though.
Then there are the dogs. Strays are all over, but I've only seen one or two tame dogs. I guess it's like keeping rats as pets in the US: after you see a few thousand plague-ridden, parasite-infested examples that run the streets and eat garbage, it kind of kills your enthusiasm for them.
There are massive black birds all over too, and they make the ugliest sounds.
Also, there are chickens all over. They are super scrawny and often nasty, probably because all the fat ones are pulled off the streets and eaten.
You'll even see an occasional monkey. This one is hanging out on top of the baptismal font.
You'll see wild pigs, too. Those are huge, but not as big as the cows. They are pretty docile, thank goodness.
What you'll see inside of houses, but not often on the streets, are lizards. Some of them are pretty smart- They'll hang out by lights and eat all the bugs that fly toward them.
The most common thing that you see on the street are children. They are absolutely everywhere, and love missionaries. Most of them don't speak very good English, but they love to talk and shake hands.
Finally, there are the autos. You'll see them everywhere, all the time. They fit up to ten or fifteen people, but only if you stack them tall. They really are supposed to hold two or three, but five will fit with only a bit of stretching. They are how we get around to places that are too far to cycle.
This email is already going on a bit long, so I'm going to give only a very short synopsis of the week. It was hot and humid, but not nearly as hot as I'd imagined. The humidity, on the other hand, was incredible. We have been doing a lot of biking around to all the branch council, to share a message and get referrals. A load of people have asked to go on exchanges with us, which works out nicely because we have three missionaries. The craziest thing that has happened all week is that I got in my first motorbike-cycle collision. The guy on the bike was crossing the street, and then stopped in the middle right in front of me. I locked my brakes and dragged my feet, but still couldn't stop in time and t-boned him. The brakes on our cycles aren't very good, by the way. No one was hurt, besides my cycle. The front tire was already a bit off balance, but now it's so bad that I'm having it fixed right now. I love how cheap things are in India. It's costing me 60 rupees, or about 98 cents, to get it fixed. Even that is on the high end for cycle repairs- getting your tires filled is 2 rupees, or about 3 cents. American food is pretty up there, though- 250 rupees for a tiny jar of Nutella. Spiritual experience of the week- Training. We had a training on how to plan in Visakaputnam on Saturday. It was a four hour ride, but we had a very nice bus to ride on.
It was an eight hour round trip, and a six hour meeting, so it took up the whole day. What Pres. Berret said was pretty amazing, though. He had asked us earlier to set inspired goals for baptisms, and now asked us to bring them out. He wrote them all down on the whiteboard, then showed how much higher they were than our current numbers. As in, 8-12 times higher. He then showed us how to best use weekly planning to get to those numbers, and how we should use the Spirit in planning. It was amazing!
By the way, I heard that packages can take over a month to get here, so I'm not holding my breath on getting the package anytime soon. Thanks for sending it, though!