After my day of overload (2 plant visits, both of which included sensory overloads, triggering song lyrics on the road between the recycling facility and the motorcycle plant, being overtired, being hungry, and finding out that I wasn't getting dinner until later than I would normally go to sleep, leading to meltdown in the hotel room, which my roommate noticed :s) I wound up telling the professor what was going on. I hadn't wanted to before because I expect people to freak out when they hear ``Autism" or ``Autistic Spectrum Disorder." Also, I'm in another country, he's partially responsible for my well-being, and I didn't disclose something that's KIND OF RELEVANT before departure. Plus he's the first teacher I've ever told that I even might be autistic. (Yes, any autistic spectrum disorder qualifies you for the term ``autistic.") He was good about the part where I didn't tell him back in the US, though, and he's been good about helping me not overload again. Making sure that I actually get some time to myself every day, giving enough warning about welders that I can avoid them, not freaking out when camera flashes make me flinch, not pushing the issue if I say I need to exit a situation, offering (but not forcing) exits when I look overwhelmed, things like that.
Also, we haven't done two factory visits in a day since then. That probably helps too. Tomorrow we'll have two again, but the first is a knitting mill (AWESOME) and a fairly short visit.
Anyways, India has been much better since then, and it was good before then! The food is still awesome, the heat is still not bothering me, and the (single) factory visit yesterday was quite interesting. We went to a texttile factory, where they started with raw cotton-ELEPHANT!!!!! (I'm writing this on the bus to a spinning mill, and OMG I JUST SAW AN ELEPHANT). Anyways, they started with raw cotton, sorted out the impurities, partially by hand, partially by machine, carded it, spun it into thread, wove it, and dyed it. It was really cool. I've done all of these things with wool on a one-person scale, but watching it on the industrial scale was awesome. They produce something like 3.6 million meters of cloth every month at that plant! The raw cotton was kind of dirty, and there were things like gum wrappers in it. I'm not sure how the gum wrappers got there, but I saw one. After the impurities got sorted out, it was much cleaner. It was also really soft. It felt kind of like cotton balls. A machine made roving in extremely long pieces- like, fill up a barrel with inch by half inch cross section roving in one piece kind of long. It was insanely long. It really was.
Then it was semi-spun into slightly twisted, thinner roving. I say semi-spun because it was twisted some, and it took a bit more force to pull apart than it had before, but it was pretty clearly not yarn. I could have spun much better yarn than that. The next machine actually spun it into thread, and there is no way I could have spun anything that thin, not for more than an inch or two at a time, anyways. Another machine plied it, sort of, and then yet another plied it for REAL. (I go with sort of because I could have plied it better than the first machine. I'm not sure why they spun and plied both in two steps each, but I assume the engineers there have a reason. Manufacturing is not my area, and after the factory visits, the only person who was even semi-hopeful that it might become my thing agreed that I should stay far away from it. (That would be the professor leading this trip.)
Then came the weaving. They had so set up the warp by hand, which takes a while, but the threads are extremely long, so they don't need to set it up quite as often. That saves time. If it's yarn-dyed, like plaids generally are, they need to make sure the threads of each color are in the right order. Then, they put the roll with the weft onto the loom and start weaving. It's pretty cool to watch, though quite loud. I covered my ears. Different patterns of raising the bars with sets of weft threads attached made different weaving patterns, and that was really cool to watch too. Apparently the cards for these weaving patterns are part of where Turing machines and then computers came from.
At the end of the visit, they gave each of us a garment made in the factory. The guys got shirts, and the girls got jackets. Because of my shoulders, I needed the biggest size, but it did fit. (Three years on swim team gives you big shoulders, and they don't go away that fast.)
And that's just the factory visit!
The day before that, we pretty much spent on the bus between Delhi and Ludhiana (spelling?) We'd been hoping to get to the Red Fort on the way, but we spent longer on the road than we expected and that didn't happen. It would have been nice to get to see it, though I'd probably have gotten in (joking) trouble back home for not taking enough pictures. I never take enough pictures, apparently. I'll take a few, but I'm not really a photographer.
Before that, we went to the Taj Mahal and a market. At the Taj Mahal, I did take some pictures. Not as many as my classmates, but I did take pictures. The whole place is symmetrical! They even built a whole replica mosque that no one uses to keep the symmetry. Since I happen to think symmetry is awesome, this was really cool. (If you don't believe that I like symmetry, go look at my designs on cafepress. They mostly have 4 lines of symmetry and 90-degree rotational symmetry about the center.) Anyways, the Taj Mahal was very impressive. The marble inlays were beautiful, the architecture was impressive, and it was generally winful. It should, however, tell you something about how my brain works that I have more overflowing stuff to say about the textile factory...
The market was also fun, though I was tired by the time we got there. We'd left the hotel at 4am in order to get to the Taj Mahal, and I'd been up since 2am since we'd been told to meet at 3am in the lobby. (We- my roommate and I- were on time. No one else was.) There were statues and scarves and clothes and it was winful. I got two skirts for my mom, both pink. I also got a scarf, and I'm not quite sure who it's for. I'm still looking for the salwar kameez, both for a friend and myself. I've been told that there is a lot of good, cheap clothing in this town, though, so with any luck I can get that here. I'll probably also look for a sari for myself.