I will go back and add in the 13th and 14th, because they were really fun and interesting days...
So I had a great start to my birthday. We arrived in Mahabalipuram, a coastal town 50km south of Chennai just after midnight, and my colleagues and travelling companions sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. After we checked in, Rajeev, the MAKE ART/STOP AIDS coordinator in India, said, "Shall we have cake now?" Thinking he was joking, I said, "Oh, Rajeev baked me a cake on the plane from Kolkata!" But he was serious, he really did have a cake for me, which he secretly got at the Chennai airport! He even got a candle from the hotel, and we all met in my room to enjoy a delicious chocolate cake while watching the India/Pakistan cricket match in South Africa. (If anyone can explain cricket to me, please let me know!) It was a great start to my birthday at 1am.
But then a few hours later... well, I'll spare you the gory details. Let's just say I spent half the night on the bathroom floor with food poisoning. No one else got sick, though, and we'd all pretty much eaten the same food, so we can't figure out what happened. Suffice it to say I spent my birthday in bed. Never even left the hotel room.
I'm much better today, and was happy to receive all of your birthday wishes via email and text message!
Rather than take this as a bad omen, I am going to take the approach that this is the worst it will get all year... things can only look up, right?