Let’s start right at the beginning, when I get to my gate to Delhi at London Heathrow….
Yes, that little bit of; ‘Oh God, what did I get myself into?’ hits me. I’m sitting at the gate, surrounded my India people, all eyes on the white girl sitting alone – in most cases this is when you’d figure you have something on your face or have walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe – but no, it’s just because I’m white. Luckily for me, more white circus attractions slowly start to show up before we leave, so my ratings went down slightly!
I then even manage to be sitting beside one of the few white men, a white man from Ireland, who decided he really wanted to chat to me – while I’m watching a movie, with my headphones in – yes that ‘person’ was next to me. I’m polite, take my headphones off and ask, “Pardon?” He has seen I’m from Canada, he wonders where abouts, I fill him in and he then feels the need to pump me up, tell me how amazing Vancouver and the Rockies are, as though I don’t know, like duh buddy! Meanwhile I can barely piece together what he’s saying; his ridiculously thick accent is plugging my ears with ‘blah, blah, blah’. I’m doing the nod and smile. I feel like an idiot – I pride myself on being able to understand accents quite well; well fail at life this time!
I’ve missed the strangest part of the flight though –they sprayed inside the cabin. These little cans, they obviously pulled something off them so they’d start going and then walked up and down the aisles with them. They said it’s the law before flying into India – to kill the bugs. Weirdest part – the spray smelled kind of good… Why wouldn’t other countries have this done too? Seemed questionable to me – especially because no one else had this happen on their flight in!?
When I got to Delhi the customs line was a million lines long, and yes the Irish man manages to be standing beside me in line, so I get to try to decipher what he’s saying for 40 minutes… Yippee! The people behind us were joking that the entire Middle East had just arrived to Delhi – long lines explained!
Things that have make me go hmmmm so far:
- The motorcycles – driver may or may not be wearing helmet, they’ll have their son in front of them and their wife will be sitting with their legs to one side, not holding onto anything but the BABY on their lap! (BBM hands over eyes)
- There are SO many street dogs – in Sharjah it was cats everywhere, here it’s dogs… Vern might need a friend?
Things I’ve learned so far:
- The Indians here do not look like the Indians in Vancouver – at all! I knew that all (most) of the Indians in Vancouver were from the Punjab state, but I didn’t realize how different they were from the rest of India. The Sikh population is only a few percent – over 80 percent is Hindu, around 10 percent is Muslim and the rest are Christian, Sikh, etc.
- The people in northeast India look Asian – they have flat noses and thin eyes, Mongolian features they say. This solved my query as to why there was (what I thought to be) an Asian waitress the other night who was speaking Hindi!
- All public transit, auto rickshaws and taxis here run on CNG – which means NO pollution. This came into affect a few years ago and has corrected their carbon footprint hugely; most cars have the option for either too!
Things I knew were coming:
- Back sweat – it’s in full force! Two shirts are being worn – one to catch the sweat and one to make me look normal and unsweaty.
- No shower curtains – water is all over the floor, everything in the bathroom is soaked!
- Geckos crawling around – so tiny, so cute!
Yesterday we went and saw a few different tourist things, it was hot and sweaty and I felt gross the whole time, but well worth it! They were all pretty cool J
- Akshat Dham Temple: The largest Hindu temple in the world.
- It was finished only five years ago, after taking only five years to build!
- It is made of sandstone and white marble.
- It was built completely off donations!
- It was built completely by volunteers!
- India Gate: It was built to remember the India soldiers who were killed in WWI. India was not in WWI, but was under British rule then, and the British sent Indian soldiers to fight for them. (It reminded me of the Arch in Paris – the name has left me….)
- Dilli Haat: An open air market with handy-crafts. There are stands representing each of the states in India and different things they make there. The market changes every fifteen days, artisans get a stand for fifteen days and then a different one gets it for the next fifteen days. Lots of amazing stuff! More pashmina scarves than one would ever know what to do with!
I think I will leave you with that and let you get on with your day.