I’ve been really struggling to find words to write about my experiences here. I want to be honest but also culturally sensitive and I’m finding it hard to strike a good balance between the two. So I’ve decided to say stuff it, and I’m just going to write what I see and feel, the way I always do. On that note, here are a few observations I have about this extraordinary and bizarre (to me) place.
No One Follows The Rules (although there aren’t really any rules)
Indians are bad arse. They just drive around, not indicating, not head checking, not wearing seat belts. It drives me bonkers. Our beautiful guide Anillha took us around Delhi and she made me j-walk in front of a police car. I nearly had a heart attack. In about five minutes I saw a guy light a bonfire on the side of the road, I saw a group of young men playing cricket on a median strip and I saw a women BREASTFEEDING HER CHILD while riding on a motorbike with out a helmet. My Type A personality is being tested in a major way.
I’m Pretty Terrible At Avoiding Delhi Belly
I have avoided it so far but how that’s happened is beyond me. I spent the whole flight here avoiding eating the salad garnishes on my plane food because any fresh vegetables are washed in water that shouldn’t be consumed by foreigners. Then I get off the plane and go to change my money. Once the cashier hands me a literal wad of cash I start counting to make sure it’s all there. How do I do this? BY LICKING MY FINGER, flicking through the bills and THEN DOING IT AGAIN! Loser. I’m all ‘No lettuce for me thanks, it’s contaminated.‘ and then I lick the freaking money. It’s like An Idiot Abroad over here.
Men Openly Stare
And by openly I mean they film us on their phones as we are walking by. I’m not finding it that confronting it’s just that I’m used to Australian men wolf whistling or making a lewd comment. Here in India it’s just a strong, silent and unwavering gaze often accompanied by mobile phone. I think it’s that we’re a motley crew of interesting looking foreigners. It’s still a little creepy though.
The Interactions Here Are Sometimes Miss-leading
There’s a lot of things being said that I miss because we need a translator. Indians don’t tend to nod when they agree with you, instead they sort of tilt their head which looks like a shake to us Aussies. There have been several times when I thought something really bad was happening because there was lots of head shaking going between two people speaking in Hindi but it turned out fine. I also sometimes think that arguments are happening but they are really not. The body language here is fascinating.
Indians Are Hilarious
There’s nothing like laughter to break down a language barrier and I’ve been laughing non-stop since I got here. I’ve laughed almost until I’ve cried with total strangers. I think they’re just really enjoying us enjoying them. It’s very beautiful. I had a giggle with a beggar kid yesterday when he scared the pants off Eden. I laughed until my face ached on the metro this afternoon (more about that later!) and tonight when our Tuk-tuk driver earnestly asked me if he was a good driver, we both broke into hysterical fits of laughter. Indian people love to smile and laugh and it’s ridiculously contagious.
Delhi is Over Populated and Over Staffed
Every where I go, there’s too many staff members. When we checked into our hotel there were three people behind the counter, none of which were actually doing anything. We then got taken upstairs to our rooms by one employee while four others carried four bags up the stairs. That’s one bag each. Multi-tasking isn’t a very big thing over here. Neither is hurrying. No one is ever in a rush which is sometimes really pleasant and other times extremely frustrating.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a more detailed account of day two. Hint: It was extraordinary.
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