Thursday, March 4, 2010



It’s unexpected how much I like India already. I went in with incredibly low expectations, however. It’s really necessary to believe you’re going to hate the place you’re going to or else you’ll be in for a nasty surprise about something you imagined it to be.

Never mind that I haven’t dared to eat yet because I’m not quite ready for a flush of my system due to some bacteria that will inevitably come. Never mind that there is no such thing as a clean bathroom here, and never mind that yes, there are children earning a living at age 10 here and sitting in the street in their bare bums, despite these facts, I like it here.

In fact in some ways American life feels almost stale after being here, sterilized, artificial. The colors, tastes, smells here are explosive. Even your average bag of chips is so hot and spicy that you’ve got to drink something while you eat it.

We stayed up all night packing, caught a flight to Chicago, and ate pizza there that rivaled the famous pepperoni pizza from Heiligenhaus. It was spinach, mushroom, and goat’s cheese pizza, made by a man from the Philippines who was very proud of his art. The next time you’re at the Chicago Airport, it’s called Wolfgang Puck Express in K11. All fresh ingredients and a fire oven, yum.P1010558P1010564

The 15 hour plane ride wasn’t so bad. We got to fly business class, and I didn’t know  the seats went all the way down in business as well as first class. Jacob slept the whole way, typically, and just as typically, I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours. I watched 6 episodes of The Office, Gone With the Wind, part of Cabaret before I turned it off in disgust, and part of a Micheal Jackson documentary. I haven’t watched that much TV in a row in my entire life.

P1010604 P1010608
Flying over Norway


People drive on the left side of the road and the right side of the car.

It was surprisingly easy to get our money changed into rupees, pick up our luggage, use the phone to call our hostel, and get picked up. The roads are extremely bumpy here and for a road that leads out of the airport, surprisingly undeveloped. When we arrived at the hostel, we were disappointed to learn that our room had gotten exchanged for one with no shower. Plus, it was out in the middle of nowhere. We went straight to sleep; it was around midnight, but around noon where we had just come from in the US.


On Nirvana Hostel’s room wall. I think it’s Shiva. Blatant religious symbols wherever you are at. At the YMCA, the 10 Commandments are hung on our wall.

P1010627 P1010628

View from the hostel window


Digging holes seems to be the main vocation of everyone here. Women in saris, young children, working men, walk down a street and that is what everyone is concentrating on.

The next day, we decided to change hostels, but not before seeing the Qutb Minar, the first mosque built in India, the tallest stone tower in India, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took and autorickshaw to get there.

It’s fun to ride on Indian roads. You know, the kind of fun like it’s fun to go skydiving, roller coaster riding, or any other type of thrill-seeking event. There are no lights, no stop signs, and every type of vehicle you can imagine all honking, racing, swerving, and waving at one another. P1010635 P1010642 P1010653 P1010669 P1010674 P1010682 P1010685

This Indian family had our same camera

So we are now at the YMCA, which unfortunately does not have wifi, but it does have a gym. We’ll probably stay through Sunday in order to go to Church, and then go to the Taj Mahal on Monday, or thereabouts. To get a reasonable level of comfort here in India (functionable toilet, hot water, private room, etc) you have to pay more than you would in the US. Our room here is $80, which is the same price we paid in New York City.


This is the little boy who cleans Nirvana Hostel.

P1010691   P1010692

Many people have cloths covering their mouths on the streets here, I believe because it’s so smoggy.

India GateP1010694 P1010698 P1010696

And now a “little nap” has turned into a full night’s rest and my schedule is sure to be mixed up for the next few days. Anyway it’s nice to kind of hide away in here to get away from the absolute madness that is blazing outside.


oh said...

We loved the write-up and pictures of your first impressions of India. It's fun to imagine the explosive colors, tastes, smells that you are absorbing. I'd rather NOT imagine busy roads without traffic lights or stop signs. Some things don't need to be experienced in this life, but the rest sounds fun!

The Francis Family said...

That sounds amazing! I could almost smell India through your writing! Good luck with the time zone change! Have fun!

Powered by Blogger