First Impressions

After 32 hours of flying/pacing up and down airports I have landed in Delhi. The flights were relatively uneventful, except for me getting a bleeding nose and having to take the old man’s handkerchief who was sitting next to me as it was during turbulence. 

Landing at 3:00pm I was welcomed by the heat of the day, a mild 41 degrees (at least it’s not humid). I was collected by a pre-arranged driver who drove me the short distance to the hostel/B and B I am staying in for the next three days. While the drive was short there were a couple of key things I noted… 

  • Horns appear to be used instead of or as well as indicators. 
  • Where traffic lights don’t work the approach appears to be foot to the floor and hope for the best. 
  • Where traffic lights do work the approach appears to be if it’s red, toot until the car at the front goes anyway
  • Cows are everywhere – I saw at least 7 just walking down the road as we drove.
  • There are a lot of street side stalls selling everything from potato chips, to chai, to inflatable pool toys, to religious figures.
  • I don’t know what Dipper does but I probably won’t be using him at night.

Once at the accomodation I very excitedly got into the shower which sadly was something of a disappointment, to describe it as “spitting” on me would most likely be overselling the thing. But it was cold water and I had soap and a towel so I can’t complain too much about it all. After a brief nap to momentarily escape the heat I decided to go and get a SIM card and some food. I was successful at only one of these ventures. 

Getting a SIM card requires not just your passport (which I had) but also a passport sized photo that has to be different to your passport one. The shop near the Vodafone store that sells these had decided to take the day off which according to the kind man at the Vodafone store they do at least once a week but sometimes more! So I shall try again today. 

Afterwards I walked through shops in the area and down the road to a big ol’ mall (just embracing all of Indian culture). After wandering the mall for about 20 minutes I decided it was time for some food. While eyeing up dumplings, sushi, pizza, McDs, Burger King and Subway in the food court I decided that ‘Punjabi by Nature’ would have to be the one for me. I told the guy I was vegetarian and just to give me the best thing on the menu… He said ok and did I want it hot or medium – I promptly said mild, please be mild. He laughed at me saying “your in India, we don’t eat mild curries”. So medium it was. In 5 minutes I was presented with a plate with 3 curries, rice, a sweet ball of some sort, something that looked like a steamed vegetarian sausage roll, a yoghurty dip (which they had put some sort of chilli in!!!), a pink cabbage-y thing, and some naan. I dutifully tried everything, breaking off bits of naan and dipping it in the curries I discovered what he had served me was delicious… If not much spicier than what I was used to. The sausage roll looking thing was very good but I was not sold on the sweet ball.

I then returned to my accommodation feeling like it was midnight – actually 8:30. Walking through the streets was fine, the most dangerous part is crossing the road, so I have just started copying what the Indians do.. Stick their hand out at the cars as if to say stop and run in front of the cars regardless. 

It is now morning in Delhi – at 7:55 in the morning we are already at 27 degrees. Yet another scorcher is install I suppose…


Sayonara + The Plan

Well, the time has finally come for me to set off from the safety of my “flat” where the food is always fresh, the washing is always done and the floors are always clean, and head to the massive and mystic land of India.

Just to ensure I knew exactly what I was leaving behind we went for a jaunt up Mt Vernon this morning… Giving me the chance to really appreciate the wide open spaces that Christchurch has to offer…

It’s fair to say at this point the 1.4 billion population of India is looking significantly less appealing!!
I am not under any illusion that my decision to travel to India on my own will be easy. Quite the opposite in fact, I have chosen India because it will scare the shit out of me (quite possibly in a literal sense). It will force me out of my comfortable Christchurch bubble and make me appreciate the little things so much more.

As someone who has always had an affinity for quotes I have found some quite useful in actually giving me the courage to board the plane and set off on the next big adventure. They are as follows…

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”Cesare Pavese

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”James Michener

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”Clifton Fadiman

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”Mark Jenkins

So as I brace myself for more heat, people and curries than I am accustomed to I need to remind myself to approach the opportunity with an open mind, to step well beyond my comfort zone into a frame of mind where I embrace the uncertainty and unknown of the adventure and being prepared to say yes to every chance that comes my way!

Lucky I am well prepared and won’t stand out as a tourist at all in India…

For anyone still reading or remotely interested in what the next few months hold for me here is a rough guide to my travels…

  • India – April 25 – June 2 – Delhi, Rajasthan, Varanasi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai (suggestions of eating/drinking/visiting welcome)
  • Japan – June 2 – 16 – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka (suggestions again welcome)
  • Italy – End of June – Walking the Amalfi Coast with Mum
  • Unsure/England – July
  • Turkey – Early August
  • Brazil – Mid-Late August – Rio for the Olympics then, unknown!

As of yet there is no flight home but I estimate I will return in September sometime! Please advise me if our paths will cross at any point as I am constantly looking for mates!