Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thoughts from the first 24 hours in India

A post with photos and more details is coming, but this is just some thoughts from our first day here in India.

Here is a list of our accomplishments from our first 24 hours in India:
- no one barfed (yet)
- the driver at the airport was actually there with a sign, and we
made it to our first hotel
- we crossed busy, multilane streets in Delhi
- we had two delicious meals of Indian food
- we did NOT get scammed
- we rode the metro around Delhi

Overall, not a bad first day!

India, so far, is a whole different world from Chile. I think before
visiting either, I would have guessed that they were at similar levels
of development, but in truth, Chile (especially in Santiago) is very
modern and developed, and India is exactly what you might expect.

The hustle and bustle of this city is just crazy. Just as you've
probably heard, the streets are shared between cars, motorcycles,
motorized rickshaws, bike rickshaws and pedestrians. There are no
separate lanes and rarely even sidewalks. Usually we are just walking
on the road alongside parked cars, with all these other vehicles
zooming by.

When we have to cross a street, we find a group of Indians waiting and
we cross when they do as part of their group. It's very nerve
wracking, and Caroline is a bit braver about it than I am.

We stand out a lot because we are white. Except at the hostel, it's
rare to see any other white people at all. We might have seen 10 total
all day.

A lot of young Indian guys will approach us offering advice, but we
have read that these are all touts or scams, and that you should
basically avoid anyone who approaches you like that. It's sort of
disappointing and also stressful, because they mostly approach me, not
Caroline, because it's not so typical here for men to talk to women
they don't know well.

The food has been really good so far, and I think we'll find even
better food, because so far we've only eaten at our hostels'
restaurants. The prices are amazingly cheap - like $1.00-1.50 for a
vegetarian dish or $.70 for naan bread - but actually a guy staying at
our hostel told us that this is a bit pricey compared to street
stands, called dhabas.

We are not sure if we will eat at the street places at all. So far,
we've had two tasty and cheap meals with no getting sick (yet!), and
we might decide we just don't want to take the risk to try a place on
the side of the road...but we've seen a lot of food that looks REALLY
good, and nearly everything is vegetarian! We might decide to take the
risk, but not yet.

We chatted with a nice German couple at the hostel this evening. They
have already done many of the stops we will be doing, so it was cool
to hear about that. We might run into them touring tomorrow, since we
has overlapping plans.

Ok, that's all for now. We are really tired, but I don't know if it's
from jetlag or from 4 straight days of traveling. Either way, some
good sleep tonight will do the trick.

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