…and Godzilla 2.0 stood hovering over them, arms clawing the air and a giant roar shaking the Earth. The villagers stared up, eyes bulging with fear, shaking as they realized their fate.
Oh, hi everyone, and welcome to Update #2! The above material? Oh, that’s just what happened during my layover when I stood and stretched in front of a group of Hong Kong tourists who were, well, vertically challenged. They really did gape up at me in horrified amazement, but that’s probably because I’m super pasty and they’re all 5’1”.
Anyhow, life since arriving in India has been…full of activity. That activity being predominantly eating, true, but activity nonetheless.
I arrived at my friend Anshul’s at almost 1 in the morning, and because he lives in West Delhi, and not the part with “Hotel, ma’am?” tourists, my cab driver got lost and had to ask for directions at least 8 times, no joke. Along the way, I got my first taste of India: People standing in the middle of the road for no reason, lots of stray dogs, a lack of traffic rules, poverty right aside technology, smells of all types, a surprising amount of English on billboards and homes, an inability by most to read said English, tons of motorcycles, and more. Due to all the photos one sees of India, plus my past past travels in 3rd world countries, well, it seemed like everything I expected.
The next days with Anshul and his family were full of merry eating and the less merry results of that street food eating, ya know what I’m sayin’? But really, we ate so many different foods, went on a mini road trip, did photography on street corners, and so much more. We had chole bhature for breakfast, aloo tikki with yogurt and pomegranate seeds, pav bhaji—incredible fried butter rolls, mooli parathas, tila kulfi, kofta, bhalla pappdi, and so darn many more dishes. Did I mention the mango and butterscotch milkshakes in old-fashioned glass bottles? Yeah, I was a happy gal. And best of all was the fact that aside from going into New Delhi to purchase my train ticket, I saw not a single tourist!
Yes, though I didn’t get the daulat ki chaat dish I have been dreaming of for years, I did learn a whole lot from Anshul and his family. I saw a destitute India, progressive families, and very modern, westernized youngsters. I learned that mosquitoes love to attack my face while I’m asleep, that real Indian food is all heavy, and that mosquitoes can easily succeed at attacking my face while I’m asleep. I was sad to leave my friend, but excited for my next adventure (as well as, you know, moving to a very new place for the next 6 months). So out I flew the next morning, on a plane bound for Mumbai and with a face full of red bites. Oh of course there are tons of stories to tell from Delhi alone, but I’ll tell those to you in person if you ask.
After that was a flight to Mumbai, a ride through some beautiful, cobblestone-y, old-fashioned streets of the city, 6 hours spent exploring, eating, and getting stared at (along with hair touching and laughing—not necessarily related) in the center of town, and the sketchiest ride on the local train where you actually hang out the doors and windows. I’m not even kidding you. Yeah, judging from the stares over there, I didn’t get the impression that a whole lot of foreigners have ridden that route, but I could certainly be wrong.
Following that was 15 hours spent on a train with many, many peoplewhohadn’trecentlyshowered and two South Africans who were quite the travelers. People slept under my seat-bed,I slept on a plastic bag pillow filled with clothing, and other guys lined every single inch of space on the ground, just like in Vietnam. Once again my train car was the one with members of the Indian army riding on board, so there was never a dull moment. I couldn’t have looked very pretty upon disembarking, but what do you expect? My organization picked me up from the train station, brought me to move into my new apartment on the edge of the city, and forced me to eat another lunch. I came back to shower, was forced to shop for Indian clothing to “fit in better,” and slept. So here begins my life for the next…as long as I can take it. It’s going to be a trip, that much I’ll say.
As soon as I get more time, I’ll start some real updates about my new home and work life. For now here are some photos for your viewing delight. Enjoy!
Photos: 1-A poetic India. 2-Pav bhaji (and it’s WAY better in Delhi than in Hubli). 3-Mooli parathas and more. 4-Aloo tikki–amazing! Mint chutney, tamarind sauce, yogurt, pomegranate seeds, potato cakes, and wafers…mmm. 5-Mumbai at night. 6-… 7-Feet after a day in Mumbai. 8-Morning in the country. 9-A favorite. 10-The sunrise on my train. Are you eeping kidding me? With the boy in shadow, a blazing sun rising, and train smoke, I felt I was on a movie set. This made getting up at 6am and hanging out of the train door completely worth it. 11-Farms. 12-My seatmate wanted a photo of himself. 13-My other seatmate then motioned that HE wanted a photo of himself. 14-Morning commute. Note all the women. 15-Really, India? I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore…