First Days in Delhi

Hello, this is Kat, and I believe I’m the first student blogger. We’re all here and safe. Sorry about the lack of blogging so far; it’s been really, really busy so far. First of all, a couple of us have been sick, but we’ve all been better by the next day. Jake was sick the worst so far, but don’t worry; it was just “meat withdrawals.”

The first shock when we got to India was the taxi drivers… and drivers in general. They swerve in and out of lanes; they honk their horns instead of using blinkers (a car using its blinkers is a very rare sight here in India), and they use the lane markings as suggestions more than anything else. Oh, and Mom, you know how you say to stop the car so that I can see the tires of the car in front of me hitting the ground? No one does that here. They all seem to stop with less than a foot of space between cars. And we’ve not seen one accident in the time we’ve been here.

The place we stayed in Delhi, called Majnu Ka Tilla, was really calm and peaceful. It was basically the Tibetan area, and we visited a Buddhist temple while we were there before dinner one night.

The first day in Delhi, we visited Raj Ghat, the site of Gandhi’s cremation. It was so nice to be there; it’s this huge park, very peaceful and clean. That was the first time I was barefoot in India–for those of you who don’t know me, I go barefoot everywhere in the US, unless it’s snowy; I carry a pair of flip flops in my bag in case I go into a store or restaurant that insists on me wearing shoes. The memorial at the actual site of Gandhi’s cremation is interesting. It’s required that you go barefoot there (though I was barefoot almost the entire time we were at that park) and it’s very quiet. Many of the Indians were taking pictures in front of the monument, and a lot of them asked us to take pictures of them, but they never asked other Indians to take their pictures. They’d also ask some of us to take pictures with them, and I saw some Indians just taking pictures of us. It made me feel very foreign and like I was a spectacle.

Then the next day in Pahar Ganj was so crazy! It was only the second full day we spent in India, and we were on a scavenger hunt in groups of two and three. On the one hand, it was nice because in that area, the police keep out beggars and pickpockets as much as they can, but on the other hand, everyone there is trying to sell you something or talk to you or get your email or phone number or help you… you hope. My group, for example, had a hard time finding a map. So every few steps, some new Indian man would try to help us and tell us where to get a map. The one that finally got us to a place to get a map took us on this probably 10 minute walk all the way out of Pahar Ganj. We were about ready to turn around and go back by the time we got there.

So I’m running out of time, so no picture, and I’m not writing about almost a week’s worth of stuff, which is everything we’ve done in Jaipur. Hopefully that’ll be covered in the next blog.