We have finally arrived in India!!!
Our first flight was an overnight from Orlando to London… in London we met up with my friend Vanessa and her boyfriend Rob. Our next flight was another overnight from London to Delhi. We weren’t able to sleep on either flight, so we were pretty exhausted by the time we arrived!
This video is the London countryside between the Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
Our hotel sent a taxi to pick us up from the airport – I use the term “taxi” very loosely here. The taxis only seem to be differentiated from normal cars by the color of their license plate. People always say that driving around in India is terrifying…. that might be an understatement! Driving here is not even remotely like driving in the US. There don’t seem to be any speed limits, lane lines are only a suggestion, and cars/bikes/motorcycles/tuk tuks often drive 5 abreast on a 2 or 3 lane road. People are constantly cutting each other off, swerving around between lanes, and everyone is CONSTANTLY honking. Honking doesn’t seem to mean the same thing here that is does at home. I think people here navigate as much by sound as by sight. The constant honking seems to be a way to let other drivers know where you are – very important as cars often drive within a few inches of each other.
This video we got doesn’t really show how crazy the ride got… we’ll have to shoot another video that really does the traffic justice!
Our hotel room is small but clean by Indian standards and has a private bathroom. We even have a TV that gets 2 channels! One channel is infomercials and the other seems to be some kind of Indian American Idol. Both channels are, of course, in Hindi.
For dinner we went to a little restaurant across the street from our hotel.. it is obviously geared towards tourists with a lot of American menu items (like Mac and Cheese), but we got some AMAZING Indian dishes.
This morning we got up and went exploring. The area we are in definitely makes you feel like you’re on the other side of the world. The streets are unpaved, narrow, and very crowded and dirty. This doesn’t stop the tuk-tuks (kind of like tiny 3-wheeled cars with no doors, they seem to be the primary mode of transportation around the city) from zooming around at full speed in all directions, dodging people, stray dogs and each other.
As Westerners, we seem to attract quite a bit of attention. We have had a lot of people stopping to talk to us – usually nicely dressed men around our age. We haven’t been able to figure out if they are just being friendly, trying to practice their English, or are trying to get us into their cousin’s shop.
For lunch we stopped at a McDonalds – it was one of the only places open early on a Sunday morning. There was a big sign in the McDonalds that says, “This restaurant does not serve any beef or pork.” Yay! They had all sorts of neat vegetarian items on the menu, like the “McVeggie”, and the “McSpicey Paneer”. Yum!!
At one point on our walk we ran into a bunch of monkeys!!! Some of them were adorable tiny babies.. it was difficult to resist getting too close. One of the cutest things I’ve ever seen was one of the really tiny babies playing with a rat.