India Bound

Sunrise at 5.30 am Sunset at 7.05 pm

Location: Mussoorie and Delhi, India

Engaging in wild acts of exploration and inquisition.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Life in the Street

In Delhi, everything happens in the street. There are roadside barber stands, drinks, food, men sleep and eat in the streets next to dogs, pigs and cows. It is the most exciting place to be, and after a few days of navigating the traffic, my heart no longer jumps to my throat crossing the street - you can begin walking, barely heading traffic and they find their way around you (don't get me wrong, it's still exhilerating to manage survival).

This morning was the adventure of the auto-rickshaws - we took a fleet of these tin-can cars with one front wheel and cloth roofs across the city. We are located in central Delhi, so everything takes about twenty minutes to get to by auto rickshaw. These cars are are the most exciting way to get around so far; you hang out the side to get a good breeze and with five of us packing into a seat the size of a VW Bug backseat, we are all laughing about people worrying about seat belts back home. The drivers usually have no teeth and have pictures of various gods on the dashboard and drive with their hand on the horn. Hanging out the side of one, I have to make myself very small in order to not be knicked by the busses whizzing past and families riding scooters (four people to one scooter) peer inside at us.

Our wild ride took us to the Qutb Minar, which was built a thousand years ago by a Muslim King to signify Muslim domination over the Hindus. They were the most breathtaking and amazing ruins I have ever seen, far surpasing the Roman theatre or any European ruins I have seen. The most intricate carvings of vines and gods and flowers with amazing arabic script! It was also really interesting to watch the Indian couples strolling across the shady lawns under sun umbrellas, in all their colorful saris and the temple dogs lounged well-fed in the shade.

Then we went to the Bahai Lotus Temple, a huge marble lotus-shaped building and inside we listened to prayers, but had to keep strict silence. The sound of all the bells on ladies anklets tinkled and echoed through the entire space, like the sound of water and the light filtered in most beautifully.

A man and two women in the most beautiful saris had been following us around the temple, whispering and giggling for quite some time. We had been ignoring them, until the man shyly came up to me:

Man: Ma'am, what country:
Me: America.
Man: Oh, very good country, but India is the most beautiful country in all the world!
Me: Yes, I really like it so far. (He proceeds to ramble off a list of places I need to see while his two female freinds nod very enthusiastically and come closer and closer to me until they are surrounding me).
Me: (I comment on one of the women's saris and her jewelry)
Man: (Looks as though he is going to burst or exploe or hug me) YES! YES! She is my wife! She is the most beautiful woman in the world!
Me: You are a very lucky man...
Man: Oh ma'am you are the most beautiful American in the world, oh thank you thank you! (shakes my hand until I withdraw it and keeps looking longingly at me)

Indians are very patriotic and always want to engage in conversation about you and about how Indian is better than any other country in the world.

Tonight, a traditional dance performance followed by a Hindu musical and then in the morning to the Hanuman temple for 5 am prayer.

Mmm, I will never get tired of variations of ways to eat mango (mango lassi, mango milkshake, mango granita, mago goes on..)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHOOOA lady. these adventures bring me to the edge of my little chair, you lucky dog. it's sounds incredible i can only imagine! I got your package, it meant the world. good luck and keep exploring with the mango variations. much love, van

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Davyd said...

This is incredible. your descritions almost make your trip sound so amazing, and I'm sure it's much better than can be put into words. People there sound so wonderful, hopefully there haven't been many bad goings on. I only with people here would love their country this much. Someday we will be proud.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Almost make my trip sound amazing"?!! Davyd Nereo, my trip transcends I was almost gored by a waterbuffalo pulling a cart of bricks. What isn't amazing about that? How's SC? Good beach days? Barbeques? -Kelly

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Davyd said...

yeah, I guess that sounds pretty cool or whatever. Nick and I are going to build a dreamcatcher in a tree later on today, which is about as american as it gets. The beach is good every day of the year if viewed with the right frame of mind. Barbeques are to be avoided at all costs because they make my tapered jeans and well groomed hair follicles smell smokey. I'm not sure how the word "almost crept into that comment, so I don't know why you are offended. Please don't take it out on the locals.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Dale Megan said...

You are the most beautiful American in the world! I agree. Love, Peg

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh Kelly i can just taste the mangoes...say "hullo" to the little monkies for me and enjoy the mountains' wonder and wisdom. love, emily

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer Cinnamon Arevalo said...

Save me a mango dearest!!

7:42 AM  

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