Friday, May 31, 2013

First Impressions of India

Before I jump into it, just wanted to mention that in our layover in Doha, I met an AKPsi brother (from Penn State as well!!!) who recognized me from our last PBLI, crazy huh? Alright, so...

We have been in Ahmedabad, India for a couple of days now and are adjusting to the big change of being on a vegetarian diet, sober, and dusty all the time. As soon as we left the customs area at 5 AM, we were greeted by a large crowd of folks who were waiting for our arrival! Haha, j/k, but holy cow there are a lot of people at this time. Rich stood out in the crowd as the foreigner (really?!) and the children came up to him like an attraction of some sorts, haha.

We finally meet up with Gopal's uncle (Gaurav) and aunt (Trupti), got into a Rickshaw (taxi), and headed to his Uncle's place. As we were driving through the towns, I can safely say that what you envisioned about India is probably close. It was an eye opener and made me realize how our definition of "living" is different in the States than here. As I see it, "living" in the States means how can we get more of it and in India, it means making do with what you have. That is why you barely see any use of disposable items here, like the usage of napkins at meals or at all. As we continue moving, you see a lot of people living off the streets, cooking, sleeping, and cleaning. Dogs, cows, camels, and lambs walk around, also living off the streets. Regardless, people and animal live together in respect and with the sense of shared "community." The most interesting thing is that there are no road laws or stop lights, people can drive on either lane, one way streets are turned into two ways, and honking means "I'm coming through." I would call it a "cluster f*ck" of a traffic jam but again, people drive with a mutual respect for each other and I have yet to see one accident. Controlled chaos?

We get to Gopal's uncle place, we meet his wife (Kimali) and their daughter (Raji) who sat us down and fed us our first Indian meal which was absolutely amazing! Everything here is unprocessed, natural, and fresh. We ended up taking a power nap (6-hour+ by accident), luckily it was during the hottest period of the day. Speaking of hot, holy hell in hell, it has been an average of 110 degrees every day!

That same night, we caught our first Indian sunset and slept out on the terrace since it was much cooler then sleeping inside. Gazing at the stars and having a breeze come throughout the night, what an awesome experience. I have slept outside before, camping, passing out on a bench (you know, haha), etc, but nothing beats sleeping on a terrace!

Will go into more of my experience so far in the next post. Also, these past couple of days, we have been running around India, looking for a table and chairs for the team and also in the process of looking for a window a/c to cool this place down! Just happy we have internet, max available here is at 4 mb/s, high tech we are! ;)

TT Quote Pick: "It's not good enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required." -Winston Churchill

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