Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Incredible India

First off, sorry to those of you that I told I would post on here often and then go a week without writing anything new. I am in Jaisalmer now, a small desert town in western India not too far from the Pakistan border. It is beautiful here. I just finished a 3 day trek through the Thar desert on the back of a Camel. This was interesting.

After leaving Delhi we went to Agra to check out the Taj Mahal. Absolutely stunning. The city of Agra however, not so much. The harassment was almost unbearable. Walking down any street in that city is impossible without people coming up to you trying to sell you something, drive you somewhere or be your 'guide' around some of the sites.

At times it seemed some people were more interested in photographing Jess than the Taj. From asking her to be in pictures with them or their family to straight up walking up to her and video taping her. We even had incidents of parents forcing their children to shake her hand. So strange.

Jaipur followed Agra. A much nicer city but still more of the same. Stares. Constant stares from every direction. Although I'm starting to get use to it. We took an Indian bus from Agra, 6 hours on that thing was a real experience!

All in all things are good. The locals are really interesting people it's hard to describe some of the things I have learned from them. Unfortunately I'm becoming jaded merely a week in as more often than not what they have said in the guide book is true: "anyone actively trying to befriend you should be considered a tout." Now when I hear someone speak to me I rarely acknowledge them. I hope with time this will change...we probably need to get off the tourist circuit.

That being said, I have met some amazing people and have learned so much without even scratching the surface. The Indians are wonderful and this country and her people are more beautiful than I could have imagined.

I will post pictures soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009


28 hours of flying, everything went smoothly. I have been staying at my Uncle's place in Delhi for the past two nights. Jess and I arrived early in the morning, 6am, so our first day was consumed mostly with sleep but did involve a brief trip into a New Delhi market.

Yesterday we had an opportunity to see more of Delhi, we visted what is known as the Red Fort, a remanat of the Mughual rule in Delhi. More than anything though, venturing into the city gave me my first real exposure to India. The best way I can some it up...PEOPLE.

There are people everywhere. Delhi has over 20 million people and with people comes pollution. The sky is hazy. I can smell see and taste the air.

Driving is chaotic. There are no rules. Traffic lights and lines on the road are merely suggestions. You drive where your car can fit. You honk to let others around you know you're taking those few inches of room. And yet in what seems like an absolute mess, it seems to work.

Our driver Babu is great. He lives here with my uncle where his primary responsibility is to drive him around. This may sound odd but this is a very good job in India and honestly, you couldnt pay me to drive on those roads (he is not allowed to drive in India as per company policy).

Also living with my uncle is Povarti. She does the cooking and cleaning and pretty much runs the house. She is amazing. She has made a few Indian meals for Jess and I...SO GOOD! Again, you may think having a maid is strange/wrong/sign of the rich vs poor but you would be wrong. This is very common place among Indians and it is also a very good job not to mention the fact that it supports the economy.

All in all, I must say that the culture shock hasn't hit me too much yet. The house we are staying in is WAY nicer than my apartment in Calgary. We have our own rooms with hot showers and cable TV. Our meals are cooked and we are driven around the city.

Tomorrow we leave for Agra to see the Taj Mahal. This will be the start of our 10 week journey around India and I'm sure my perceptions will change immensely in the next few days.

Oh and I see the Cardinals are playing the Steelers. My two favorite teams. So awesome.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

9 days and counting

India Visa...check.

Freak myself out about disease and well being...ongoing.