Friday, April 8, 2011

First few days in India!

Hello. We are in India! We are safe and well-fed. We have enough light to read and we are warm enough. What else would people worry about?

Wonderful comments on the blog all! Thanks. The NZ posts are set on a timer. We're at our first internet cafe in Kolkata. We took a rickshaw the wrong way to get here and then walked. This place has a low ceiling and Jingle bells just played, followed by an Indian tune.
3 - Number of times I thought I was having an allergic reaction. Just spice.
2 - Number of times I actually was having an allergic reaction. One was very tiny bit of puffy eyes (no problem) and the other is ongoing - I'm am either actually sick or allergic to the pollution. Lots of coughing and nose blowing, most ever.
1 - Number of times we cried together so far about the state of the world.

So far our routine is to hang out in our ballin sweet hotel room with AC and then get hungry. We venture out to eat and have an adventure. Once we are getting too overwhelmed, we come back and gear up for the next outing.

4 - Number of friends. Already it seems we've met more travelers than in NZ and AZ. We met a couple from Portland and it was also their first day in India, so it was great to relate to each other. At a big church yesterday we met a woman from Seattle with whom we went to the art gallery. She was great to talk to because she'd been in India three months already, and three times before this trip. We also chatted a great deal with a man from India who told us all about the best city in the world, his city, Varanasi. He was very nice, and scowled at the boys that were walking by looking at us. ("I have three daughters..." he explained to us. so he doesn't stand for that sort of thing.)

5 - number of people wanting to take our picture so far because.. we are white tourists? We'd actually been told in advance about this. A girl we met in AZ said, "well, it is nice at first, feeling like a celebrity." It's true, nearly everyone looks at us, many are blatant stares.

Queen Victoria memorial - big nice building in beautiful park
Mother Teresa's mission/orphanage and room and tomb. The nuns were all very happy, smiling all the time. The kids seemed very happy too. Felt odd touring a orphanage, didn't quite feeling right.

1000+ - Number of things we've never seen before. Life is all around you, on the streets. I mean, people bathing, sleeping, begging, working, eating, peeing, driving, puppies playing with flies, people selling you books or any number of things, men with no legs, blind singers, children working, honking, honking, honking, garbage piles, business men, goats, butchers... this is really hard to discribe. Just... everything. Think Guatemala, but even more exaggerated. We were both glad we had been to Guat or things would have been a totally shock. There's more poverty here than in Guatemala, at least that we see. It's hard. I've thought many times "why are we here?" Why would you be a tourist here? But really, it's not really about the buildings and the sights, but seeing how billions live in this world. It's hard to see, but I think it's important to see. Not much we can do - what do we know of India? Nothing.

Good news
not as hot as we thought it would be. I feel safer than I thought I would feel, obviously not everyone wants to rob you or rip you off, hardly anyone of course. Actually, there's huge protests in New Delhi right now against corruption. A man named Anna who follow Gandian practises in on a hunger strike til death!

Ok, more later loves, we are fine and happy. Hope you are too.


  1. Amazing. This blog is really great reading.

  2. Ali! I just saw you posted this on fb so decided to check it out. I'm glad your having a good time so far, I'll make sure to keep reading up on your trip! Stay safe and have fun!

  3. 100+ number of hugs to you!

    2. number of really brave gals I know in India

    1. number of times I cried reading this....

    ps. did you know there is a poem in your post today?

    love & prayers

  4. sssssiiiiiggggghhhhhh! India sounds... amazing. I'm glad you're safe and sound.

    So, Ali. Fine Balance? vs. Real Thing?

    Love, Pat

  5. This is a v. v. beautiful post! I was moved. And cannot wait to hear more!!! And see some pics! You both write wonderfully.

    I quit my job on a whim. And am SO happy!!


  6. Rachael is right! Beautiful blog, and you both write wonderfully! Love, Pat

  7. I kind of wish blogger had a "like" option like facebook does. I would like all these comments :)

    Rach- Glad that you quit and are happy!

  8. Kath _ Rach - thanks darlings. You too Rach. You two are two kind. Rach - ahahahah you quit. So, it wasn't like working at the Carousal in wynyard?

    Sukhi - nice to hear from you!

    Beth - just went and read all your back-comments. Thanks! It's nice to have you join the champion commenters. I had to go back and find the poem... could use some editing, but I do see it.

    Pat - very much like A Fine Balance. Definitely for daily life and drama. differences are stuff specific to the time when the book was set - like, no force-sterilization tents, for example. But yes, I see the people from the book everywhere! Tailors especially. Saw monkey man. And, remember the beggar with no legs or hands? Saw a man on a cart like him. Still heart-wrenching, but at the same time, having read that book, I am able to keep in mind that of course he too has friends and smiles and has seen beauty. So... sigh. That's something. So, if you haven't read it, you can join us in India by going to the library and checking out A Fine Balance.