After a 1 hour flight to San Fransisco,
10 hour flight to Amsterdam (I'm determined to learn Dutch now!),and a 9 hour flight to New Delhi,
I'M HERE. I made it. With the beautiful Sarah Patton. In the exotic, gorgeous, diverse land of INDIA.
I live in New Delhi.
For the next 4 months.
In Sector 12 of RK Puram.
I love it here. Already.
I still have yet to see an elephant, or get run over by a rickshaw (although it sure felt like we were going to run them over on the drive here!), but I'm sure these things will come with time.
I am approximately 7,581 miles away from home (to the West). That is about 12,199 kilometers. And more than 10,000 miles away from home (to the East - this is the direction we took).
But yes, it's sooo different.
A few observations:
- It's very...smelly. Not necessarily always bad. When I first stepped into the airport, it smelled like a fish tank. When we walked outside, it smelled like a fire. And my apartment, it smells like a lots of must, with a little smoke, and perhaps kind of...manly? Like that not-so-great man smell that old men get really bad. Yeah, that one.
- There are guards everywhere - and they carry BIG guns. And they like to stare at you. Especially if you're American. or just white.
- People honk their horn anytime, anywhere - for no reason at all.
- They don't drive in the lanes here - they have them but they are constantly changing lanes - it always feels like you are about to hit someone!
- They blink their lights like crazy to indicate they're going to go faster.
- Oh and they never really use their blinkers (unless there is a stoplight but...we only saw one on a 20 min. drive)
- People sit and walk along the side of the freeway. And bike. And do whatever they want all over the place (more info on that to come..) We drive really, really close to all these people.
- It's very hot and humid (100 degrees at midnight!)
- The people are very, very nice.
- Highways - the actual roads are very nice and well-paved but...the sides of the road look very poor and underdeveloped.
Traveling here, it still hadn't hit me yet that I was going to live in India. It still doesn't feel real and I'm actually here.
I slept nearly the entire plane rides here (yeah, like 22 hours worth of sleep! holy cow!) So, after a near 25 hours of travel time (more than a day after we left good ol' SLC), Sarah and I arrived at the Mahatma Gandhi International Airport. We first made our journey through the very empty airport. We thought we were walking quickly but apparently not because we were nearly run over by the Indians and their beautiful children. We went through border patrol unscathed (well, I smiled at the guy and he didn't smile back - that kind of hurt). We then went to wait for our bags for more than 45 minutes. Then, we left to find our ride. We made our way out of the airport toward pillar 15. As we walked out, I was completely overwhelmed by huge crowds of people (even at midnight). There were so many signs for people being picked up. We scanned them all to no avail. As we walked around, the guards stared us down so we made our way out of the gated area that surrounds the outside of the airport. We walked around pillar 15 but still...no luck. It has been about 10 minutes and we had no idea what we would do if we couldn't find them. Well, after walking around some more with our massive carts full of luggage, I have never been happier to see my name! We saw a cute, young Indian guy in a blue stripped shirt with a sign that read: "Maitri Elisabeth Sarah" That's us! With him was another young Indian in a green striped shirt. These guys are the drivers for Winnin and the General (the owners of Maitri). They were sweet. And pretty cute, not going to lie! We walked through the lanes and lanes of taxis and rickshaws towards the parking garage (honestly, it did cross my mind that I wasn't wearing bug spray and I could get bitten by a malaria-infested mosquito and all it takes is one bit - and yes, I am taking a malaria prescription but still, silly me).
As we arrived at the parking garage, the young guy in the blue shirt left to grab the car. We waited on the curb. All staring aimlessly at the bright lights and honking crazy cars. This guard was right next to us and he kept staring (it was pretty intimidating). Finally, a very, very nice modern-looking land rover kind of SUV pulled up. Soo nice. We hoped in and I have never been so relieved for air conditioning! We loaded up and headed out for what would be one of the scariest car rides of my life! We listened to Indian Techno on the way to our apartment. I got a nice video of part of our car ride. I was scared for my life at times! But nonetheless, we made it safely to our nice, gated apartment complex. We all crammed into the elevator with our 6 bags and large backpacks (lots of luggage!). Literally, we were sardines. The elevator was so tiny - but at least we had one. We are apartment 601. Home. For the next 4 months.
They showed us how to turn on the A/C and the lights (every plug here has a switch) and everything else and they left us. We unpacked a little, jammed to some music, and then hit the pad at about 3 am. Now it's almost noon. I'm ready for a nap again!
San Fran. Eating it up at Firewood Grill :) Last meal in America for 4 months.
Sarah and Liz - arrival in DELHI. I like the creeper guy in the back. He is here to do teacher training (for ESL) for 3 weeks!
Delhi Border Patrol.
Delhi Airport. See the large crowds of people? Okay, hard to see but they're there by the doors!
Delhi. Love the airport.
This pretty much sums up our car ride to our apartment. CRAZY. Wait 'til you see the video!
Look for my upcoming post our new home and about the organization that I will be working with, Maitri, in my time here and why I chose to come to India!