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INDIA!!!

wow!

sunny 37 °C

Written on June 6...
First and foremost, I can finally see the veins on my feet again! yay! They still hurt when I walk though, but at least the swelling is gone.
Alright, made it safe and sound in India, despite a bit of a scare at the airport. Indeed, was I really supposed to understand that "you MUST contact the airline to reconfirm your booking" meant that I had to call them to get a place on the plane?? Yeah! hehehe
I remember reading and registering the info, then checking on the airport web site to comfirm that the flight was still scheduled and deciding NOT to call the airline co (it's kind of a bother to call in Thailand..ok that's an excuse, it's not that difficult, but still, I never do it!)...result: I arrive bright and early at the airport, only to be told that I don't have a seat on the plane and it's fully booked. I have to wait 2 hours (!!!) to see if there are "no shows" and maybe make it on! ahhhh! Well, I really had it coming, but still... I'm processing this new disturbing info at the counter, while the supervisor is making a call to see if they can find my name "on the list", when a girl (I think she was a girl) walks right over my luggage to go behind the counter and attack another airline employee!!! Litterally jump on her (it turned out to be a ladyboy, but still, I wouldn't have noticed had her hair not been rufffled by the fight!), hair pulling, throwing on the ground, the whole thing! They were very quiet though, so the whole area became very quiet!! Another airline employee tried to get to them, but a big fat friend of the "attacking girl" blocked her and started shouting something in Thai - probably explaining the reason of the attack.
Nobody is doing anything as these two girls (let's call them "persons") are wrestling on the ground!!! I'm kinda debating on whether to try to stop them or not...nobody else is doing anything at all, just standing there!!! Finally, a large white man steps in and tries to separate them for a good while, until he finally succedes!!!
There is then a verbal confrontation, where the attacking girl is saying...many things, with tears in her eyes, to the "victim". !!!
I asked the person behind the counter what it was about, and she started answering (literally said "well, she...") when the supervisor interrupted us to say that nope, I wasn't on "the list" and that waiting was my only option! Alright!!! I really wish I had got the lowdown though! nothing like a little drama!! hehehe
After 2 long hours, and no nails left on either of my hands, I get the ok to check-in! yay! They then told me that they would have had me go through Calcutta had I not made it on this flight (I kinda wished they told me earlier-would have been less stressful!! and actually, I would have been happy to go to Calcutta and make my way to New Delhi, but anyway!).
On the plane, I met a super friendly Indian guy, we started chatting and it turns out that he's a professor at a university in Northern Ontario!! Has been living there for 4 yrs. So anyway, we talked for the whole 4 hours of the flight and it was quite nice! He wa very reassuring with regards to my travels in his country, which made me feel good (a comforting departure from the surprised faces of everyone in Thailand/Laos/Cambodia I told I was going to India alone).
Have you ever wondered why cows are sacred in India??? Well, it's because that when a baby is born, the first thing s/he drinks is the mother's milk, and the second thing is cow's milk. So the cow is kinda like your mother. Would you cut your mother up and eat her?? Not the Indians! hehehe well, makes sense to me! hehehe
So we make it to New Delhi and I get in one of the "pre-paid taxis" (you pre-pay at a booth, but weird thing, there are 4 booths at the airport!! The first one -gov run (so they say)- wanted to charge me 400R...I then checked with the second one (just said "pre-paid taxi" booth), and they charged me 225R... the 3rd one looked like the 1st one, so I didn't bother and bought from the second place. I walked outside, to the taxis, only to find a 4th booth (looking like the 2nd booth), with prices on a board, charging 195R for the same ride I got!!! Sooo weird!!! Although, the price advertised may not have included the taxes and/or service charge, so it may have ended up at 225R, we'll never know!
I get in this..I'll try to take a pic of one... 70's looking car, kinda like a long Beetle... and we head off to the taxi police , which records the info of where we're going and stuff (was implemented following the rape and death of a tourist girl in a taxi several years ago!! scary?? yeah!!) Anyway, LP said that the taxi driver may try to have a second man hop on, a friend or whatever, and to strongly refuse that....Well, the mad who got on my taxi was the second taxi police guy (off his shift I guess....) so I was a bit worried, but he's the police.... had it been anyone else, I would have said a firm no...but I hesitated long enough that we were already going! And by going I mean defying death at every instant!!! Anyway, he got off a few minutes later and everything was fine... I remained scared for the rest of the trip, still for my life, not because of any fear of rape of anything, but definitely for a very real fear of hitting/getting hit by something! Wow! So far, the driving here beats any driving I'e seen anywhere (I though Bangkok was bad, but they are...grannies compared to Indians!!!! Yikes!!! I'll try to stay off the roads as much as possible!!! hehehe Let's just say the taxi driver knew the dimensions of his car VERY well and pushed them to the limit, that and some motorbikes drivers clearly have a death wish.
The front windows of the taxi were opened and it was a bit stuffy int eh back, so I craked my window open, only to be hit int he face with a breeze the equivalent to the first wif you get when open the door of the oven while it's cooking something! I promptly closed the window!!! hehehe Did I mention that June is THE HOTTEST month in India (certainly one of THE HOTTEST country in the world!!) That means it's hot, in the 40celcius!!! I have lived a day yet here, but I can say that it was roasting at 6:30pm...
I checked-in a hotel Rafale had reccomended, and I'm very happy with it (except for the price of 400R which is a bit stiff) 1CAD=38R
The best part?? Hot water FROM THE TAP!!!!! I haven't seen that since I left Canada!!! yay!! It's even better isnce the doctor had recommended that I put my feet in warm water,as it would greatly help my feet, but I didn't have hot water at the last place (I was using a shared bathroom) in Thailand, so I had not been able to do that. My bathroom here is equipped with both hot water and a bucket!!! yay! I already did a little "foot dip" and am looking forward to a few more! The room lso has a mini fridge and a TV (yay!!!). I was just watching CNN India (exactly like CNN, but with Indian people, about Indian people, for Indian people! in english). Even the commercials are exactly like the american stuff, but with Indian people (mastercard" price, price, preceless, car commercials, bathrooms furniture commercials, hehehe)
Well, overall, I'm very excited about India and I can't wait to go visit this part of town tomorrow. Imagine that: I went from a city of 6million, in a country of 64 million, to a city of 12million, in a country of over 1 BILLION!!!! Just plain crazy!!! Tomorrow I plan on buying 2-3 outfits typically worn by women here (not the sari, another one with pants and a sort of tunic), as 1: it's the most suited for the weather, 2: has been known to greatly help the people acceptation of you as a foreigner by showing your interest/respect of the culture, as well as reduce the incidences of groping that are apparently fairly common (mostly on buses and trains I hear... we'll see!)
Well, that's that! More news after my first day here!!

Posted by Mistrale 08:46 Archived in India

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