First Impression of Delhi

Dear Friends,

Hey! Made it to the other side of the world.

The Indira Gandhi National Airport was clean and well lit–there were hardly any people. Adorning the walls were murals of Hindu ladies dressed in saris, their colonial predecessors dressed in blue uniforms, as well as cows. It all had a very Picasso cubist feel to it. The colors reminded me very much of the art out West, in Colorado and New Mexico–pastel shades of blue and brown. Down the escalator were several booths that looked like check in points where we got our passports checked. Hanging above the booths were people sized hands on the wall, in different positions that you might see on Buddhas or Hindu iconography.

So far, I’ve only seen the city in the dark. We piled into a bus, and watched as it bullied its way down the road. A heavy fog hangs over the city–a mix of the natural climate and pollution. There is a pungent odor in the fog. It smells like a mix of cigarette smoke and dust. As the bus jolted down the road, a lot of what I saw reminded me of my dad’s furniture warehouse. There are cardboard billboards hanging everywhere, in English and Hindi, from international brand labels like Nokia to the local car mechanic. Sheets of rippled iron hug the road, almost like a railing, and also comprise the walls and ceilings of the slums. We saw a couple of them along the side of the road, constructed, ramshackle, out of sheets of metal, billboards, and wood. In a couple, a fire burned inside, and you could make out the glow through the cracks in the walls.

The streets, despite what you might think, were well laid out. The rules of the road, however, were not. The bus rushed through red lights. Auto rickshaws, putting along on the side of the road, were forced to give way to our travel. It is big fish eats little fish out here. We had to demur to a fat dump truck, Sita and Ram windowshield stickers blessing us as the truck roared and zoomed past us. Cars, like in England, drive on the left side of the street. The street is split by a median, and along the median are Eucalyptis trees. We were on our way to our hostel in Faridabad, and the drive, and outskirts of the city, remind me very much of New Orleans. The forest lives and breathes near the side of the road. Dogs bark and run. There were several cows with humps on their backs.

I would describe the hostel, but I’ve run out of time. I hope this gives you a good idea of my impression of India so far. I am looking forward to seeing it all in the daylight. Sadly, I woke up at 5:30 this morning to the sound of rain pattering in the mud outside. I’m not sure this is going to be a possibility.

Hope all is well,

Johnny

(Email Sent January 2, 2011)

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