Hello dear readers! I'm in New Delhi right now at Samridhi's wonderful apartment and having a great time. India is hot, yet very interesting, car horns are cranked up a notch, cows are occasionally in the street (but amazingly don't stop the traffic from moving along a clip) and three wheel scooters packed with 4 people abound. Unfortunately I don't have the technological capability to post my photos - that will have to wait until China next week.
On the way here I managed to fly over the most conflict-ridden areas in the world: Gaza, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I flew with Royal Jordanian, which serves up pro-Arab-world propaganda with a smile and packs all the poor people in the back of the plane. About 60 poor Indian men with no carry ons (not a book, a magazine or even a wallet) were on the large plane with me but RJ chose to pack them in the back (with a few unlucky passengers) while I had an entire row of four seats to myself with the other white people. It sort of felt like the South (US) pre 1964 but I was happy to be able to pull out my iPod and take a nap while we soared over suicide bombers and religious strife.
Sam was a great friend and arrived 30 seconds before I walked out into the mess of people at the Delhi airport. We spotted eachother quickly, which was a good thing because she said I looked pretty lost. Fortunately, I was the first out except for some hotshot and his family that flew business class and were escorted by an entourage of 15 people from the gate of the plane to pick up his priority, pre-selected luggage. This brash display of importance along with my fellow passengers on the plan really highlighted what a different world I am in here in India. I can't wait to upload the photos.
I had a layover in Amman, Jordan, which is a gloomy little airport with lots of Western shopping. Since I am very ignorant of Arabic, it was titilating to hear new sounds over the loudspeaker - Ari taught me the word "thank you" (Shukran) so that's all I could recognize. I had to be careful not to speak Hebrew (say "Slicha" for excuse me, for example) because I got the feeling that the folks there don't like Israelis so much. Or Americans. Or poor Indian guys. Or anyone at all, actually.
Starbucks is everywhere!
And so are iPods!
Anyway, India has been great, much thanks to Sam's cook(s) and the effective airconditioning. Today we visited a Hindu and a Bahai temple, which were both very interesting, and visited a market where rural craftspeople sell their wares from all over India. Since I haven't used my shopping skills so far on this trip, I was ready to dive in and bargain and got some beautiful things for a song. Of course, I'm sure I paid 2x that of a local local, but with Sam's help, we did pretty darn well.
Tomorrow I'm heading to Jaipur with Sam's brother for a look around and more shopping. Should be fun.
Oh, I almost forgot - the point of this post: my geographically diverse readership! Check out this map of recent visitor activity:
Cool, huh! Hope you're having fun.