A day in New Dehli
Starts early with the distance sweet sounds of a mosque calling the faithful to prayer.
Monkeys are heard sashaying outside my window, probably heading for a nearby restaurant that may have tossed some uneaten food. Birds are everywhere with distinct, different and unusual songs.
There's laughter and discussions passing by with the Doppler Effect.
My room has a TV; I only turned it on once when I arrived. It features few channels broadcasting mostly upbeat Indian music which I have come to enjoy. It's fun and now I tend to bounce to the rhythm. I have some favorite TV shows back home, but have not missed them. I tried to watch one online, but programs can't be viewed in other places so they are blocked.
I never thought I'd say this, but I have come to like curry. Before arriving. Um, no. Today? It's great, especially being used in so many ways and here it does not scream at you; it just mixes well with other spices.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the hotel for students at which we are staying. They have served food to Michael and me in our rooms, but we prefer to eat in the dining room. The men who work here are very conscientious, courteous and take very good care of us. Some of the meals have been *outstanding!* Indian desserts are the best.
It takes 2 full days for laundry to return to us at the hotel, but it's clean and *soft,* not harsh or stiffly starched.
I'll have photos of where we're staying soon - Michael has this habit of making everything he shoots look *beautiful,* much better than it actually appears in real life. I'll mention this again as I post the pictures...
We also visited a tailor in Jaipur; they made me an outfit for me at a very reasonable price, and I bought two more ready made. All with Nehru/Mandarin-type collars, generous jackets and loose fitting pants. When I return, you will definitely feel the Indian influence in my wardrobe!
Many Indians wear scarves - men and women. I often wear scarves and mufflers already, but I can see how they make it a fashion statement as well as a practical way to stay warmer.
It has been unseasonably cool this year so many people wear gloves to ward off the cold. The weather is attributed to the global climate crisis.
We visited an open market - too briefly - but we'll be back to shop at a new one soon. A MacDonald's restaurant is about one block away from the hotel. Michael and I will stop in before we leave - obviously they do not serve burgers, here!
I can't ever imagine driving here, but our driver, Singh, is brilliant. Michael and I cannot get over all the human, vehicle and animal populations that converge on the roads. We've encountered one stop light. Red light means "danger-use caution" not necessarily that you must stop.
We make it to our destinations in record time because there is no stopping. Everyone continues to push forward without benefit of traffic cops, signal lights or stop signs. And there's no road rage. Everyone is of one mind - that we are all trying to get somewhere in the shortest time possible, so everyone is polite and doesn't take anything - like being cut off - personally. No one has any more right to be on the road than anyone else.
That includes: horses, camels, donkeys, trucks, buses, tripeds, bicycles, dogs, pedestrians, elephants, cows, pigs, goats, cars, motorcycles, hand-pulled carts, monkeys and more.
Oh, and if you have to go the other way, against traffic, because.... well, because you need to? Feel free. No one thinks you're a putz.
Michael saw someone actually get out of a car in the midst of wild traffic - coming back in about 20 minutes to retrieve his vehicle.
I've not seen any accidents, yet, but a motorcycle did smack our car a couple days ago in Jaipur. Everyone got out, assessed the non-damage, agreed it was no big deal and we moved on. No insurance companies notified, no police called. They handled it amicably on their own; the motorcycle driver taking responsibility, our driver seeing that no real damage was committed and we all move on.
Because of this free-for-all art, everyone seems to be more alert to others while they're driving.
This is one of the reasons I see India as a very progressive state. I swear, I have been teeming on road rage in the US when. traffic. does. not. move. Because of all the traffic signals and people interfering with us being able to reach our destination in as short a time as possible.
The US is far too up tight to incorporate India's driving skills and patterns, but when I'm back home, stuck in traffic now, I shall reminisce about how sweet it was to just go someplace in India without someone trying to control drivers and traffic so much that our progress is continually hindered or even halted. It's actually bad for us psychologically and physically, for our businesses and commerce. But I have the feeling traffic engineers would consider India's free will driving near barbaric, when the reverse is actually true.
Next week I'm with the girls and faculty again at the Rai Foundation school for girls. I'm speaking about bias in journalism - how it can be avoided, no matter how intensely you feel about a subject, as well as a couple other subjects and finishing the story of the little girl who could!
Photographer Michael Conner will be conducting another camera workshop as well. The faculty and students are eager to learn about his first class equipment! I'll take photos of that for you!
I *hope* I feel better tomorrow. Michael has also succumbed to this cold/flu. We're trying to find some place that offers health massages - that may help. Medical care has been offered, and if we are not feeling tip top tomorrow, we'll see a doctor.
Meanwhile, we're taking care of ourselves, resting, drinking lots of bottled water, taking advantage of all that comes from being still and gearing up to get out and about again, discovering all we can about the splendor of India!