Namaste from India

I am currently eating an apple that I washed in a foul-smelling chemical wash called “Veg-Fru Wash”, dish detergent, and filtered water…and still I run the risk of getting sick from it.  Since I’ll only be here for 2 weeks it might be a stupid idea…

Let me give you three words: noisy, hot, and dirty.  This is how a lot of people described India to me when they told me about their experience in this country.  To be sure, walking through muddy streets filled with trash, smelling BO everywhere you go, and having a hard time pulling up your pants because of the sweat covering your body isn’t an ideal foreign experience for most people.

Here are another three words: colorful, unique, and spicy.  These are MY three words to describe India.  It is extremely colorful..the clothing, the green trees, the skin tones, the jewelry…  everything is unique, sometimes in bad ways and sometimes in good ways.  Seeing a monkey in the subway station was unique.  Watching dozens of kites flying high in the sky to celebrate Independence Day was unique.  Riding in a rickshaw is VERY unique (and I love it!).  The way that they say my name is unique (pretty much sounds like Olivie-hey).  And spicy..yes, the food can be spicy, but I like to use this word more than “hot”.  When I think of “hot”, I think of never-ending heat.  But the word “spicy” makes me think of intense periods of heat followed by moments of refreshing coolness and rest.  These literal moments of coolness can be a fresh breeze, a cup of cold water, an air conditioned cafe.  Figuratively, though, there are moments of “coolness” to just the hectic and disconcerting way of life here.  Amongst the dozens of men who stare rudely or whistle, there are those that give up their seat for old women (aka my mom) or bow respectfully at you.  Every so often when passing someone they smile at you in greeting.  Or when the children smile brightly at you and your heart melts…these are the moments that refresh you in this city so large that you start to forget that the figures milling about you are actual humans.

Qutub Minar, part of a complex of ancient mosques, minars, and tombs
Some Hindu-styled pillars located in the mosque…so much culture going on!!
A huge arch with awesome designs…

…me by the arch 🙂
We’ve done a little sight-seeing of a complex of an ancient mosque and minars and tombs and such..much of northern India’s history during the early to mid-2nd century is of Islamic rulers who took over and set up their kingdoms in one area or another, only to die or be overthrown by another ruler who set up their kingdom somewhere else…all of them building really beautiful and intricate and big buildings.  
There is a lot about Delhi that reminds me of Libreville (in Gabon, Africa).  I think any third-world city will have some similar aspects.  But there are many differences as well.  Delhi is much more influenced by West…I don’t know if there is such a thing as a 2nd-world country, but if there was I personally would rank Delhi in it.  I haven’t been to a slum (yet..that happens on Monday) and I won’t be going to any villages during this trip, so maybe I’m wrong about the country as a whole, which I have no knowledge about. 

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