Verfasst von: rbontour | Mai 23, 2011

Holy Cows In The Dirt & Pure Chaos In The Heart Of India

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Photos New Delhi

If you only have 5 days to spend in a country, which is approx. 10x larger than Germany, it’s really difficult to portray a true and fair impression of the culture and its people. Actually, we never felt like traveling in India, but somehow we managed to include a short stop-over in New Delhi. Retrospectively, we are glad, that we didn’t plan to stay there for weeks and weeks. At this point, and despite the short “taster visit”, we still don’t feel tempted to explore more regions in this overly crowded, chaotic, loud, hot, poor, but very colorful and somehow interesting India.

During our 5 days we also had the challenge to get rid of another food poisoning, which also meant to skip the Taj Mahal! Well, for Brigitte it was the third time dealing with it (1x Thailand 2003, 1x Malaysia 2010, 1x India 2011) and although we picked our restaurants very carefully, it seems as if it is extremely hard to fully escape India’s dirtiness and pollution.

We also realized that we didn’t take a lot of pictures this time, because many experiences we had and things we saw in New Delhi were difficult to capture. There are certain matters you don’t really WANT to capture with your camera! Here we are talking about the trash in the streets, half-alive children begging for money while you stop with your Tuk-Tuk on a red traffic light, the offensive smells of urine and faeces in some districts or the unbearable heat. The heat really kicked us back and western wimps like us had to escape in over-priced, air conditioned cafes at least every 3 hours. But honestly, 45°C (113° F) at 9AM is cruel and brutal :-).

Actually we have only spent time in the centre of New Delhi, India’s capital, with a population of approx. 17 million people (metropolitan area). So, whatever we experienced was most likely pretty harmless if one would compare it to other cities like Calcutta or rural, undeveloped areas. We don’t care, because after 9 months of traveling “low budget” most of the times, a hardcore trip through India would not have been desirable for us right now. We still don’t have any regrets and are happy to have gained a first impression. Why? Now we know for sure that we will think very carefully, if we should really use our yearly vacation time for a 3-weeks tour through this huge country. Anyways, here are some more of our personal impressions:

Staring
Even worse than in China! As we are obviously white and look a bit different, some people stared at us in such an obtrusive way, that we sometimes had a slight feeling of discomfort. However, it was also funny to be the attraction for local tourists in Delhi (peoples of a higher caste). Looking back, we could have made some real cash… we should have charged photography fees! Many families wanted to take pictures with us; they posed next to us as if it is the coolest thing ever, to get your picture taken with people from the west. The families, though, were all very friendly to us and after the photo sessions they thanked us about a million times for our great modeling talents 🙂

Holy Cows & Chaotic Street Life
Yes, everyone knows – cows are holy for Hindus. Well, what we didn’t know was that cows wander around aimlessly in the city and try to find food among piles of trash. Cows are to find literally everywhere in Old Delhi! Moreover, what is absolutely fascinating is that cows, donkeys, horses, pedestrians, cyclists, scooters, cars, trucks, tuk-tuks and rickshaws all share one road (or a 4-lane highway). And the typical Asian, chaotic honking of the non-living vehicles is certainly all inclusive, when you just sit back and watch this vigorous spectacle!

Glitter, Glamour & Colorful
As in Nepal, we enjoyed it so much to be surrounded by all the Indian women in their shiny and multicolored saris (traditional dress worn by Hindu women, comprised of a long piece of fabric that is wrapped around the body). The streets appear to be a lot more colorful, many saris are glittering in the sunlight, the women look very pretty, neat and somehow wealthy (although this is often not the case). In contrast, the men look all quite similar – black or hennered hair, a fine parting to the left or right, a suit pants and a white button shirt…

Street Food
You can find it on every corner. Eating seems to be a passion of Indians. We also could recognize that people of higher castes are well-nourished and have quite a bit of flesh on their ribs – maybe a symbol of status and prosperity?! Hot and greasy, wherever and whenever you look, they frizzle, sizzle and cook local specialties.  And although we didn’t engage in any exotic food experiences this time, we were again caught by food poisoning. Maybe we just shouldn’t care anymore where we eat!!

Smelly or Aromatic?
We already mentioned the fact, that quite often we had the offensive smell of excrements in our nose. It appeared that for some Indians it’s quite common, to just pull down their pants or sari and wildly … or … wherever they are. Well, this was direct, but it’s just how it is. Sometimes we came across public „piss-niches“ (see picture). These are tiled, half-open, cell-like constructions with a hole in the ground, directly located next to a lively street, and usable for everyone who feels an extreme urgency! And why would doors matter… privacy not needed in India!

Finally, the smells are tremendously interesting at 45°C (113° F). On the one side you have the odors of human faeces, on the other side you have the strong smell of thousands of different spices, which are so strong for your nose that it’s not unusual to get a 10-minute sneeze attack.

Indglish
As a former British colony, almost everyone in the big cities speaks English. We even discovered some news channels, which only report in so called “Indglish”. Gosh, this accent is hilarious (we don’t mean this in an offensive way), but it’s just so funny! Both of us had professors from India, but their accent was harmless… ”Indglish“ in India is even stronger. Therefore, we found it not only amusing, but also quite charming!

In any event, you most likely need several months in India in order to understand the culture, get to know the people and form a fair and neutral opinion. Well, we didn’t have so much time and from New Delhi we flew straight to Singapur – what an incredible contrast! It’s like flying from dirtiness to purity – another cultural shock, but actually we enjoyed the cleanliness and a different feeling of security. Well, more about it in one of our next stories…

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Responses

  1. Bin echt froh dass ihr aus diesem Land wieder raus seid, ich glaube das ist wirklich etwas, was man nicht unbedingt braucht – vor allen Dingen die hübschen Pinkelecken 🙂
    Aber schade eigentlich dass ihr den Taj Mahal nicht anschauen konntet.
    Freuen uns schon wenn ihr wieder heimkommt und wünsche euch aber noch ein paar super erholsame Tage auf Bali.
    Bussi
    Ma

  2. Von Fabi und Philipp mit Oma und Opa,
    Liebe Tante, lieber Robert,
    heute haben wir die Bilder von Indien angeschaut.
    Das Pinkelkloo ist schön, sagt Philipp. Und ich sage, warum laufen die Kühe so rum?
    Oma ist aufgefallen das es ziemlich dreckig ist?
    Philipp will wissen, wie das war, wie Ihr bei den Leuten Euch hingestellt habt und fotografiert habt… war das schön?
    Fabi/ich möchte wissen wann ihr wieder kommt?
    Wir schauen jetzt noch die anderen fotos von euch in Nepal an, freuen uns schon drauf
    🙂
    Liebe Grüsse

    • Hallo Ihr Lieben zu Hause!
      Ja, Phil, das Pinkelkloo war eigentlich nicht so schoen… war komisch, aber die Leute haben wir beim Biseln net fotografiert :-). Des macht ma net, ge!
      Oma hat auch recht, war a bisserl dreckig, vor allem der Haufen, in dem die Kuh gewuehlt hat.
      Ihr wisst doch wann wir wiederkommen oder sollen wir die Flugdaten ein 4. Mal schicken… ha, ha, ha. Hoffen die Essensbestellung ist bei allen angekommen. Obazdn hamma auf der Liste vergessen – bitte hinzufuegen :-). Danke…
      Bussi an alle

  3. Liebe Grüße von mir/Fabi, Philipp, die zwei Omas und Opa und auch Papa und Gitte!
    (leider haben wir zu schnell senden gedrückt 🙂
    Euer
    fabi & Philipp

  4. Hi Brigitte & Robert,
    India seems to be a challenge, but as I can see you found some nice and good experience also in India – beside your 3rd food poisoning issue.
    We watched yesterday all the photos with our grand kids Philipp and Fabian, was great, especially the cow in the dirt. The 45C in the morning at 9am, would even kill me as I like the warm and very sunny weather :-).
    Your experience with the street restrooms made me really smiling as it remembered me to the typically Bavarian “Misthaufen”.
    All the best and enjoy your stay on the Bali islands from making vacation at the end of your world trip.
    Love Dad


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