Namaste from India.
India is everything people tell you it will be and so much more. Crowded, loud, full of colors and and noises. It is so amazing. I love it here. The weather is great, about 80 during the day and closer to 60 at night, sunny but not overly humid. Winter in India!
We arrived on a horrible budget flight with teeny tiny seats after a bumpy 4 hour flight. We were greeted by wonderful, kind tour guides that welcomed each of us with a neck garland of fresh jasmine. We felt like royalty. We arrived at the hotel very late and went to sleep.
The next morning we had a couple of hours of lectures in the morning and lunch at the hotel. The food is good, although unrecognizable. You have to very careful to not drink local water or brush you teeth with it and not eat raw or unpeeled fruits and veggies.After lunch we had a walking tour of Brigade Road and Commercial Street through the fruit and public markets. People were everywhere, so many sounds and colors and smells, not to mention people and cars and bicycles.
The market was amazing. We spent most of the afternon there before we split up. Most of us went sightseeing or headed to the tailors. I visited a local tailor and ordered a few things. They are going to make me some hand embroidered Indian tunics in my measurements and deliver them on Tuesday. I can't wait. It's so cheap here to have everything custom made. I wish i had everyone's measurements!
That night about 20 of us hired touk touks (3 wheeled golf cart type cars that drive you anywhere for about 20 cents) to take us to dinner at Coconut Grove where the food is served on fresh banana leaves. We had a great time. The touk touk drives become friends with their patrons and each pair of us is slowly choosing a loyal touk touk driver that we use eclusively. i haven't found mine yet so I'm a bit promiscuous with my driver selection, although i might steal Megan's driver Anou, he's awesome.
After dinner Megan and I hired Anou to drive us around town for a view of the city, wherever he recommended. He took us to the wedding hall for some people watching. It was a beautiful, colorful Muslim wedding. The father and uncle of the bride saw us wandering around outside and invited us to come to the wedding. We were invited for dinner and ice cream and fresh fruit. We met lots of people and met the bride and her attendants and everyone insisted we sit with them and eat with them and take lots of pictures. So we ate fruit and took pictures with the bridal party. What started as accidental wedding crashing turned into a very enthusiastic invite! We ended up with the best story of anyone. Anou was awesome, so we splurged and paid him $1.
Then it was back to teh hotel for some watching of Indian music videos (awesome) adn a good night's rest.
India is quickly stealing my heart! i love the touk touks! They are so much fun. It's like a race through traffic, which is pure insanity. Lights and lanes mean nothing, horns are constant..yet somehow there are few accidents.
Thanks for all the great messages! Keep them coming!