Tuesday, February 23, 2010

India Day One Half

We are here. We flew over Canada, frozen tundra, The Urals, skirted around China, went directly over Kabul, and landed without incident in New Delhi, city of the acrid smog and the crazy taxi driver. In Delhi, you drive on top of the highway lines, not beside them, in case you want to switch lanes in a few seconds or right now. And honk your horn. A lot.

Other than the fun ride to the hotel, there’s not much to report, other than exhaustion. I did sleep a bit on the airplane, which surprised me, because I don't sleep well on planes, trains and buses. Luckily, the plane was not very full and there was no one next to me, so I was able to spread out a bit. My window seat was a bust though, since it was only light during our sleep time, and when I peeked outside, I only saw frozen tundra. I did watch “An Education” on the plane ride over, and despite the terrible sound quality and postage size screen I watched it on, it’s definetly deserving of its Oscar nod.

We arrived at 9:15 pm local time and got to our hotel rooms by 11:00 or so, which was 11:30 am Champaign time. Usha highly recommended we stay in bed until morning, no matter how awake we were. I got to sleep pretty easily, then woke up after what I thought for sure was a full night’s rest. It was 2:00 AM. Then 3:00ish, then 3:30is, 4:00ish, 4:48, 5:12, 5:15, 5:28, 5:35 and decided to call it a night, so to speak.

Also, Usha is famous. There’s some kind of dispute between the Indian agriculural and environmental ministers related to seeds her company produces. The prime minister is stepping into mediate. We asked if there was anything that 5 Americans with several hundred dollars in their pockets could do to help her out, but she declined.

Anyway, I’m obviously not in an India frame of mind, since I don't actually have much to say yet. There is no snow here. It’s very hazy. A shower and breakfast awaits. So, I'll post some pictures.
Here’s our group, minus Usha, who was already busy talking to government ministers in India:

Here’s our first mode of transportation: The Breeze van

Here’s our second mode: The Ell

Here’s Thom and I competing to see who is the mode laid back. I win because my eyes are closed.

Not pictured is our airplane, which I forgot to take a picture of. I think Martha is going to be the one with the good pictures on this trip. I’ll have to snag her memory card at some point.

Also not pictured are Cindy and Clark surviving the plane trip in business class. I must admit that their physical comfort was fully erased by their Mennonite emotional discomfort at riding in business class.

Here’s Thom and Martha enjoying the cab ride to the hotel.

I hope to have actual pictures of India tomorrow, to prove that I really am here, and not just typing in my loft making things up.


Samuel said...

Dan, why didn't you switch seats with Cindy so she didn't have to face the moral quandary? Glad you arrived safely.

brownie said...

Is this your first trip to Asia? If so, I guess I should have warned you about their driving: Lanes (and traffic laws in general) don't REALLY exist except in the mind, the horn is the most useful part of the car, and no vehicle is really full until it is actually literally FULL.

Wahoooo! Have fun.

Dan S said...

Actually, the driving here so far isn't that much different from Latin America. However, we travel to a different town today, so we'll see what intercity driving is like.