#Time stamp: 1406 hrs
# On iTunes: Babyfather by Sade
I can’t believe it’s been a full week since I got a lovely serving of Indian heat & humid double deck sandwich.
But it’s also been a fulfilling week of insightful interviews and the start of exciting friendships in the Tibetan colony of Majnu Ka Tilla (MKT) here in New Delhi. Reluctantly, I dread the times we step into the rickshaw heading into the city. The ride is 40+ mins with the crescendo of honking cars. Seriously! The drivers here loooove to press that horn. In America, when you bypass another car, you indicate and proceed with caution. In Delhi, nah uh. You honk as you speed past (hand is still pressed on the horn the entire overtaking time). Never mind that you have motor bikes, rickshaws, cars AND lorries competing for the same three-lane road. My Mom always complains about the boda bodas (bike taxis) threatening life on Kampala’s roads, but she would resign from driving here from the madness. I have to say, though, the roads here are kinda awesome. Save for the potholes here and there, they are mostly wide and in okay condition. But once I step out of the rickshaw and tell the heat to “talk to my hand”, Im mesmerized by the authenticity of Indian architecture. Just beautiful. Not all buildings are like this though, just a select few. Haha. As I soak in the designs, Im reminded of the streets and buildings in Kampala and Jinja that are a product of Indian architects. Even though I understand Idi Amin had Uganda’s best interests at heart, I wish he had never expelled Asian-Ugandans back in ’72. Maybe African Ugandans and Asian Ugandans would be much more integrated. And our food spicier. And our cultural dresses a hybrid of gomesi and sari. IMAGINE!
Dan and I have been within ‘vision-distance’, ‘hearing-distance’ and walking distance every day and every hour of the past week. Being part lone wolf, it has been one of the greatest mental tests of my life. Save from your family, it is not easy being tied to the hip with someone. Cue music and applause for married people. Thankfully, we’ve reworked our schedule and managed to plant at best, an hour of single time. To produce the best documentary we can make requires sanity.
Anyway, this past week has taught me a few things:
1. In order to combat the Delhi heat and top skin of sweat- hair needs to be off your face and neck, clothes need to be as flow-y as possible and strictly light cotton.
2. When thwarting the 5000 per minute pack of flies coming your way, make sure fingers are pressed tight creating a “No Way Through”/ “Tewali Kubo” zone. Flies won’t know what hit ’em. Buy a shield if you must.
3. In the event that you lock eyes with a new admirer (in this case staring pedestrians, drivers and policemen)- plant a happy face and wave vigorously shouting “HEY!” If approached to take a picture or video, indulge your new fan.
4. Never underestimate the power of chilli powder or sauce in Indian restaurants. Prone to stomach ulcers? Eat spicy food 1-2 times a week.
5. Tourist bloodsuckers exist. No matter how fast you shake your head as you talk. Any one speaking broken English that approaches and asks to help you travel from point A to B, or take a picture with their pet monkey is NOT NICE. They will cheat you. By about 100 or more rupees. Still can’t believe that monkey is involved in a business venture.
On our way to the Taj Mahal, somewhere in Agra, a guy with two pet monkeys approached our car that had stopped momentarily on the roadside. The mother and her lil one were the most adorable things I encountered that day. Their master calmly encouraged me “to take picture”. I was too happy and started clicking away. After about 5 minutes of our shoot their master turned an ugly shade of red (probably it was in my mind, but still) and demanded for “pay”. That feeling of getting duped never gets old. *sigh*
6. Mosquitoes don’t only feed around midnight like my primary biology teacher said. They lurk in the shadows, waiting for you to wink that final wink into unconsciousness. Oh, did you say you’d wait for them to make that ‘zzzzz’ noise? You’ll be waiting a long time, honey. If you must, spray that insect repellant all over until you start sneezing.
7. In Hindi, thank you is shukria, right is dai and left is bai. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my free Hindi lesson of the week.