After about 27 hours of long travel which consisted of two movies and an entire season of Parks and Rec, lots of sleep, and distress from a delayed flight in Hong Kong, I finally arrived here in India. I can now say jet lag is real.
This past week has been the epitome of go, go go. Currently I am in Bangalore and have been lucky enough to have the time and opportunity to visit different parts of it. In one week I have already started class at Christ University, been shopping at too many places, toured Banaglore Palace & the city itself, experienced monsoon rain, strolled Russel Market, the oldest market in Bangalore, tasted an immense amount of spices, practiced Bollywood dancing, went on a safari and rode the developing metro system. I can barely keep up with all the activities I have been doing.
Almost everything here has both the beauty of the old and new. As a fairly new country, India is still developing and even living in the large city like Bangalore, I am surrounded by tall, modern buildings among old roads, street vendors opening coconuts with machetes and people wearing traditional clothing. This unique culture of modern and tradition is so prevalent and it is so refreshing to see roots of history and tradition grounding the innovation and growth in the city. I believe it has allowed love and hope to prosper across different classes while still preserving thousands of years of knowledge and culture.
Both the glamorous and not so glamorous have definitely crossed paths with my travels. Traveling in a large group of Americans automatically puts a target on our back. People consistently try to overcharge us and also love taking photos with us. A few days ago a group of locals, whom we had never met before, came up to us pointing to their cameras. Due to the language barrier we thought they wanted us to take a photo for them, turns out we were wrong and they wanted a photo with us even though this was our first encounter. If we keep this up, we will be on our way to fame here in India.
This culture of love, learning and an easy going way of life have definitely allowed me to notice different social norms. I will end this recap with a few things I have noticed that are different than the United States:
1. It is possible to cross the street in moving traffic
2. If someone says 5 minutes it probably actually 45 minutes
3. Monsoon = down pour
4. To go box = parcel (gets me every time)
5. Women’s safety and comfort are taken very seriously. There are even optional, separate areas on public transportation specifically for women.