The moment I stepped off the plane, the first thing I noticed was the heat. It was not only hot, but it was incredibly humid; most days nearly 100%. The extreme time difference was also something I had to adjust to. India is about 9.5 hours ahead of eastern time in the US. The jet lag was like nothing I had experienced before.
As any tourist in India will probably tell you, the traffic here is by far one of the most culturally different things here. When you go onto the road, everything seems so chaotic and disordered. The traffic signs seem to be only suggestions as people travel the wrong way down the road and cars only slow down at red lights, just long enough to see if anyone else is coming from the other direction before continuing through. Never a complete stop, though. There also seems to be no safety regulations. Babies sit casually in the laps of whomever is riding in the front seat of the car, as well as on motorbikes which sometimes have full families of both parents, two children and even tiny sleeping infants all on one motorbike. When I saw this, I knew for a fact that I was no longer in any western society.
After about three weeks of adjustment, I finally got used to living here. The biggest lesson I learned within these three weeks was patience and calmness. The Indian lifestyle is a mixture of hectic and simple–chaos and patterned. The frustration of not knowing the exact timing of when things will start (named “Indian timing”), the frustration of not knowing the native language and feeling cheated and somewhat exploited wherever money is involved was so overwhelming in the beginning. After about three weeks, though, you suddenly learn the pattern of the way things work in India. You learn to stay calm when all you want to do is panic. You learn how to say things with confidence even if you don’t know things for certain. All these things are skills you learn very quickly if you want to survive these streets.
With all that said, if you take India for what it is you will see the beauty of which India is. You begin to notice the beautiful saris and traditional wear the women have on. You will notice the beautiful Indian architecture of forts and palaces that you can only imagine what they were like when they were built. Your eyes will suddenly open as you’re freed from your initial shock and you start to learn. With the past 18 years of my life I’ve spent “learning” in school. Nothing compares to this. This is beauty.
I spent three days traveling from the US to Jaipur with layovers in Munich, Germany and Delhi Airports. Though the flights were long, it somewhat helped me get mentally prepared for my arrival in Jaipur.
The planes in India look like crazy beach planes out of some movie where floating rafts pop out from the bottom so it can land on water. My flight from Delhi to Jaipur only lasted thirty minutes, but when I first saw the plane I definitely got a little nervous.
Welcomed to India
When I first got here, I received a bindi with a friendship bracelet. All the kids danced with us and they celebrated our official welcoming to Jaipur.
If you look from the roof at our backyard, you can see the cow that lives next door. This is the loudest cow I’ve ever heard, but I think our neighbors enjoy the fresh milk.
The mosquitoes here are unreal. Even American grade mosquito repellant with 40% deet can’t keep the mosquitoes away.
There seems to be no regulations for motorbike safety. Full families are often on the bikes with women sitting off to the side–a conservative must in most of India.
Also, I’m pretty sure busses have more lax safety regulations. When there’s no room inside the bus, just jump on top! There’s space for everyone.