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Monday, December 6, 2010

India

I've waited a while to post this entry for quite a few reasons. Mostly because I felt that I needed a week or so to process the happenings. It was totally overwhelming in so many ways. The trip there took 27hrs. When I landed I was surprisingly not tired. I gathered my luggage and went out to find the driver who was to take me to the hotel. A multitude of men was standing at a bar with signs in hand waiting for their parties. Not one of them was for me. I carefully read all of the hand written, computer printed and hastily scratched out and rewritten papers. Still nothing with my name or anything I recognized. I thought I'd better get out a few rupees at the bank machine in case I needed a taxi and then realized that I didn't even know the name of the hotel I was staying at. I had banked on the driver being there. 20 minutes and still nothing. I then realized that there were more drivers waiting outside the doors and made my way out into the smoggy, muggy, crowded outdoors. Again, I carefully walked up and down in front of a long line of waiting men with signs and found nothing. I was beginning to panic because I just realized that there were guards at the doors to get back into the airport and they were having people show their flight itineraries to get back inside. Did I have one? Nope. I began to get a little teary eyed and approached the guard to explain the situation only to find that he spoke no English. Crap!! Luckily the other guard understood that I wanted to go back inside and see if the driver had shown up yet. As I yet again set out to parade myself in front of these men I saw a sign with a faded black and white peacock and the word "Indialypse" Oh! A word I recognized. I signaled that I was who he was looking for (no English) and he grabbed my bag and took me to a battered little car where a man I'd met in Barcelona was waiting. Ok, things are looking up.
I've been to other countries with severe poverty but what I saw on the drive from the airport in Delhi to my upscale hotel was utterly shocking. (see picture with pigs)


After arriving and checking in we found the rest of our group and sat down for some lunch. I found that I was now utterly exhausted and crashed for the next 12hrs. We left bright and early the next morning for Jaipur. Again, the sights and smells overwhelmed me. People crowded into little taxis called Tuktuks. Cows everywhere! They were on the road, in the ditch, in the yards, next to the doors of stores. But the craziest experience was the traffic. Obeying the painted lanes was not something they seemed to understand. Whatever number of vehicles they could squeeze into the space of a lane was what was there. Since the cars were little there would be 2 to a lane. And no one signals to pass or change lanes. They just honk!!! One honk....coming up on you......two honks......passing. Constant noise!! The roads are very crowded with different speed limits for different classes of vehicles and I think this promotes congestion. But at least the vehicles were brightly adorned with tinsel, pom-poms, pink writing and across every bumper it read "please use horn". ARRGGGGG!
Jaipur is a lesson in extremes. The palaces and ancient architecture will thrill you but the abject poverty of the normal citizens will break your heart. There were people constantly begging. Villages of homeless people who lived under tarps seemed to be the norm on many a roadside. Here we toured the City Palace and the Amber Fort.





From here we traveled on to the Pushkar Cattle and Camel Fair. Totally crazy. Previously we had stayed in fairly nice hotels but this time we were in tents. Yup tents! They weren't too bad either. Two cots per tent and a toilet and sink in a separate section. So much to do and see. I wanted to shoot constantly. There were thousands of camels all over the place. It was divided into 3 areas. One for horses, one for cattle and another for camels. We did some model shooting here as well. Best part? I got to ride a camel!!!



There's just so very much to tell that I don't think I can get all of it into a post. After a couple of days we packed up and hit the road again making our way to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

Ok, enough for today. I'll post the rest in a couple of days.

5 Comments:

Michemily

Your pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited to read the next installment. :)

Bailee

I had the pleasure of going to India in January 2001. Your statement of the poverty is right on track. The night we were leaving as we drove through the streets and I saw the women and children lying in the filth next to the cows and dogs my prayer was that I would never forget what I had seen there and never again take for granted what I have. Thank you for sharing!

Rita

Incredible. What an experience and what a beautiful product. You'll have to explain what took you to India in the first place...what group you were part of, how you hooked up with this group, etc. So neat!

Nonna Beach

Wow...fab photos Deanna !

The worst poverty I ever saw was in Mexico. Unbelievable squalor and filth everywhere !

My Hubs has been all over the world and the worst he saw was in Bangledesh. It just is horrible there.

It's a disgrace that India, the largest democracy in the region/world as far as population is still operating like it's in the middle ages and the cast system is still alive and well even though they deny it.

You were very brave to go...I am such a spoiled wimp, you couldn't pay me enough to go to that part of the world !!!

dn-photography

amazing