Saturday, January 20, 2007

Incredible !ndia

I have to say, I am totally feeling India right now. I mean where else can you be in a car, battling a horse as you both swerve through crowded traffic? I don’t even know why they bother having any lines on any of the roads. They don’t matter. Our 3 lane side of the road was handling 7 lanes of cars (well, assorted vehicles is more accurate) heading one direction. We were so close to the cars next to us that we actually bumped sideview mirrors another car and they had to be folded back to avoid any further undesired contact. And the dividers separating the traffic directions don’t mean anything either and I think they are there just for decoration. 1, 2 sometimes 3 lanes of traffic coming at us on our side of the divider. We were speeding along and suddenly headlights in our lane. And nobody finds this abnormal, everyone just swerves out of the way and keeps on moving.

I think I have the driving figured out… If there is a space, then use it. Makes no difference where it is, just get in as close and tight as you can or avoid any oncoming vehicles. Traffic lights? Who needs them? If you don't see any oncoming vehicles, or even if you do, just go when you feel like it. We got stuck in a pretty intense traffic jam, you know the kind where the cars are all in such a place that absolutely nobody can move. Now, imagine that to include the aforementioned horse as well as bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, vans, tractors, busses, a cow, trucks with no brake lights or turn signals, taxis, cars (the speedometer in ours doesn’t even work) and a whole lot of pedestrians that just decided to help out and start directing traffic, each with their own idea of what and who needs to go where. The fact that they are contributing to the problem goes completely unnoticed. At this point, it doesn’t matter which way a vehicle is supposed to be going, movement is the only goal and if it means going the wrong way, so be it and of course all this is done with a whole audience of spectators standing on each corner. Finally, through some miracle we manage to get out of the middle of the hoi polloi and were soon en route to our destination. I am stunned that I did not see an accident. And then, as you are speeding down the street, suddenly there is a steel barrier blocking one lane informing you that you are entering a different part of the city, or perhaps a tree that is just growing in the road itself… Not on the sidewalks, in the actual road, forcing the cars to swerve and then swerve back to avoid colliding with the cows that have decided that the best place to walk or have a bit of a rest is in the middle of heavy traffic.

Today I learned a new sport… The foosball of India and I intend to become a champ before I head back to Europe. Carram is my new sport du jour. I went into the office today to meet the team I will be working with and immediately got drafted to compete on one of the teams. I have no idea what I am supposed to do or how I am supposed to do it, but suddenly I feel a purpose in life. I have a goal. I have a dream!

One of the things I have been looking forward to is the food and tonight was no disappointment. We went to an Italian restaurant that had the look and feel of a ski lodge which made kept throwing me off balance when I would look the huge picture windows and see not snowy alps and women in tasteful fur frocks but rather rickshaws and cows. The view aside, it was a very good Italian meal, although I did have a Greek salad to start, but ended it with a traditional Tiramisu. After that, it was time to go shopping for some essentials for my new humble abode… Raspberry and Cookies and Creme Poptarts, Pringles Fiery Hot flavor and a box of bottled water. Joy!

Fed and supplied, I was ready to catch some zzzzz's. I got back to the building and my key was missing. I had not lost it, I had handed it in when I left and someone had misplaced it. The doorman has to wake someone else and the two of them begin a frantic search for my missing keys, without which I will be tucking into a plastic chair with my groceries for a cuddle.

Tomorrow I am venturing out on my own to take in some local color and just wander aimlessly around Old Delhi and Connaught Place. I don’t have a small digital camera yet, which is why no pics yet. Mine was stolen that awful evening on the train to Brussels. I am hoping to get one sometime this week and will be posting them here…

No comments:

Post a Comment