Day 1 (1): Ram Ram India

We somehow managed to fit in a cab for 4 people. There are 7 of us and even the driver isn’t feeling comfortable. In India, traffic lights have four lights but only keeps on blinking, the orange one. Back home, traffic lights alternate between red, orange and green but they’re nonchalantly ignored more often than not. The drivers make the law, and that seems to be a universal/unspoken rule. Nothing new here. We took a turn and as Meead was taking another bite of her apple, she apologized for squeezing me once again.”You and I are going to become good friends really fast”, I answered. Meead and I live at the same intern house but I just officially met her as I sat half of my person on her lap. Today is my first official day in India. I spent yesterday on the road, so technically, it does not really count. It’s a long way from Beirut to Delhi and a long way from Delhi to Jaipur (not as long, but long enough, you know, it’s all relative). We landed at 7 am local time but didn’t reach Jaipur before 4 in the afternoon, right when it started raining. I’m not used to summer rain but I’m just finding out that there are lots of things I’m not used to (yet). We managed to move our luggage (100 proud kilograms, put together) to the first tuk-tuk that saw us (no, not the other way around, I know what I mean)… and we managed to do so so fast that you can look for us in the next Guinness book. That night, I fell asleep at 8 PM. That’s 5:30 in Beirut… and I woke up at 5:30 AM (Mom, if you’re reading this, I told you I could wake up really early if I wanted to). Day 1 begins. The roads made me feel dizzy: they’re in reverse. The driver sits on the right and the fast lane i on the right. I feel like correcting the roads and the maps… but I’m getting used to this. Just like I’m getting used to seeing cows everywhere (literally, everywhere). Black cows, brown cows, white cows, cows so dirty they’re not even sure of their color. Honking is current currency here as buses, cars, motorbikes, bikes and tuk-tuks make their way inside of Jaipur. It’s only the cows you can’t honk at. Not because it’s not allowed, but because they don’t care. They’ll only move if they want to. “Road is closed? To the right” The GPS is kind of lost and the driver didn’t know a word of English. It was 7:00 AM and we were going to be late. The cab turned around as stray dogs looked in both directions before crossing the street. Jaipur isn’t what I thought it would be… simpy because I never thought you could fit so many things in a place the way Jaipur made room for all of its people, animals, markets, temples and whatnot. From a poster hanged on a reddish wall, an old bearded man invites us to something in Hindi “‘I’m very sure we passed by here, yesterday”, says Meead before she turns back (ouch) and addresses Talal in a Ommani Arabic I barely understood. Then she turns again and tells me that the cab isn’t really comfortable. Well, the front seat shouldn’t be shared by two people. Luckily, we find the bus. My leg is a bit numb but I don’t mind. Pink bridges, and red walls, green and yellow tuk-tuks, purple and orange saris… As the city recovers from the rain, it becomes its own rainbow. I can get used to this. IMG_0398

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