Friday, April 9, 2010

India explained

India can be very confusing to a first time westerner; so full of magical sights, smells and cows. To help this theoretical first time India traveler, I have compiled a list of some things that will help to understand the culture, climate and driving rules, to avoid death.

Cars will not stop for pedestrians (or other cars). It may seem as if they are ignoring lane lines, traffic directions and sidewalks.....they are!

And when you are riding in a taxi/rickshaw, never ever let the cab driver try to take you some place you didn't ask for. There is always something in it for them. It's always a buddy's shop or some place where he will tell you he's getting you a good deal, but really he speaks Hindi to the gate keeper and they work out to charge you more and then split the profit. I keep falling for this one though.

Symbolism can be quite confusing in this new place. You might notice symbols that look familiar to you, however, some of these things do not represent what you expect. For example, you may see this six pointed star, and say "hey look, a synagogue". When you walk in, however, you will be disappointed to find no Bar Mitzvah or Briss in sight. Read more about the meaning of the Hexagram.
(Not a Jewish Star)

Another symbol you might see as you stroll the streets of Delhi, is a good ole fashion Swastika. Luckily (for me anyways), this does not represent Neo-Nazi ideology.
(Not a Nazi Swastika)

As an American, its easy to make friends with the people who live here. It especially helps if you are extra white, like me. People love to take pictures with such a unique looking individual. And when you say you're from America, they unanimously respond with the name of everybody's best friend, Barack Obama (It seems people always just say who is popular in American culture at that time).
(Everyone loves white people)

Another good thing to know is that "No" means "Yes" in India. If you see someone bobbing or shaking their head, it means they're in agreement. Tips for head bobbing

Finally, if anyone is looking to get married, I have found you the perfect caterer....

P.S. Snakes love to break it down....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Here we go again - Indian style!!

Fans, I have heard you, and I am answering the call. I will be starting this blog (if that whats you call it....I prefer ramblings) back up and post every time I go to a new and interesting place. I have missed posting on some pretty cool places since the middle east (Jamaica, Burning Man, Switzerland, Vegas, Breckenridge, Tahoe, Mexico), so let me sum all of these up in a quarter of a second....asdfaoih. Now that that's cleared up, lets get back to where I am now; India.

I just arrived in Pune today, after spending the weekend in Delhi. Pune is where my company's office is and where I will be living for the next two weeks.

Let's learn a little bit about Delhi.....

The president has a big house.

While many a child begs on the street.

(Not that its any different in the US)

There are many, many crazy tourist things to visit in this city. It seems as if hundreds of religious felt inadequate in other ways and thought they would prove themselves by building unnecessarily large and detailed houses of worship. Lets start with the Baha'i and their lotus temple...

You may remember I visited the Baha'i Gardens in Israel back in the day....

And here is their temple in their other holy location, Evanston, IL (random)

A little over the top.

Here is Akshar Dham. I'm not sure what religion it is, but its basically some guy who preached "Be kind to others" and blah blah blah (forgive me if I offend you, but I prob will at some point). This place was crazy inside, but no cameras allowed. They make you store them at a coat check (sketchy I know, but somehow I got my camera back).

Finally we have this random temple.


Thats all the oversized temples I could deal with for one day. But I did see an oversized tomb as well. This was the precursor to the Taj Mahal (coming later in the trip....exciting)

(I came to India to lose weight)

I will leave with what could be my new favorite picture. What I would call a near death experience. Yes, this is real. The guy was trying to get me to touch it, but there was no F'ing way that was gonna happen. Only in India.