ndia is not on my bucket list! What if…
… I tell you that I found a country of contrast, where colors, scents and sounds are so vivid that you are overwhelmed with inexplicable joy?
… What if I tell you that you forget the sights of a dirty road when you focus on the bright biggest smile of the children walking back home from school, waving at you?
… What if I tell you that the people of India find a way to be in harmony with nature, plants, cows, goddesses, camels, elephants, incenses, clean roads, not so clean roads, saris & jeans, bindis & T-shirts, palaces & shacks, temples & mosques?
All I knew about India was what I saw in the movies, overcrowded places, filthy cities and poverty.
Did I want that for vacations? Not really… India was not in my bucket list!
I claimed for years to have loved the world, different cultures and people, but I never knew India would put me to the test, especially in Jodhpur.
Even before I arrived in the country, when I decided to accept the invitation to learn about India and a product from a very important Tour Company, I knew it would be a different experience than every other in my life. For the first time, I actually had thoughts that something could happen to me, being away so far and for so long.
I left my paperwork ready, a power of attorney was in place, even a talk to my sister who would take care of my kids in case of something happened to me.
Yes, a little extreme now that I think.
I was nervous and didn’t know why.
It is said there are travelers and there are tourists; I am a traveler. Before I travel to a new place, I don’t like to read a lot about the place I am going . I don’t like other people’s experiences to influence me. I like to let the country absorb me, to blend in me- in my skin and in my heart.
So here I was, as usual, confident, brave, chin up, going to my new destination; India.
You start to get a bit of the culture if you fly with the country’s flag airline, where you experience a bit of everything; the food, the culture, the smells, the big families, the clothes. I spent very long hours scrolling trough dozens of Bollywood movies without captions in English and a very few “Anglo” classics, staring at my book, and trying to sleep.
My personal travel odyssey took about 26 hours. From the time I left Satellite Beach to Orlando, waited 5 hours in JFK airport, stopped in Paris, where I had a fun talk with the cleaning people trying to clean the rugs of our plane, (you don’t want to know what happened there). So, I stood by the only area that had fresh air, and practiced the 5 French words that I know with them.
Arriving in New Delhi was a breeze! Buy the way; did you know there is an Old Delhi? Quite different! You will find out in my next articles. At the airport all signs had good directions and everyone was in fast motion as any other busy airport in the world.
Being greeted with a sign of your company’s logo was the most house warming feeling. Traveling with and organized Tour Company makes a great difference. I reached the van, and was greeted with a beautiful rose and jasmine petals garland, cold wet towels to refresh and beverages,a great way to revive anyone. After a short drive through the city in crazy traffic, we arrive to Gurgaon town close to New Delhi, as I was entering the Hotel, I saw dozens of people dressed in beautiful colors, and singing and chanting songs, the tour guide said it was a wedding, what a way to celebrate! The whole crowd looked exhilarated and happy for the couple.
The colors, the scents, the night, the whole combination made it so magical. Indian weddings are a week ritual where both families are involved, and everything they exchange as gifts has a special meaning.
Up from my room window, I was able to watch the final entrance of the groom in a white horse and the rose garland decorations of the car of the newlyweds.I could watch all night from my window, and wanted to join them, but only had 20 minutes to get ready for dinner, to meet my colleagues from around the world, with whom I will share the next 2 weeks visiting Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra and other amazing towns in India.
So many emotions in one day and the 14 day tour didn’t even start.
The uncertainty of the trip, my inexplicable fears, the long hours confined in the plane, the scents of rose petal garlands at my arrival, a wedding, the sounds of a new city, a great dinner that included Tiramisu and two languages to communicate with peers. About 32 hours after I left home, I was finally ready to indulge myself in the great bed and pillows of the Westin Gurgaon- New Delhi Hotel, a well deserve treat, but the best of all… all of my fears disappeared.
Traveling is an emotional experience that cannot be compared or replaced if it goes wrong. See, hear,smell,touch,taste use all your senses to experience a day in the life of others or Volunteer to make a difference as you explore our beautiful world.
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