03 Jun Getting to Know Delhi
Written by Kathleen Cameron, 2015 India: Gender & Religion
After arriving in India’s capital Delhi, our group finally gathered all together for the first peulot at a rooftop breakfast. We spent the day maneuvering Delhi’s quirks: the crazy driving patterns (or lack thereof), the hectic haggling norm, and the general overload on our senses. Logan describes the smell as a mix of “incense, excrement, garbage, sweat, and curry”. The record-breaking heatwave combined with jet-lag made the day an exhausting one and made our sleep all the more glorious – even with our non-A/C rooms!
We were greeted the next morning with a delicious breakfast on the hotel roof consisting of omelettes, mangos, bananas, and chai. To fear and some excitement, we were told about the day’s ‘super secret surprise’: a scavenger hunt through Delhi! Split into groups and given 200 Rupees, a metro pass, and a cell phone. Our program leaders, Claire and Byron, dropped us of at the metro with our list and instructions to meet them at the Lodi Gardens for lunch. Our groups had many different adventures and experiences, or what they call “Type 2 Fun“: being scammed at the first mosque we visited and being known and helped by the locals as ‘those Canadian girlz’. By the time we all got back together for our tasty lunch, we had more confidence in our own abilities to navigate the chaos of Delhi and had a heck of a lot of great stories to tell!
By day 3, Delhi had hit our bellies and we were dropping like flies! While three girls stayed back for medical treatment (and are now happy and healthy!), the rest of the group went to the scheduled conference to hear speakers discuss issues facing women in India. We explored and debated issues in regards to labor, education, and disability. We wrapped up an emotionally and heavy day with yet another delightful surprise: a Bollywood movie! (Truth be told, it was quite confusing and dramatic)
On the last day of our orientation, we woke up early to make the trip to the Taj Mahal. Our 5-hour private bus ride was kept interesting with our eccentric bus driver who drove well below the speed limit and stopped frequently to point out animals. At the Taj Mahal, we were humoured to realize that locals wanted to take photos with us over this great world wonder. During one group photo, we even had a few people join in for a photo op! The Taj was an amazing sight to see and was well worth the long trip. We can’t wait to post more photos!
Up next? We’ve got a 16-hour day in transit into the Sivalik Hills in the lower Himalayas to the vast Doon Valley!