Travelling for me usually consists of an abundance of many small experiences – and here I had a good start. I flew with Kuwait Airlines. At the airport, I was amazed at how much luggage people take with them and had to smile at how often they had to move the contents back and forth at the counter. There were not so many people checking in, but a lot of luggage.
2 flights incl. changing planes were good – and in Delhi I was amazed again. In September, I arrived at the same time and was almost alone when immigrating. This time, crowds of people pushed back and forth in front of the counters for non-Indians. Most of them (80%, it felt) looked Indian. The people in front of and behind me explained it to me: it’s wedding season and all the passport holders who have lived in California for ages and are now American “had” to go to some wedding – the ones in front of me to Bikaner, the ones behind me to Punjab. Massive time difference, short holiday, lots of flight money – and yet they all do it. Interesting!
My next experience took place at noon: I visited Peter Hornung at the ARD studio (german broadcast). Peter is the head of the radio team and currently the main podcaster for the Delhi correspondents. In some podcasts earlier, it was said that they were happy to be visited by listeners. So I quickly wrote an email in the evening and had an answer in the morning. Yes, I was welcome to come. There was only a small window of time, but I didn’t want to let it pass unvisited and was very happy to see the person whose voice I had heard so often. And then I was amazed that there is a difference between a radio voice and the real voice. Peter is really nice, there were many topics of conversation, time was running out and I was very happy to have gained a little insight.
Dinner with my cousin’s wife, who have been together for 17 years and who I actually met for the first time, was also very nice – I think there will be something extra about that. They both have a cat. She likes to sit on the desk in “my room” in the sun.
And then I slept well and had a new event the next day. I find it so exciting to experience the differences of countries in such small everyday things. I wanted to send a parcel to someone in India for the first time. There were no boxes here in the household and I had brought the things without – and walked hopefully to the post office. This one had Google reviews, some of which were negative. Muff heads. I’m joining in with that. I tried soooo hard to work my charm, but no chance. They don’t have anything to pack the parcels, they don’t even try to help me, they just muffle and refer me to a big post office to which I should drive with a rickshaw. I didn’t feel like doing that. Fortunately, the day before, I had already made friends at the small shops where you can exchange money and get a SIM card. So I went there again and at a stationery shop I actually found more friends right away. They had nothing to pack a parcel with, but they would help me! One went and found a used cardboard box, another discovered filling material, a third typed addresses and the main boss packed and filled and glued. The officials couldn’t complain about that!
They didn’t do it either but ignored me. Until they couldn’t take it any more and after shaking it suspiciously (parcels are not allowed to make any noise) they reluctantly attached a barcode, produced a consignment number and took my money. The whole thing took about 1 hour. An interesting hour.
After that, I wanted to catch up on some sightseeing. I had to call a taxi again. Actually, I like to take the metro, but I live in the diplomatic quarter and the metro was built around it. So wide that you can’t even get there by rickshaw. So I learned something new again: calling a taxi with the Ola app. That is also exciting sometimes. Although the drivers have mobile phones with maps where locations are marked, they still don’t always find you and give up and go somewhere else. Even if you find local wayfinders who give them directions over the phone. These taxis are almost shamefully cheap and numerous.
So I called one and visited Humayun’s Tomb. It is a World Heritage Site and quite nice to look at. You can find more information on Wikipedia. This is more about the experiences – and I had them mainly with a young man from Calcutta who became my photo friend. He was travelling with his mother and was an enthusiastic mobile phone photographer. We met twice. Here we both are:
Next to Humayun’s Tomb is the Sunder Nursery, a very pretty garden to visit. There was a bazaar of the dipolomatic and international community, many countries had small stalls and offered food, there were handicrafts etc. to buy, demonstrations to watch (which I unfortunately missed) and a DJ provided special varied music. My cousin wanted to meet a Libyan woman there and when he told me her life story, I was amazed. What some women achieve! She used to be his employee many years ago and has to struggle a lot in the gender-divided Libyan society. Now she is the only female staff here and has an unemployed husband. Everyday she has to leave the office 1 hour before the others to cook her husband’s dinner. It’s like this. She has a great charisma and I was happy to get to know her briefly.
The woman from the Armenian stand gave me some apple pie after I complained that she had not eaten the best of all honey cakes, which came from Armenia. Then she also gave me a book with a story from the time of the genocide. But then I forced a donation on her. More remarkable things about this event: There was a big Pakistan stall and super few European countries engaged.
As already written, the DJ was special with his choice of music. Here is my “Highlight”:
And then we went to the park to watch the picnicking Indians and on the way home the driver was warned of a speed camera. If you get caught, he estimates it will cost you around 2000 INR, about 25 Euro.
Tomorrow we will go further into the cold. But not to Ladakh….