Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving in New Delhi!

We arrived, bleary but happy (THANK YOU CARL, your gift worked wonders) at the New Delhi airport, and got on a bus that looked like a relic from colonial times, sucking in fresh air through the windows. India smells like an amazing mixture of coal smoke, hay, dust, spices, and occasional wafts of something unidentifiable. It is heavenly. All along the bus route were people working, carrying things and building structures out of what looked like sticks and handmade bricks, some very poor people in makeshift tents along the road, little children standing and watching the buses and cars go by, a steady stream of motor scooters alongside the lines of packed buses. There was a traffic jam -- it felt like it took an eternity to get into the city center -- and once we got here, wham! we were right in the middle of a BJP party rally (the Hindu nationalist party) -- the entire street in front of our hostel was closed, covered in carpets, and people were wandering around, eating, chanting, coming up to us (very close!) and saying "Hello! Where from! Hello!) The chanting got pretty drastic at some point, and our motor rickshaw driver refused to get us all the way to the door of the hostel, so we had to hike the last few blocks through the teeming crowd. Wow! Aaron says that the BJP is a very conservative group, kind of like the Christian right. Later, after the crowd was gone and the rugs were getting rolled up, we saw a huge banner featuring someone in a hood getting lynched. ANYway, we are very happy in our hostel (the YWCA), and last night staggered out to buy ourselves some local-looking clothes -- we went to a lovely boutique called "The People Tree" featuring gorgeous prints by local fabric artists, and to a government store that sells Gandhi-style homespun cloth clothes...then a quick, spicy meal, and then back to the hostel, where, according to Aaron, I fell asleep mid-sentence... I don't remember. Today we are off to the Crafts Museum, and perhaps a walk through the old city. Tomorrow off to Haridwar, where we hear it's cold and snowy! Love to all, Greta

our first whimsical choice for the day was the toilet museum but it'd be the whole day as its rather out of the way, i can only imagine...so it's the crafts museum i've heard so much about from Philip-ji. i love how the air smells, absolutely everything is qualitatively different in subtle and not so subtle ways. For instance, on the way to the plane in brklyn, the cab was playing an extended schmaltz-fest of christmas medleys for a half hour and Greta and i could only laugh that this was one thing we would NOT have to endure. my love to you all, more soon, swirly


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