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2005-11-10 India Pictures

Traffic!! Three wheels, two strokes, one stench Brigade Road by night.  Go shopping. 5th Avenue shopping center on Brigade Road

We arrived at 5:00 in the morning. It had taken us about 20h to get there from door to door.

The night before, we had left in the early morning, too. We needed to catch a train at 5:02 at the main station, and we hadn’t packed much. All we had was this big pile in the corner of the living room. Claudia was writing last-minute mails. I was trying to get a grip on our plans and go through our inventory. At 3:30 I got nervous and called Claudia. I had expected to be ready to leave at 4:00. We started packing in a panic rush, running back and forth between bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and the pile. I practically puked, I was so tense and feeling so helpless and late and everything seemed so big. There was a key to mail, a card to write, the power cables to pull, the plants to water, we must have forgotten something. We left the appartment running. The trip had barely begun and my knees were already shaking.

Our flight to Paris, our wait for the next flight, and our flight to Mumbai was uneventful, long, and boring.

At Mumbai, the previous plane would not leave gate 19. No display listed our flight. The attendants walking arround kept telling us to go to gate 19, but there, our flight was nowhere to be seen. It was supposed to leave at 3:30. We arrived late. We had trouble at customs filling in the immigration forms they had not given to us on the plane. There was more form filling a bit later, too. The Indians seemed to love multiple checks and forms.

I changed CHF 200 at the airport. The smallest bills we had was an INR 10 and an INR 20 bill. When Claudia went to the bathroom at the airport to spray some insect repellent on, I thought that maybe she would be asked for some money, so I gave her the INR 20 bill. When she entered the facilities, she was followed by several cleaning ladies. They must have thought that her perfume smelled awful.

The women seemed not to know of what we call “Höflichkeitsabstand” – the minimum distance one should keep when being polite, about 1m for men, a little less for women. Claudia was tired, jet-lagged, confused by their babbling and anxious to get out, so she gave them the INR 20 bill and immediately regretted it when she saw the silent awe in their faces.

She left quickly.

At the airport we were welcomed by AlokSingh, Jenny, AadityaSood, and V, who had a flower bouquet for us. That was sweet. We went outside and the early morning air was grey. Aadis and Tiger promised to come arround in the evening and we left in Alok’s oldtimer. Only much later did I wonder whether he was driving an old Ambassador. It felt very weird to sit in such an old car. We didn’t know how common these old cars were at the time.

We slept until 15:00, then we went for a walk along M. G. Road. Later Jenny told us that practically every Indian city has a Mahatma Gandhi Road – M. G. Road.

Later tonight, Aaditya, Vaishalee, Noufal, and Harsha came arround and we small talked a bit. They wanted to know about out plans, but they were very vague. Mysore and maybe on to Kerala, basically. When they left, I distributed most of the 3kg of chocolate we had brought along.

Alok doesn’t like chocolate. He has the Emacs logo tatooed on his shoulder.

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