We are now in (New) Delhi, India. We arrived on the 4th of April after a great few months just hanging out in Malaysia (which I still need to write about, hopefully soon). We have hooked up with an NGO here called "project WHY?" Don't ask me what it means because I don't know.
Our initial introduction to India was great. No hassles at the airport and a great hotel for a great price on our first night here. We got such a good nights sleep. We woke up in a neighborhood in central Delhi where the narrow streets are filled with poop and mud and trash and cows wandering around eating the mixture of poop, mud and trash and motorbikes and tractors are swerving around hoards of colorfully dressed people who all dress like they are straight out of the 70's. The 3 -4 storey buildings that lined the roads each have their own individual architectural style. Wonderful.
After our single night stay in a touristy little area we got in touch with the project creator named Anou and set up a plan to meet her at her house. On the way we met a man named Romeo who was very helpful and even offered to let us just rent a room in his home for the three months we are here. We went to check it out but found it was too crowded. That seems to be a problem here in India. I have never seen so many people in one place before. On a 30 minute walk back and forth from Anou's to Subway (yes, the American sandwich chain) I estimated that I saw 3,000 human beings. That's too many. How can I possibly get to know all these people and memorize their names.
We are now staying in the home of the project creator as I mentioned. It is a 3 story mansion in the Chirag Enclave which is, from what I gather visually, a very wealthy neighborhood. We are staying on the second floor in our own spacious room with satellite cable, an attached bath and a king sized bed. The home has a styling that makes it seem like it was left over from British occupation, though it was build much more recently. It has high ceilings, many sitting and music rooms and multiple marble stairways so you never feel like, "Ugg, THIS stairway again!" The decor is sort of Old Fashioned World Traveller. Many paintings and photos of Prague, a hall full of African relics, another hall fill of Indian portraits. In the music room there is a giant tiger skin rug tacked to the wall next to a black and white photo of the tiger laying dead in the grass near the proud hunters.
Anou's husband Ranjin recently quit his job to pursue his life's dream. Can you guess what it is? That's right! He wants to open his own air cargo shipping business. Don't worry, I didn't guess it either. However, as of yet he has not opened it so he can be seen coming and going throughout the day in an assortment of different outfits suited to his activities. A fancy smoking jacket, a golf outfit, a Quality Lubricants polo and slacks. I was confused by the Venetian gondola paddler outfit but felt it better not to ask in case the real answer was less exciting than my own imagined answer. He often sits in the music room and plays the piano. The music washes through the old house and drapes everything in a sort of forgotten era feeling. He is a great piano player. Mia threw me under the bus and said that I also play piano so he spent an afternoon trying to get me to play, but I only know like a third of one song and I can only play it with the notes taped on the keys so eventually he gave up.
We also have 4 full time servants in the house who clean our room, cook for us, do our laundry, and will perform any other task you may need. Do you need some tea? Just yell, "TEA!" at the top of your lungs. Same with, "TOAST!" If they don't have the ting you want in the house it will be there within ten minutes. If it is something more complicated just yell the name of the servant who best suits your needs. If you don't feel like getting up off your bed to plug in your laptop with the dying battery yell, "DE-PAK!" Depak will arrive shortly and plug it in. Don't feel like dressing yourself? "CHO-PRA!" She get the job done.
Andy, the recently self appointed volunteer coordinator, took Mia and I out on our second day here to the Baha''i Lotus temple near the house. It was a very impressive temple when we first toured it... but then we went to the visitor center on our way out and watched a movie on how they built it. This thing is like 150 feet tall and looks like a giant marble lotus flower rising from the ground, totally hollow in the center, surrounded by pools of water. Turns out they built the whole thing using tools like a stone tied to a stick and just a plain stick with no stone at all. The movie of it under construction looked like a 70's film about the building of the great pyramids or something. Wowza!