India welcomes us with its warm and humid air. We are so excited to put our first steps in this land! Hyderabad is the first city to see and practice some survival skills. We take it easy and stay for a week in the conservative Muslim district, where there is absolutely no tourists nor white people.
How moving it was to cross the Tolichowki market street all the way down for the first time, drink green coconut water, bargain the prices with the local vendors, go on the crazy road with the rickshaw and jump into the running bus.
I have never expected that a simple walk down the street can bring so many emotions: you need to literally live in the moment otherwise you bump into the vehicle, stool, cow, camel, dog, sleeping person, poop, burning trash or someone will just place his kid in your hands in order to take a picture.
People here are lovely: always helpful, sometimes cunning (but as long as you are careful with the scammers all is fine) they stare at you, the whole street freezes when you pass, they are curious and shameless. The way they look at us is friendly, always shiny eyes and smiley white (or red from “pan”) teeth.
Great fashion for red dyed hair makes them look rather hilarious together with the omnipresent love for Bolywood stars. At the beginning we can’t understand their English and very often there is the great confusion “emm did he say yes or no?”. For confirmation they wave their head in the horizontal 8 number.
We visit the first Hindi temple where we get invited for a meal by a local family. Lemon rice places itself for the best food eaten so far.
Life flows slowly in most of the places, big cities are busy and crazily polluted. Being white puts you in the position of a rich person, whatever outfit you have.
Our Greek host Stepanos makes sure he shocks us the best he can, so we are ready for the trip around India. The first few hours we are here he orders mutton’s head and he consumes its eyes, seperates teeth meanwhile throwing useful advices and tips about the country. This, few butchers’ shops and many colorful little chickens I see the other day turn me (Ania) vegetarian.
So little by little we extend our comfort zone, we adjust to the local (outstanding) food, we go through infamous Delhi-belly…
…and we slowly getting ready to hit the road!
Thank you Stepanos! Ti kanis !