After all the madness in China, now I have arrived in the place that is famous for its differences to us. I mean no disrespect to India in my descriptions, but if you have never been here, it is impossible to truly understand how it really is.
My only short way of explaining India is “COMPLETE SENSORY OVERLOAD”. The air is thick with pollution and in many places indescribable smells of food, people, and who knows what else. There is never a moment that a horn is not honking, and the traffic is like none you have ever seen. It is almost anarchy. There seems to be no rules at all. Just cars, bicycles, motorcycles, tuc tucs everywhere. (a tuc tuc is a three wheeled taxi made from motorcycle parts) Everyone is going in opposite directions and I wonder where it is that they are going. It is aggressive and my recommendation is to trust the cab driver and look straight ahead. After all the driver does this every day and has lived this long without incident.
Anyhow, I arrived in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and took a cab to the southernmost part of the city where I stayed at my friend’s house. It was like an oasis from the madness in the street, and I had a good night’s sleep since the next day I had to fly again to another city.
The next morning we left together for the domestic airport and had a nice flight north 300 kilometers to a city called Vadodara (formerly known as Boroda). We visited a factory there and even though this city is much smaller than Mumbai, it is still like a hornets nest of movement. Imagine having to stop every few miles so that the cows can get out of your way on the roads or because a street market started in the middle of the street that you want to rive down. Every glance you have is a new image that you may have never imagined existed before. I also visited a Hindu temple with my friend to see how they pray. I admit that i know little about their faith, but it is fascinating to watch. I will have to read a little to understand better. There is a lot of bell ringing, chanting, and flower placing.
After a good nights sleep I had a driver drive me for 5 hours to a city called Rajkot where I have meetings today and a return drive. The long drives on the highway are amazingly eventful. The roads are OK in most places, but the mix of vehicles, cows, and even the occasional camel make it so surreal. Many scenes of these old trucks make me think of scenes from the post holocausts images of movies like Mad Max. Imagine an overloaded truck with passengers seated on the roof as it hurdles down the highway or a small farm tractor on the highway pulling a trailer with 30 people sitting inside to go who knows where. India is not a place for the faint of heart, but if you can get past the inconveniences, it is a rich place to see with wonderful people. You also need a box of Imodium if your stomach is not used to exotic cuisine.
I am on my way to a meeting then it is off to the highway again. I am glad to be arriving home on Friday.
-- making sawdust....