We file off the airplane, shuffle nervously through customs, collect our backpacks, and step out into the sea of waiting faces. After waiting for a few minutes, we see my dad stride towards the arrival terminal – a familiar face in a foreign place. He steers us toward the taxi stand not wishing to repeat the 2 hour bus trip he had just endured to meet us, and off we go.
The India in my head is formed by the many books I have read – A Fine Balance, Shantaram, White Tiger, and many others. However, we were not in Dehli or Mumbai, we were in Fort Kochi, an ancient crossroads of many cultures in the 12th centuries and onwards. The city is strikingly civilized, minus the goats roaming the streets and affinity for public urination.
One of the lovely differences between Asia and India is the clothing – “Gucci” and “Prada” are (thankfully) replaced with exquisite colours and patterns of the women’s saris. Most women wear this, some covering their head and hair with a scarf, some wearing the pant/tunic combination. Men on the other hand are either dressed in a typical Western uniform – trousers and a button up shirt, or the dhoti, a long skirt that sometimes gets rolled up with the heat to become a lungi.
Internet is much harder to find here, even in the tourist district (explaining the tardiness of this post). The Indian is delicious – our most memorable meal so far was at a vegetarian place serving an Indian wrap of Indian bread, slightly crispy with a buttery sweet flavour, with paneer and vegetables. If only I could find one of those in downtown Vancouver… We also thoroughly enjoyed the pumpkin masala. The tuk-tuks here sound better than Asia, making an authentic tuk-tuk noise. My dad has joked about importing some to Vancouver and racing around Stanley Park. (Apparently they’re only $500 bucks each- anyone interested in a new business venture?!)
India – so far, so good. We have a busy two weeks of travel ahead through the South to wildlife reserves, old temples, spice and tea plantations, palaces, and will spend the last 5 days of our trip relaxing on the beach in Goa. I have yet to see the famous Indian head-wobble, though my eyes are peeled…