I finally had time to start uploading pictures from my India trip, so I am going to start writing about my experiences in India. Hope you guys will enjoy it as much as I did!
To start off, the primary reason I went to India is for my friend, Harsil's wedding. I went with a friend of mine and his cousin who just graduated from uni and wanted a break from the academics. We decided to stay there for 2 weeks so we will have time to check out some places around the location of the wedding as well.
The plane ride was long and tedious. Since we went for the cheapest tickets, we had to go from Toronto to New York, then get a cab to CHANGE airports in New York, take a 16 hour flight to Doha (in Qatar), and then finally the last flight to Ahmedabad (in Gujarat, India). We got there at around 2am in the morning. Thankfully Harsil's sister arrived there several weeks before so she picked us up and we went straight to the hotel for some sleep. Harsil actually left on the same day as we did, but he was on a different flight and was going to be arriving at around 5am.
The journey starts on the next day. We woke up pretty early since once the sun comes out, all we heard was constant honking from the vehicles outside. It was pretty chaotic since we came from the quiet suburbs back home. After getting dressed, we went outside to wait for our friends. Little did we know, we forgot to factor in IST (Indian Standard Time). So basically we were told to wait outside at 8:30am, and we did, but waited outside until 10am before we saw our friends arrive in the little auto ricksaws. We thought this was an isolated incident, but as we found out later, IST is applicable all the time LOL!
Oh and the ricksaws...our first ride on them scared the crap out of us! There are basically no traffic rules, we saw oncoming vehicles constantly and vehicles going in ALL directions. The lights at the intersection are constantly flashing yellow, so there's no need to stop anytime. However, even with all this chaotic-ness, everything just works together fine. Here's a video I took while we were on the ricksaw.
I didn't take many pictures during the day because we were constantly on the move and whipping out the large DSLR is too cumbersome. This trip made me realized how much use I would get out of a simple point & shoot camera. We spent the majority of the afternoon in a custom clothing store preparing and getting our clothes made for the wedding. The store did not allow photography inside so there's no pictures from that. Although it was really fun and embarrassing at the same time because we were the only non-Indians in the whole store so whenever we put on some clothes and go in front of the mirror, everyone in the store will stop what they were doing and just stare at us. I guess it's not everyday they see several Chinese guys shopping there LOL!
After getting our measurements done at this store, we went to another store in downtown to get shirts and suits made. We did A LOT of tasks today in what seems to be a short 5-6 hours. Anyways fast forward to around 10pm at night after dinner. We headed out to a night market in downtown.
So in the morning, this place is a collection of jewelery stores. Then at night, the stalls, carts, chairs, and tables come in and form the night market. The surprising fact, for me, is that the night market opens every night of the week. It was especially packed tonight since there is a Kite Festival tomorrow which is a national holiday in India.
One of the aspects of India that was quite different for us are the dogs and cows that are everywhere on the streets. Being a dog-owner myself, it is heart-breaking to see these malnourished dogs living by the scraps. The cows are sort of scary too because they walk everywhere on the streets and we have seen them charge at people several times on this trip as well.
There were soooo many people there that it took a while to find seats for all of us, not to mention we were the center of attention in the market as well LOL!
Can you find who stands out in this picture?
After finding seats and settling down all our stuff, we went around to check out the food. One of the snacks that I wanted to try are the dosai's here. I had them back home at Indian take-out places, but I just had to try the freshly made ones here.
Mmmmm...looking at this picture is making me salivate...
The dosai's here are soooo much better than the ones back home. The thing is the ones I had back home had a nice crust, but the stuffing were cold and they just didn't mix together. These ones that are freshly prepare right in front of my eyes were delicious. They came with several types of chutney (dipping sauces) as well.
This dish here is Hakka Chinese fried rice with meatballs...this was sooo goood as well but was extremely spicy.
Here's what pizza looks like in India, the cheese here is 50% fat, it literally melts in your mouth!
We had many other dishes as well that I didn't take pictures of. Reason being, we had to eat with our hands! A regular practice in India, but several of us were hesitating. In the end we did and it was fine. That's why I put my camera away and didn't take it back out since my hands were busy the whole time.
We finished off with some road-side ice-cream which was amazingly delicious!
We left around 2am and passed out when we got back to the hotel. Even though we've only been here for 24 hours, we did so much on the first day that it felt like we were here for a week!
Next up: Kite festival!