As we enter terminal 5 at o'hare airport.... all the kiosks are empty.... except for one airline which has a looooooooooooong twisting line of people. As we near closer, the colors pop from saris hidden under winter jackets, beards are in full effect, and a unique smell starts to envelop us. We approach the line, hear an announcement... "The flight has been delayed for 4 hours." I turn to look at a little old woman who grins with big glasses and yellowing teeth as she says, "WELCOME TO INDIA!!!!"
and our adventure begins.
After finishing 2 years teaching english in the JET program in Sapporo, Japan... I decided to head off to India where I will study yoga and meditation for 3 months in Rishikesh with my friend Stephanie. After that, there is no set plan. I hope to travel, find a volunteer opportunity or two, hike the himalayans in Nepal, and see what other opportunities pop up.
Before even touching down, I have already started to fall in love with India. As we were in line for tickets, we started chatting with a family of 8 cute roly poly elderly Indians. Within a few minutes they invited us to attend the week-long wedding they were going to. I realllllllllllly wanted to jump on that opportunity, but we are meeting our yoga teachers from Japan in Rishikesh on New Years Eve. shucks!!!!!!!!!! (later, while waiting for the toilet on the plane, another mother invites me to her sister's daughter's wedding)
Indians, like Japanese, are very friendly. The difference is that Japanese are timid and shy to approach you at times. This is NOT the case with the Indians we have met so far. As we sat waiting for our flight, two Air India workers approached us, chatted us up, gave us tips for traveling in India, offered to help us find volunteer opportunities through their relatives in India, and even told us to go stay with their uncle. hahahha... One of them even found me on facebook... they sure work fast and are NOT shy!!!
One big difference between Japan and India is the food. We were given "tasty peanuts" and some orange juice after taking off.... and the spice hit me full throttle. I was hiccuping out of control!!! The choice for dinner was vegetarian or spicy chicken. I opted for vegetarian which was deeeelish but had a huge kick to it. After eating Japanese rice, sushi, sashimi, okonomiyaki, soba, etc for two years, my spice tolerance has decreased dramatically. I need to re-train my tongue!
The 14 hour flight from Chicago to Delhi flew by... especially since we had our own TVs with unlimited bollywood music videos and films. I can't wait to learn how to shake it like the bollywood stars!!!
We got our first bollywood lesson from the cab driver who blasted his music and shook his stuff as he weaved in and out of cars, tuk tuks, people, and even a cow or two.
Off to bed...... tomorrow we are off to Rishikesh!!!!!