For those of you that have never tried Yoga, Namaste is a traditional Indian greeting. When you visit India, you have to expect the culture shock!
I am probably the most adventurous person I know and I will go to great lengths to get myself out of my comfort zone. When I landed in India a few days ago, that theory was really put to task. I have been mentally preparing myself for months for this part of the trip as I knew it would be the roughest. Little did I know, there would be nothing you could do to prepare yourself for this place. India is not for the faint of heart, it is a destination for the seasoned traveller, unless you plan to spend it in a luxury bus and at the large North American hotel chains. That, in my opinion is not really seeing India. I choose to stay in locally owned hotels, eating where the locals eat and shopping where the locals shop. The images I have captured so far are unreal.
Yesterday, I woke up at 4:30am in order to catch my 6am train to Agra and the Taj Mahal. In speaking with some of the locals, I found out that the Taj is closed on Fridays and managed to arrange a local to drive me all over Rajasthan to see the main sights I came here to see. In doing this, I also arranged a flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Add another country to the list!
Anyways, after arranging all of the details in Delhi, I was taken towards The Pink City (Jaipur) by my driver Goyal. Being in a car in India is about as nerve racking as anything I have ever been subjected to. I have been in many near death experiences and adrenaline filled moments in my travels, but nothing has EVER compared to this. The only rule of the road in India is that there are no rules. Lines on the road might as well not be there and I think the traffic signals are meant to be taken as suggestions. Horns are constantly used, not for anything but as a way to let someone know that they better move out of the way as you are coming through whether they like it or not. I captured some video of this madness and I will have to upload it so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.
Aside from the driving nightmare, I am thoroughly enjoying myself here. The local people are extremely friendly and will smile and wave at you all day long. If you like Indian food, Rajasthan is the place for you! My dinner in Jaipur this evening was at Chokidhani, a replica of a traditional village with live dancing and music. I was served a delicious seven course meal and had only my hands for utensils. It was an experience I will never forget.