Monday, January 17, 2011

Travel Diary: India, October 1st, 2010

India. It began and will continue and likely end strangely. Sitting on the plane scheduled to take off from Bangkok to Delhi, two stewardesses approached me asking if I was indeed Carly Pifer and alerting me that there was a package with flowers outside security for me. Unfortunately package didn't make it through, so the plane took off and I will be left to forever wonder the identity of the sender. (Until now, since Mee has come forward as the deliverer, again, of kindness and friendship.)

Arriving in Delhi was brown, not only from smog but just dirt, and from the moment we exited the safety of the airport, mayhem. Luckily at that point we were still humming the Indian anthem; ding-a ding-a ding-a ding-a, ah it's hard to describe but it's a nice soundtrack to craziness. There were Indian men yelling at each other, fighting over us and grabbing at things, our things, the cab nearly hitting everything it encountered on the dirt road. Then the arrival at the hotel where seven blue collar clad clerks awaited us and stood, only staring in stupid amazement, not lifting a finger for what seemed like hours as we checked in. Connaught Place, that evil shopping mall like a maze where everyone was eager to give our location "h-block west", "c-block north", and curious of our origin, "what country?" and hopeful to lead us to a tourist office, which was a scam we already knew of but fell for (once), following a nice man with betel-leaf stained teeth giving the appearance of bloody gums. All the men are staring at me so hard even though there is nothing to see, and yet never addressing me nor listening to me. I am glowing yet invisible.

Today we saw some sights but encountered the same tireless salesmen. The streets are crazy, everyone moving, people, bicycle rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, cars, motorbikes, cows, moving in squiggle lines, weaving around, stopping, turning, and incessantly honking. It's a wonder that they get anywhere and stranger still that so many of them manage to nap on the sidewalks despite heat noise and filth. We ate our lunch today with our own dirty hands amongst so many dusty people, at once brown and beige with the clay of their earth, huge eyes always staring with the strength that has left their skinny legs. Today the men started to make gestures and mutter comments I'm surprised they know. It's a weird world but it's thrilling and scary and I'm excited for everything I'm going to see and all the things I won't be able to forget, even if I want to.

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Born and raised under the Los Angeles sun and smog. At sixteen spent some time in LA County Juvenile Detention Center, although never really learned her lesson. Moved to Boston for the classic college experience. Spray painted graffiti in the Paris Metro during six month stay in the Marais. Survived an ultra fabulous and frightening internship at Vogue Magazine while living at a nunnery in Hell's Kitchen. Lived a year in Seoul, a city which can only be compared to a Disneyland theme park. Written four hundred sixty-four words of an undisclosed masterpiece novel. Currently pondering her next adventure and also the meaning of her memoirs from an artist's loft in dirty Brooklyn.