There are a lot of uncertainties in traveling through countries where the culture is very different to your own. It provides a wonderful learning experience. But you have to learn to let go of control and trust that all will be as it should be.
Similarly to life, really.
I have been actively and consciously working on embedding this philosophy for a few years now. I’m almost there. At home. But it is easy to slip when you are in a foreign land. It requires more energy to stay the path.
I arrived in Delhi just after 12.30 this morning. It took forever to get through Indian Immigration. And it was confusing. Maybe because it was so early/late.
Tip though. If you have a foreign passport and an E-Tourist Visa, you keep walking past the section for Foreign Passport Holders right to the end for the E-Tourist Visa. And then, be prepared to wait. Processing each person takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
You hand in your passport, boarding pass and visa. You then have a photo taken (could be a scan). You then have finger and thumb prints taken from both hands. This process was heavily communicated through the international language of grunting and no smiles. A mild grunt meant you were on the right path whereas an aggressive grunt was enough to put the fear that your visa wouldn’t be approved and you’d be deported into you. Luckily, I only encountered mild grunts. Some of the passengers in front of me were not so lucky.
Especially the females.
Different cultures. Most of the roles here are filled by men. Differently to Nepal, the caste system has also been significantly more obvious here. No judgement from me, so please don’t read that into what I’m saying. Having said that, I have had to call myself on moments of judgement, but moreso the general treatment of people, especially women.
I smile a lot, am grateful for help, and basically believe that we should all treat each other with compassion and humanity, always. I struggle when I see others treated in a manner separate from my core philosophy. And the first world western woman/feminist really does struggle.
When we know better, we do better. Thank you, Oprah, for enabling me to attempt to keep myself humble.
I am a bit cranky with myself that I haven’t researched tipping protocols. I usually would have – dropped the ball on that this time. Will rectify when I can access wifi. I have been doing 10% on all services, but came unstuck on the porter last night. No idea what is appropriate.
Military personnel all throughout the airport. And security checks everywhere. I wonder if it has always been this way.
Oh, back to trusting. So, I thought the Holiday Inn, located in Terminal 3 of the International Airport, the Indira Gandhi Airport (really appreciating her impact), would be like walking distance. Nothing I read suggested otherwise. Five minute drive from the airport. The man outside the exit started to giggle at me as I incredulously asked, repeatedly, if he was sure I needed a taxi.
There is always that moment, fleeting, that you might be putting yourself in danger, and who would know. How could they trace your final steps. You know, normal fears. But also, no real choice. So, I trusted, and breathed freely when I saw the Holiday Inn sign in Aero City.
The taxi driver taught me how to say Varanasi in Indian and Sanskrit, and we talked cricket. Not that I know much about that these days, but he mentioned the Australian greats and we could communicate.
He also offered to pick me up this morning. Told me that he would be back at 8am. I trusted him.
The hotel staff, well, I think I offended them by organizing it and they held no hope that he was reliable.
I had a moment where I thought, “Oopsy,” before trusting. He said he would be here. And so I watched the minutes tick.
And at 8.03, there he was.
Have to trust. But also, have to have back up plans, and be time smart. When you are time smart, you make it to where you need to be. You just also spend a lot of time waiting.
But that’s the essence, and sometimes, the beauty of travel. It’s those moments in between the items on your itinerary. Those interactions you aren’t expecting or prepared for.