A Travellerspoint blog

My first days in India

Pune

sunny 22 °C

The first days of my trip lay behind me and, as expected, Im so far enjoying myself a lot. Before my departure everyone kept asking me if I was nervous, but somehow I didn't feel nervous at all, not even when I got on the plane. The weirdest thing was that the journey was the complete opposite from how my travels usually look like: I was more than on time for my flight and for once I didn't even have to worry if I would pass the baggage control due to considerable overweight. Moreover, instead of passing out even before departure, I was fully conscious for most of the time. Probably due to the fact that I got served proper food and drinks for free on both flights. Truly amazing :)

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What is more, I had 3 times the space I usually get on Ryanair flights.

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On the plane I started experimenting with my new camera and one shot I took is quite funny as it shows me and the third eye. The more spiritual among you, will know what that's all about.

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After hours and hours of travel I finally arrived in Mumbai.

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My dear friend Roli and her husband Darshan picked me up from the airport at about 4:45 am. Here they are trying to sort out the cab they had prebooked.

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Reunion after 18 month

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Roli and me finally got on the cab to Pune at around 6:30 am. Even though I was dead tired, I couldn't sleep. Too many things to see. I think everyone was annoyed by my touristy behaviour :) It was cold and very very loud and sooo stinky and instead of enjoying the comforts our airconditioned nice cab had to offer, I kept opening the window to take pics and videos. Here are my first impressions of India. Taken early morning on the way from Mumbai to Pune. I took such great videos but, unfortunately, they're too big so I can't upload any of them :(

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This song that played on the radio during our journey. I had heard it before and asked the driver to put the volume up. It's my favorite Hindi song at the moment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZWrltQLTzE

We had a break in between and Roli got us a coconut for breakfast.

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At around 10:45 - after more than 24 hours of travelling - we finally arrived at Dershan's and Roli's flat in Pune. And as if made for me, upon arrival, I saw this sign.

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Final destination: BED!!!

Everyone told me that one of the most shocking things in India is poverty. So I prepared myself for it mentally. However, I was still a bit shocked to see slums in between blocks of houses. This is the view from Roli's apartment building.

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At night, I had my first Indian street food - Uttappa served with coconut chutney on a banana leave - sooo yummy.

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And then we did some vegetable shopping at the night market. Quite different from the places I usually get my vegetables from.

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Next morning - we didn't wake up till about 12:30 - we had some proper Indian breakfast - chai, poha, upma and a very spicy coconut chutney.

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After that we went out to explore the city. Here are some pics.

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As you can see, some things are quite different. Even in big cities as Pune (5,5 million inhabitants) it's completely normal to see all kinds of animals laying or running around the streets. I was half amused half shocked to see how dogs were running around main roads, crossings or even round abouts. And I can tell you that Indian traffic is MAAAAAD! I thought traffic in Italy or South America is crazy, but not since I have seen how it works in India. Nothing goes without horning, absolutely nothing. It's like treading the gas pedal. Therefore the signs on virtually all bigger cars.

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You can't even imagine what a challenge it is to cross a road. I saw plenty of zebra crossings. However, they don't seem to mean ANYTHING here. I had a video of that, too, but again it's too big. I make a smaller one soon to show you. I said to Roli that if I happen to finish my trip without having been involved in some kind of traffic accident I can be really proud. Let's see...

After strolling around for a while, we decided to head to the market to look for jewellery for Roli's wedding. My first riksha ride, what an experience!!! I also made a video of this, but again its too big to be uploaded :( This pic which I saw on the back of a riksha later that day is funny when you consider how Indians are driving, especially riksha drivers.

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Here are some pics I took on my first riksha ride.

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When we arrived on the market Roli found a nice belt in one of the first shops.

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And she instantly had a little admirer.

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It is common in India to put some black kohl (kajal) on babies foreheads, as in this pic, or around their eyes to protect them. When we went to an ATM to withdraw some cash, there was an old men sitting on a chair in the corner, counting his money. Next to him stood his bag, a little power rangers suitcase :) I thought it was sooo cute...

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On our way home, Roli noticed that she had lost her wallet - something that should actually have happened to me, the tourist. We went back to see if we can find it somewhere but no luck. Fortunately, she didn't carry a lot of money and no one had used her credit card. Back home I tried the kurti I bought to keep a low profile, but it was too tight for me. Instead, it suits Roli all the more.

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After that she showed me her wedding dress, a sari, a traditional Indian dress. She looked stunning! But see yourself, the bride to be:

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By the way, the wedding date was changed AGAIN. It seems that it's gonna take place March 23. But as I can tell by now, Indians are very "flexible" so let's see how often the date will still change... I just hope I'm still gonna be here for the big day. Next day we did some washing. This is an Indian washing machine.

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At night we went to get an Indian SIM card for me. I didn't know something so simple as getting a SIM card can be soooo complicated. Incredible!! You don't even want to know how long it took me to fill out all the paper work and get all the documents the lady in the shop requested. We even had to get her a copy of Roli's and Darshan's electricity bill. Check out how an Indian copy shop - called Xerox - generally looks like.

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After that, I felt ready for pami puri. Diego's friend Ambar had told me about it and I soo wanted to try it. However, Roli had told me to wait for some time as it is made with water. She was concerned that I might get sick. The third night in Pune Roli finally gave her ok.

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Knowing my eating habbits, Roli made me promise to have no more than 1, but after trying the first I simply could't stop. They were soooo good.

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After that we had something called dabeli.

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Roli explained me that it was less risky cause it's made without water. Then I dragged her to the next shack where they served Indian burger, a speciality from Pune. It didn't look very promising but it was so delicious. It is made with coriander and pomgranate and has a sweet-spicy flavour. Yummy!

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After we had finished our street food tour Roli was very concerned that my body would not be able to handle all that street food at once and that I would get sick. However, I was totally fine. The one that got sick was her. Poor Roli suffered a kind of food poisoning. It took her 4 days to recover.

Posted by Maria Schiewek 17:19 Archived in India

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