I’m in India! A country that is an absolute three-dimensional assault on your senses. It’s a beautifully infuriating place made out of wonder and chaos that can shock you in one moment and delight you in the next. Unlike anywhere else on the world, a trip to India is always an adventure because there really is nowhere else in the world quite like it.
I’m only here for a short trip, little more than an extended stop-over on my way to Europe really, but even for a few days, a trip to India is worth the trouble it takes to get here. In fact, that trouble isn’t quite as troublesome as it once was. Just last month the country started an eVisa scheme whereby foreigners can now fill out a (needlessly complicated) online visa application and avoid the need to go to the trouble of visiting an Indian consular to get a visa.
It was all a bit last minute, in fact I only booked the flight to Delhi two days before arriving, but as I stepped out of the relative calm of the airport and into the Indian heat, I knew it was worth it.
I’m couchsurfing in Delhi and was met at the airport by Nitin, my 36 year old host. We wandered out to his motorbike where we placed my luggage precariously between him and I. Without checks or apparent concern on Nitin’s part we ventured into the traffic and began the half an hour journey back to his apartment where I would meet his wife, Kajal, and their 3-year-old son Carvia.
That motorbike journey is the subject of today’s picture. It was by no means a gentle ride! Regardless of the luggage that I was holding onto while also trying to hold onto the bike, Nitin tore through the traffic weaving wildly between auto-rickshaws, buses, cars, cyclists, trucks, other motorbikes, pedestrians, and even cows! While I desperately hung on Nitin sped along smoking and often texting too! We blew through several red lights and switched to the wrong side of the road numerous times. It was, as I expected, an interesting start to my return to this crazy and wonderful country.
Nitin’s place in the Dakshin Puri Extension, south of the center of Delhi, is a basic Indian residence that will certainly give me a taste of ‘real life’ here in Delhi. That’s what I love about Couchsurfing, having the opportunity to experience the world from a local perspective, seeing the life of a place in a way that a hotel stay could never give you.