After a ridiculous series of delays and miscommunication, I finally made it to India. Today was my first full day in India. Started the day with some masala chai (Good God, I missed that stuff.). Then went to a coffee shop for some real food. Roamed about the area for a bit. Got passport photos taken so we could all get cell phones. Waited about an hour for our phones in a super cramped shop as a beggar girl slowly crept down the steps toward us.
Then went to World Media Academy headquarters to meet a few of the journalism students there and to see what their facilities were like. Then went out for lunch.
Next we all hit up INA Market so we could photograph mini-stories in 45 minutes.
Met a super nice guy there named Brian who was buying spices to take home with him. He’s a culinary student who’s been interning at Naandi in the Himalayas for two and a half months. He’s been spending the last part of his trip in Delhi with his “adoptive” mother. I was most interested in what he had to say about how people in India get very close very quick. I’ve discovered that a lot of my friends who have traveled to other countries notice this as well. A friend who went to Chile came back wanting to kiss everyone on the cheek when she would leave. One of my friends who traveled to Germany even had her host mom cuddle with her while watching TV the first night she was there.
Personal space in other countries is more different than it is in America. The girls here, for example, link arms so they don’t go astray. The guys hold hands as a sign of friendship; they’re not even afraid to snuggle up close when riding on the back of a motorcycle. That’s definitely something you wouldn’t see in America. But just an observation.
After INA, we all got dressed up to head to a dinner we hosted for our contacts. Definitely met some awesome people. Ekta was fantastic and will be able to help me on both of my stories (slums near train tracks and child malnourishment). Met a few other people who will be able to help me as well. Mostly, it was just nice to be around Indian people again and to talk.
Looking forward to seeing what the next few days bring.