India - First impression and a bit of cultural shock

A couple of months after I received my visa, everything was booked and prepared I was ready to set up on a trip to India. After 2 flights that took about 10 hours I and my friends finally landed in Hyderabad. From there, we were going to take another (domestic) flight to Visakhapatnam - our first destination. When the door of the aircraft opened, I reminded myself about all the stories I had read on the Internet and was wondering what my first impression would be. And... to be honest, nothing exceptional, no big crowds, no thousands of people, no smell, just heat. It was very hot indeed.

 

Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam

Airport bus in Visakhapatnam

Airport bus in Visakhapatnam

Crowds in Agra

Crowds in Agra

One of the streets in Agra

One of the streets in Agra

A train station in Visakhapatnam

A train station in Visakhapatnam

A statue of a Hindu God

A statue of a Hindu God

 

After getting off the plane, safe and sound, we were taken to the main terminal by a shuttle bus. It was very old and almost falling apart, there were many fans inside but none of them worked. The airport terminal was old but not exceptional. After another but quick security control we got outside. I didn't notice crowds of people, and the surroundings reminded me of southern Europe a bit, nothing that different from what I had seen before. My friend was already waiting for us with a car to take us to his place. We drove into the road leading to the city and from then I did start to notice the difference. I was prepared to be shocked but reading theory is always different than experiencing the reality in practice. When you are there, stuck in the traffic jam, hearing all the horns from every direction, looking at masses of people appearing literally from everywhere, cows in the middle of this mess and no driving rules whatsoever your jaw really drops. You begin to wonder whether you are in some kind of different, parallel universe? Is it all that you are seeing for real? Or just a dream?

 

One of the temples in Agra

One of the temples in Agra

Huts in the very center of Visakhapatnam

Huts in the very center of Visakhapatnam

 

The ride didn't take too long and soon we got to my friend's home. It was afternoon and the heat was getting more intense. After a light meal we went to the bedroom to lie down for an hour because of the exhaustion caused by the 11 hour journey. And when we sat on the beds, a power failure occurred. Air conditioning and fans stopped working and we got the impression that the world sank into silence. There was just the heat slowly falling from above on us. In India, power cuts are common and in Visakhapatnam there was one almost everyday between 1pm-2pm.

My first impression of India was a complete shock but I had a feeling that it was going to be the most adventurous trip I had ever had.

 

Messy street in Mathura

Messy street in Mathura

Contrast between old and new

Contrast between old and new

Train air-conditioning

Train air-conditioning

 

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