Thursday, 23 January 2014


OK. Let’s get down to work!

Oh, my! India! What a country! That is what I thought when I landed in Hyderabad.

The minute I arrived there I got the impression that it was the most chaotic country I’d ever been to! (And I’d visited quite a lot! But all of them were ‘developed’ ones!)

The first difference with your country (whichever your country is) is the traffic. That’s a nightmare! There were cars, buses, autos, rickshaws, motorbikes (millions), people and animals everywhere! A tourist guide I once had in one of my trips around India joked about that. She said that in Spain people drive on the right, in Britain on the left and in India it’s optional! And she was right. They don’t stick to a lane. And what do they do to get their way? They sound their horns! That’s it! That simple! So, you can listen to honking all the time (day and night)! It’s deafening!
So, what if you want to cross the street? You don’t have to look to one side. No! You have to look everywhere! Then either you close your eyes, pray and take the risk of being run over or wait for ages till you get the courage to venture it! The first time it took me like 30 minutes to cross a double lane street! People came and went and there I was, waiting for my opportunity to walk across! And the funny thing is that a traffic cop was there, pretending to be working, to be doing his job! I can’t help laughing when I recall it now. Later I learnt how to do it. Everything in India has its method. You just have to become familiar with it!

When I arrived there I was afraid of being driven (in a car because of an accident I had when I was younger, and on a motorcycle because I lost an important person in another accident) so you can imagine how I felt when I got in a jeep. At the beginning I just freaked out, but finally I thought, ‘OK, if I’m dying in a traffic accident it’ll be here!’ And one thing was being driven in a jeep by an apparently responsible person, but on the next day I had to get on a bus. Oh, my gosh! That IS an experience! There were like 150 people on a bus for 55 passengers, plus sacks, bundles, animals and some men on the roof! It took us like 7 hours to travel 275 km. We nearly ran two cows over, we had a race against a boozy lorry driver, and we stopped like 20 times in the middle of nowhere because someone or the other wanted to pee!

And the worst part is that the traffic just shows what the society is like: utter confusion!

The second thing that shocked me most was the heat. It was the beginning of August so, supposedly, it was not the hot season. Well, if that was NOT hot, then what would be? The weather in Vijayawada is especially humid. A solution would be to have the air conditioning on all day long. But what happens when the electricity is cut off for 4 hours a day? The answer is easy: you sweat like a pig! And when I say YOU, I mean YOU! Because Indians don’t! I was told it’s owing to what they eat. I’m not sure, but I can swear they don’t sweat at all. Some weeks later I didn’t sweat either, so it’s possible it’s due to their diet.

Another concept that perplexed me was their timing. But about that I’ll write on another occasion.

Have a look at this video where you can see what the traffic is like (I've seen up to 6 people on a motorbike:

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