Delhi Jam

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well, where do I begin.

India is sure a place that can turn you upside down, and this means a lot if you can say that after a single day.

After arriving yesterday night I basically told myself to accept everything and try to be openminded, since it's another culture and that's why I'm here to begin with. So it began with a crazy pickup ride from the airport through the wall of sounds and smells, the masses of people and animals, expected and the unexpected.

A father taking his four kids on a motorbike ride on the highway? Why not. Must be in a hurry or something.

This morning after waking up it took me a while to focus on what I had actually seen. Was that a cow? Definitely it was, my first cow! I just need to open the window in order to see more.

The day didn't start very well anyway, all these flights are beginning to wear me out to the point I no longer plan activities or things to do, just going out for a walk waiting for the interesting parts of the place to jump at me.

You don't do that in India.

Don't get me wrong, the sights and colours are amazing. It's definitely heaven for a photographer.

Then they came, let's call them experiences. Stepping on a squashed dead rat, stumbling upon people staring at you like you've got three eyes, simply walking around doing your things and having people coming to ask you to take a picture with them. It's all India, good and bad.

Why is the Red Fort closed? It's closed for real, the guys approaching you weren't trying to scam you (about that).
Why is the metro so unbelievably tiny and crowded? Because you walk and experience Delhi on surface, silly tourist.

Around lunchtime I gained back some sense and went to the Jama Masjid, a beautiful mosque located right in the middle of Old Delhi. Again some people wanted to take some pictures, considering the place I agreed and I paid back the favour by taking their pictures as well, promising to email them later.

This is actually a great tip if you're visiting India: it's difficult to take pictures of strangers (I just don't if their faces are clearly visible as a sign of respect for their privacy), and this creates lot of problems when you just WANT to take that photo of the shrine with the beautiful group of veiled women on the background.

No need to worry though! Just wait until they STOP STARING AT YOU and snap an anonymous shot of their backs.

Another suggestion is to "use" the people that are asking you for a picture of themselves: simply focus on their faces with your camera, then broaden the zoom far enough to capture also the scenery of the aforementioned group of women around the shrine. If you send your subjects toward them and take a picture, bingo! You've done a good action for the people that asked you a photo, and also to your karma by not invading anyone's privacy.

Or you could just walk to them and tell them "stop looking at the camera you stupid woman and turn on this other side", but that would make you a terrible person.

Anyway, later I had the chance to take some shots of my current neighborhood and I hope to show you some quality images later tomorrow. Time for some delicious food that I don't really understand.

One last thought: when using the local transportation (and by that I mean those poor guys that take your fat ass around the city by bike), be gentle and leave a tip.
These guys have a hard life and you can afford paying 50 eurocents more, especially if you've gotten stuck in the middle of the markets surrounded by a hundred of trapped locals that have no other activity than staring at you.

And don't be the idiot that gives money to the begging kids. It's heartbreaking but you will encourage the people that abuse them. Give money to a charity fund when you come back home.

See you tomorrow folks
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