Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
26Trip End Oct 03, 2009
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Where I stayed
Vikas' and friends' pad
Vikas was a grand host. I had no idea what to expect in regards to how he lived....he lives very well! He has a very spacious, new flat with 3 bedrooms that he shares with 2 friends, huge lounge, 2 balconies and a cook and a cleaner....typical bachelors. I felt like i was staying at the Ritz, i had my own room (his room) with my own ensuite bathroom and my own balcony...i was loving it. His neighbourhood was full of high, fancy apartment buildings but then there was also a huge contradiction as is evident in all of India...some wee slums as i'll call it. There weren't very many but there were still some very poor peeps. Living in simple, thrown-together shacks/huts/tents made from whatever is found - plastic, bamboo, wood, metal -right in the midst of all the affluent residences, if not beside.
So needless to say i was quite comfortable in Vikas' home and neighbourhood, except i was the only white person so staring was still prevalent. I went for a few wee wanders around and was happy with that as my first day when i went into the 'city' was challenging and again frustrating. This is the first city where i have actually known someone yet this is the first city where i have constantly got lost, confused, upset, frustrated. I took a rickshaw, 40 mins, to get into the city after Vikas' roommate bargained real hard to get me the proper price (as soon as they see a white person even with an Indian, the price is hiked right up). I mooched around, shopped a little and met Vikas for lunch. There wasn't a lot to do. Then getting back to Vikas caused more problems...i took a jam packed bus for a hour that i thought would get me quite close to his house. It didn't and it didn't stop where i wanted it too and then i just ended up getting completely ripped off with a rickshaw and they didn't know Vikas' address (even tho i had it written down)...blah, blah
Saying that, Vikas and his friends couldn't have been kinder. We had dinner every night, compliments to the chef, roti and dhal one night. Then the other night, it was Vikas' bday so there was sort of a party which was interesting. All of a sudden i was sitting with 20 other guys, all talking Hindi, with aboot every 20th word english, drinking beer, laughing. I just took it in. I like how they were talking Hindi and not talking english on my account...it was true to their party, true to the experience. Then rice and chicken was served and i was made my very own special version that wasn't spicy...how lovely!
It was great to see how a 'local' lives...even if i wasn't necessarily roughing it, on the contrary actually...but i was still able to experience a true life in India.