I understand now why people say India is the best place you will ever visit as well as the worst. I landed in Delhi a few days ago and immediately ripped the flight barcode off my pack to avoid looking fresh off the plane. Walking out of the airport I was ready for a wave of heat, humidity and smells. I think I prepared my self pretty well because it was not as intense as I was expecting. What I wasn't expecting was the ridiculous amount of scams. Traffic is well pass chaotic here but it seems to work. A horn is a necessity and is almost rude and dangerous If you don't use it.
Tom and I made our way straight to the train station to buy our tickets to Amritsar. We finally get to where we believe the tourist office is and a man approaches us and informs us that it has moved and will give us directions. One thing leads to another and we are in his brothers (apparently) auto rickshaw heading to an office. 10rs, why not...
When we arrive a man tells us everything is sold out. Tom received a message just as this happened from our friend in Amritsar saying "trust no one". We left the office immediately. This little scam was attempted on us maybe 5 or 6 times. We finally got a later train on a sleeper class which worked out better in the end because we didn't have to pay for accommodation.
Amritsar and Delhi, to me, are so different. Although its still chaotic and people mob you to buy things, it doesn't seem as sinister and mean as the streets of Delhi. Our accommodation for the night was to be in the actual golden temple as a pilgrim. You can sleep and eat entirely for free. Of course there is a donation box as well. The golden temple is very important to the sikh people and they keep it immaculate. Seeing the blinding white marble and bright golden structure surrounded by holy water in the middle was completely surreal.
After walking around for a while we made our way to the kitchen where you are lead through a crowd, given a plate and bowl and shown in to a hall with hundreds of other people. You sit cross legged as men walk around dropping food on to your plate with amazing efficiency. After finishing you leave the hall from the opposite side where you hand your dirty plate to a chain of people working as an organic washing machine. Amazing to see. The golden temple feeds 60 to 80,000 people every DAY!
A lot of Indian teenagers have a weird idea of foreigners. I have posed in photos with about 20 different people for no reason whatsoever. Very weird. I have also shaken the hands of many boys and girls. After the hand shake they give me the biggest grin i've ever seen.
Before leaving Amritsar, we learn about the massacre of 1918 by there British. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls of a few of the structures.
Next stop, back to Delhi.
-i have to buy a cord for my camera so I can share some amazing images with you but for now text will have to do. :-(