So, Matt is India right now, New Dehli to be exact. He left this past Sunday night, and he'll get back early in the morning next Sunday. He went over there for an international debate competition with another student from John Marshall, but they will also have time for some sightseeing too. Anyway, he sent me a message, and I thought everyone might like to see what he has to say about his trip so far. Enjoy!
"India is unbelievable and not always for the good. The poverty and living conditions of the majority of the Indians is astounding. The air is so dirty with smog that looks like you are a near a fire constantly. I took 20 or so pictures today and tomorrow will be even more because we go to the Taj Mahal...I saw a lot of chipmunks but no monkeys so far. I took some pictures of the 'sacred' cows laying in the roads and we went to the India Gate (Memorial for the Freedom Fighters)...the gate was very impressive. The opening ceremony dinner tonight was very nice and really made you realize the two distinct classes of people in India. The haves and the have nots are not even close in this country. There is no middle class from what I can tell. The food was nice but very spicy...they encouraged everyone to dance but my roommate from Austalia and I were successful in avoiding it. The entire ceremony, dinner, party was outside in a very nice courtyard. I made friends today with a guy and girl from Vienna, my roommate from Australia, a couple fellas from Dubai, Singapore, Sweden, London, South Africa, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ireland, Canada, and Hong Kong. I was told there would be other American schools here and there is a team from DC but one member is Canadian and the other British...so I am the lone American in the group thus far. There are many more people to meet and mingle with tomorrow I believe. For lunch today we found a pizza place that was actually very good...Lenka and I split a pizza and got two cokes for $5. We are going to a very good market place during our Delhi tour on the 13th so I will try to buy most things then. One thing everyone seems to be struggling with is the lack of toilet paper in the hotel...they have a bidet. Everyone has complained and they should have toilet paper for us all tomorrow. Perhaps in the morning I will try to post some of the photos thus far but right now I am so exhausted that I must get some sleep. I should also mention that the Indian people are some of the nicest most hospitable people I have ever met. We walked nearly 3 miles today to a marketplace and to exchange money and we got lost twice. When we asked for directions, instead of explaining where we should go (maybe because there are not street signs) the person would walk us a good bit of the way and talk to us about where we were from. Some vendors are out to get money from you for doing this but we would usually ask a woman walking by herself and they would help and actually refused any offer of a tip. Hopefully the debate will go well tomorrow, the trip to the Taj Mahal is going to be a long one we have heard but should be an amazing experience. So apparently traffic lanes are only suggestions, as is which side of the road to drive on...we have seen multiple people driving the wrong way and buses with 15 seats loaded with 50 people. It is crazy. The streets are so dusty that you don't even recognize your shoes when you get in from walking around. I got a 2 liter bottle of water today for 40 cents...so I can brush my teeth and stay safe..."
I'm sure he'll post a long blog when he gets back, but internet for his laptop is $5/hr, so he's trying to use it sparingly. I'll try to update on his trip as I hear from him.
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