Tuesday, 17 April 2018 – Day 5: Delhi, India (28.7041° N, 77.1025° E)
Swaagat and Namaste…hello from New Delhi the capital of India.
It has been a long morning/afternoon repositioning ourselves from Taiwan to India, doing a lot of airport line dancing and gaining two-and-a-half hours as we did in the process. Later earlier. And yes, I said two-and-a-half—they do things differently here in India—as any one who has been here can attest.
The regal grande dame of Delhi – The Imperial. They do colonial well here…
Old Business: We have gone over all the peer reviewed TPE Leg (Par 3) scores…(Scavenges completed & strategic Bonuses) and here are the results:
6th – The Buckeye Terriers
5th – NOLA Second Line
4th – Team Tuna
3rd – Leo & The Crab
2nd – Sonoma County Strong
1st – SLO Folks (who kicked butt doing 2 BIG Bonus scavenges)
-congrats all on finishing the 1st leg…you now know how the game is played!
Three-Things I Learned from the Taiwan Leg: 1) People like surprise; 2) People are really nice to other people when strangers are trusted and asked with a smile; 3) SLO Folks are on a mission. Is the 3rd time their charm?
Teams are out and about on a 2.5-day scavenger hunt here in the Triangle area of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. It will be a mildly difficult Par 4…because after all it is India and things won’t be as efficient as urban Taipei was. Patience will be the key word here; that and water and sunblock-it is 100 out! …we are certainly not in Kansas anymore!
Teams have 5-Bonuses to choose from (Taj Mahal, Jaipur), a couple all-or-nothing Team Challenge, and more than 70 items on the India list, including…
-Taking a 4-hour Indian cooking class
-Practice morning yoga with a yogi master
-Crashing an Indian wedding
-Attending a Hindu cremation ceremony
-Visit the busy & crazy Chandi Chowk market
Indian humanity abounds…
The ten-headed Ravana Vahana…
India is not just a place. India is an altered state…for those open to it; and not all are. India is a drug that pulls you back in, again and again. I, myself, am an India junkie; because, India is equally irresistible and repugnant simultaneously. Travelers can easily develop a love/hate relationship quickly. I am in love; and when I leave India, withdrawal symptoms eventually occur. India is everything, and more, all at once. It is sensory overload. It is a visual explosion. It is organized chaos. It is humanity in all its glory, frustration, despair and hope. Life and death, poverty and wealth, sacred and secular, peace and violence, traditional and modern, heaven and hell, are all always seemingly within every sight-line. It defies logic. India is bursts of sunlight and hundreds, nee, thousands of curious gazes. India is the home of chess, pi, the decimal system, yoga, cotton clothes, meditation, quadratic equations, non-violence, zero, the world’s largest film industry, it is the largest buyer of gold in the world…and there are as many Muslims in India as in Pakistan…and of course, India is the world’s largest democracy–and my personal favorite: home to over 40-varieties of mangoes! But make no mistake, India is so very much more than just the old cliche land of turbans, monsoons, mustaches, palaces, flying toilets, mountains, blinding-colored saris, bougainvillea, lumbering cows, and marigolds…India cannot be described–it can only be experienced.
India can inspire, horrify, enlighten and astonish you; it is utterly heartbreaking from moment to moment. India is all about serendipity as the best laid plans quickly go by the wayside as you inevitably are challenged with adventurous detours, unavoidable mishaps and life unfolding chaotically right before your eyes. You cannot fight India and expect to win. All you can do, as conquers and travelers before us have done for centuries since Alexander the Great, is ultimately just embrace India. I suspect this will be a life-changing experience for some of our travelers…it always is.
But most of all, India is personal, real personal; there are no canned experiences here because each and every one of us deals with India differently. Every traveler coming to India has their own personal Darjeeling Limited experience. Some will embrace it. Some will be repulsed by it. Some will fight it. Some will be overwhelmed by it. But each and every one of them will react to it…and differently. I have often heard it said that you either love India—or hate it. And that is indeed the full spectrum of emotions India evokes. But until you experience India personally, face-to-face, you don’t know India. And even when you have visited many times as I luckily have…you still don’t know India. That is why I keep coming back here, over a dozen times to date!
So, today and over the next few days, we will all be trying to get to know India a little better. Good luck…you’ll need it!
We will see the teams again on Thursday night at our 9:00PM leg check-in time…
I am out on a art hunt…