We flew into Delhi and were practically spit out into the commotion and intensity of India minutes later. We took the Metro, which was brand new and had no sign of India on it, and were thrown into the real streets of India. I remember walking out the doors of the Metro and feeling completely overwhelmed with what I was seeing. The street, which was triple the size of our normal streets, was packed to every square inch of people, rickshaws, cars, and cows. The air was so thick of dust and body odor, I felt like I was swallowing each breath that I took. All within 5 feet of me I had a poor beggar child, a pile of trash, cows and women covered in saris surrounding me, a completely new world. Looking back at that situation, that was probably one of the most crowded intense places out of all of India that we traveled and it happened to be my first place visited... I think it made sure that my culture shock was set in stone.
It was really all a blur to me walking for the first time through the streets, there was so much to see and so much going on and I was more focused on staying calm and not freaking out. We already stood out being the only white tourists there and it didn't help that we were carrying our huge backpacks. We were hot, sweating and were trying to find our way on the map. Every street sign was in Hindi and I was starting to get anxiety thinking that I was going to have to stay here for the next 2 months. Everyone's comments of "Why are you going to India?" "You are going to hate it, it's so hot, overpopulated and dirty" started popping into my head. I started thinking, wow why did I ever think India was going to be so amazing, it's nothing like the videos or movies you see... it's more and something indescribable.
The first two days in Delhi I was mute. Landon would look at me and ask what's wrong and I would just be silent. The reality of everything was still settling in. I had seen lots of photos of starving children, blind women and the busy-ness of the roads in India but everything was so different being there. Looking back, it was all simply culture shock. Within that next week I felt just as comfortable as walking down my street back home!