Monday, April 11, 2011

India, the land of Chai

Hey All!  I have been there, back again and now I'm finally sitting down to write.  Today is beautiful here in Guilford, the sun is kind of shining and it's 70 degrees!  THIS is the weather I was hoping for when I came back from India!  Honestly, I've wanted to blog, but I've had some computer problems and I just haven't known what to say.  I still don't know how to put into words all that I saw, felt and experienced over there.  There were times when I thought I had stepped back centuries into another time period, then someone would walk past me on their cell phone and I would be reminded that I was still in 2011!

photo taken by Emily
I think that for the next few weeks I'll be writing different posts about my time over in India.  That way you don't have to sit at the computer reading one HUGE post, you can simply sit down and read it as if it was happening day by day! :)  Blogging would have been possible over there, but I really wanted to soak up the experiences while we were there!

The Flight:

The flight was very interesting.  Our first flight was from JFK to London.  It was a very empty flight, which was wonderful.  Asa, Emily, and I all had a row of 5 seats that we stretched out on and attempted to sleep most of the night.  Our second stop was in Bahrain. This was the place that caused us most stress before the trip, people were calling us making sure it was safe for us to go and I was really worried.  We got through Bahrain safely though it was very  oppressive.  Emily and I felt naked compared to the women who were COMPLETELY covered there.  Another bit of culture shock was when the Prayer time came and their prayers were broadcasted over the loud speakers.  It just felt erie to me, and not understanding what they were praying was just a completely different experience.
photo taken by Emily
 The total duration of the flight was around 23 hours.   However because the time changes we actually lost time and got to India 1 and 1/2 days after we had left JFK.  We arrived in India at 7:30 am and promptly went through customs, got our baggage, and headed outside to wait for our ride.   We weren't very tired, just extremely happy to be at our destination.
photo taken by Emily
photo taken by Emily

We had our first welcome to India in the airpot.  While waiting for Conrad and his future brother inlaw we girls sat on the bench and Asa was wandering around.  Pretty soon we noticed a sheik openly staring at us.  He was dressed in all white and popping out of his pocket was a very large knife which was, no doubt, sharp and dangerous.  His gaze lingered for about 15 minutes until Asa's protective side kicked into gear.  Asa stood a little taller, stuck out his chest a little further, and promptly placed himself between the sheik's gaze and Emily and me.  WELL the match was on, it was clear that this sheik was not going to let some white boy spoil his view so he moved to a new spot and started his staring once again.  Asa quickly stepped up to the plate and intercepted the stare with a look that could kill.  The dance between the two went on for a while until the family of the man had gathered and were ready to leave.  Meanwhile Emily and I were having FITS that this man was going to get upset and do something serious, as you can imagine our gaze was fixed on the knife in his pocket! :)

The first thing we learned while we were there is how important it is to serve their guests and make them feel as comfortable as possible.  The second lesson, Chai is a STAPLE!  When you go into a house or even into some stores the first thing that is offered to you is chai.  If you decided that you wanted Chai they would scurry off to the kitchen, boil up chai and be back with a tray full of little tea cups to serve you the steaming beverage.  The hospitality our dear friends showed us was beyond ANYTHING I have every experienced.  You would hardly be in the door and they would ask if you wanted chai or if you were hungry?

photo taken by Emily edited by me
Chai was the ONE thing that I actually learned how to make and that can actually make just about as good as my dear Indian Family!!!  If you find some loose tea you should definitley try the recipe out! Since I've been home coffee hasn't tasted good to me, but I still love a good cup of Chai!

One Cup Recipe of Chai:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 TBS sugar
1TBS loose black tea

Heat water and sugar until boiling and then add the milk and tea.  Boil all together until creamy color, strain and ENJOY!  (this recipe is for a LARGE cup of chai)

The rest of the first day was spent trying to get adjusted to India time.  As you can see when Asa wasn't asking a MILLION questions he was catching up on some much needed sleep!

Tomorrow I will fill you in on The Festival of the colors, also know as Holi.


Emilyyy said...
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Keep You Lid On said...

Ohhh, you have left me wanting MORE! Can't wait to read about Holi and you other adventures. The Sheik experience had to be so scary. I probably would have passed out from nerves! I am definitely going to try to make chai here. Will make me feel like I am enjoying a little part of your trip with you!

Naomi Wipf said...

Erin, I read this post like four times already; and I have to admit that I love it every time, I want to go to India...And i want a cup of your chai, I know if I'd try making it, it just wouldn't be good...=( love you !