Tom and Liza’s Crazy Chinese Adventure and First Days in India

Our quest to leave New Zealand and finally make it to India began at 3:00 AM on the 1st. The Auckland airport is about an hour out of the city and our flight left at 6:00 AM so we had to leave really early. We were so nervous about getting to India that neither of us slept the night before, leaving us exhausted all day. Our first flight was from Auckland to Sydney. We flew on LAN airlines which, if you don’t know, is like Latin America’s #1 airline. Everything was in Spanish so there were a lot of confused Australians and Kiwis. Liza and I slept through that flight so it wasn’t too bad. We had a couple hours in the Sydney airport so we had breakfast, and that’s when I posted the New Zealand slide shows. Then we had a flight to Guangzhou, China. I was really nervous because our layover was only an hour long to begin with, but then our flight was delayed by 20 minutes. The flight was really long and I couldn’t sleep so it was not fun at all. To makes things worse, Liza was asleep the whole time so I didn’t have anyone to talk to or anything. When we landed, we had to hurry to catch our next flight. We ran all the way down the hall to the international transfers desk, and the guy working there said our flight was delayed until tomorrow morning. “Great,” I thought, ” Now we’re stranded in China.” The guy handed us some papers and said to fill them out and stand in a line. We did, and when we got to the front the person working at the desk looked at our papers for a long time. Then he was talking to people on the radio and clicking on the computer. It didn’t take very long for the other people who were supposed to be on the same flight to India to get through the line. Plus, now, they were all following somebody down another hall, making us even more worried. Finally the guy told us there was something wrong with our passports and to take a seat. We were freaking all the way out at this point, and nobody would tell us what was going on. Luckily there were more people who were supposed to be on that flight so we weren’t alone, and after a while the guy gave us our passports. It was weird because he never actually did anything with them. He didn’t look at them, show them to anyone, or anything. He just kept helping people in the line. Finally a lady came and told us to follow her. She led us to a guy, the guy led us to a bus, and the bus started driving us out of the city. “Great,” I thought, “now we’re getting driven to the middle of nowhere in China.” Finally we got brought to a hotel called the Holiday Villa. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t in the greatest neighborhood. Luckily the people at the hotel had things under control. They gave us a room, some rice for dinner, and told us there’d be a bus back to the airport at about 6 the next morning.

Finally, after what may possibly have been the craziest night of my life, we made it to India. The driver was waiting for us at the airport, which was nice. Then about 15 minutes in Liza told me to tell the driver to pull over. I did, and Liza got out and started throwing up on the side of the road right next to a big pile of garbage that a cow was eating. The drive to Jaipur took about 6 hours and was terrifying. There are no traffic laws here according to our driver. There were cars driving into oncoming traffic, cars on the sidewalks, and people swerving every way to avoid traffic. We made it to the volunteer house in Jaipur and went to bed. The next day was much better than our first day in Ecuador. We ate and went shopping. Liza needed to buy some traditional Indian clothes. Our orientation went well too. We’ll be teaching English and computer skills after school, and working at a daycare center during the day. It’s in the town of Palampur near Dharamsala in the Himalayas. The volunteer coordinator said she had trouble finding host families so we’re actually staying with her parents! They’re great! Only they don’t eat meat or speak English. The food is great, though, especially coming from New Zealand. I’ve eaten a ton and haven’t gotten what my doctor called “Delhi Belly.” Our host family is going to teach me how to cook so I’m excited. The only problem is that we’re in the Himalayas, and its winter so it’s like 45 degrees and the house has no form of heating whatsoever. There also isn’t a shower. Just buckets and a hot water faucet. I think we’ll manage, though, we always do.

India isn’t that far off from Ecuador. It’s a little more poor, though. Like in Ecuador, you can’t flush your toilet paper, but in India there is no waste management so bags of slightly used TP are piled up everywhere. Then when the piles get too high, they burn it. It smells great! The other difference is how crowded  it is. There are a lot of people everywhere. Even in our small town in the Himalayas, it’s crowded. We are, just like in Puyo, Ecuador, still the only white people in town!

Sorry there isn’t wifi, just an internet cafe, and I forgot to bring my camera cord so I’ll post a lot of pictures next time!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeannie on February 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Sounds like an adventure for sure!! And I have no desire to experience it!!! Poopy piles of TP all over, ishy!!!! I hope u and Liza stay safe and dont get dehli belly!!! What doesnt kill ya, makes ya stronger!! Love u boy and cant wait till u get home!!
    Love Gigi

    Reply

  2. Posted by Nancy Rions on February 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I’m glad you made it safely to India sounds like another great learning experience. Uncle Tom has shown us some videos and told us stories of the way they drive in India, sounds pretty scary, so I’m glad you made it to your destination safely. I’m glad you like your host family, maybe you’ll learn a new language while your there. I can’t wait to talk to you in person again. Stay safe and don’t go hiking alone in unknown terrritory.
    Love, Nana

    Reply

  3. 180 million people speak Hindi, but India has 1 billion+ people so Hindi will only get you so far. However, the last person that stayed with our host family left a book on Hindi so I’ll see what I can pick up!

    Reply

  4. […] while traveling, missing a flight led to a much more enjoyable situation than the one that was originally planned (click on the blue part to read about the other time something like this happened or just click […]

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