A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

Thursday the 5th of November – day 10

 

In the relaxing atmosphere of Pushkar our trip entered a new phase: being on a holiday. At the beginning of our trip, we had a busy schedule every day in Dehli. And in Jaipur we had to be aware and active all the time, while staying at with our hosts. But now the schedule has become more individual and therefore we have gotten more freetime. For example today we had the opportunity to go on a mountain hike with Mette, Ask and Signe or having an afternoon for ourselves. Some went shopping or just relaxing at the pool.

 

(Billede af pool)

 

Being able to have very different experiences has not been possible indtil now. Therefore the not only the atmosphere of the surrundings has changed but also the atmosphere of the group. But is the individuality of the experiences benefitical or not? That is the question that makes the balance in the trip schudule hard to find. Because we are different as indivuals and therefore we have different perfriences and priorities. Some like to have fixed schudule. Others would perfere there to be no schudule at all. Until now the fixed schudule has almost always won out. However during our stay in Pushkar the balance has stifted to the side of a more lose way of dealing with our schudule. We sleep in. We have an entire afternoon to ourselfves. We have teachers going for mocktails and dancing with the students. We have an informality not seen before. Whether this change in balance is good or not is a personal perference. But the different experiences in the group do make for good dinner conversations.

Posted By Martine, Ingrid and Sara

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Day 10 – 6/11

Last day at the hotel in Pushkar
Today was another great day!

We woke up early in the morning with 25 camels waiting for us outside the hotel. We were going to have a 3 hour long trip on these animals. Although it was a great experience, we can tell that a 3 hours long trip on a camels back, made our ass cry. After the lovely camel ride, it was time to relax. We ordered lunch at the hotel and enjoyed the pool and the sun.

Now it was time for dinner and after that it was time to buy the last souvenirs and gifts. That meant time to negotiate with the sellers. So with a long list of stuff to buy, we went down the street trying not to get killed by motorbikes or cows.
When we finally found the right things, it was time to haggle with the cheating sellers. In India the way to shop is to haggle. If they say 4800 rupees the real price may be about 800 rupees or less. So it’s very important that you are able to get the price down, or else you would end up buying something too far over the real price.

The culture in India consists in a certain degree amongst people which makes every man for himself. That means that if you are able to cheat a little bit more money out of a tourist or an Indian you will do it. Even though it’s about a little amount of money as 20 or 30 rupees, which is 2 or 3 kr. Should you discuss about 20 rupees?
The first answer would be no, because 20 rupees don’t mean the big different when you buy something for 180 rupees. But if you would like to experience the way the Indian people trade and live, you have to discuss about 20 rupees.
Today Emil was standing in this exact situation, where he had to decide, however he would take the discuss with the seller about 20 rupees, or just leave it with that and pay.

The thing was that Emil had an agreement to pay 180 rupees for some earrings. Then Emil gave the seller 200 rupees. The sellers afterwards refused to give him change because he said that the price was 200 rupees. Emil tried to point out that they had an agreement on 180 rupees but the sellers kept saying that the price was 200 rupees. Emil then left without further disagreements.

So, although there are a lot of cheating sellers in India, and the fact that you always have to be aware of not being killed by cows, motorbikes and cars can make the life a living hell sometimes. India is a nice country. It has a lot to offer, and if you are able to contain and accept these conditions, you will have just as awesome a trip as we had.

Posted by Emil, Jonas og Mikkel

Ten things I wish I knew before I went to India

Day 7

Today we had to leave Saint Xavier’s and our host families. We attended our last Indian assembly and said our goodbyes and then it was off to Barefoot College, a pratical school for women who cannot read or write. The women are taught both independence and craftsmanship for their own and their village’s benefit. It was truly inspiring to see these women do their best to learn and acheive despite their poor backgrounds.

The days spent with our host families were absolutely amazing. We saw Indian life from a whole new angle. All of these new thoughts made us realize, that despite spending multiple lessons studying this fascinating country, many things in this land have surprised us. We ran around with red dots on our forehead, never really knowing what they did or why they were there and greeted everyone with the word “namaste” despite  the fact we had no idea what it meant. Here are the ten things we didn’t know about India

  1. After a visit to the toilet, they use water hoses

There’s no toilet paper. Only a hose. We have no idea how they use and we’re not interested in finding out. #DontWannaBeTestSubject

  1. From a plastic bag to twelve bathrooms

The streets of India are a strange place. In the left side of the road, there might be multiple million-dollar maisons placed neatly side by side and on the right side of the road, there might be a family of eight living beneath a bag of plastic.

  1. Cheap, strange food

If you’re a coffee-lover, you better bring your own beans. Otherwise your early mornings will be hell to get through. The food is extremely hot and spicy – even the breakfast. However, if you are the type that like hot food but usually can’t afford it, India will be perfect for you. You can easily eat three dishes for less than 50 kr..

  1. Sweat, bathe, dust

You’re constantly surrounded by – and covered in – dust. It’s in the air, it’s on the roads and it’s on your clothes. The hot weather doesn’t really help either. You sweat. A lot. We have never in our lives had to take so many showers, but that’s the price you pay for 30 degrees celcius in October.

  1. Men get touchy

There’s not that much more to it. Stay near your group and it won’t happen so often.

  1. Animal welfare

They may be ‘holy cows’ but their treatment is far from fit for a god. They roam around in the street, constantly having to dodge scooters, tour busses and cars. And the most  surprising thing of all: this all happens in plain sight. The scooters just drive right past the cows; apparently having to manuver past a cow or two on the road is quite normal for most Indians.

  1. HOOOOOOOOOONK!

If you don’t like the sound of a car honking, then you shouldn’t go to India. In Denmark, if someone honks at you, you will think about it for hours, and perhaps even take it as an insult. In India, honking is used as a means to tell people you’re there and thus the streets of cities as well as the countryside are full of honking. Also, if you wanna cross the street, you just have to walk and hope you make it to the other side.

  1. A snitch in every class

Formally they’re known as ‘prefect’. Their job is to walk around, inspecting their classmates for everything from their socks to their nailhygiene. These students get special perks. They also wear a name tag with the title ‘prefect’.

  1. Their kindness

Despite the conditions that some of these Indians face on a daily basis, we have been greeted with nothing but smiles and open-mindedness. Everyone is eager to talk to you  and for that we are very grateful. We endorse everyone to travel to India!

As you may have noticed, we have only made nine points on this list. This is to illustrate the fact that things never go as planned in India.

Posted by Maiken, Emma V og Anna

When people get near you

Day 4

After staying one night at our hotel in Agra we were ready to leave and looked forward to see Taj Mahal and fatehpur Sikri. Besides seeing the amazing Taj Mahal we had a very bad experience with our guide who were there to tell us about Taj Mahal. He talked very cruelly about several of our classmates and was very bossy and insulting. Either way it had no effect on how bright and how big an experience it was to se one of the greatest place on earth.

We learned things about Taj Mahal, for an example we had been told by the guide that the four columns held a bit away from the main building of Taj Mahal, so that if an earth quake would come, it wouldn’t destroy any further. We also had been told that when the the Sun reflect on the carbs it shines like a Diamond. Last but not least Taj Mahal was build as a gift to the wife mumtash (the Beauty of the crown) from Akbar.

On our way too Jaipur we went to see fatehpur Sikri where we meet a child who made an impression on us, since we had seen a lot of children living in poverty our heart could not stand for his charming way of connecting with us. The main cause was that he did not ask for money, but only for a little chit chat, that later on became a business of earning money. He told us about the place and the several languages that he had learned from tourists visiting the temple. But after walking trough the assembly he showed us carved materials that were pretty expensive compared to other boutiques. We jumped in with both our hands tight on our back and bought the expensive stuff after bargaining for a while. The little boy got some tips for being such a service minded worker who was not employed.

Then we headed to the families who were going too host us. Right from the start we could see a big difference between the Indian and Danish culture. The families were very polite exited too host vs the Danish people who were less exited. They were also very grateful to have us sleeping in their beds. They had different food habits from what we were used too. Actually they served very hot, spicy and a major amount of food. But still we received gifts for taking up place and they were eager to please us as guests since they always wanted too help.

Greetings Christina, Sofie and Hanna

Too hot

Blog – Day 7
3/11, tuesday, seventh day in the hot surroundings of India and our last full day with our Indian hosts. Today, we learned an important lesson about dehydration and the hot climate of India.
The day started of with breakfast where we got everything from toast with butter, to spicy potatoes, naan bread, and cereal with hot goat milk. Then we went over to the school and joined the fancy assembly, which surprised us, because of all the formalities, like students checking if your shoes was shiny enough or whether or not you were wearing white socks. Anyway, afterwards we had “Art of life”, where we learned to meditate and focus our minds. After school we went home to the families. Most people had private chauffeurs but some took the bus and some even got a ride on a scooter. With the families we ate lunch and gave our present, which we brought from Denmark.

But the day was mainly focused on the “Indian Tivoli”, which was an amusement park with traditional India things, like traditional dance and swordplay. The whole park was covered with sand and fancy small houses with different activities. And here, on the brown dirty sand, the highlight of the night happened. William Strøm Ludvigsen chose to faint in the dirt, face first. The heat and lack of water took him by storm, and before he knew it, he fell hard on the ground and was blacked out for almost a minute. For this special occasion, we interviewed the man himself. Moments after the fall, William wakes up in a bed, with 20 people looking at him with disturbing eyes. He was shocked, not only by the black out but also by his dream. This is how William himself describes it: “I’m lying down and everything is white. I can see a light in the sky. It is the sun. Suddenly a woman appears. She is wearing a traditional Indian sari. She bows down to me, and reaches out with her hand. That is when I wake up. ” After William wakes up, he is covered with sand and his head is pounding. The main man Ask checks him for concussion and takes him to the restaurant. Afterwards one of the waiters brought us some water and garlic naan and told us about the importance of having a good supply of water because of the hot climate in India.

After this, we all learned that you should drink at least 3 liters of water each day, to stay hydrated, because the climate in India is very warm. It is around 30 – 45 degrees in the summer and 20 – 30 degrees in the winter, which is why you need to stay hydrated at all cost, all the time. Anyway, the whole class and the Indian hosts ate at the restaurant, with a brilliant and delicious buffet. Everyone had a great day and was happy about finally get some meat due to vegetarian families. Today was a good day.

Posted by William, Victor, Jens, Nicolai

Contrasts

We woke up this Saturday morning to find our selves completely exhausted and in lack of energy. We were leaving at 9 am and we had till 8.45 to check out of the Intercity Hotel, the hotel we’d been staying at.

We were preparing for the long trip to Agra, which lasted a little over 5 hours, but we had to see a little sightseeing first in Chinese style, because we saw a lot of things without stopping and getting out. Instead we sat in the bus watching, listening to the tour guy talking about the different sights. At around 10 am we stopped at a shopping place for the more privileged family men and women, this is where we had our lunch break where Jens from our class got his shoes cleaned by a little child and ended up getting tricked, but then at one clock we took the bus onwards.

While we were shopping we noticed the contrast between the privileged places opposite to the poor places in Delhi. The pollution is way different just a few miles from where pollution shadows the sun it’s almost as if the poor can’t even afford a trash can to leave there trash. We noticed a big difference between the street outside the presidents house and the slums of Delhi where you can barely see the streets, well enough on that. We went to a mogul emperors tomb, they told us there were 150 family relations buried in the same temple, we arrived to find a lot Indian kids running and yelling which was really fun cause they just didn’t have any boundaries, they only had fun.

Then the long ride came, we were in the bus about 5 hours with only one stop and not much to do other than have a great time together, we laughed and singed, played games and so on which made the trip a lot more interesting. Now we sit in the Hotel Rama in Agra and are writing this to you merry bunch! We are having a lot of fun and this is probably the biggest experience of all our life and we appreciate every minute of it.

See y’all later

Posted by Luis, Elias and Marcus

Paying it forward

It started with the bus being an hour late, but that is India for you – you never really know what to expect. We first went to Amar Jyoti, which is a school for both disabled and nondisabled people. We were given a tour of the campus by the staff, and had some time to play with the kids. Afterwards we went to meet the founder of Project Why, and she told us about her background and motivation for starting the project. She grew up in Europe in a middle class family, and was shocked by the inequality in India after her return. She felt like she wanted to change this, and founded the project to help the kids of the slum get a better education and get the chance to be kids. After hearing her speech we went to visit one of the schools she has founded in the slum.

Both projects are very depended on donations. We ourselves have worked to earn money by doing jobs like babysitting and cleaning. With the donations from the teachers at Gefion we raised about 12,000 DKK altogether, which was divided between the two projects. Although it sounds like a lot of money even in our ears, it means more down here. Other than the money we donated some backpacks and toys, which we used to play with the kids. We danced, played soccer, drew with chalk and did magic tricks.

It felt really good to know that we made a difference in their lives, not only with the money, but also by playing with them, and giving them attention. The smiles on their small faces were priceless and the whole experience made a huge impression on us.

We have also experienced a lot of beggars on the street. It is heartbreaking to see small kids who are forced to beg on the streets to survive. They come really close and grab our arms for attention. Even though we want to help the individuals that come up to us, we can’t be sure where the money will end. They could be used to buy drugs or end up in the wrong hands, and not benefit the poor kids. Giving them money could also give them the impression that begging pays off, and that will keep them on the streets.
That is why we have chosen to support the projects instead, because we know the money will be well spent, which we have experienced today.

Poster by Mathilde, Frida and Emma H

Structure in

We arrived in Delhi at midnight after a layover in Munich. All of us went to the immigration to get our passports checked and of course we went to the line for foreign passport holders. Here we had our first encounter with the Indian culture – unstructured ways. Some of us were directed to the line for the Indian passport holders, and went through quickly, whereas others waited up to ten minutes at the counter. Luckily the reason for this was because of friendly chitchat. We found our guide for the tour and went with our bus home to the hotel in Karol Bagh, where we finally went to bed.

 

The next morning we went with the bus to Raj Ghat. On our way we discovered the Indian style of driving. The rules are simple – there are no rules. They are only a recommendations for their own safety. Although two rules are clear. 1) Honk as much as possible. 2) Drive when you want to. These unofficial rules are an everyday event for the people of Delhi. For a foreigner this system might seem overwhelming and crazy but for the locals the systems works.

 

But there was a slight change of plans. The president was visiting the memorial Raj Ghat and therefor we were not able to go there. This was again, a perfect example of the unstructured Indian culture.

 

After a couple hours of walking around in Old Delhi we went rickshaw biking. It seems like the rickshaw drivers believe that they are as small as mice and can get through every loophole. We experienced a lot of negotiation in the form of yelling, which would be their way of communicating and discussing the current traffic situation.

 

In Denmark we follow the rules strictly and obey them without any questions. In India they do as they feel like. So if they want to close down a national memorial because the President spontaneously decides to make a visit, they will do it. If the rickshaw drivers want to turn right, when the option is left, they will do as they please. This is the Indian way of surviving in the unstructured city of Delhi.

posted by Julie, Anne-Sofie, Emma F og Louise

Itinerary

KBH       Departure     28.10     08.55     LH 2441
MÜN      Arrival           28.10     10.35

MÜN     Departure      28.10     12.10     LH 762
DEL       Arrival            29.10     00.10

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DEL       Departure     08.11     01.50     LH 763
MÜN     Arrival           08.11     05.50

MÜN     Departure     08.11     06.45     LH 2440
KBH      Arrival           08.11     08.20

—–

Hotels:
29.10-31.10
Hotel Intercity
17A/42 W.E.A.,Gurudwara Road
Opp. Jessa Ram Hospital
Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
Pillar No. 98-99, Karol Bagh
New Delhi-110005

31.10-01.11
Hotel Amar
Tourist Complex Area
Fatehabad Road
AGRA – 282 001
Phone: 91 – 562 – 4027000 to 34, 2331884 to 89

01.11-04:11
Private accommodation

04:11-07:11
JAGAT PALACE
Behind Ramdwara
Ajmer Road
Pushkar- 305022
Rajasthan, India
Board: +91-145-2772001 / 401 / 953 / 954