25.01.2016 - 25.01.2016
Prepare yourself, I'm going to blow your mind. Potentially even if you've travelling in India before. India gets cold. Like freezing. Like people dying on the street from exposure cold. Reports say there were 7 people that did the day I arrived.
Before you say, well the information is out there Kayleigh, you can't complain that you weren't prepared for the weather - I did my research, I checked forecasts (shame on you 'reputable' BBC), I knew Pakistan, Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries got snow and I think I just generally assumed this was because of mountains and altitude. Not just because 4-6 degrees is normal in Delhi in winter and I should expect fog so thick that the sun doesn't even get the chance to peek through.
So here I am in India for my winter sun adventure, with a bag full of t-shirts and shorts, freezing my bag-ingo off.
Flashback: I remember on announcing to people we were planning on going to Russia in the winter, people said why? It's freezing - but I can't imagine the country any other way. So that's why I had to go in winter, I had to see it covered in snow, littered with people in fur coats and stilettos looking like they are stepping out of a Bond villain lair.
India was the same, well, I guess more the complete opposite. You expect India to be perpetual summer. You expect colour, smell, flies and an oppressing heat. So it goes against all my previous understanding to see people in jackets and hats, all collecting around garbage fires lit on the street, the only bright colours are their tightly wrapped scarves around their faces, in a futile attempt to protect themselves from the cold.
After arriving in Delhi we spent the day traveling from temple, to mosque, to monument only to find everything closed because of potential terrorism threat. Delhi is hosting the French President for a day of National Celebration on Jan 26th - but there are so many concerns for his safety, all these attractions have been closed to ensure the threat is controlled. A bit of a shame, but hopefully we will be able to go back on our return to the city.
I am currently writing this, wearing every layer I own, in a non heated bus, with very dodgy windows heading to Jaipur, the 'Pink City'.
The road is lined with fields of growing mustard seeds, half built petrol stations and brightly painted trucks all in a thick layer of dust.
There are men communally washing, white with soap suds; camels pulling carts of building materials far bigger than themselves; and families walking hand in hand down the main road, under the harassment of heavy traffic, each family closer to perilous death.
The communities that dot the roadside are filled with open doors, temple relics in ruins and piles of bricks for building construction that can only be described as catatonic. Neither started nor finished, but just existing - like a physical representation of a potential New Years resolution.
My first few days in India have shown me stark contrasts and and constant horn honking, hopefully, in my next blog (if my fingers warm up) I will delve into these more.