Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Little Bit About The Culture

I am presently using this blog to update you about the “what” of everything that is going on. This is to show you a little bit about the culture that I have dived into. But when my actual travels begin, I will be updating you more on the “why” and “how” aspect than the “what” aspect of each event. The “what” will have to be there, of course, so you know what’s going on, but there will be a deeper section of my adventures being told (eventually) as well.

Earlier today my cousin, my aunt, and I went to go see the new metro line that has been and is currently being put up all around Delhi. We drove to the nearest station from my uncle’s house, called Indraprastha station. The drive there was the first over-twenty-minute drive I took in India since junior year of high school. Since I started driving in between that time, I took a little more interest in the system used by drivers in this country.

First of all, it’s right-hand drive (the driver sits on the right side of the car instead of the left). There are lines on the road but nobody heeds them. On a road with three lanes, there will be about 6 or 7 vehicles next to each other. People cut each other off left and right, back and forth, from every possible direction. Some roads seem too thin for two cars to pass each other, but they are two-way. Running red lights is commonplace. In fact, it’s almost wrong to stop at a red light if there is no cross traffic. There is every possible type of vehicle on every road. This includes trucks, vans, SUVs, cars, autos (three-wheel auto rickshaws), motorcycles, scooters, rickshaws, bullock-carts, bicycles, pedestrians, and animals (such as camels, cows, and dogs). And despite all of the seemingly chaotic organization mentioned above, there is a method to this system. You will never see anyone getting into an accident, nor will you ever see two cars in such a situation where they cannot cross each other. Or rather, you will see a situation where two cars cannot cross each other, but they will anyway. The drivers here are visual/spatial geniuses. They know exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, how much space they need to get through traffic or a particular obstruction… which explains the saying, “If you can drive in Delhi, you can drive anywhere in the world!”

Anyways, we got to the metro and rode it all the way to Rajiv Chowk, where we switched lines from yellow to blue. Then we rode it to Vishvavidyalaya… and then came all the way back to Indraprastha. The way this metro is being built (for it is still in construction) is by night completely. During the night, you will see hardcore construction going on, trucks and cranes and other construction vehicles everywhere, but the beautiful thing is that they are keeping this construction completely clean. When the construction vehicles have to leave the construction site, their tires are sprayed down with water so that they don’t trail dirt behind them when they leave. And in the morning, you will not see any construction vehicles. Nobody knows where they go or where they come from, but they are there every night, and are gone every morning. It is so impressive! As each section of the metro is completed, it becomes available for public use. This major construction is being done in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 being held in Delhi. They expect massive attendance from all over the world, so there is intense construction going on, but it is a wonderful makeover for the city. The metro itself is much like the BART in San Francisco. It is a little bit more advanced though; it even tells you how long until the next train, down to the second! I was impressed.

1 comment:

Patrice said...

i am so impressed with the descriptions you have given and the in depth details of your journey. I feel as though I am right there with you! LOVE IT!!!!!