I’m experiencing major culture shock. Everything feels like such an ordeal here, whether it be a simple trip to the store or making a phone call. I don’t understand what anyone is saying, even though it’s apparently English. I am tired of having to try so hard. I can’t even figure out how my damn TV works in my room. Add to this the demands of my new job and trying to adjust to the time change and frankly I’m exhausted. I know it’s all normal and this will pass, but in the midst of it all it feels quite overwhelming. All I want to do is pet my dogs, soak in my hot tub or call a friend. But none of my normal comforts from home are available, so I write. Here are some of the things that have surprised me the most.
There is a huge gate you have to go through just to enter the hotel. A dog sniffs your packages and they look under the car with a mirror for explosives. Once they open the front gate you then have to give your bags, purse, everything to security which then takes it from you, presumably to go through it all. While they go through your luggage which are now out of your site, you then have to go through a metal detector and get wanded like you’re at the damn airport. Five minutes later they bring you back your bags. Yesterday we ventured into the city to get a local SIM card for our phones. To get a $5 SIM card you need your passport, 2 passport photos, a letter of residency and have to fill out a ton of paperwork. You would think you were buying a house!
It’s truly insane. There are no laws, or if there are, they don’t follow them. People go the wrong way down one way streets, speed, cut across intersections, make u turns, etc., all while honking. Basically honking means I’m coming through so get out of my way! I feel like I’m in a video game. I often wonder why I don’t see more road rage here.
Herds of wild boars are wandering through the city. I expected the cows, but not the pigs! Yesterday there were two GIANT pigs mating in the middle of the street and everyone was just swerving around them. I almost pissed myself from laughing so hard.
It’s way worse than I expected. In our big meeting yesterday with the customer it was hard to talk over everyone coughing. I think it’s a way of life here. My lungs hurt already. I would wear a mask but only tourists do that so you then become a more likely target of crime.
Probably 3 or 4 times a day all the electricity goes out. No one cares. Everyone just ignores it and eventually it comes back on. If you were watching cable TV, you have to wait for the guide to reconnect to go back yo your movie. It usually takes at least 10 minutes. If you are working online then you might lose all your work if you’re not careful.
Men touching each other
The men here are very touchy feely with each other, and they are straight. I would compare it to girls in grade school in the U.S. They hold hands, walk down the street arm in arm, embrace, and so on. The women don’t even do that here. It confused me at first, but now I think it’s kind of sweet.
Standard work hours
They are normally 10:00 to 7:00. I’m a morning person. I’ve woke up at 4:00 every day. It makes for a very long day!
Awesome food is everywhere and super cheap. I don’t know what it is or how to pronounce it, but it’s all delicious! I’ve been working out hard in the early hours of the morning just to burn off the calories and keep from getting fat. Unfortunately though I’ve had what we call “Delhi belly” twice already. I’m sure it has to do with germs and/or bacteria. It is a very dirty place.
India is a very fascinating country but expect some major culture shock. Give yourself plenty of time to adjust. Try to count your blessings and learn some patience. You’re going to need it!