12/28/10 - The Trip Begins

In December 2010 and January 2011, three friends traveled across India: Shobhana Chelliah, Tricia Cukor-Avila, and myself.  All of us are professors at the University of North Texas; I am in anthropology while the other two are in linguistics.  

Each of us provided particular knowledge or skills.  Shobhana is originally from India and contributed an invaluable familiarity with the country.  Traveling without her would have been a million times more challenging.  Tricia was our “staff photographer” – she took amazing pictures of our experiences.  All the pictures on this website are hers unless otherwise noted.  My own modest contribution was to keep us organized and provide travel-related information.  I was the one who read the guidebooks, created summaries of our schedule, managed financial records, and so forth.  I also played a role in encouraging us to take the trip now, after we had been talking about it for years.

We used an Indian travel agency to coordinate the trip, and as a result, our travel was quite luxurious in some ways.  We always had a car and driver, and often a tour guide. 

We flew from Dallas to Chicago, and then on to Delhi.  The flights were all on time, which was lucky and surprising, because a huge blizzard on the east coast had led to hundreds of cancelled and delayed flights.  As our plane rose into the sky, Tricia started things off on a funny note by giving us fuzzy socks for the flights.  The Chicago-Delhi leg took about 15 hours and we tried to sleep as much as possible.

We arrived in Delhi at about 10 p.m. local time.  The airport was not much different from what you would see in the United States, and the international arrivals process was if anything even more efficient.  Once past Customs, we were greeted by Sandeep Singh, our travel agent.  He took us to our car and driver – and gave us chrysanthemum garlands!

Then we drove to the hotel, where we collapsed in exhaustion.