Thursday, November 15, 2007

Aerosvit Airlines (motto: fly with us and sit next to religous guys with beards and cool hats)

alternative motto: the stewardesses may be mean but at least the food and beer is cold

Tessa and I had a picture perfect departure from NYC to Kiev. My friend Wen-jay made us pancakes and pouted that I was leaving her. We got to the airport right on time and got on the plane early enough to stow our carry on bags. We were surrounded by Orthodox Jews on their way to Tel Aviv who completely ignored our existence in the Orthodox way. Instead, they talked to each other alot. This appeared to mostly consist of complimenting each other on their awesome beards.

Sitting behind me was a nice older Ukrainian man living in New Jersey driving trucks and complaining about his lazy kids. His seat mate was the one who made me sad. He really only talked about one thing the entire flight: how much he hates Jews. No reasons, just like a bully in a school yard. Putting someone else down to make yourself better. The large amount of free vodka and beer did little to silence his tongue though he never did work up the courage to tell Tessa his true feelings for her which he had shared with me.

We got to Kiev to find out our flight was three hours late. The promised food vouchers never arrived and I got some sandwiches from the first Irish pub I have ever seen that didn't have Irish people working there. We met a nice kid from Brooklyn who is going to UP (Uttar Pradesh, the largest and most populous state and the one I'm in now) to teach English. Unfortunately, his first stop in India is the hospital so he can have an operation on his newly formed hernia. Well, he couldn't have chosen a better place to do it. Medical tourism is booming here.

The flight to New Dehli contained a large population of Candian Sikhs on their way to Punjab, the location of the most holy site in Sikhism, the Golden Temple. The man to my sister's right bore a striking resemblance to a brown David the Gnome with the kindness to match. He didn't speak any English but he was grateful when my sister opened all of the food packages that he couldn't with his arthritic hands.

The couples to my left started asking me questions about the customs form and then we managed to talk about our plans through their broken English. You could they were warm people who you could simply trust. It seems that the Sikhs have a reputation for that in the country: Hard working and honest people. If you don't have a place to stay in India, just find a Sikh gudwara and they will put you up for the night.

It took awhile to get off the plane because of all the kids but we didn't mind. The children here are like the women in Russia: they're all so beautiful that its bewildering how it's possible. Our ride was waiting for us at the exit of the terminal with our names on a sign (my first time for this, I feel a little bit more like a man). It was a pleasant young man named Ashish who just finished his business degree in Bangalore and wants to get an MBA at Penn State next year. He didn't complain about the extra hours of waiting and wouldn't even let me pay for the parking fees. I met his dad at a fund raising dinner and he immediately offered to let me stay at his place when I arrived at Dehli. The Indian hospitality knows no bounds.

Now I'm staying in their beautiful house on the outskirts of Dehli in the UP. There's 11 in the house tonight: Ashish, his mother, the maid, me, Tessa, 2 pugs and 4 new puppies. And now, I should sleep instead of write. It's 5 in the morning and all I'm doing now is making it harder to adjust myself.


Debby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

Hi guys, im Dave-Michael Sears brother from Pennsylvania. I live over in West Bengal studying history of asia in university 3 hours north of kolkata. If you are in the area give me a shout. Also send over your email address if you can, ill send u some interesting information for travel in india.

Enjoy your trip, my email is

and facebook David Sears

Duckette said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
netpost said...

Yo Lex!

Nice job on your first entries. Very entertaining and culturally intriguing. If you come across any 'cow dung' tennis courts please document for TennisTIP nation (video is appreciated).

Critcial note: I do have one concern in your title of your blog. Shoudn't your subtitle refer to the noun 'Sherpa' in femine as your 'Sherpina' to reflect your sister's gender? I would hate to see you bump into someone from this Himmalyan tribe with internet access who might take offense. This might transalate here locally to picking a fight with an Amishman.

Signed your Googling Wikipedia Know it All Pontificating Cousin,


netpost said...

ps. check that: 'sherpani"

Colin said...

You come across better in writing. I'm very excited for you and can't wait to get all the real details through a medium that your mother can't read! Good luck Brother!

Kurt said...

"You come across better in writing.' Very accurate statement. Hey Lex, I finally found your blog. It would appear you like your posts like you like everything else: extremely large. I will be spending the next 72 hours of my life skimming them for funny anecdotes and recipes for curry. Also, you are keeping track of "strangers that want to take a picture with you". Couldn't you have tracked that stat in the States?

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