Wed Feb 23, 2011
Like every morning, after a shower and a banana we leave the apartment and go a few steps down to the street. A ver narrow street with people coming home or leaving to work usually by foot. Walking to the metro takes less than 10 minutes. On the way we see a small park with few people, a vegetable shop, a candy and chips shop, a clothes repair one-man business and a hair dresser, all of them not much bigger than a telephone booth. The wedding tent that used to be there on previous days is now gone, but we’ve seen many others around the city. Half way to the metro there is a gate and a guard. He never says hi or looks at us. Right after the gate there is the elevated metro line, and some construction work going on below it. Not many people and few machines are doing the work. It looks like some workers have their families with them, including a small half naked girl sitting and playing on top of this gray powder pile. A thin woman lifts tiles to be placed in the side walk.
All metro stations have checkpoints for women and men. A guard with machine gun surrounded by piled up sand bags is also always to be seen. Checkpoints have three parts: a metal detector, someone who checks you are carrying no weapons and an x-ray machine for bags. Like in the airport. The metro is very clean. It has power plugs for recharging laptops and cellphones. It’s built by Bombardier, like the metro in Berlin. There are women-only wagons, and not many tourists. Writings and announcements are both in Hindi and English. It looks cleaner and people better behaved than in Berlin. Passengers respect no eating and no drinking. No loud nor drunk passengers. No one begging or playing music, no trash, no scratched windows. It calls my attention that there is less distance between guys, they are closer. Friends have their arms over their friend’s shoulders, in the leg, or hold hands. If a kid doesn’t fit, he may squeeze in between two people, maybe putting his hand on a stranger’s leg. I can imagine someone’s reaction in western countries if a kid put his hand on the leg of the person next to him :)
Coming from Europe, the guy’s clothes are sometimes crazy. All kinds of colors, like bright red, pink, green blue or purple. Sometimes shiny. Or combined in what I find strange ways. Sometimes they have orange or red hair. I’m sure some will wonder how can I have such a messy hair, when theirs is always nicely cut and shiny. To enter the metro station you use RFID cards which you hold near the reader. We got a 3 day tourist card for about 4 Eur that ends today. I guess we will get a new one tomorrow.