Gosh – but it’s hot!
I don’t know which sense is assaulted the greater : hearing, smell, sound? All of the above…
If you’ve never been to India, try and imagine Oxford Street (London) on the busiest Thursday night, and add into the traffic and teeming hordes of people, as many motor rickshaws and scooters till the street fills to capacity. Somehow the solid mass edges and weaves forward and moves like a giant, hooting, hissing machine. The smells that waft by – diesel, burning, flowers, drains (urine!), hot spices really do assault the senses. It’s airless, clogs the nose and mouth and yet has an intoxicating and unsettling appeal. Keep your arms in as the rickshaw zig-zags and stop-starts through; or you’ll lose one.
There are tower blocks, here – maybe 20 storeys – plenty of a/c shopping malls but the hordes of moving people, the choked and heaving streets (let’s not forget the cattle!) ensure you can’t forget you are NOT in a sterile, controlled western city. Every other building holds a restaurant of some kind, and a mobile phone supplier. I watch with heart in mouth, as telephoning pedestrians (and I) skip between the twisting traffic to cross the road, jumping the cracked and broken paving that could funnel us down into the street-side sewer system in a second. There would be no point in holding your breath then!
Cannot decide if I want a cold mocha (Starbucks-style) or a fresh lime and coconut refresher from the street stall. Maybe both – and a lie down.