Welcome, Indian-Style: India, Day 1 Part 2
Next, Asharaf took us to St. Frances church, the oldest European church in India. We took off our shoes and paid our respects. It was a beautiful church, but we did not stay long. Next Asharaf took us on a seemingly endless tour of shops that sold scarves, metal trinkets and jewelry. It seemed as if the parade of pushy vendors would never end, as my friends and I were ripped off over and over again. I bought one scarf and a skirt, and my wallet was ravaged. We had Asharaf take us to a grocery store, where we attempted and failed to buy Diet Coke (they didn’t carry it). When we had our snacks, Asharaf took us back to the ship, sweaty and tired.
I showered and caught up on some e-mail while I waited for Alyssa to get back from her FDP. We met up in Tymitz Square with our tickets in hand to go to the Welcome Reception. Alyssa, Bailee and I loaded into our waiting bus, and then we sat there for almost an hour. I have no idea what exactly we were waiting for, but sitting there made me tired and I fell asleep once or twice. Once we were on our way, we got caught in traffic that cost us yet another 45 minutes. We arrived later than the other buses and almost missed the food. I was nervous about trying the food since I am not all that familiar with Indian food, but I tried it anyway. It was unfortunate, but I really hated pretty much everything I ate. We watched a short performance by some dancers (it seemed too short, that was what I had paid to see), and then we went over the vendors and got severely swindled once again. Overall, the welcome reception was disappointing. We missed some of it, and what we saw was not worth the $40 or so that I paid for it. I was hoping it would showcase much more of the Indian culture, but it seemed too kitschy to me. It had started to rain by the time we got back on the bus, and it took us back to the ship where I packed for my tiger safari.