Agra 30/7

Day 4

This night we almost did not sleep. We arrived to the hostel in Agra after midnight, with me navigating and screaming a lot in the car, as the rest of the crew was sleeping and it was just me who saw how close to death in a car accident we are.
We slept barely 3 hours and woke up at 5 AM to see a sunrise at 5:41 near the river and Taj Mahal.

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We came back to our rooms, slept for some more hours and enjoyed breakfast in the roof, with a gorgeous view of Taj Mahal again.

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After breakfast our great driver Pramod picked us up again, together with the local guide. We went to Taj Mahal for two hours and really enjoyed ourselves taking a lot of silly pictures.

Next we headed to the leather market, where I buy amazing autumn-winter shoes. Fuck logic, buy snow shoes in the middle of the summer in India!

We’ve seen a couple more souvenir shops and I think I’m getting closer to having souvenirs for everyone, but also far away from making it to the limit of check-in luggage.

We ate in another extra expensive restaurant recommended by TripAdvisor (oh irony – I found a stapler in my food) and headed to Jaipur. On the way even Victor resigned of visiting another temple, as we were all WASTED and needed to relax in the car.

Delhi 29/7 

Day 3

The third day started pretty tough. In the middle of the night, coming back after having far too many beers with the other travelers in the hostel lobby, I just texted my friends to let me sleep until the last moment we leave. Luckily I survived the morning just with a lot of coffee!

After checking out of the hostel the new driver (much more fun guy!) picked us up and took to the Indian Parliament. Some of us decided to walk in direction of the Gate of India, I preferred to take a rest in the car and go for breakfast with our driver and Nishtha.

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The guys joined us and we went to another mosque, but most of us resigned from entering, as the tickets for non-Indian citizens are more than 10 times more expansive.

Next we headed to the Lotus temple and it was BEAUTIFUL, and filled with nice music.

In the meantime – having a great driver I learnt a lot of Hindi! Namaste, om shanti, sukriya, raajakumaaree !

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Later on we went to a pretty pricey restaurant for lunch and managed to force our guide to join us in the table. For some reason it was so uncomfortable for him!

The portions were so big that Nishtha didn’t finish even half of her fried rice and decided to take it packed to give it to the poor. First portion went to the disabled middle-aged man, another one to a little and very beautiful girl near the road. My heart was broken for a couple of times today already (after seeing a 5yo girl in the morning, who was dancing with sth similar to hoolahop made of a bended rod, to raise money for her family). Who the hell knows what happens to this children… They sleep on the street, do not get proper care and nutrition, maybe are being molested… I can’t stand it, I cannot agree for that. Does the god really exist?

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After great paneer tikka we headed to another temple. And it deserves at least one entire post – yet to come. Anyways, taking any electronics inside was not allowed, so we ended up for the whole afternoon unplugged, with no passports and little money. It made us both very close and almost killing each other.

After this spiritual Disneyland, we were very happy to meet our driver again and had through the night by the decent highway to Agra.

The Golden Triangle of India 27/7-1/8 pt.1

Day 1
Our trip to Delhi started with a lot of nerves. We needed to literally pull Sarah The Scottish out of her room, asleep and drunk, as she had too much party the night before.

Luckily all seven of us – me, Stella from Poland, Aleksandar from Macedonia, Romanian Victor, fake Scottish – Chinese Alan, Belgian – Nepalese Nishtha and drunk Sarah, made it to the airport and the flight was delayed too.


We needed to separate in Mumbai as we booked the flights separately, so me, Nishtha and Sarah had to spend couple of hours more at the airport. It was nice though, I finally had time to read my book borrowed forever from Goa.

In the evening our driver rented for the whole trip picked us up and took to the hostel. And then the hell started.

Crossing the streets of Delhi I already knew that it is something I’ve never experienced before. We were literally panicked seeing all the crowd, mess, beggars, children and traffic on every single street!

We managed to find the other Four near the hostel and it made our impression even worse. They were wasted and scared, guys had to surround Stella to protect her from the men on the street and they needed to run away from all the children begging for food and money and pimps trying to sell them drugs. Well, people trying to sell them everything. And the girl still got touched and rubbed in the metro…

Fortunately we were lucky with the hostel – neat and tidy, international place with a lot of white travelers and backpackers. We finished the day drinking cold beer in the lobby with other crazy people ready to explore Delhi.

Day 2

After the pleasant night we managed to get out of bed quite early, get ready and eat a delicious European breakfast in the hostel.

Our cab picked us up and drove directly to the center. With help of bike rikshas we went around the biggest mosque in India, spice market and the Red Fort, which was amazing. Later on we visited two temples (I got blessed and felt very peaceful of the sound of this mysterious foreign words!) and drove to the Gandhi memorial and museum. I found it slightly chaotic and I wished I knew more about him before coming there.

Afterwards we went to the memorial of Gandhi where he was killed and took a rest there.

In the end of the day we visited the Sikh temple and it was the best one I’ve seen so far! And I really liked it, they have nice supply! Pleasant music, places to seat, food, lake with fish and nice turbans.
Having a car on our own was very convenient, as it was sooo good to sit in the AC for some moments between different touristic spots. The only drawback is that I went to Delhi still sick, so I basically contracted everyone.

We finished the day with beers on the hotel’s roof and it was just great!

People of Manipal vol.1

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by Bence Fejes

No names, I promised. But people I meet here are just INCREDIBLE!

I met a girl. She doesn’t trust anyone, but everyone can trust her. Let’s call her Aisha. I am lucky enough to be able to tell her everything and not being judged. She is so easy-going! And steps so hard on the ground. I can cry, I can laugh, I can get pissed of with her. She just comes to my room in the evening, we catch up on our days, share the newest gossips (our big family just buzzes with gossips!). And it’s just great. But the thing I admire her for the most is, despite of not being asexual, she is so perfectly fine without a man! She is just so strong and independent.

My exchange in Sweden resulted in travel plans reaching far longer than 6 months upfront. I guess it will be the same with India. I already have Lebanon, Tunisia and Oman to see. Not to mention my winter skiing (and hopefully snowboarding if he teaches me!) holidays in Austria! And I need to go to Gdańsk, Belgium and Budapest again.

It is surprising how close we are. We spend together – in different configurations – each moment from breakfast until going to sleep and we are not tired of each other. And all of those people are so strong and inspiring!

There is a person I met on my first weekend in India during our train trip to Mumbai. And after our today’s conversation – I wish I had spent more time with him. We are so different! And the conversation last evening was so great and it let me understand him better. I’m so glad he is happy now.

Ladies and gentlemen, BENCE FEJES – genius Hungarian photographer who was generous enough to let me use his pictures. Ence pence mój ty Bence, I wish you the big career in photography! F**k engineering.

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Bence Fejes himself!

Serious culture crushes

Do you remember my problems with the care taker in the hostel? Well, it wasn’t solved.

Care taker reported me to the hostel manager. That is something I could handle – they are their supervisors and employers. I had a pretty nice and fair conversation with him, he accepted the letter from my father and I thought that the problem was solved.

Next day my IAESTE friend called me, when I was sick in bed, and said that the main university exchange coordinator wants to see me. The next day I forced myself to go out of my room and went to meet the gentleman.

Well, it was not a conversation or discussion. It was a monologue, quite polite, but with not much willingness to listen to my arguments. Main conclusion? If he receives one more e-mail about me I am in trouble. If I get kicked out of the hostel, it is not his problem. As I am officially registered there, he cannot keep me here if I am not staying in the hostel so I will have to go back to Poland. No discussion, veto, zdradzieckie mordy. I just tried to demand that they at least put the signature list on the ground floor, not on 12th. As I live on 14th and get the drinking water from 13th, it is just more effort and energy waste.

As a result of that conversation I got so mad, that – still politely – I concluded that India is a chaos, but Indians make it even more chaotic by themselves. That they would rather put all the effort they put in keeping me in my bed into the health care quality. And – that was too harsh – that the British colonization was the best what happened to them, because at least they got some order.

Results? My dad is mad at me for being harsh and disrespectful to the other culture. My coordinator is mad at me even more. Other inters already took popcorn to observe and enjoy my struggle. Luckily the lovely IAESTE crew is still by my side, and thank you, guyyyz, for that.

Coming back to the colonization – yes, after saying that I realized that it was not the most propriate comment of my life, and that I definitely did not make my situation better.

My German friend, also a BLOGGER, said: Just told a middle-aged German/Austrian/Russian that the Polish partitions were the best thing that could have happened to Poland because at least they gained some order. Very bad? Didn’t wanna go too far by saying this about the German occupation in WW2 but it sounds about as bad what you said.

And now, afterwards – as always – I see my mistake. But do I fully agree? No.

Apart from all the criminalism, bloody mistakes, cruelty and demage which partirions or WW2 did to Poland, just look at the architecture of Wroclaw (Breslau) and Gdansk (Danzig). And – that is discussable – but look how much knowledge about human anatomy (I’m a BioMedEng) we gained from those times. The same – I think India to some extent benefitted from the British.

I think I wrote about it already, but Indians really look up to the Western people. I never treat them superior, I show them a lot of positive attitude and respect, but they somehow feel as if they needed to treat me like a princess – again, apart from the IAESTE Indians who are really really europeanized. Apart from the moments when they stare at you in a very creepy way. Anyway, I do not feel in danger. I felt worse when I was stared at by the Arabic men or the Polish construction workers. India is just too peaceful to make me feel insecure.

Another thing is the student – professor relationship. I guess my professor already got used to European interns coming from a different culture. I do the small talk with him, he bears gently all my comments and jokes, he is not much surprised that I am honest, open-minded and not afraid to speak up.

As I do not really get much educational value from my nanotechnology internship, I decided to attend a few courses of Biomedical Engineering department, which will be useful for my Bachelor thesis which I already started to write. I go for the lectures of Biomaterials & Prosthetics and Biomechanics & Biodynamics. The courses are really nice and provide me with a nice revision of what I already know, as well as help me write down my thoughts and knowledge, what is necessary for the thesis.

What I have noticed is a lot of respect from students to the teacher (who all notabene bear the PhD degree) – unlike in Sweden, and teachers are really educational authorities – unlike in Sweden.

The only bad surprise was the sentenced pronounced by the professor on one of my first lectures. I ask students qustions irrespectively on sex. I directly told him that for my European standards what he said is a sci-fi…

Adventures in India keep going on

I really did not want to criticize in India, as it is not my country and I do not feel I have right to do that after being here barely 3-4 weeks, but today I feel like my rights were violated. And I am already too mature and my personality is too strong to let people treat me like a 12-year-old on a school trip. Not to mention situations when it comes to my health and safety…

First of all – hostel rules. It is the most sexist institution I have ever been to!

Since a couple of days (when most of us were on holidays and no one ask us about opinion) there is a ‘care taker’ on our floor, which at 10PM keeps checking if all the girls are alone in their rooms (I just wonder when will she start checking if I am not hiding boys under my bed or condoms in my drawer…). Yesterday when I was coming back from the meeting with friends, she asked me for a signature that I am already back. I was incredibly pissed off but managed to politely and diplomatically explain her that I do not care about her rules if they violate my freedom and that I will talk to my parents immediately and make them send a proper document to the office. And so I did.

I encourage all the interns to do the same… We are all adults (over 18 years old), responsible for our own decisions, fully conscious about Indian law and rules of staying in the hostel and WE DO NOT NEED PERMISSION to go out of our rooms. That is the paper my father signed to help me deal with it. You can laugh, I felt really angry for the first time in India.

STATEMENT. Me, PL, born on ….. , biological father of Zuzanna Lisowska, inhabitant of the room 1428, I agree for her living under her own care, with own day planning, coming-back hours and responsibility for her own decisions and actions, because she is already 22 years old and she is an adult in all the countries of the world. Signing below: ….

Another thing is my health. After coming back from Kerala I do not feel well (probably some throat and ears infection), but I was not sure if I should already take an antibiotic or not. Nevertheless around lunch I felt so bad that I asked my Indian girl friend to go with me to the doctor. And I could not make a worse decision…

I tend to complain about Polish health care, we all do… But India has its own rules in all the domains of life.

I think that the clinic I went to has not been renovated and the equipment has not been replaced since 50 years. The doctor does not wear a coat and she put on just one latex glove… Never in my life so many people went through the room when I was being examined. And the pre-interview made before was never so bad… Just age, no illnesses, medications or allergies… After my visit I just felt worse and more violated than I was before. No matter what happens to me, I am not gonna repeat this experience.

In the meantime I am planning to keep watching genius Sense8 (thanks, Nishtha and Elizka!) and stay in bed, that’s all what I need now in this crazy country.

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This picture is a good summary for this post… Some days ago I had to eat fish stake with the fork and spoon, as they never use knives…

Last night chat

– Many people are jealous of what you do now, Zuza!
– You think so? I just have here the school of living, experience, spirituality and personal development. And I have a lot of fun here. After two days in India I had such relationships with people like after two MONTHS on Erasmus. I think this tough conditions bring us closer together, physically and mentally.
– And what about your Bachelor thesis Master studies?
– I already know it 🙂 And the ideas for life.
– Congrats!
– Well, we girls just probably overthink much more than you.
– Maybe… Well, Zuza, we will meet in some years on the party in penhouse and we will talk about our careers!
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