I was blessed to be able to go on a field study my freshman year of college. I have always wanted to travel and this was my big chance. There was a semester of prep before we went filled with classes dedicated to helping us get an understanding of what the country was like before we went there. By the time we left I felt that I was ready for anything. my first challenge came right when I got off the plane. I told the man at customs that I was doing research; my visa was a tourist visa. There were problems. The big boss man came over a yelled at me and then took me into his office in order to continue the interrogation. After about 20min of deportation threats he let me through. What relief I felt until I had to go to the bathroom. It was my first experience with a squatter. What fun!
After all of that I headed out the doors to find the other students that were meeting me at the airport. I didn't see any of them. There were throngs and throngs of people and taxi drivers waiting and yelling. The residual heat from the day could be felt even at midnight. I looked around a bit and then camped out on my backpack and waited. It was then that I realized that I had given my pick up the wrong date and that they would be to the airport the next day to get me. I knew that I had to do something, so I went with a man to a hotel. He had a brochure so it had to be legitimate, right? The hotel was legit they gave me a ride there and back to the airport the next morning and breakfast. How nice. Yes it was, but I ended up paying 10 times what I should have for what I got. Live and learn. I made I through my first 24 hours in India. There would be many more lessons to come.
Here's a picture of some of us students at a wedding. I am the one in green.