Life in India: The Auto

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with transport in India, actually for anyone, familiar or not with the concept of the auto, please let me share with you my latest fascination.giphy

In fact, I am writing the post fresh from an auto ride. I think it may have been the closest to death I have ever been in my life and I promise you I laughed so hard I cried (subconsciously this could have been out of sheer exhaustion or terror, but we’ll go with the comical experience I chose to interpret it as).

It is 9:30pm and dark out here in Bangalore, and we were on our way back from a pub (so maybe a combination of tipsy as well). We had a bit of a hard time getting an auto driver to agree to take us to where we are staying, let alone do so for a fair price. We ended up settling on a driver who agreed to take us to Johnson Market for 100 rupees (basically the equivalent of $1.50 USD, but we were gypped nonetheless as the trek was really only worth 75 — but that’s not the point). Oh, and he was permanently cross eyed (I promise this adds important context).

Now, before I get too detailed let me explain the concept of the auto as best I can. Also known as a tuk tuk or rickshaw, an auto is basically the Indian equivalent of a taxi, at least purpose-wise. It has 3 wheels. Here they are often yellow and green. No doors, and a bench that fits up to two or three people — or sometimes even entire families — in the back. Three of us tend to fit into one very snuggly, however. They run on a meter, but more often than not (especially since we’re foreigners) they ask for double to triple what the meter would cost. Sometimes the moment we tell them where you want to go they speed away and we have to try upwards of 3 to 4 more to get one to let us in. They are our main mode of getting around this city and have, without fail, provided us with new experiences each day.

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I will not be able to describe the most recent ride with justice. Imagine if you were living out a video game in real time. A roofed four wheeler weaving through the busy city streets at night going far beyond an acceptable speed, and you the helpless passenger left to cringe (or in my case laugh hysterically) in the back. If this is still seeming like a “had to be there moment”, let me at least share with you a stream of thoughts that will hopefully help you get the picture:

  • So this is what it’s like to play chicken…
  • That’s 3 rounds of chicken in a row that we have won. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar, chicken is when two cars speed toward each other head on to see who will be there first (or last) to avoid hitting the other).
  • I wonder how fast we’re going.
  • Looks around the interior for the mandatory displayed registration: Nope, no license. This is safe.
  • I wonder how impossible it would be to tuck and roll into all this chaotic traffic?
  • These breaks are absolutely amazing!
  • I can’t believe we didn’t just hit that person, that family, that cow…giphy-1
  • At least I get the ATV experience while living in the city.
  • I can’t believe we didn’t rear-end that person… What, is that a mere 6 millimeters to spare?
  • The U-turning abilities on this thing are unreal.
  • Seriously sir, you’ve asked 5 people hoe to get to our location, please just let us get out and start over.
  • No English at all?
  • How on earth are we still alive?
  • How on earth have we not witnessed an accident? Perhaps the U.S. should switch up their traffic patterns: purge-style seems to be quite efficient.
  • When crossing the street: Hit me, you won’t.

This is my stream of conscious everyday, multiple times a day. Here’s to making it a full week without being hit by a car, only 9 to go!

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, imgur.com, autogearcar.com, live.ac.uk

How to Study Abroad in D.C.

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The application for studying abroad in Fall 2015 is quickly approaching on Feb. 10. However, we realize that for some of you, the very thought of filling out yet another application might inspire several days of straight-out-of-the-carton Ben & Jerry’s consumption in an unlit dorm room.

Have no fear! 4E has a solution to your application woes with several ways for you to study abroad without ever leaving this state city federal district we call home.

We researched some of the best and most popular places to study abroad (research=consulting BuzzFeed, answerer of all of life’s inquiries), and then devised alternatives right here in DC.

Don’t bother paying for flights and dealing with the hassle of actually traveling to a foreign country, having a life changing experience, immersing yourself in different cultures and learning about the world. With the help of our advice, you can do basically the same thing while still having the option of returning to your cozy dorm room every night and watching Netflix for 5 hours.

Here are the best ways to study abroad in DC:

  1. Australia. Who would want to take the 20-hour flight to Australia when you can have basically the same experience right here on Georgetown’s campus? That’s right, instead of traveling all the way to Australia, you can just wander down to the brand new volleyball court in Southwest Quad, which they decided to build in the middle of winter. Australia has lots of sand. So does the volleyball court. You know what Australia also has? Poisonous snakes.
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Walking distance from Leo’s!
Not walking distance from Leo’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner: Volleyball Court 

  1. Shanghai, China. Why go all the way to China when you can just hop on the Metro and go to Chinatown? Although Chinatown has the totally authentic Chinese arch, we’ve noticed that the area itself is kind of a scam: most of the stores are just American retailers with signs in Chinese lettering. If you’re looking to remedy the situation with quality Chinese food, unfortunately, DC’s options leave much to be desired. By the time you get the motivation to venture out into suburbia for more authentic cuisine, you might as well have just taken the flight to China to get the real thing.
Chinatown, DC Arch
What happens when you google “Shanghai Arch”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner: Actual China

  1. Cape Town, South Africa. South Africa is in Africa (it’s even in the name!). Also in Africa: Ethiopia. According to seriouseats.com DC is one of the world’s best places to find Ethiopian food, “second only to Addis Ababa”. With the many Ethiopian restaurants in DC, including Meskerem, Dukem and Ethiopic, you could probably spend an entire semester eating at a different restaurant every night. While this sounds compelling, the total cost of all that injera bread and doro wat would probably add up to a round-trip plane ticket, and spending a semester exploring South Africa does sound pretty rad.
Ethiopian food=rad
Ethiopian food=rad
Cape Town=also rad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner: Spend the Fall semester eating your weight in tibs and the Spring semester in Cape Town (the weather is better!). End the year with negative dollars to your name.

  1. London, England. London is basically the same as America, except more cloudy and with more tea. Also, we beat them in the Revolutionary War. Instead of going to London, just marathon Harry Potter and Sherlock.
'Murica
‘Murica

Winner: USA! USA! USA!

  1. Madrid, Spain. I don’t really have an argument for this one. You should probably just go to Spain. I mean, look at this city.

And these churros with chocolate.

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Also, Enrique is from Madrid.

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Winner: Just go to Madrid.

 In conclusion, you should probably suck it up and fill out that study abroad application, unless you’ve been convinced to take advantage of the severely underused volleyball court. DC is great, but the opportunity to see other parts of the world and have amazing experiences is greater. So go to https://studyabroad.georgetown.edu/, take a deep breath, and finish filling out that application. I believe in you. And so does Enrique.

Pictures/Gifs: giphy.com, Flickr.com, Shutterstock.com, alpineservices.com, jllproperty.com, humanandnatural.com