My very first impressions of India

Now that I’m here and have gotten caught up on sleep, I thought I’d take a moment and write down my very first impressions of India. The very first thing I noticed upon entering the airport is that unlike American airports, the one in Bangalore is not refrigerated to the point where you might wish you had worn a winter jacket even in the middle of August. Indeed, the temperature inside the airport was warmer than the outside temperature.

People are super friendly even though I’m blind. I say it this way because I am always concerned with how people will deal with the blindness thing and I’ve seen reactions ranging from absolute terror to, well, what i”m finding here which is more along the lines of what help do you need and how can I provide it.

The other thing I noticed, especially when leaving the airport is the smell of diesel. Excepting trucks, I don’t think we have many vehicles that run on diesel anymore and in contrast, this seems to be what many, if not most of their cars run on. Long as we’re on the subject of cars, I learned that most are manual shift, automatics are hard to come by.

I was very lucky to have been met by some of the people with whom I’ll be working. I felt this was incredibly nice given that I arrived after midnight. I’d love to say we’d do the same for people visiting us for work, but I think there’s a cut-off time and it falls way before midnight. Can we say dedication much?

The first resturant I passed was a subway. I just can’t imagine flying half way around the world, surviving immigration and saying, “oh thank god, there’s a subway.” I wasn’t very hungry having been fead almost to death on the plane, but … and maybe it’s just me but I’d want Indian food, not subway.

I have a driver who is assigned to, well, drive me around during my stay here. When I met him, he suggested that I ride in the passenger seat. I started walking around the car and heard this sudden exclamation, “no no! I’ll drive! I’ll drive!” I then realized that India, they drive on the opposite side of the road and as such, the passenger seat is in the front left of the car, not the front right. Should he ever read this, my sincere apologies for giving you a panic attack right off the bat. 🙂

People at my hotel have been absolutely beyond friendly even going so far as to just occasionally drop by to see if there’s anything I need, or anywhere I want to go.

I slept very well last night and don’t feel tired today which is really a good thing since I slept for longer than expected on my second flight. I’m hopeful that I won’t have any trouble adjusting to the time difference especially as my internal clock is screwed up as it is.

I’ll write/record more later, but certainly, if there’s anything anyone is curious about, please comment here, or drop me an Email: or tweet me: SteveofMaine. Although I’m less than a day into it, I can already tell this is going to be an awesome experience.

By Steve Sawczyn

Blind from birth, I do what I can to help make the world a more accessible and inclusive place for all.

7 replies on “My very first impressions of India”

Steve, sounds like you’re going to have such a wonderful trip and I look forward to your blog posts. I forwarded this one to Linda.


Awesome, i hope Linda likes it. She can also subscribe via Email if you get tired of forwarding her posts. 🙂


I really loved reading your experience. I love your sense of humor. Have a great visit cousin. Love you. Crazy cousin Dian


Sorry about that Steve, I read further down Deon’s facebook page and discovered the reason for your trip. Again, very happy for your success. Lyn & Deon


Well Steve, Deon and I are curious about the reason for this amazing trip. From what you have said so far, it has reaffirmed what I suspected about Indian people. That is, that I assumed rightly so that they are the most respectful and helpful people that I have ever met. I thought of them this way because of one very clean and sharp-dressed gentlemen that I worked with briefly at the State of Maine DEP. He always greeted me with a smile, a “Good Morning” followed by my name, and he always allowed me to walk in front of him. Oh yeah, he started every work day with a cup of oatmeal. Anyway, since you asked if there was anything anyone was curious about, well, I would appreciate seeing a menu or having a recipe from this area. If you can manage that and then when you return home scan and email me one, then I will, as always, never doubt that there is nothing in this world that you can not do Mr. Sawczyn. Very happy for your success. Lyn & Deon


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