Travelling teaches you new things, isn't that what they say?
Well, yesterday yours truly learned two lessons.
The first: Even if you are physically fit and training for a half marathon, do not suppose you can uphold your athletic performance in a hot and humid country. Just presume you'll be creeping along like a snail, your heart pounding and your lungs aching, that way you might avoid yourself some frustration (I shall not tell you how many kilometers I ran in 45 minutes, but let me assure you it was the most frustrating athletic experience I've ever had).
Second: Provoking people is really easy.
I thought about this when I walked home from my creeping workout yesterday. I knew that seeing girls in running shorts is not a common sight in India. Seeing any girl in shorts or a short skirt is rather unusual, for that matter. There was just no way I would have survived running in long track pants or a sari (most of the girls working out here in Mumbai do so in saris). And while it feels completely natural to me (compared to what some teenage girls wear in Berlin, I was dressed almost matronly), it is very likely provocative to some Indians.
Just as wearing a Burqa is to most Germans.
I had to smile when I thought about that. Because to those who wear a Burqa it probably feels as normal as wearing running shorts feels for me. And while I am allowed to walk around in this state of undress in India, you can't wear a Burqa in public places in France and Belgium, it's forbidden by law.
A couple of months ago a friend an I heard a young british lady talk about the Burqa in Europe. One of the things that touched me and has remained with me was when she said that '...once again we try to dictate what women should be wearing...' or should not be wearing, for that matter.