03/16/2009 - 04/10/2009
India is definitely an interactive country, I was never bored. I walked alot, I talked (and bartered) with alot of people, I ate alot, I dodged alot of traffic and I spent alot of time just watching. It's been a busy and intense three and a half weeks in India for sure.
I saw mostly bigger cities during my stay as I didn't have time to go too far off the main trail. Mumbai, Dehli and Kolkata are all big cities but each were really unique from each other. I got to be an extra in a Bollywood movie for a day in Mumbai. The city Varanasi is spiritual overload, really cool but a bit too many hippies for me. I also stopped in at Khajaharo (Kamasutra temples), Jaipur (tons of temples, forts and bazaars) and Agra (The Taj Mahal).
The Holy Ganges River in Varanasi where locals bathe in the morning and night
The food is nice and tasty. Because its vegetarian its often lighter and healthy. I really like all the lentils. I have gotten sick alot though so I am a bit scared of it now.
I thought India would be overrun with tourists but I can go two blocks off the main tourist areas and suddenly I am a celebrity, everyone wants to say hello.
On the train...
Most countries I have visited people are eager to try to get my money but India is in a league of its own. It's no secret there is alot of poverty in India but everywhere, everyday and from every direction I was constantly bombarded with touts, salesmen and beggars. Some are cunning smooth talkers some are arrogant and some are just desperate but all are relentless. I refuse to ignore them because then I feel like they've made me be rude, so I always respond to anyone until they let me leave. Unfortunately this meant talking alot to alot of people. It was actually really fun. I had some great conversations and I always feel incredibly safe in India despite so many people wanting my money.
This guy was one of the nicer ones
India is really cheap. Maybe the cheapest place I have ever been. I feel rich. I can easily get a room for $3 CDN, a quality meal is a dollar and a 24 hour train was like $5.
I was really glad to be a male while I was in India. The stares some of the guys give foreign girls here takes perviness to a new level. That's not the worst thing though. It's very common for guys to just flat up touch or grab foreign girls.
There is nothing better than a cow where a cow should not be.
Also, It seems no discomfort or hesitation is allowed in India. If I am ever not at ease or certain of something people seem to instantly sense it and I would be approached or called to immediately. This was annoying because I am rarely at ease or certain.
The downside of India is that privacy is nonexistant and I always have to be on guard as touts can smell my money from miles away. But it is really safe and cheap country with so much to see and experience. Despite the ones who want your money, there are tons of nice people who would love to meet and talk to you and will do anything to help you enjoy your stay.
Tomorrow I will go to Pakistan and then after Iran (I finally got my visa).
The Taj Majal