India is a magnificent country.......but mad as a hatter! The culture shock I sought was found, but it was gift wrapped, topped with a bow and rammed down my neck! When you ask people what they think about India, they will find it really hard to put a word on it and will often scrunch their face, roll their eyes searching for a suitable word or sentence that encapsulates the madness that is. I can post great pictures and videos on my blog all day but it will never translate over the real experience to you.
India boasts some of the most amazing and diverse scenery on this planet, from the white beaches of Goa, the deserts of Jaisalmer, the bustling cities like Delhi to the Himalayan hillstations like Darjeeling. India is more than visuals, India is a way of life. It's a way of life because it's the way one must live in order to survive and live in a country that holds almost 1.5 billion people with an eclectic mix of religions, race and social caste all lumped into one boiling cultural broth. If you had that many Irish in one spot there would be blood running down the streets. India is held together because of the people and their characters. The Indians in general are honest and loving people who accept who they are and where they are in life. As I often have told people, they have a thousand ways to take your had earned tourist money and outwit you, but whenever I needed help to find a bus stop or a nearby address they went out of their way and more to help me, the people are truly so helpful and kind.
The contrast for me coming from north Europe was immense. The heat for a start. that Feb-March time of year is considered a good time to visit, but damn it was hot and can't imagine how unbearable it might be in the "hot" season! A midday nap became a common habit. The dirt. You can't deny it, where any large collection of people gather in an Indian town or city it is bloody filthy. There is no garbage system implemented, everything is thrown on the street and I mean everything. There is a constant stink of urine and dirt, coupled with the heat and large volumes of traffic fumes, it makes for quite a nasal treat. The noise. One of main issues I had with India was the horn beeping. It was one of the things I couldn't really get used to, I think I may have a sensitive hearing issue with higher frequency sounds anyway, but I found it piercing, frustrating and often got angry (wasting your time mate!). The traffic takes on no particular order with an instinctual flow the best way to drive, throw out your rules of the road book, for it doesn't tell you how to indicate around a lazy cow during rush hour traffic!! The food. Without doubt one of india's pull factors, with some of the most delicious array of dishes, desserts and snacks you will ever taste. It is the ideal place to be a vegetarian too, due to the infinite amount of vegetables types and delicious gravy recipes on the menu. The food here is rich and more often than not containing one of the three S's, Salt, Sugar or Spice! Although ease in to the spices baby, Delhi belly is waiting just around the corner licking its lips! Vaccinations. Due to its location, vaccinations are highly recommended and malaria prevention is the common one to watch for. If your a white skinned European your gonna get bitten at some stage, those dawn and dusk times when they noticeably arrive in their droves will send you itching like a infested scabies dog. Religious culture. This gives India its colour and unique atmosphere if you like and way of life. Everyone follows a god, be it christian, hindu, muslim or buddism. Everywhere you will see people, singing, praying, chanting, you will see temples everywhere and bright colors are a common sight, with the women's sari outfits in particular catching the eye (they cover up lads so don't get too excited!). These are only some of the noticeable quirks and characteristics associated with an Indian visit.
Would I recommend India to people? Hell yea! but it really depends in what your looking for. A lot of young people envisage a holiday with western style comforts, high rise buildings, 3 course meals, swimming pools and party disco's. Forget it, you ain't gonna get it here in abundance, but you can get the latter in basically every other country on earth. India is for the hardcore and the traveling enthusiast. More so for me I think it is a perspective builder, you will truly appreciate where you are right now and what you have after visiting India, when both are compared side by side. Hopefully this was a smart starting manoeuvre for my onward journey, surely it gets easier from here right.....
From Abu Dhabi........ 1.Mumbai 2.Goa 3.Mumbai 4.Udaipur 5.Jodhpur 6.Jaisalmer 7.Jaipur 8.Agra 9.Delhi
10. Darjeeling 11.Varanasi and 12. Delhi ......to Bangkok
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