And what of the Indian people? Well it is necessary to divide them into at least 2 groups - those who are well educated, and come across as sublimely refined; never saying a thing out of place, and very welcoming to tourists and just like to make conversation - then there is the very large "average" group, which is obviously such a wide cross-section of Indian culture to make it almost impossible not to fall into the trap of over-generalising
. They take many liberties, not only with the English language in order to keep you interested in buying something, but also in choosing to ignore you, anything like a queue, which in itself is a difficult concept for "average" Indian, and just in the street when you seem invisible, as people set a walking course directly crossing in front of you, aiming for a straight collision. However, being in Shimla, there is more than a normal percentage of Indian tourists, and very few western/ white-skinned tourists. Then I become an object of curiosity, and in some places, the gullible tourist as someone to prey upon - I've even had barefaced cheek of shop vendors quoting a price, in one example of buying some fruit, and in the interval between giving the guy money and waiting for him to get me the right change, the price has gone up another 10 rupees, and he insists it was the price he told me first off (which it wasn't!)
The less educated ( I hope that is the only reason for it) can be spotted all along the mountain roadsides, not only in quieter regions as in when I took a bus tour, but in the town itself, urinating without seeking shelter of the nearest tree. There was a kid of about 14 in our guest house who decided to go out to the patio which all the bedrooms overlook to relieve himself. Maybe they have to practice from a young age to get so brazen, or perhaps they just spend too long examining the behaviour of the many monkeys which inhabit this town, and can make pests of themselves including theiving through open windows (just the monkeys as far as I know)!
Arrived in Shimla by bus; unfortunately the very scenic narrow-guauge railway was fully booked til the end of the month. As well as being huge and very impressive when coming up on the road, which criss-crosses with the railway line, Shimla is a place with much historic interest. Mahatma Ghandi visited here on several occasions, and I believe many of the discussions for the return of India to its own government took place here. The ViceRegent's mansion is a beautiful building, built before the railway existed, and is very Scottish in architectural style. These days it has become the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies (whatever that could mean).