Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
31Trip End Jan 12, 2017
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Indians think that it is perfectly acceptable to throw rubbish on the floor and here is one thing I do not get, one day it is going to accumulate and they will be wading through it and die from the dirt, apparently it is changing slowly and sure it is hard to change a billion individuals' way of thinking but, as I have recently read on the news, health is wealth and that is what they are all looking for
Another thing I can't understand, and this is the most baffling, is the sacred cow. I have seen a kid run them away and throw stones, I see them eating card board and plastic as if the rubbish pile was a set of fresh pickings. The cow, I have been told, is like a matriarchal figure, providing all sorts like milk so why treat them so badly, surely they are better off being farmed and given a purpose in life, surely this is like putting your own mother into a nursing home full of mannequins. Maybe it is because they do not believe in the sacred cow anymore, I mean I do not believe in the tooth fairy but that does not mean I feed her (it is a her isn't it?) plastic, although I guess there are not a ton of her ambling the streets with nothing better to do.
And now to the good part, they are very sympathetic, very understanding (man, they have to be putting up with each other) and admit when they are in the wrong, although this may take a while to process, but I think it is very admirable. They will also give you what you want which you should know relates to a slightly varied version, for instance you ask for street food you get Delhi belly, you ask for a lower sleeper birth on the train they give one with another person or two booked on it, you ask for a cold water they give you a bottle of ice with a dodgy seal (hhhmm threw that one away), you ask for a comfortable bus sleeper they give you the one at the back on the top so you hit the ceiling on impact with every bump
So all in all we know that India is stunningly beautiful and has many diverse attractions in the one country but as for the people let's just say, and this is from an Englishman, they need to work on their communication skills and attitude to the world then, and only then, will they beat China in world superiority.....in my opinion!
Thank goodness I flew from Nepal, I hear that on the same day I was going to get a bus there was a strike at 6 a.m. and my buddy had to walk an hour and a half to the Indian border. Anyway I was loving my stop over in Delhi airport, with pictured toilets, Orange Tropicana (which I missed intensely), comfortable seats and a plane journey to Varanasi. Touching down I could feel the heat immediately and not knowing what to expect the airport was like any small one with a few planes and a couple of conveyor belts. I took a taxi which zipped over a dead dog in the middle of the road with a German girl, Katherina, to the town and we found a fairly clean guesthouse to stay at. Varanasi is my favorite place so far in India, dirt, cows and crap covered little back alleys, nightly ceremonies, Eternal flames, burning bodies and the Ganga at your doorstep does not sound like the ideal holiday destination but the setting, ambiance and charisma that it is, is only because of all of these components
On the first night I went with the Katherina to the Puja (ceremony) and watched from a 20 rupee boat. The sights, chanting, clapping, colors, beautiful, preying, live music, drums, lights smoke, women pushing to buy candles, hoards of people gathered watching, people
wiping the dripping faces, boats congressesd in front of the ceremony, flowers, colors, smells of incense, lights ,dark ,splashing , preying, wiping the sweat amassed into an amazing array of beauty but on a boat with 43 other people was sweltering. In the day time I did not do much, eating, walking, sifting through the markets and watching life go by on the Ganga. On another evening, I caught a boat with Katherina and her friends to the Tower of eternal flame, where they burn the bodies and all because the flame was started there by Shiva. There was a guy on the boat and he told us about his caste, Dom (outcast or untouchable), who are the only ones who can do this sort of work, also about Shati where the woman used to jump on the fire, what the coverings of the dead people signified and about those who were not allowed to be burned. The place was spiritual without a doubt, they even washed the bodies not 5 meters away from us whilst chanting.
Taking a sleeper class carriage to Agra was just fine and arrived in the early hours
Jaipur's only attraction for me was the Amber fort, amazing, some said the observatory is also nice but I completely forgot to visit it. As for the town itself there was nothing there but long roads.
Very James Bond Feel, I even watched Octopussy in Udaipur, it had to be done, and was actually worth it watching the sunset go down on the Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace, Later on I visited these places with either a boat or taxi but Udaipur is a nice place just to chill out and stay by the temple, out of the busy Urban life.
Well what can I say, my last few days and they were perfectly spent with my cousin Jangu chilling out in his apartment, going to the beach, visiting Aunt Coomi, watching the world go by and eating out some lovely Pani Puri. I think Mumbai is my favorite big city of India as the tuk tuk's are on a meter, there is a lot of scenery, has a little bit of a London feel to it and everyone seems down to earth.