India is a fascinating country!!! It’s so fun yet so frustrating. It was one of those places that I couldn’t wait to leave yet was super sad to go. It’s is a sensory overload. There are so many people, colours and smells that you feel constantly overstimulated. Be warned, you have to haggle for everything. Auto-rickshaws, souvenirs, and even accommodations are all negotiable. You’ll notice the English menus are conspicuously overpriced in many restaurants and souvenir shops; I’m talking as much as ten times (10x) the regular price. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To be honest, it takes a lot of emotional energy travelling in India but at the same time there is just so much to see and do that it’s totally worth the hassle. I’m standing in line to buy a ticket for the Delhi metro when a guy queues behind me. Immediately I realize that he is standing uncomfortably close to me, like I can literally feel his crotch on the back of my leg. Not knowing if he misjudged the 6-inch gap that I thought was customary when queuing, I take a small 2-inch step forward, just enough to get his crotch off my leg. Not a mere 2 seconds later, I feel his crotch on the back of my leg once again. At this point I am super confounded and was ready to give this guy a mean cut-eye. Would you believe in the split second that it took to turn my head, another dude squeezes into to 4-inch gap in front of me? He straight up cut in front of me like I wouldn’t notice. It was at that moment I understood why you have to queue butt-to-crotch in India.
You’d be amazed how fast time can fly when travelling. A month in India may seem like a long time, but in reality it is barely enough to scratch the surface. We’re talking about a country that has over 1 billion people and well over 20 languages (many of which are not mutually intelligible). Of the seven cities I visited, Jaisalmer was a favorite of mine. It had all the qualities of an unforgettable adventure; interesting history, delicious food, unique adventures and also cheap. The mere fact that the fort in Jaisalmer is a lived-in fort was enough for me to want to visit. How often do you get the opportunity to live in a fort? It’s like being in Aladdin. Everything is so intricately designed. Doors, windows and furniture are really ornate. Add camel riding and desert camping under the stars, and there was no way that I was missing out on visiting Jaisalmer.
Another favorite of mine was Rishikesh. It was a welcomed respite from the bustle of Delhi. You can white water raft, camp, bungee jump and trek the Himalayas, giving Rishikesh a rustic feel. Being the birthplace of yoga, I couldn’t leave Rishikesh without at least giving yoga a try. Boy am I inflexible. Everyone could hear my bones crack every time I changed positions. Hatha yoga is definitely an experience my body will never forget. In addition, all food consumed in Rishikesh is vegetarian in nature as no meat is permitted in in the state of Uttarakhand. To be honest, India is probably the only place where I actually considered becoming a vegetarian because whenever I did eat meat in India, it was seriously underwhelming.
The reality is I will miss India. I loved it, I hated it, I loved to hate it.