Pictures as always on the bottom of the post!
We have made it! Survived a month in India and didn’t even get sick once! I believe we are the first people to ever claim this, even though an Indian dude we talked to on the train said we tried some dangerous street foods (water based ones, whoopsie) Here are some of the things we remember!
1) Food is not actually as spicy as assumed. In fact it’s not spicy, except Indians seem to love Chillis on the side at all times! Honestly who eats chillis for breakfast? I tried and didn’t know if I had to cry or vomit or suffocate. Just too spicy for the morning!
2) Train rides are awesome because thanks to all Indians having the munchies you never have to worry about feeding yourself. People will patrol up and down the train offering you all the wares you desire. From hot cooked lunches, to snacks, to drinks to chaichaichaiiee!!! Get a chai Tea for a bout 10 Eurocent!
3) The headwobble! Indians don’t shake or nod their heads, they headwobble! As the name says it’s a wobble of the head that could just mean about anything!
“Is this bus going to Mananthavady?”
“So yes, it’s going to Mananthavady?”
Well I guess we just get on that damn bus and hope it gets us to the right destination.
4) Indians surely love westerners. They want to touch you, they want their kids to touch you and they want you to hold their babies. They need to ask you for ‘quick snaps’ which turn out to be 10-minute photo sessions, with every relative and friend they have until you yell it’s enough. Then all they need to know is “which country”? Kids and grown-ups alike wave, point, stare at you – you feel like the queen of England when you roll down the bus with their open windows – and can’t help but wave back.
5) Bus-Rides! Dirt cheap, but Ohhh the bus-rides! Oh the streets! Ride down a mountain with hairpin turns and 600m cliffs threatening to kill you. But don’t drive the suggested 30km/h, no drive 70km/h – oh and also honk at everyone, pass other cars even if you’re in a curve and can’t see more than 2m ahead. I’m pretty sure I learned in driving school to not pass in curves, but I might be mistaken.
Has anyone seen the 3rd Harry Potter movie and remembers Ernie? The crazy wizard-bus driver? Now that’s the bus driver we had on our ride down the mountain. Turning his steering wheel hectically in every possible direction, shifting the gears what seems to be every second. Pass every single car, truck and tuktuk, cos damn you are the bus! Streets that are meant for 2 economy cars next to each other maximally – well in India that fits 2 big massive trucks, a bus and somehow squeeze a Tuk Tuk or motorcycle in it too, and magically don’t run into each other? I swear this is some Harry Potter stuff, they use this bus function to make the bus thinner when it passes! No seriously!
6) How high is the average Indians tolerance for noise? Parents rattling toys in kids faces on a train or blasting music from tiny cell phone speakers. Go to the movies and best bring earplugs cos the movie is disturbingly loud, but nobody else cares. And nobody turns their ringtones off, nope nope! People don’t close their hotel room doors if they have kids running up and down screaming in the hallway at 1am, nor do they close it if they’re a group of friends drinking and moving furniture around (really?). Go to an Elephant Festival and have them blast off black powder in massive amounts, nope, not even the Elephants cared! The honking on the street is impossible and never stops for one second. Why exactly do some motorbikes drive down the road blasting their horn the whole way when nobody else is there? We believe just for the pure joy of noise.
7) Oh the south! The further south we went the easier things got, and not really related to our own experiences. The south doesn’t even feel anything like north India. It’s so easygoing, people are much friendlier and don’t bother you, scenery is much nicer, streets are soooo much cleaner! We want to say that nobody who has travelled further north than Mumbai has really experienced the chaos of India! Take a boat down the beautiful rivers in the south is even relaxing while watching villagers go on with their life. It’s in south India when we fell in love with India!
8) People are just as excited (and scared) of Elephants and Tigers. We took a public bus in the mountains early in the morning, and all the blinds were down, when the bus suddenly came to a stop and the bus driver stared outside the left side. Everybody ripped open the blinds and so did we and next to us are 3 gorgeous wild elephants! Awesome! That same day we took a hike around that area and somebody stopped their motorbike to tell us this area is extremely dangerous on foot with elephants and tigers…whoops!
9) While the guys are weird -sort of demanding, you can tell they rule the country – the woman are the best! We love Indian woman. They are so colorful and friendly! They’re all so shy, until you flash a smile at them and they give you the warmest smiles back. Indian women are definitely the highlight!
10) One more thing about the south…communism? Yepp, communism! See the pictures, there’s little communism monuments and flags all over south India!