INDIA Photos: Highlights and Low Points
There are a few quotes that are said to sum up travel in India:
- It stands for: “I‘d Never Do It Again”
- “If you go to India without patience, you will learn it. If you go with patience, you will quickly loose it.”
- “He would have described the journey as insufferable except that the limits to which human endurance could be stretched in India made the word meaningless” (from “The Train to Pakistan” by Kushwant Singh)
We can attest that all of this is extremely true and completely incorrect all at once. It is a country of such extremes that it has the ability to inspire, frustrate, challenge and dazzle you all within the same day. We found our sanity constantly tested, but we also found ourselves more relaxed than we’ve been years. We quickly came to realize that nothing in India is as you would expect. Here’s some of the highs and lows of our Indian sojourn:
Highlight: The Taj Mahal was breathtakingly gorgeous.
Low Point: Getting scammed, our train tickets ripped off and having to take a second class train to get there.
Highlight: The abundance of mouthwatering fresh seafood in the southern states.
Low Point: Food poisoning, Montezuma’s revenge, Bombay butt, New Delhi belly, whatever you want to call it. Three times.
Highlight: Making friends with some lovely ladies and having a blast drifting through Kerala’s beautiful backwaters together.
Low Point: Being constantly gawked at by perverted Indian men who followed us around taking our picture.
Highlight: Riding an elephant through a spice farm.
Low Point: Getting mauled by an angry bull (this is not the bull that attacked us, mind).
Highlight: Endless days cruising Goa’s countryside on motorbikes.
Low Point: Motorbike accidents are plentiful in India…just ask Mihae, who crashed into a roadside shop and ran over some poor man’s entire lot of onions.
Highlight: Feeling completely rejuvenated by a relaxing day at the beach, riverboat cruise or an ayurvedic spa treatment.
Low Point: Seva (selfless service) duty: Shoveling cow manure, sweeping and mopping a huge temple under the watch of the evil “Sweeping Nazi”, being in charge of herding naughty cows, picking weeds and planting corn in the blazing sun…wasn’t this supposed to be vacation?
Highlight: Two blissful nights in the luxurious Taj Mahal hotel in Bombay, our balcony overlooking the harbor and the Gateway to India.
Low Point: 28 nights of ghetto hotels that cost no more than $12 per night, with cold bucket showers, mosquitos galore, and beds so hard you might as well be sleeping in the middle of the street in Mumbai.
Highlight: Hangin’ with the locals and hearing their stories.
Low Point: Constant harassment from the locals: “you like change money, no problem,” ”Come ride my boat, no problem”, “look my silk shop, no problem”, “do you want to buy hashish, no problem?” Can you spare one rupee, no problem?”
Highlight: Experiencing daily life in Varanasi as Indians come to the Ganga River to bathe, fish, pray, swim, practice yoga and wash laundry.
Low Point: Getting sore throats from the fumes of burning human bodies just outside our hotel window in Varanasi.
Highlight: Beautiful India: Mother Nature at her best.
Low Point: India’s ugly side: Witnessing overwhelming poverty during a visit to Dharvai Slum, the largest in all of Asia.
Highlight: Coming to India to connect with her spiritual side through yoga, prayer, meditation, temples and a stay at an ashram.
Low Point: Coming to the realization that we completely failed at connecting to anything remotely spiritual and would rather be partying on the beach any day.
Highlight: Never missing the opportunity to “GOA BIG.”
Low Point: Having to “GOA HOME.”