after 9 weeks of traveling here, today is my last full day in india and it’s really sad to be leaving. i haven’t spent 9 weeks in any foreign country ever, and i’ve gotten quite used to being here. before i got here, i’d already done a decent amount of traveling, and i was starting to think that i was prepared for just about anything. but india is definitely unlike anything i’ve ever dealt with before, and is so full of chaos that traveling here is difficult even for the veteran traveler. it has public transportation that is so overcrowded and so rickety that it’s enough to break not only your spirit, but your back as well. it has an unbelievable amount of garbage that’s piled up everywhere on every single street, in every single train compartment, and in rural areas as well… not to mention the piles of cowshit that are everywhere you look. it’s full of poverty that confronts you from every direction and is way too difficult to bear. there’s so many things about india that make it an exhausting country to travel through, that i can definitely see why so many travelers want to get the hell out of here and never come back.
everyone says about india “either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it”. and despite all the things that i just mentioned, i absolutely *loved* india. looking past all the negatives, india has an incredible amount to offer. the country is huge and has every type of environment you could imagine: from sand dunes, to snowy peaks, to grassy plains, to jungles, to forests, to long stretches of beaches. india is practically a continent in itself, and each region within it, not only has different types of geography, but also an incredibly wide assortment of different architectural styles, and monuments. it’s a country of many religions filled w/ hindu temples, jain temples, mosques, and buddhist gompas.
cities everywhere are colorful and lively, full of palaces, statues, etc… always hustling and bustling w/ farm animals wandering the streets, people selling anything you can imagine, pilgrims on their way to religious sites, and the delicious smell of food wafting all around. and the food…. sheeez… the food is so incredibly deliocious. spicy, and well flavored, with so many different options to choose from. from the yummy creamy lassis, to the roasted tandoori chicken, to the crunchy nan bread, and the fiery curries… all of it was so good.
and of course, india wouldnt be india without the people who live here. deeply religious on one hand, dressing conservatively, and attending temple regularly.. but wildly exhubarent and jovial on the other hand. one thing about indians.. for the most part they aren’t shy or subtle! we would constantly have people coming up to us and starting up conversation, asking us everything from what country we live in to the amount of salary we made. so many people around us were always laughing and joking… i’d see grown men chasing each other around and pushing at each other like children.. and the crazy zany stuff we saw on tv that came from bollywood… is well…. both hilarious and udescribable. and the women were always so friendly too, and so colorful in their long flowing sarees.
if i had the time, i could write pages and pages about my thoughts on india, but unfortunately i’m kind of in a hurry. i’m incredibly curious to see what becomes of india in the future. it really seems to be a country at a crossroads. on one hand, it’s developing like crazy…the cities are growing, technology is expanding, lots of people are getting excellent educatiuons. on the flip side, in some ways it might be growing too fast, and there is unbelievable poverty as a result, and from what i’ve read in the papers, incredible corruption as well. only time will tell what direction this incredible country goes in. i only hope that some day i’ll be able to come back here again to see it.