There’s plenty of info out there about things you definitely should not do in India. From wearing inappropriate clothing, to limiting PDA and not bad-mouthing cricket, the list is long. Now, I don’t feel like I put myself in any undue danger in India, but I didn’t necessarily follow all the rules to a tee. Here are the ones I broke.
Here’s what I learned:
- I’m not as tough as I thought
- Delhi Belly can strike anyone
- You can’t really do anything but ride it out
It seems like on the subject of India, the world is divided into two halves. The ones that can’t wait to get there, and the ones that absolutely, positively never want to go near the place.
“Keep your expectations low”, our tour leader kept saying on our latest adventure to India. I’m not sure if it was a ruse to ensure we were never disappointed, but it worked for me. I remained pleasantly surprised for most of the trip. From the transport and roads, to the hotels we stayed in, to the experiences we had, everything was either as I expected, or better. At least, when compared to what the trip had promised.
In early March, I was happily touring around southern India with my hubby when I noticed my lower back was sore. Nothing out of the ordinary, I thought – the bumpy roads, the beds – it makes sense. That evening I headed for a massage, hoping to find relief. But when I, grimacing, crawled onto the massage bed, my masseur promptly advised me to see a doctor.
Southern India is not as hard core as northern India – it’s slower, safer, friendlier – the poverty is not as confronting – the dogs and cows are better cared for. Naturally there’s rubbish everywhere, the hygiene and toilets can be questionable and the feeling of being unclean never seems to quite leave – covered in sweat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and just the humidity that clings to the air like a limpet.
From last week’s post I’m continuing my southern India posts with some more details of our adventure.
Southern India is a hot, sticky mess. Houses slant huddled together, hacked into sharp edges, snuggled by the encroaching jungle and its mess of fronds, tangles and branches. Sand seeps relentlessly through bare earth and discarded rubbish litters the landscape like moon rocks.
My husband loves cooking, and he loves India… what a great combination! When I first moved to Austria we started a tradition of Indian curry afternoons. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, filling the apartment with sweet and spicy aromas and eating on the balcony, and sometimes it involves the whole family, all bustling around my in-laws kitchen, drinking wine and tasting multiple dishes in an afternoon that ends with us fully stuffed and goes long into the evening.