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INDIA – I’ll Never Do It Again?!?

by - 13 Mrz 2010

Our month in India – where to start!? Everybody we met before travelling to India had a different story to tell about this country. Its so diverse and complex that it allows many different point of views depending on where one travels, how one travels and on what aspects of Indian life one focuses. Of course we have been warned about the low hygiene standards and dirty hotelrooms, about overcrowded trains, terribly noisy and polluted cities, and the everyday frauds. Yes, India can be overwhelming and thats why some travellers joke that „INDIA“ is actually the abbreviation for „I’ll Never Do It Again“.

So we arrived in India always ready to bare our teeth – only to find out that it was not at all that difficult to travel around comfortably or to get along with the Indians. We just decided to spend six Dollar for a room instead of four and had a clean and nice little hotel and if you don’t book the cheapest train ticket you wont have to share your seat with an Indian family. Most of the rip off-tricks were not really new to us since also the Thai or Vietnamese „businessmen“ (unsuccessfully) tried to play them on us to fill up their pockets. But we have to admit that the Indians showed us a new dimension of lying straight in the costumer’s face. To enjoy India and to appreciate its cultural contrast to the Western world you just need a lot of time and patience.

Because we had only one month in India we decided to visit „only“ Rajasthan which is already as big as Germany. Rajasthan is a region where great Maharajas lived, a place full of historic sites with beautiful Havelis (elegant mansions) and impressive forts. It takes more than one article to give a full account of all our expriences, how we crossed the desert on camel’s backs and saw marvellous palaces next to collapsing houses or that we got addicted to „Masala Chai“ (a sweet and spicy black tea with milk) and got drunk with our hotel owner. So where to start? Maybe we should start with some very basic impressions and this video of a India’s busy streetlife.

At first you notice the streets are crowded not only with millions of Indians but also with all kinds of animals. Of course, omnipresent is the holy cow, but we were surprised to see also monkeys, wild boar, chipmunks and goats joining the usual bunch of dogs and cats.

Kuh im Hauseingang

Affe mit erlegter Beute

Animals function as little recycling factories since they eat the human’s leftovers including plastic bags and cardboard. Especially the cow’s dung is considered a valuable energy resource as it can be used to heat the oven. Therefore the people collect the cow’s dung, work it into round loafs and dry it in the sun. But when you see that the cow’s output is sometimes just a big diarrhetic splash on the ground it seems that not only the tourists suffer from the spicy and bacteria-friendly Indian food. You feel not only sorry for the cow but also for yourself, because this can hardly be picked up and it is very likely that the next crazy honking motorbike driver forces you to jump into it if you dont want to be run over.

Although cows are worshipped animals and some people feed them for good karma the cows still seem to be always hungry trying to satisfy themselves with plastic and paper. We saw one cow that was so desperate that it tried to lick a poster off the wall. 🙂

Kuh frisst Pappe

Strassenszene Jaipur

Well, after travelling for some months we realised that this trip is for us more about meeting the people than visiting all the important sights. The typical tourist sightseeing program becomes for us less and less important, what really makes our travel worthwhile is to observe and understand a different way of life. Well, it is not really difficult to get in touch with the locals since Indians really do not have any sensibility for respecting one’s privacy or personal space. Wherever you are, in a restaurant, in the train or on the market, they will aproach you and happily start a conversation. Because there are always so many Indians everywhere even in the most touristic places, the Westerner sticks out. For a still unknown reason its very trendy to take pictures with Western tourists. So it does not take long until a young mother places her child in your arms and asks for a picture. Once you agreed on taking „one picture“ you will end up taking „one picture“ with each family member, their best friends and neighbours. Once we had the chance to take this snapshot of such a situation:

Wir sind gleich umzingelt von Indien, die uns fotografieren wollen

But we realised that we need to spend a little more time in every city if we wanted more than such superficial contacts. We regret that we did not have more time, because it takes a while in India until you manage to break through the wall of people that make their business with the tourists and until you meet some truly honest and warmhearted people who do not only talk to you for their own profit. Sometimes it is quiet difficult to deal with the Indians, they can be pretty rude and unfriendly and they have mastered the strategies of cheating and lying, but the second we decided that we really do not like them, we met all of a sudden an incredibly friendly person – just like the young woman with her baby and husband who did not speak a word of English but tried to talk to us in a little restaurant. When Sarah admired her beautiful Henna handpainting, her husband ran to the next Henna shop and the young woman took half an hour to carefully paint Sarah’s hand.

Sarah wird von der Tischnachbarin spontan mit Henna bemalt

Sarahs Henna-Hand

This article is already so long and there is still so much more we could tell. So please be patient and wait for the next post. 🙂 In the meantime you can already have a look at all our pictures from India on Flickr. Unfortunately we cannot use our Flickr account properly here in China, thats why most of the pictures are without a title.

(Posted to the site by Florian.)

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From → India

9 Kommentare
  1. judipuh permalink

    super schöner artikel! holy cow!

  2. Ach ja: wo ich eh schon zugange war den Artikel einzustellen hab ich hier direkt mal ein neues Blog-Layout reingebastelt. Ich hoffe es gefällt.

  3. ah wie schön das du ein hennazeichnung bekommen hast, und sogar von nette menschen die etwas geben wollten ohne etwas zurück zu erwarten.

  4. Gundi permalink

    Großes Kompliment an eure Artikel und an eure Ausdauer! Fühl mich, als wär ich dabei gewesen:)

    Freu mich auf eure Berichte aus China!!!

    Noch ganz viel Freude und amazing unique experiences!

    Viele liebe Grüße
    Gundi

  5. Hello fellow travelers!

    India – I’ll NeverTHELESS Do It Again ?!?

    Here, weve created a new acronym for India, which we think is more accurate of our point of views!

    Were presently ending our own 4 weeks trip in South India, and it was pretty pleasant to read your own account and feel we pretty much experienced the country the same as you did…

    It was nice spending some time with you in Myanmar (and its always beer time somewhere in the world, isnt it?)

    Mailhot and Josianne (proud Quebequers…)

    • I was also quite surprised about the negative headline Friedrich & Sarah chose for this entry… Their overall experience seems to have been positive.

  6. I like Marks and Josianne’s new name for this article very much! Cheers to you! I hope we run into eachother again at beer time somewhere 🙂
    We are definitively going back to India one day!

  7. India I’ll DO it again… and again…. and again…

    Lange Zeit haetten wir nicht fuer moeglich gehalten noch einmal nach Indien zu fahren. In 2 Tagen, am 17.03., ist’s nun soweit: Indien ruft und die Vorfreude ist RIESIG!! Euer Artikel kam da gerade Recht und hat die Vorfreude bei uns gesteigert. Die Fotos und Videos sind super!!

    Schade das wir uns verpasst haben. Naja, dann werden wir halt ohne Euch den taeglichen Slalomlauf auf Indiens Strassen, vorbei an Kuhfladen, Muellhaufen und tausenden Indern, auf uns nehmen.

    Habt eine schoene Zeit in China.
    Viele Gruesse
    Sylvi und Andi

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