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Last thoughts before leaving India

semi-overcast 34 °C

Written on July 9…

I feel like there's a million things to say and write...but nothing comes to my mind right now....I hate when that happens, as I will log off, walk away and immediately think of 100 stories, will make mental notes to write them down, but won't...wachha gonna do!

First, I must apologize, as I have totally failed at showing you India! I have posted some pics (finally, it’s about time, on the last day! Hehehe), but really, it’s such a few pics, for such a broad country! I feel like everything I’ve seen was picture worthy. Almost every scene should have been captured..it would have been the only way to properly portray this place…I was already feeling a little inadequate on the pic front, but it got much worst in Jodhpur, where a Danish girl showed me some of her pics….it totally put me to shame! She had the same feeling as me: India is about the colours! They are everywhere, and are wonderful! However, as I only have a few pics with great colours, she has a ton (ok ok, it probably helped that she was here for almost 6 months! but still!). Anyway, all of that to say that I’m sorry about doing such a poor job at portraying India. I’ll nevertheless post the pics if/when I get them, from my first memory card, as there were some good ones…

I’m leaving tonight with mixed feelings.
On one side, I wished I’d stayed longer and had more time to see more places! On the other hand, now that it’s almost over, I’m kinda glad. Indian food is very good, but it’s always the same (parantha for breakfast (it’s like a chapatti, but bigger and takes a bit different). Lunch and dinner made of Dal, rice, chapatti and some mix veggies) and it, so far in my trip, almost always tastes the same! In other words…I’m a bit tired of it! Hehehe Furthermore, monsoon season is about to start (has already started in the south) which means almost non-stop raining, with the resulting floods and delays/cancellation in trains and buses. Finally, tourist season is picking-up quite a bit here, with Europeans and Koreans everywhere (it’s their summer vacation there and many of them travel I guess!), so this changes the scenery and feel quite a bit.
Really finally: I’m quite a bit tired of having the exact same conversation over and over and over again! Where are you from? What’s your name? Are you married? What’s your father work? Mother work? What do you do in Canada? Hehehe, I have had “conversations” with people who barely speak English just by guessing which of the above that person what asking me and answering accordingly! Hehehe, fun once or twice, boring after a while! hehehe
Overall, I would have been happy to stay here longer, but I’m also happy to leave and explore a new continent! Hehehe
About the rain here, I must admit that I’m a bit puzzled at how they handle it. Let’s face it, monsoon is not a new phenomenon, yet they don’t seem to be prepared for it at all! In Johpur, it rained for an entire day, and by mid-day, the street was covered by several inches of water, essentially flooded from only a few hours of rain! I can only imagine after several days/weeks!!! My question is why do they not have better trenches and/or canals??? It’s not exactly rocket science!! I don’t have an answer to this! As a result, entire cities get flooded, people die (albeit a small number considering that there are 1B of them!!), roads get destroyed and trains/buses get cancelled! I cannot believe that there’s nothing at all that can be done! Especially if it has been happening since the beginning of time and will keep on happening for ever!!!
I chose not to go to Jaisalmer as I was afraid that it would rain again and prevent me from coming back to Delhi on time for my flight (original plan: Jpdhpur-Amristar to see Mouchi, visit the Golden temple (holy sik site) and get a copy of the CD (with my pics) that he has. When I couldn’t get a train ticket until July 13th, alternate plan: Jodhpur-Jaisalmer for a couple of days, then come back to Delhi today and go straight to the airport. Actual turn of events. Massive rain in Jodhpur, stay there 1.5 extra day, spend 1.5 day in Delhi…not as much fun, but at least I’ll most probably make it on the plane!!, and Mouchi will mail me the CD…

Things I will not miss:
The lack of etiquette! hehehe I have heard many people fart, up to a man across the road at a park!!! (however, I must admit that Indian food does make you fart! hehehe). People also burp quite a lot. I once had a shop owner burp loudly (there was no attempt at keeping it quiet) and at first I was like ???, but seeing no hint of sorryness, I just moved on! hehehe
Spitting is also quite nasty. Men here chew tobacco (or something like it) and, of course, have to spit regularly...yak! hehehe I'm glad our men don't do it (as much)! I'd have a really hard time finding a "spitter" attractive! hehehe
On a final note of unattractivess: it seems to be perfectly correct here to pick your nose (I've only seen men do it though)...hmmm, not so hot! hehehe
I will also not miss being constantly observed. I litterally cannot walk for 5 minutes and not sit for more than 2 minutes before someone comes to talk to me. After a few minutes they move on and someone else invariably comes along (with the same exact conversation questions.)
I will not miss the beggars. There aren't that many, but I always feel bad. From mothers with their small child to handicapped adults, via children...it's always sad. However, I don't know where they picked it up, but in Jodhpur, kids perfectly well dressed, clean, with clean clothes and shoes, would come up to me and ask for 100R (which is a shite load of money here -some people live on less than 100R/day), when I'd say no, they'd go "2R, 5R, 10R, 20R.." ad so on! I'd be like NO!!! No WAY!!! GO!!! I guess it works sometimes, but if I've met any kids/or people in general, who clearly don't need it, it's them! t was so weird!
I will also not miss the pollution here. The air pollution is quite harsh, leaving a fairly think layerof dirt on me every day (most noticeable when I blow mynose - sorry for the details! hehehe)
Finally, I will not miss almost always paying more than anyone else!!!! I can't wait for an actual "fixed price' (even shops with that mention here are not really, you can always get a better price - always!)

Things I will miss:
hmmm hard to say, many things though. I will certainly miss the lack of etiquette, and being an attraction ! hehehe
I will mostly miss the atmosphere, the crazyness, the seemingly lack of order (but it somehow always works out!). I will miss people coming up to me every 5 minutes to talk and take pictures! I will definitely miss the smile on kids faces when I wave hello or buy something from them (prime example: I went to buy this samosa at a shop. The kid - maybe 12yrs old- originally turns to his father, who tells him to serve me. The smile that comes on his face!!! He asks me how many I want, I say 1, I ask how much, he hops over to my side to give me my samosa and hops his way back with my money, all while smiling from ear to ear!!! hehehe, so cute and heart-warming!
I will miss the colours, the smells, the sights! I will miss the food as well (not right now, but eventually! hehehe) On that note, I tried a local food of Jodhpur when I was there. It's a chilly pepper stuffed with something (potato I think), dipped in batter and deep fried. They're sold in most shops there. I went to buy something else, and the owner asked me why not to try (only 4R), and I though, yeah, why not? So I bought it. It tasted like hell!! I had half a bite and it tasted like jalapeno pepper (deh!!) and hadn't lost any of it's spicyness (I though it may-but I was oh so wrong!!) hehehe I ended up trying to give it to a cow, who wouldn't eat it either ! hahaha! Later that evening the Danish girl (who took so much better pics than me), told me that she had tried an awful deep fried pepper thing! hehehe I said "me too" hehehe, she was like "ahh is was soo bad! I had tears coming down my face and my mouth was on fire, and it just tasted so bad!"

Things I was expecting but didn't see:
- People shitting on the side of the road (to be fair, I kinda saw it, but not as I was expecting-not in the middle of the place for everyone to see). I only saw it very early in the morning, on two occasions, and both times, it wasn't an obsene or disgusting event, just life going as it must go when one had no other options. The first time was just outside of Mathura (on the way to Agra), as the bus was going on a country side road. Kids were in the field, fairly far away from us and from one another, doing their thing...we just happened to drive by. The second time was getting here to Delhi, once again very early morning, people were going in a somewhat forested area and around the train tracks...once again, they were in a fairly secluded area, but we just happened to pass by...hehehe, I saw many pee wees on that morning! and some Indian men have massive balls (like very massive)...I wonder what's that all about! hehehe :-) To be fair, these people lived in slums and certainly didn't have any kind of toilet... so what else were they supposed to do? furthermore, they were in the sitting/crouching position that everyone assumes regularly here (kinda like sitting but your butt doesn't touch the ground), the only difference is that they pants were off (obviously!)
- I didn't experience any realy stinky Indians... I was kinda execting it from past experience, but everyone I met smelled ok (unnoticeable), and I noticed that the vast majority of people wash at least once a day (in the morning), no matter if they live in town or in the slums...
-I wasn't molested, attacked, groped (except by an old man who touched my knee in a bus - big deal!!) or offered shady propositions... From what other people had told me, I was almost expected to get mugged at every corner! Actually, I just got offered hash for the first time tonight, which I believe is triggered by the massive influx of white people (it's litterally day and night from the first time I was here! The shops also sell different stuff - clearly geared toward tourists- as opposed to the first time I was here!)

To conclude:
A couple of random remarks:
1- Everyone here (shop keepers) seems to know about French Canada!?!?! They ask me where I'm from, then ask me what part! Many even guess Mtl right away!! Funny because I haven't met a single Canadian (let alone French speaking) since I've been here!!!

2- All the hotel staff (cleaning, reception, room service, etc) are men. I've never seen a woman working in a hotel. The same applies to restaurants! Come to think of it, the only place I've seen women is in the police and army force!!, and maybe once or twice in a shop, but even there, rarely!. Women are almost all housewives here!!!!

So that's all I can think of right now for India...I overall loved my experience here and would definitely like to come back one day!!!

P.S. I'm going to Madrid next. I'm still tired of living in my backpack, but will just have to bear it one more month (arrggghh, life is SO difficult ;-P), as changing my flights and living in Van for 1 month would have cost me pretty much the same thing as going to Europe..so overall a fairly easy decision. Madrid, here I come!!!

P.P.S. I bought a new purse today and immediately felt bad toward my old one, my "faithful companion". I bought the new one because the zipper of my old (and let's admit it, beat-up) one was giving and was seriously starting to not zip properly (would open from anywhere, sometimes, and I could always fix it, but I could tell the end was near). Well, I didn't switch my stuff rightaway, and went about with my old purse, and it is the moment it chose ot officially not zip up at all! I like to think that my old faithful companion knew it could finally die peacefully! Thank you dear old purse, you were beautiful (but oh so dirty!) and I like to think that thank's to you, I didn't lose any of my important stuff! xxx

Posted by Mistrale 02:30 Archived in India

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