I won't lie, India has been hardwork but nowhere near as bad as expected. Its made us laugh, made us cry, made us sad, made us happy, made us think and most of all, made us grateful of where we were born.
We've written a few paragraphs to show how different life in India is, as we've seen it. These aren't negative comments, just funny observations and general day-to-day life!
The day to day traffic and busyness was draining as nowhere could you comfortably just walk down a street. You had to look at the floor most of the time so you didn't step in anything but at the same time dodge cars and bikes that expect you to move!
The driving is crazy and a complete free for all. There are loosely sides of the road to drive on, but many a time we've been in a tuk-tuk driving into oncoming traffic and vice versa! Every vehicle is battered and has some sort of scratch, dent or hole on the bodywork. The main reason for this is no-one bothers to use mirrors and only uses horns to carry out dodgy manoeuvres. On the back of all lorries it says 'Obey the rules use your horn' which says it all.
However, Rickshaws and tuk tuks have helped us get around India cheaply. During our last trip we only used them a few times! You have to double check everything with the drivers though. A favourite trick is if you don't ask the price for 2 people, they will try and charge double at the end. This happened to us once or twice, we just walk away and the driver would always laugh. They may as well try it on as they've got nothing to lose.
The trains and buses we caught were pretty reliable, although advanced booking for popular routes to get 2AC or 1AC class is recommended!!
The temperatures during the day were comfortable and I would not recommend anyone going in the summer as the heat along with the exhaust fumes, the smell of urine and rubbish would be unbearable.
Talking of rubbish, I don't think we can emphasize how much rubbish is everywhere! Ok there's no bins but people throw everything on the floor. We would say, look at the heap of rubbish, that's disgusting! I think they see the rubbish, like they see a pile of bricks, theres no difference!
And adding to the rubbish smell is urine! Men wee everywhere. They seem to stick to certain sections of the street, almost like how dogs do it do mark their teritory!! There are some visible urinals but only for men, as there are few women around, and they really stink!!
A lot of the men here don't seem to ever be doing that much whether they have a job or not! For a simple entry into a ticketed sight, there will be someone to buy the ticket off, someone to mark the ticket, someone to rip the ticket, someone to check the ticket again and someone to direct you where to go even though its obvious! On our arrival to Delhi, there was a man cleaning plant leaves with a duster, and whilst waiting for a train we worked out how many Indians it takes to change a light bulb - we counted 7 ! These people would be on low wages but I guess at least they are all earning something.
The near enough complete absence of women was very strange! The streets were crowded, but completely by men. Delhi was the worst for this. Indian tourists were even usually groups of men. The strange thing for us was that these men all walked around holding hands! They're not keen on showing affection towards women, you never see an Indian couple holding hands, but they're more than happy to do this with another bloke.
Finding and choosing somewhere to eat has been tricky. Breakfast is fine as its toast or omlette. We have usually skipped lunch or had a street snack as we don't want curry. Then we've had curry in the evening but it gets too much so we've tried western meals but they haven't been great. Famous fast food restaurants have featured, but mainly so we can get our meat fix, and even then it's chicken only! Unfortunately we only had a couple of curries that were nice, there wasn't a huge range either. The 'filling' was usually always Paneer cheese or veg which sometimes wasn't nice.
India however is pretty cheap for everything. We were paying about 20p for 1 litre bottle of water and Coca-Cola, £2.50 for a meal for two (so you can't complain too much!), £2 for a 5 hour train ride and £5 a night accommodation.
You could therefore live like a King in India but its is a place we would never want to live. Its no offence to the people, everything is just too different, dirty and chaotic!
Here's a short list of other randomness.
- Planned / unplanned power outages in most cities. Usually off for 2 hours between 12-2
- Also I'm sure you've seen images on television about overcrowded trains but no-one was on the roof or hanging off the windows and there was no-one selling things at traffic lights either!
- Shaky head used as expression - we now have this down to a fine art!
- Howling dogs in morning regularly woke us up at 5am...
- ...and then loud prayer calls woke us up at 6am!
- When we have asked for directions we have found that people would rather tell you the wrong way rather than not 'help' you at all.
- They don't listen to western music only their own Bollywood style music. Although a guy on the train said he liked Shakira - particularly the song 'Hip don't lie'
A few things in the blog may have sounded negative but we've just wrote about the main (odd) incidents of the day and differences we've noticed. We haven't bored you too much when we've been happily strolling around the city or at attractions as there's not much to say!