As I sit here on the last Day of my Insight Vacations tour in the lobby of the beautiful Taj Palace Lake hotel I just cannot quite believe what I have seen and experienced over the last ten days or so. I had read lots about the culture shock, the traffic, the poverty…..and yes it was all there present and correct. I had prepared myself for India with antibiotics, Imodium, Hand sanitizer, Disinfectant wipes…You name it I had it. Now I consider myself to be a fairly experienced traveller and I have been to some exotic places in the world but the more I read about India the more I prepared myself for horrible toilets and piles of garbage everywhere. What I was not prepared for were the people. Indians are great tourists in their own country and as North Americans we were definitely in the minority at many of the forts, palaces and temples. We were greeted with smiles and nods….almost a feeling of “we love our country and we are glad you love it too. Welcome.”
There are so many good reasons to visit India. The culture and the history is fascinating. Let’s not forget about the food. Oh my goodness the food is incredible. Under the guidance of our Insight Vacations tour leader Viren we were able to enjoy street food at several places we visited. As a first timer to India I don’t think I would have ventured to do this on my own.
And what adventures with the traffic. We were to,d by our guide that to navigate the city streets in India you need three things….a good horn good brakes and good luck. Fortunately the traffic moves very slowly in the cities with tons of motorbikes carrying whole families. I even saw one teenage girl on the back of a scooter driven by her mother with her younger sister wedged in between and she was doing her homework! Then I remembered how many times I used to do my homework on the bus to school in England. Maybe that was why I failed geometry And the shopping…..the shopping. Irresistible. Bartering is essential…something which I p ersonally hate to do. My one short lived success Was the purchase of a highly decorated woven bag. He asked for 1800 rupees ….I countered with an offer for 500. He asked for 750 and I held firm. Yay…I got my bag for 500 only to be offered two for 500 from another vendor. Ah well…everyone has to make a buck.
next stop Mumbai……stay tuned