The first week after the arrival in any country can be a whirlwind of an experience. Bombay is an intense city of 16 million people. During my visit I met a young guy that I helped with some provisions—he was so happy, he gave me a needed sim-card for my phone and offered to take me around the city. So last Monday we visited the main sites in Bombay. On Tuesday I rested and that night my digestion went South. The positive aspects of the digestion loosing up it that it totally cleans out the system. So, on Wednesday I felt extremely depleted and hired a car to Nasik, a town 200 kilometers which is a local tourist location. I did not meet any Western tourists in Nasik.
After sleeping two complete days and eating Yogurt and Bananas I felt up to heading to Aurangabad. Made my way to the bus station and was offered a shared jeep and paid 200 rupees packed with 10 people to travel 200 kilometers that takes 4 hours. Here in India the travel time is 50 kilometers an hour.
The biggest challenge currently is climate change. Coming from cold Germany, the heat in Bombay was dramatic and shocked my system. However, I should be adjusted within a couple of weeks. Bombay can be very humid, but inland the weather is more tolerable.
Here in Aurangabad I met some very nice western travelers and we visited some incredible Buddhist caves. On Tuesday I am heading to Hyderabad. When I was in Bratislava Slovakia I met an Indian women on business/personal travel at the hostel during breakfast. I inquired about India because I had bought my flight in Sarajevo and she said it would be nice if I could visit Hyderabad to visit her husband, kids, and family. Today I have my train ticket in hand, riding will be riding 2AC sleeper class 12 hours to Hyderabad for my first rail experience here in India.
My impression of India, so far
Each traveler expresses themselves differently according to their perception and experience concerning travel in India. It is important to note that if you are traveling the tourist areas and “seeing the sites” your impression will most likely be different than a traveler who seeks to get off the beaten path and has an interest in the locals and culture.
The number one dynamic here in India so far is that a lot of people have warm good hearts. I really like the disposition of honesty and goodness of many locals I’ve met. Also, I love the excellent sense of humor.
Most people here in India don’t smoke and no smoking the restaurants, however there are many people who chew tobacco.
India is a vegetarian friendly country and every restaurant offers a wide variety of vegetarian food.
There is no focus on Alcohol. It is a welcome break from the obsessed mentality of Europe concerning the subject of alcohol.
Also, here in India most people shut down by 2300. In Egypt and Europe people were up until 1 or 2 in the morning. Here in India, from my experience so far, most people retire by 2300 and everything is quite until the morning, the normal hours is a happy welcome.
Many of the Western Travelers are super cool people. It is a major difference than Europe. I did met some nice travelers in Europe, but many were just partying people that had no consideration for others.
Some Difficult Aspects of India
Travel can be difficult, many trains are booked. To get a train that is available the traveler must search the government railway site and find the train number and go to the train station and reserve a ticket. There are other tricks to the system such as what PlanetD explained about riding the rails in India.
The Bus and Car travel is only 50 kilometers an hour. Considering the slow vehicle travel, 200 kilometers is far and will take up to 4 hours. India is crowded everywhere and there is lots of traffic which makes the streets noisy. The horns, exhaust, and the crazy style of driving is something to get use to quickly. However, there is no loud prayer call five times a day like in Egypt. So I find India much quieter than Egypt and the Middle East.
It is important to increase your tolerance to external odors and noise when traveling India. It is important to let go of your external vision of pleasant cosmetics concerning the infrastructure. The infrastructure is completely different from the West and the towns and cities are very trashy compared to western cities.
So the adjustment period is going well, and the warm hearted friendly people over-rides the noise, trashy streets, and the massive traffic with pipe smoking exhausts.
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I am not sure if you have been to India before, it for sure is a “Rites of Passage” to being called a traveler. If you can, find a copy of the book, “Are you Experienced,” by William Sutcliffe, it was a laugh outloud book to read, I sat in Hampi India and rolled with laughter.
There are many layers to the onion called India, you are writing in the middle as is your custom. The book explains a couple of layers below the middle and the motivations of traveler in India.
Explaining the extremes of India is to be done with caution, the travelers and people of India are very protective, take care to not insult their lover. “India.”
There are tons of Animals in India because they do not eat them.
It seems like you are enjoying India. Glad you are feeling better. Yes, the trains can be very difficult to book. You can always try to book last minute using the Taktal. You can book Taktal up to two days before and hope that people cancel. Otherwise you can just go to the train station, hop on the 3 AC sleeper and hope that it isn’t fully booked and pay the upgrade to the train captain. Good luck with your travels and take care in the heat.
Hey guys, well the heat was hot but now in Varanasi is very cold, but I guess for only about two weeks.