We’ve mentioned several times on this blog that day-to-day touring in India is difficult. What’s it like here? Rather than just tell you, we’ve arranged to teleport you to India for a day. Hang on tight…
Welcome to India.
5:33am – Rise and shine! I know, you were hoping to sleep in, but the [car horns / crowing chickens / howling dogs] make that impossible. Toss and turn for a while, trying to bank a few extra ZZZs.
7:27am – Finally give up and get out of bed. Breakfast is included at this hotel, so enjoy your cold eggs and soggy toast.
8:49am- You’ve read the guidebooks and plotted out your day. Time to experience the best of [Mumbai / Delhi / Jaipur / Agra]. Your first stop is nearby. You step into the hazy morning with a smile on your face and nearly plunge into an open drain. Reminding yourself to be more cautious, you navigate around a pile of construction debris to the nearby busy street. After a prayer to the deity of your choice, walk across at a steady pace and hope no one runs you over.
8:52am- Tread carefully on the sidewalk, as it may be broken, slanted, under construction, or nonexistent at any moment. You hear someone clearing his throat- watch out!- a glob of spit sails past, narrowly missing your foot. The glob is red, and you wonder if your assailant is bleeding. You notice that many people chew tobacco rather than smoking cigarettes, explaining the crimson hues of various globs you see on the sidewalk.
8:53am- Why is that Indian guy staring at you? You keep moving.
9:38am- Near the [garden / monument / fort] of your choice, you soak in the ambience. You are startled out of your reverie by a seller calling out, “Yes [mister / miss]? Come!” You walk briskly away from [him / her], into the waiting grasp of another, then another. Quick, dash down a side alley- dodge the multicolored puddle of toxic liquid!- and escape to the ticket booth. Pay the entrance fee and enjoy your time away from the noise of the city. Good luck finding a toilet while you’re in there- Ken’s next toilet video will say more about that.
11:52am- Was that your stomach growing? Time for lunch. Choose your [fried street food / food stall / sit-down restaurant] carefully, or you’ll regret it later. And avoid the meat. May we suggest unidentifiable vegetables with brown glop? You place your order and wait [5 / 15 / 30] minutes for your meal.
12:39pm: Now you need to get across town to see [Haji Ali / Ghandhi Smriti / Jantar Mantar]. You hail a rickshaw, but you know roughly what the fare should be and the driver insists on a vastly inflated sum. You walk away. You hail a taxi, but the trip is too short and he refuses to take you and drives away. Aww, heck, you need the exercise. You walk across town.
12:40pm- Another Indian staring at you. You pretend not to notice.
12:42pm- A stray dog crosses your path. Awww, he has the [floppy ears / curly tail / fuzzy fur] you adore… but he also has mange. You decide not to pet him.
1:04pm- “You want weed? Hash? Good weed?” You brush off the unshaven twentysomething who is violating your personal space.
1:42pm- Your exploration of [Haji Ali / Ghandhi Smriti / Jantar Mantar] is interrupted by a giggling Indian asking to take a photo with you. You ask why, to a chorus of more giggling. You smile for a photo just to get it over with.
4:08pm- It’s been a long day- time for a snack. There are no chain convenience stores like 7-Eleven around, so keep your eyes peeled for a locally-run shop. You find one, grab a packet of [Hide & Seek cookies (our favorites) / Lay’s “American Style” potato chips / Parle-G biscuits]. Next in line, you patiently wait for grandpa to finish paying. What’s this, a teenager has butted in before you… now an older woman is asking the clerk for help… now someone else is laying down their money. Remember: you are larger than 99.9% of Indians. Use your formidable frame to block the next interloper and pay for your goddamn junk food already.
4:17pm- Emerging from the store, you see a man peeing on the wall of a building. At least he turned his back to the street.
4:18pm- Really, what is it with these Indians starting at you?
4:19pm- A holy cow munches on garbage as you walk past.
4:22pm- Boy, are you tired from all this walking. You just want to get back to the hotel and rest, but you got turned around and aren’t quite sure which direction to go. You would gladly pay an inflated price for a taxi or rickshaw… but it’s rush hour and they’re all full. You walk. And walk. And walk.
4:56pm- Finally, you’re back at the hotel. Sure, you’re sweaty and tired, but there’s still time to [see a movie / take some night photos / go shopping] tonight.
You know, it’s time for you to start thinking for yourself: go ahead, consider the rest of the evening free time. Just let us know when you want to teleport back home. What’s that? You’d just as well go now?
Thanks for the invite to join you in India. I think I’ll pass on this one. I’ll remember to be greatful the next time the teenager screws up my order at McDonalds. And promise not to complain when the street I want to drive on is closed for construction. I’ll also cherish the next buttcrack I see on the fat guy working in his yard. Also not complain so loudly when I have to take out my next home loan to pay for a fillup at the gas station. Love the green grass and spring flowers here in Wisconsin.
Thanks for the wonderful post, now I can check off India like I’ve already been there.
We are delighted to have saved you the flight cost! You owe us a beer. ;) Enjoy the rest of your travels, wherever they take you.
All right Eric, now you and Cassie have to travel somewhere, um, unpleasant, so we can check it off our list! Great meeting you guys in Pingyao, and we’re staying tuned to your blog.