There is more to India than Taj Mahal, spicy food, yoga, holy cows, and its legendary traffic jams.
To sum up my 16 days of travel here, excuse the pun... but I got a little bit curried away. I found myself wanting to return to this country full of life, contradictions, and warmth.
Here are some of the reasons why I fell in love with India:
1) Almost everything here is cheap. If you're from a third world country like me, it feels hallelujah good that your cheap currency finally has the edge while you're traveling in a cheaper country. Hotels, food, transportation, entrance fees-- everything here is cheaper.
2) India has the warmest people.
Move over, Southeast Asian countries. You'll never believe how Indian people can welcome you. The hellos, waves, high fives, shake hands, smiles, and selfies might be overwhelming.
Isn't it fascinating that most of the time, you'll find the sincerest smiles and purest joys in the poorest and rural parts of the world?
I will definitely never forget that celebrity feeling in this lifetime ;-)
3) It reminds me of home. Its cities took me to snippets of my Philippines. The traffic. The dirty streets. The lack of discipline. These things are easy to hate, but the chaos surely added texture, vibrance, and attitude to my travel memories.
There are still myriads of differences from home, but most of the time it's strangely familiar. It's a small world after all.
4) It's always appreciation day for its well-preserved architecture, history, and arts.
Museums, havelis, tombs, palaces and forts have amusing stories to tell. Each attraction is not just a place... but there are amazing characters and mad pursuits of power & love beyond those places.
It's interesting to learn about generations of war, royalty, differing religions, thriving arts, and badass architecture.
I became an instant admirer of India's rich history and culture.
5) It has fantastic views everywhere.
Name it... gigantic India has it!-- lakes, desserts, forts, mountains, hills, palaces, markets, etc.
And I've only been to a small portion of India!
It might take eternity of travel to cover all of its beauty! ;-P
6) Shopping here made my heart rate go crazy.
Spices, nuts, tea leaves, silverware, authentic pashminas, shawls, gemstones, bags, wallets, accessories, juttis, dresses, leather, etc. The list goes on and on! I love how India's products are unique, pretty, affordable, and artsy.
Shopping in bazaars and markets will give you that satisfaction when you know how to bargain.
Beware: Your pockets might bleed when you have low EQ ;-(
7) Indian food is so flavourful and deliciously spicy! (Just don't ask my mother about it)
Being an omnivore all my life, it was surprising to find my stomach suddenly having the urge to become vegetarian. You'll find so many fresh and cheap fruits and vegetables here. And nope, I didn't get any diarrheas (the myth ain't true after all!)
Two things I hate about Indian food?
1) TOO MUCH CARBS. I mean, how can you have so many variations of good bread??? I already miss you, butter naan and cheese naan and stuffed paratha and papad!
2) INDIAN ICE CREAM, BUTTER, AND MILK ARE DELICIOUSLY GOOD. I easily gained my flabs while in India :(
8) It is full of life.
It is breathing with colors. It is shouting with noise. Its dust and sand will gently touch your skin. Its jumpy music will make you want to dance to the beat. The different types of honk will stay with you for a long time. The scent of markets will follow you. The cows will also be sacred in your eyes. That certain rhythm of its busy streets will make you feel alive.
Sure, India can be dirty, chaotic and full of poverty. But its vibrant energy and charm will draw you in.
9) Books here are the cheapest!
And of course, it's always fun to discover India's talented authors. I've always been a fan of Aravind Adiga... and I am so happy with my new book finds.
10) It's always an adventure.
Riding the rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, camel, bus, or even the car will always be exciting when in India.
Sometimes you just need to close your eyes... but most of the time you gotta enjoy those obstacle-dodging and fast-and-the-furious moments!
11) It's so easy to find that picture perfect spot.
India will make you unleash that narcissistic photo-whore hiding inside you. (Or maybe it's just me???)
I have 1,000,000 other egocentric poses and I am afraid that it will make you hit that exit button :P
So that's it for now. You know WHY I got curried away in India ;-)
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