India: should I stay or should I go?

So they say you either love India or hate it. Can it be both?

My first impression when going out of the airport in Delhi was: “wow it’s hot, it’s crawling with people and damn, so much noise!” You’re not even outside the airport yet that tons of people are already harassing you to make you go in their rickshaw / taxi, even though there’s a prepaid booth right there… Once in the line, everyone is cheating and more of them who want to get you to the city without a prepaid vehicle keep coming to you, on a delightful background of commune and permanent honking. Once in a prepaid rickshaw with a defined destination, the driver still wants to take you to another hotel. Oh you booked your room and you denied 3 times the other place? Ok, let’s go to the tourism office to get you a free map then. It’s a “no, please take us to our hotel with no stop” song on repeat.

You think it’s bad? It won’t change and it’s just the beginning.

The next day we wake up in Paharganj, the backpackers area and capital of the world of scams! From the hotel staff, to the million of people approaching you in the street to sell their shit, to that guy we met in a restaurant who would not let us talk to each other and ended up taking us to a fake tourism office that happened to be on his way, to the guy in this phoney place and yet another hundred of people in just 2  motherfucking days.

And there are the animals, cows, goats, donkeys, monkeys etc, IN the city of Delhi.

And of course there are those millions of men walking in the street and staring at you, not staring in a way you can imagine, no. Staring at you with a blank expression of stupidity from 10 centimeters away, walking past you, stopping in front of you to stare some more, sometimes trying to get closer to you if it even was possible so you would touch them by moving away. What a freaking nightmare. Women in the street? What women?? There are men everywhere, no women in some streets, a few in others.

Did I like Delhi? Yes, from the rooftop of the restaurants, trying to take a rest from that constant haggling, it looks chaotic and colorful, like in Yangon. But Indian are not Myanmar people. No smile.

It was such a hell to go around that we quickly moved on to our next step: Bikaner. Oh yeah, the fake tourist agent made us a whole itinerary hopping we would pay a very large amount of dollars (and no rupees) for him to book everything. We took the itinerary and left without giving him a cent (and oh what a coincidence, the guy who took us there happened to be walking right there when we got out, insisting on having a drink with us so once again, we would not be able to talk each other out of this whole thing but we firmly pulled him off). People warn you about India but you cannot be prepared!

Anyway we end up in Bikaner,  where we’re delighted to add camels to the list of animals hanging around in town. Cows are sacred so they roam freely, blocking traffic, shitting everywhere on the streets, but it never stops to amaze me to watch them defying everyone and everything. After we visited the “rat temple”, we met a very nice kid from Assam spending his holidays here. He was pretty happy to speak English with us and showed us around town.

Between all of this, Indian food kept me happy 🙂

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Traffic in Delhi

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The Paharganj area in the morning.

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The local school bus.

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Saris drying in Bikaner.

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The camel research center.

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A new friend, finally a smiley face.

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Baby camels!

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The first nice person we met! He told me he had a traditional rajasthani beard, make up and jewelry, and asked if my Arale cap (with its wings) and my arm implants were traditional of France.

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The Deshnock temple, home to quite a few rats that are believed to be sacred. The white one is supposed to be very auspicious, and we were lucky to spot it, which means great luck!

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Rat milk I guess!

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Of course, no shoes in the temple (we had socks). The rats are so numerous that it’s sometimes difficult not to step on them, and if you do you have to give them a gold rat status, but if one of them walks over you then it’s a good sign.

 

 

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We got the tika (red/orange on our front) after a kid showed us the whole process of making a wish in a temple. It is not linked to religion and is therefore for everyone.

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Just a regular car.

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A cow not giving a single fuck.

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In the old city, the Jain temple has great colored carvings.

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This is used on shops to counter a devil.

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One of the great things of India (or at least where we’ve been): lots of rose smells.

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View on Bikaner.

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They like to stare at your money too.

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2 thoughts on “India: should I stay or should I go?

  1. Love the honesty and rawness. I have a love-hate relationship with India, mostly Delhi but after 2 years here, I’ve had to learn to find the good in the sea of bad. You also start seeing the rest of the world with different, more positive eyes. Hope you enjoyed / are enjoying your trip.

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    • I think we were probably not in the best area of the city, and we should have explore more as clearly some parts of the city are very different from one another! It did get better though! Thank you for your comment.

      Like

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